New York Songlines: Avenue B

including Clinton Street

E 14th | E 13th | E 12nd | E 11st | E 10th | E 9th | E 8th St | E 7th | E 6th | E 5th | E 4th | E 3rd | E 2nd | E Houston

Clinton Street was named for George Clinton, a general in the Revolutionary War who was the first governor of New York State--from 1777 to 1795, and again from 1801 to 1804. He served as U.S. vice president from 1804 until his death in 1812. Formerly Warren Street, it was renamed for the governor in 1792.



Stuyvesant Town

stuyvesant town by dandeluca, on Flickr Fountain by edenpictures, on Flickr

Built in the late 1940s by Met Life Insurance Co. as housing for returning World War II vets; now being converted to market-rate rentals. When Met Life sold it and Peter Cooper Village--a total of 110 apartment buildings--for $5.4 billion in 2006, it was reportedly the biggest real estate transaction in history. The purchaser was Tishman Speyer Properties, a real estate group that owns Rockefeller Center, among other things.

To build these highrises, Met Life leveled the notorious Gashouse District-- which chemical fumes made one of Manhattan's least desirable neighborhoods. The district produced the fearsome Gashouse Gang; since there was little to steal on their own turf, they would travel to other neighborhoods and rob the criminals there.

In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs uses Stuyvesant Town, with its lack of nonresidential development, its scarcity of streets and its repetitive architecture, as an example of how not to fix cities.


W <===         EAST 14TH STREET         ===> E
The northern boundary of the East Village

West:






Mona's - Ave B by Unity Gain, on Flickr

224: Mona's, pretty hip for a bar that's been around since the 1970s.







220: Luca Lounge, Italian restaurant/lounge


















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Corner (600 E 14th): AlphaBet Cafe was not long ago Dynasty Coffee Shop, at this corner since c. 1955. Earlier was Barracini's Candy Store.

229: East Village Fruit & Vegetable

227: Medilane Drugs me, dave & leon @ uncle ming's by bionicgrrrl, on Flickr

225: White Noise, secret bar upstairs from Bee Wine and Liquors -- used to be known as Uncle Ming's.

219: ReVision Lounge and Gallery, decorated with repurposed materials, used to be Musical Box, cozy yet stylish bar. bad aim by seanaes, on Flickr

215 (corner): The Sylvia del Villard Program of the Roberto Clemente Center; an outpatient center named for a choreographer and a baseball player who died bringing relief to the 1972 Nicaraguan earthquake.


W <===         EAST 13TH STREET         ===> E

West:

B Cup by jebb, on Flickr

212 (corner): B Cup, East Village Cafe; East Yoga Center offers ''doga'' classes for dogs.


206: Was Sonic Groove, a techno music store opened by rave pioneers Frankie Bones, Adam X and Heather Heart. Closed in 2004, but survives as a Berlin-based record label.

204: B-Side, glam-punk bar with cheap beer.

198-200: Vamos Sembrar ("We Are Going to Plant"), community garden

196 (corner): Santa Barbara Deli Superette. I don't know if this is the source of the name, but St. Barbara is a major figure in Santeria, the equivalent of the African god Chango. Was Tolkin's Corner, bar featuring "harmless nuts," according to New York Unexpurgated.

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Corner: Yu Suen/Dragon Garden




205: Raul Candy Store



199: Continuum Cycles















W <===         EAST 12TH STREET         ===> E

West:

NYC - East Village: Children's Garden by wallyg, on Flickr

Corner: Children's Garden, a small patch of greenery that's an annex to the Joseph C. Sauer Playground. I think there used to be a crackhouse here.

190: Back Forty showcases sustainable ingredients like grass-fed beef; was Radio Perfecto, stylish restaurant with vintage radio collection.

188: Rue B, jazz bar/bistro

186: Pizza Gruppo, tasty brick-oven pizza. Bar-Bo-Ne, restaurant/wine bar next door, replaced Joey's, co-owned by model Haylynn Cohen, which in turn replaced Aunt B's.


182: Cafe de Nova and Fu Sushi; was Suzette Sundae, reworked vintage clothing.

Corner: Spin City, fancy laundromat-- gets my clothes clean.

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193 (corner): This used to be the Charles Theater, center of the underground film movement from 1961-63, under the management of Jonas Mekas. Earlier the Bijou.









187: Rivers of Living Waters Christian Bookstore



183: The Neighborhood Tech Center, where local bands go to get their flyers made.

181: Thicker Than Water tattoos

179: Mercadito, fancy taco/ceviche joint; was Pantry, a sweet little place that I miss.

175 (corner): Spina was Panificio was Uovo, before that Paolina--all well-regarded Italians.


W <===         EAST 11TH STREET         ===> E

The characters in the musical Rent sing, ''We live in an industrial loft on the corner of 11th Street and Avenue B, the top floor of what was once a music publishing factory.''

West:

On January 27, 1972, police officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie were assassinated on this corner by the Black Liberation Army. A communique described the killings as a retaliation for the 1971 Attica prison massacre.

174 (corner): eleven B., pizza, was Rue St Denis Vintage Clothing

168: 26 Seats, tiny restaurant usually is not full. At the same address is the Boxcar Lounge (formerly Oops); a skinny bar with no liquor license, it serves cocktails made of port, sake etc. Lakeside Lounge by bjohnsme, on Flickr

162: Lakeside Lounge, Midwestern-style bar noted for great jukebox selection and sexy photo booth pictures.


Life Cafe II by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (343 E 10th): Life Cafe, semi-healthy restaurant featured in the musical Rent (both stage and screen, though the exterior for the movie is the bar Vazac's, and the interior is a set). "Life" logo seen backwards says "Art."

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173 (corner): Local office of Rep. Nydia Velasquez. It's never open when I'm around.

169: Good Old Lower East Side thrift shop; raises money for community group. In 1969, the basement of this building was the site of the "Groovy Murders,", when hippies James "Groovy" Hutchinson and Linda Fitzpatrick were bludgeoned to death. Two drifters were later convicted in the killings, which brought attention to the hippie subculture and popularized the term "generation gap."

163: Was Annex, where, according to New York Unexpurgated, it was "not necessary to know anyone to get felt up or a black eye."


















W <===         EAST 10TH STREET         ===> E

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Tompkins Square Park

tompkins square park tree by neatnessdotcom, on Flickr

Named for Daniel Tompkins, governor of New York (1807-16) and U.S. vice president (1817-25), a populist who abolished slavery in New York.

Once a salt marsh owned by Peter Stuyvesant, the park was drained and developed in 1834. After being the site of bread riots in 1857 and draft riots in 1863, it was leveled in 1866 and turned into a National Guard parade ground. When German socialists gathered here in 1874 to protest the faltering economy, police injured hundreds in what was called the Tompkins Square Massacre.

Neighborhood protests resulted in the re-establishment of the park by 1879; part of the redesign was by Frederick Law Olmstead, but most of his plan was not implemented. By 1916 a detective identified the park as "a hangout for petty strong-arm men and petty thieves." Reconstructed by Robert Moses in 1936. Tompkins Square Park by JessieDanielsNYC, on Flickr

A bandshell erected in 1966 was a venue for concerts by Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. When 38 people were arrested for playing conga drums, a judge threw out charges, citing "equal protection for the unwashed, unshod, unkempt and uninhibited." In 1985, the bandshell was the venue for the first Wigstock. A park band by mr.moneda, on Flickr

In the 1970s and '80s, the park became a homeless encampment, as depicted in the Don Delillo novel Mao II. (The park also appears in the Philip Roth novel My Life as a Man, as the spot where a character arranges to buy urine from a pregnant woman.) A friend who grew up in New York says that he and his friends used to dare each other to go in. In August 1989, murderer Daniel Rakowitz served soup to the homeless here that may or may not have contained the remains of his roommate Monika Beerle.

Attempts to evict the homeless in the 1980s led to a August 1988 police riot, when 44 were injured by cops with tape over their badge numbers. After a Memorial Day Riot in 1991, Mayor David Dinkins closed the park for 14 months' of renovations; the bandshell was destroyed. The park now has a midnight curfew.


Tompkins Square Dog Run

Tompkins Dog Run by acaaron816, on Flickr

Your best East Village entertainment bargain. This is the first dog run in a New York City park. William Wegman has been known to walk his models here.









Avenue B Playground

There's a couple of playgrounds in the southeast corner of the park, not as large or as famous as the one on Avenue A. The local pre-schools tend to prefer them because they only have one exit.












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NYC - East Village: Charlie Parker Residence by wallyg, on Flickr

151: Jazz great Charlie Parker lived here from 1950-55. The landmark building is a Gothic revival townhouse that dates to 1849.




Christodora House

NYC - East Village: Christodora House by wallyg, on Flickr

143 (corner): Built in 1928 as a settlement house; young George Gershwin gave his first public performance here. First center of neighborhood anti-gentrification protests. Iggy Pop wrote Avenue B here; Vincent D'onofrio was another resident.


E 9TH ST ===> E

Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish

Aug92006 034 by ShellyS, on Flickr

Corner: The church traces its history back to 1839, when German immigrants began what became the the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Growing along with Kleine Deutschland (as the neighborhood was known in the late 1800s), the parish moved into a former Methodist church on this site in 1863 (though Methodists who barricaded themselves in the church delayed their entry). With the German community greatly declining after the General Slocum disaster of 1904, the church's membership declined from a height of 1,750 to 15 in 1975, when the old church was demolished. The current structure, which includes a church, community center and parsonage, was built in 1996 and serves a congregation of about 120.

137: Cold War victim Ethel Rosenberg worked for a Communist Party front group at this address.

Newsboys' and Bootblacks' Lodging House

Corner (295 8th St): Formally known as the Tompkins Square Lodging House for Boys and Industrial School, Childrens Aid Society, this imposing building was designed in 1887 by Central Park co-architect Calvert Vaux. Later a synagogue, Talmud Torah Darch Noam; then the East Side Hebrew Institute, which future actors Ron Silver and Paul Reiser both attended. Now apartments.


E 8TH ST ===> E

St. Brigid's Church

NYC - East Village - St Brigid's Church by wallyg, on Flickr

119 (corner): The name is one of the few surviving reminders that this was long ago an Irish neighborhood. In recent years, it served a mainly Latino congregation. Closed and slated for destruction, a victim of the archdiocese's post-sexual abuse scandal financial troubles, a huge last-minute donation seems to have saved it from the wrecking ball.

St. Brigid's School

7th and B by Lily Langbein, on Flickr

Corner: The church's school opened in 1856; this unpretty building is nearly a century younger, from 1954.


W <===         EAST 7TH STREET         ===> E

The opening sequence for the new Electric Company show separately features at least three of the four corners of this intersection.

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Vazac's Horseshoe Bar

nyc by Ralph Hockens, on Flickr

Corner (108 Avenue B): Aka 7B; one of the great New York City bars, with an outstanding juke box and a rock and roll clientele. Dawn Powell uses it to mark the eastern edge of New York in The Golden Spur (though she calls it "Vasyk's Avenue A bar"), classing it with the likes of the White Horse, the San Remo and Pete's Tavern. Featured in such films as Godfather II (where Pentagelli is almost garroted), Angel Heart, Crocodile Dundee and The Paper.

98: Was Belmondo, nice French bistro named for the star of Godard and Truffaut films.







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109 (corner): Amaran, fancy furniture from Indonesia

105: Bang-On, retro-style T-shirt shop, part of a Vancouver-based chain

103: Casimir, French/Moroccan; formerly Hotel Galvez

Manitoba's

Handsome Dick Manitoba by Andrew Huff, on Flickr

99: Bar owned by Handsome Dick Manitoba of the punk band The Dictators.

95: Home of the Elevator Repair Service Theatre.

93 (corner): Horus; the namesake deity is found outside this Egyptian cafe/hookah bar. Was La Gould Finch, a Southern place that led the restaurantification of Avenue B. The building used to be home to Michael Gira and Jarboe of the post-punk band Swans; Henry Rollins worked on one of his albums here.


W <===         EAST 6TH STREET         ===> E

West:

6th Street-Avenue B Garden

sculpture-in-the-garden by Aaron Edwards, on Flickr

One of the largest and most elaborate community gardens. Was famous for its 65-foot tower of found art, a neighborhood landmark, but after the death of its creator, Eddie Boros, it became structurally unsound and had to be taken down.


New York. East Village. Avenue B with E 5 St. by Tomás Fano, on Flickr









Corner (545 E 5th): Was Zip's II Deli Grocery.


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Corner: Cabrini Nursing & Rehabilitation Kate's - Vegetarian Eating in the East Village by jebb, on Flickr

58 (cor- ner): Kate's Joint, a vegetarian restaurant that specializes in diner-style American comfort food. Chef/owner Kate Halpern is a meat-eater who avoids serving meat for fear of "karmic fallout."

Used to be Pamryl Chemists, a long-running pharmacy that served as a set for the Naked City TV show. (Peter Fonda played the son of the pharmacist here.)

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The Earth School

Earth School by Green Map System, on Flickr

Corner (600 E 6th): A public elementary school opened in 1992 with an environmental and peace focus.















































W <===         EAST 4TH STREET         ===> E

West:

New York. East Village. Avenue B with E 4 St. by Tomás Fano, on Flickr

50 (cor- ner): Finest Pizza & Deli. This used to be Blackout Books, an anarchist bookstore. After the anarchists were priced out, the Hare Krishnas moved in, but the landlord is having them evicted too on the grounds that they use the space to cook free food for the homeless.

New York. East Village. Avenue B with E 3 St. by Tomás Fano, on Flickr

38 (cor- ner): Cafe Rakka, Alphabet City branch of a St. Marks Place Mideastern; noted for Turkish coffee. Also China Wok, take-out.

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New York. East Village. Avenue B with E 4 St. Building by Tomás Fano, on Flickr

53 (cor- ner): East 4th Deli is in Otnoob, red, white and green apartment building decorated with sun, moon and stars.

51: Max is the best affordable Italian in Manhattan, says the Voice.

Le Souk by Lawrence Sinclair, on Flickr

47: Le Souk, North African-themed club, complete with hookahs and belly dancers.




W <===         EAST 3RD STREET         ===> E

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28: Croxley Ales has a huge garden and a thoughtful beer selection. Was Pierrot Bistro & Bar.






Corner: This was the site of Gas Station, a filling station turned into a club with mounds of junkyard art strewn about. Self-destructive rocker G.G. Allin had his last show here. Also known as 2B.

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33: B Three Restaurant & Lounge

29: Punk rock's G.G. Allin was found dead here of an overdose. Abigail WarChild at Club Midway 8/10/07 by Maryanne Ventrice, on Flickr

25: Club Midway was Guernica, bar/restaurant/lounge/club where bouncer Dana Blake was killed on April 13, 2003, enforcing the new smoking ban. Used to be Save the Robots, a legendary after-hours club.

21: Was NYC Icy, gourmet gelato.


W <===         EAST 2ND STREET         ===> E

The city's heroin trade was centered here until a 1984 police crackdown.

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14 (corner): Climax, a bar







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W <===         EAST HOUSTON STREET         ===> E

The southern boundary of the East Village

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1 (corner): Clinton Restaurant, Spanish diner. For some reason, the numbering on Clinton Street starts at the north end--the opposite of almost every other Manhattan roadway.




15: Lower East Side Medical Office, run by David "Dr. Dave" Ores, "long celebrated on the Lower East Side as an ally to musicians, artists and the uninsured"--Village Voice.














25: Sachi's on Clinton, styley sushi bar

29A: Salt Bar, spin-off of the Macdougal Street restaurant Salt.

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Clinton Street Baking Company by ~si, on Flickr

4: Clinton Street Baking Company, popular brunch spot

6: Chubo, global fare

Congregation Chasam Sopher

8: This is the oldest building in Manhattan built as a synagogue and still used for worship. It was built by a German-Jewish congregation known as Rodeph Sholom ("pursuers of peace") which is now on the Upper West Side. The congregation's national origins are reflected in the Rundbogenstil design, a popular German style. In 1891 the synagogue was adopted by two Polish shuls, whose called their merged congregation Chasam Sopher--"seal of the scribe"-- to honor Talmudic scholar Moshe Schreiber, whose surname means "scribe."

20: Beautiful Hair, a real unisex hair salon where Michelle Pfeiffer worked in the movie Married to the Mob.

26: Punch & Judy, red-themed wine bar


W <===     STANTON STREET     ===> E

West:

35 (corner): Lotus Club, low-key bar/cafe

49: Summers, Mexican, was AKA Bar, owned by the same folks who owned 71 Clinton. Formerly a 1930s millinery shop.

63: Cube 63, futuristic sushi joint; Chibitini, tiny sake bar. Upstairs was the site of the murder of Sarah Coit on April 10, 2011, allegedly stabbed to death by her violent boyfriend. 71 Clinton by mokolabs, on Flickr

71 (corner): Fat Hippo, stylish comfort food. Was 71 Clinton Fresh Food, said to have started the phenomenon of Clinton Street as a gourmet destination--it had the best food on the Lower East Side, according to Zagat. (Its founder moved on to WD-50 across the street.)

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long thing on the wall by roboppy, on Flickr

50: WD-50, a pricey rest- aurant noted for its imagin- ative flavor combinations.




68: Falai, quirky, well-reviewed Italian

72 (Corner): Cibao restaurant


W <===     RIVINGTON STREET     ===> E

This intersection was the setting for the "Come Together" number in Across the Universe; some of the psychedelic paint job is still visible on surrounding buildings.

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79 (Corner): Falai Panetteria, bakery and coffee shop. This was the address of Fredericka "Marm" Mandelbaum, the most successful fence in New York history. From 1862 until 1884, the 250-pound woman reportedly handled between $5-10 million in stolen property; her home here, upstairs from the haberdashery that served as her front, was said to be as elegantly appointed as any of the mansions her furniture was stolen from. She was supposed to have run a school for young pickpockets on Grand Street, near police headquarters.

On this corner, on January 27, 2005, actor/playwright Nicole duFresne was killed during a botched mugging attempt by 19-year-old Rudy Fleming. "What are you going to do, shoot me?" she reportedly asked him before he shot her.



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Alex + Meredith by jm3, on Flickr

76 (Cor- ner): Alias, snazzy restaurant disguised as a bodega. An offshoot of 71 Clinton, but slightly cheaper.






W <===     DELANCEY STREET     ===> E

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Corner: Was for more than 70 years the 7th Precinct police station--closed c. 1974.

126: This was the site of the lesser known Apollo Theater, built 1926 and seating 1,788 patrons. It was known as Loew's Apollo from the 1930s until the early '50s, and in the '50s and '60s it ran double-features of late-run movies--a sign promised that one of the three movies was "Always a Western." It seems to have been torn down in the 1980s.





W <===     BROOME STREET     ===> E

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W <===     GRAND STREET     ===> E

West:

Grand Street, Lower East Side by Matthew McDermott, on Flickr

Corner (409 Grand): Congregation Emanu-El, New York's first Reform congregation, originally met for services on the second floor of a building here from 1845-48. It's now the address of Roots & Vines, a cafe and wine bar.

Seward Park Co-Ops











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Seward Park Co-Ops

Seward Park by themikebot, on Flickr

Part of Co-Operative Village, these 12 towers were designed by Herman Jessor and built from 1957-60. The Hatters and Painters unions' pension funds helped pay for the development. The complex features Socialist Realist-style murals by Hugo Gellert depicting Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and Einstein, painted in 1959. In 1996, seward park by bondidwhat, on Flickr the co-op board tried to have the historic murals re- moved, but they re- versed the decision after appeals from art historians and union leaders.


W <===     EAST BROADWAY     ===> E

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Corner (219 East Broadway): A six-story building from 1910











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The Mayflower by amg2000, on Flickr

Corner (221-223 East Broadway): The Mayflower, six-story building dated to c. 1910.


W <===     HENRY STREET     ===> E

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W <===     MADISON STREET     ===> E

West:

La Guardia Houses

1955, Madison St by CORNERSTONES of NY, on Flickr

300 (block): A NYC Housing Authority complex, built between 1954-57. The five buildings between Rutgers and Clinton streets, each 16 stories, house 610 units. The namesake is Fiorella LaGuardia, mayor of New York City from 1934-45.

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Block (318 Cherry): More La Guardia Houses: Four X-shaped NYC Housing Authority buildings, each 16 stories high, built in 1955. Includes a total of 492 housing units.


Corner: The Cherry Street side of this block was the site of Belvedere Hall, a tavern and grounds that were considered to be the first country club in America when it opened in 1793. Only 33 gentlemen were allowed to be members--a suspiciously Masonic number. Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, rented the place in the summer and fall of 1804 while hiding out from the British.


W <===     CHERRY STREET     ===> E

West:

Corner (291 Cherry): A cluster of three-story buildings from 1986.





Corner (285 South St): A three-story building from 1917.

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Corner: Cherry Clinton Playground






Corner (286 South St): A 27-story building from 1975.


W <===     SOUTH STREET     ===> E


W <===     FDR DRIVE     ===> E

Pier 36





EAST RIVER







What's missing on Avenue B or Clinton Street? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

The Songlines' Facebook Fan Page.

A Walk Down Avenue B is a phototour from The Big Map.


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