New York Songlines: Avenue D

including Columbia Street

E. 14th | E. 13th | E. 12nd | E. 11st | E. 10th | E. 9th | St Marks Place | E. 7th | E. 6th | E. 5th | E. 4th | E. 3rd | E. 2nd | E. Houston | Delancey | Grand


Stuyvesant Town

stuyvesant town by dandeluca, on Flickr

Built in the late 1940s by Met Life Insurance Co. as affordable housing for returning World War II vets; now being converted to high-priced market rentals. 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

West:

Con Edison Plant

by minusbaby, on Flickr This power-generating complex has been blamed for high rates of asthma in the neighborhood.


W <===         E 13TH ST

This corner was originally on the shore of the East River, a promontory known as Burnt Mill Point.

St. Emeric School

A Catholic school named after a pious Hungarian prince, killed in 1031 by a wild boar.


W <===         E 12TH ST

Corner (730 E 12th): Franklin Roosevelt Elementary School. The inspiration for Sesame Street's Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School?

Dry Dock Park

A small park with a pool--named for the neighborhood's former tradition of ship repair. The corner used to be the site of the Corn Exchange Bank Trust Co.

A
V
E
N
U
E

D

East:

Con Edison Plant



Jacob Riis Houses

A large public housing complex built in 1949. Named for a Danish-born photojournalist whose work documenting New York tenement life, especially his book How the Other Half Lives, helped inspire slum-clearing.






























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

West:

145 (corner): C&D Supermarket & Deli. This was the site of the Glass House, a squat from 1992-94, formerly the Ideal Glass factory.

139: The nicest building on Avenue D.

Corner (743-749 9th): Housing Works Day Treatment and Residential Program, declared a "special project of national significance" by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The building is new, and has really nice brickwork.


W <===         E 9TH ST

The family in the novel Call It Sleep moves to an apartment at the corner of Avenue D and 9th Street.

127: Castillo's Deli & Grocery

125: El Nuevo Castillo Restaurant


W <===         E 8TH ST






93 (corner): East Drive Pharmacy, since 1903


W <===         E 7TH ST








A
V
E
N
U
E

D

East:

Jacob Riis Houses



Site of Morgan Iron Works

In 1846, the block between 10th and 9th streets, Avenue D and the East River, was bought by Morgan Iron Works, founded at the foot of 9th Street in 1838. It was a major producer of engines for steamships, including several used in ironclads during the Civil War. At their height the works occupied 10 blocks and employed 1,000 men.




































W <===     EAST 6TH STREET     ===> E

West:



65: Iglesia La Redimida


W <===         E 5TH ST

Avenue D by rcrowley, on Flickr





W <===         E 4TH ST






W <===         E 3RD ST





Corner (314 E Houston): Ignacio Restaurant

A
V
E
N
U
E

D

East:

Lillian Wald Houses

by minusbaby, on Flickr Public housing project named for Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940), who provided aid to the Lower East Side through the Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurses Society. She fought for women's suffrage and against child labor, and help start the Women's Trade Union League. Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood was her protegee.

by minusbaby, on Flickr

The building on the northwest corner, No. 888 E. 6th, houses Boys and Girls Republic, formerly Boys Brotherhood Republic, a self-governing youth project of Henry Street Settlement.




When 4th Street continued to the east, novelist Jerome Weidman, author of I Can Get It for You Wholesale, was born at No. 390 on April 4, 1913.

20: Outside this Lillian Wald house, singer Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots was busted for heroin possession on June 1, 1998.

W <===     EAST 2ND STREET                                                            

West:

Gustave Hartman Square

Hartman was a judge and a Jewish community leader who founded the Israel Orphan Asylum.




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

The southern boundary of the East Village

West:

Hamilton Fish Branch

116 (corner): This branch of the New York Public Library is in a 1961 building, replacing a 1909 Carnegie-funded library that was demolished when Houston was widened. The namesake was a descendant of Peter Stuyvesant who was a New York governor and President Grant's secretary of state --and the founder of a long line of namesakes who have been prominent in New York politics.

Masaryk Towers

masaryk towers! by gail m tang, on Flickr A Mitchell-Lama co-op, opened in 1967, with six towers comprising 1,100 apartments. Its original sponsor was SOKOL, a Czech gymnastic society, who named it for Jan Masaryk, the prime-minister elect of Czechoslovakia who was pushed out a window by more pro-Soviet forces in 1948-- "which I think of each time I lean out to clean the windows," a resident notes. SOKOL's gymnasium and swimming pool are now run by Gladiator Gym.

C
O
L
U
M
B
I
A

S
T
R
E
E
T

East:

Baruch Houses

Named for financier and presidential advisor Bernard Baruch.


























W <===     DELANCEY ST     ===> E
                WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE     ===> E

williamsburg bridge by scouttwentynine, on Flickr Williamsburg Bridge by Salim Virji, on Flickr Constructed in 1903, this was the second bridge to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. By allowing Orthodox Jews to walk to Lower East Side synagogues on the Sabbath, it created the Jewish enclaves in Williamsburg. Now it also allows Williamsburg hipsters easy access to the newly re-hip LES. Robert DeNiro's gang hangs out under this bridge in Once Upon a Time in America.

West:
















C
O
L
U
M
B
I
A

East:
















W <===     GRAND ST     ===> E







Is your favorite Avenue D spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

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