New York Songlines: Ludlow Street

E. Houston | Stanton | Rivington | Delancey | Broome | Grand

Like a few other Lower East Side streets, Ludlow is named for a hero of the War of 1812-- Lt. Augustus Ludlow, second-in-command of the U.S.S. Chesapeake; he is famous for being told by the mortally wounded Capt. James Lawrence, "Don't give up the ship." Shortly after taking command, Ludlow was killed by British fire, and the crew did, in the end, give up the ship.

Given the abundance of bars on Ludlow Street, however, the name always reminds me of the poem by A.E. Housman that goes: "Oh I have been to Ludlow fair/And left my necktie God knows where/ And carried halfway home, or near/Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer."









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

The southern boundary of the East Village

West:

Katz's Delicatessen

Corner (205 Houston): A Lower East Side institution since 1888, with the Katz name since 1912. During World War II, it urged customers to "Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army." Visited by presidents seeking ethnic votes from Carter to Clinton. Vice President Al Gore had lunch here with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Location of When Harry Met Sallyís famous deli scene; Johnny Depp meets his FBI contact here in Donnie Brasco. They Might Be Giants' "New York City" sings of the "Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry, Co-op City, Katz's and Tiffany's."

177: Earthmatters health food

175: Le Pere Pinard, not-too-expensive French bistro that offers take-out picnics.

173: Upholstery by Zylinksi

171: Was Luna Lounge (1995-2005), club that featured indie music (Elliott Smith, The Strokes, Interpol) and experimental comedy by the likes of Janeane Garofalo, Todd Barry and David Cross; has its own LunaSea record label. Now moved to Williamsburg.

169: Vo, designer boutique with its own waterfall.

167: Ludlow Bar used to be the pioneering performance space Todo Con Nada.

165: Now also part of Ludlow Bar, this was the Ludlow Street Cafe, a neighborhood hangout whose house band was Beat Rodeo.

163: Las Venus 20th Century Pop Culture, vintage modern furniture since 1995.

161: Paladar, nuevo Latino

159: Todd Merrill, early 19th Century and Art Deco furniture.

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East:

Corner: The Ludlow, unattractive highrise helping to drain the history out of one of New York's most historic streets; has the nerve to use the slogan "a new view on the Lower East Side.









182: Joseph Yavarkovsky Paper was in business from 1898 into the 21st Century--torn down c. 2007.

Max Fish

178: This bar has been the center of the Ludlow Street scene since it opened in 1989--a great jukebox, interesting art and cheap drinks. There used to be a five-and-dime named Max Fish here; the bar may have launched the trend of naming your hip business after the previous non-hip occupant.

176: The Pink Pony, a good place for a post-midnight snack or a morning-after brunch. It used to have a performance space and a connecting corridor to Max Fish, but no more.

174: Daredevil Tattoo

170: Ta-170

168: Grilled Cheese NYC

166: Ludlow Guitars; vintage and custom-made. Sonic Youth's guitar tech does repairs here.

164 (corner): El Sombrero, aka The Hat, longstanding LES eatery.

W <===     STANTON STREET     ===> E

West:

Corner: Vlada NYC was The Dress, a fancy dressmaking shop that opened c. 1983, one of the first signs of the changing neighborhood.

157: The restaurant/bar Tenement dealt in LES nostalgia, boasting that it was "once a bodega, brothel and gambling spot." Maybe the waitress arrested for credit-card theft here had something to do with its closing.

147: Barramundi, a "low-attitude, feel-good bar" (Time Out) named for a hermaphroditic fish. Was 555-SOUL, a boutique that made clothes for rock and rap stars.

145: Was Collective Unconscious, an experimental theater space founded in 1995; one of several on the Lower East Side driven out of their space by rising rents. Home to Rev. Jen's Anti-Slam.

143: Foley + Corinna Men, dress-up clothes for LES boys.

139: Gothic

135: Creperie

Corner (98 Rivington): 'inoteca; people really like this Italian wine bar.

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162 (corner): Shop

158: Pianos, a bar and music club that used to be the Piano Store performance space; before that it really sold pianos. Features the comedy night Tinkle. The Nightwatchman gave his first-ever full-length performance here.

154: The Living Room, performance space where the likes of Jill Sobule and Norah Jones play.

152: Gotham Court, a 2003 apartment building, houses Cakeshop, a cafe and record store with a basement music venue.




138: Local 138, bar with cozy alcoves.

134: Rush Hour LES Burger Cafe

132: Was Iggy's Keltic Lounge, an Irish rock pub.




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

West:

Corner (99 Rivington): The Three Monkeys, shwarma joint, was Paul's Boutique, cafe named for the Beastie Boys' album, whose cover was shot on this corner. (The original Paul's Boutique was an imaginary men's clothing store in Brooklyn.)

127: Motor City, Detroit rock bar.

121: Chickie Pig's Brick Oven Pizza Restaurant and Cafe serves oval pizzas in a rustic setting.

113: Mehanata, Bulgarian dance club that spawned Gogol Bordello in its previous Tribeca incarnation. Upstairs is Kuma Inn, Thai/Filipino tapas.

109 (corner): Suba, pricey Latin

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East:

Corner (101 Rivington): Spitzer's Corner, burgers-and-beer bar











110: B&B International Discount Center

W <===     DELANCEY STREET     ===> E

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W <===     BROOME STREET     ===> E

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Corner (334 Grand): Was Lismore Hosiery. The original four-story building here had three stories added in 2008.

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East:

Seward Park High School

The school was built on the site of the Ludlow Street Jail. Victoria Woodhull, who in 1872 became the first woman to run for president, was jailed here that Election Day for publishing an account of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's affair with a parishioner. (As a woman, she would not have been allowed to vote anyway.) This jail was also home to William Marcy "Boss" Tweed, after he was convicted of misappropriation of funds in 1873. Though he escaped to Spain at one point, he was brought back and eventually died here on April 12, 1878.

The school dates back to 1929; famous grads include Walter Matthau, Tony Curtis, Zero Mostel, Jerry Stiller and the songwriter Sammy Cahn--not to mention both Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Today the New Design High School, an art-oriented magnet school, is on the fourth floor.

W <===     GRAND STREET     ===> E

West:

Corner (339 Grand): Ideal Hosiery has been run by the same family since 1950.


Benjamin Altman School

Corner (71 Hester): P.S. 42, an elementary school named for the retailer and art collector whose family's first store was nearby on Attorney Street.

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56 (corner): Lou Reed and John Cale lived together in a loft here in 1965, when they were forming the Velvet Underground.





Corner (61 Hester): Brown Cafe

W <===     HESTER STREET     ===> E

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Corner (37 Canal): Les Enfants Terribles, hip French-African cafe

W <===     CANAL STREET     ===> E

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W <===     DIVISION STREET                                        







What am I missing on Ludlow Street? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

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