Moving Boxes Alphabet City
Alphabet City is a neighborhood located within the East Village in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Nowadays, it’s simply referred to as the East Village. Named for the avenues that comprise the area,
Alphabet City’s single-letter street names–from Avenues A, B, C, and D– are the only avenues in Manhattan to have single-letter names.
Bordered by Houston Street to the south and by 14th Street to the north, Alphabet City is located along the traditional northern border of the East Village, south of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. However, there is much dispute over the borders of the Lower East Side, Alphabet City, and East Village. Historically, Manhattan’s Lower East Side was 14th Street at the northern end, bound on the east by East River and on the west by First Avenue; today, that same area is Alphabet City.
Famous landmarks include Tompkins Square Park and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
Thanks to real estate developers in the early 19th century, Alphabet City’s extensive salt marsh wetland ecosystem was drained, allowing a patch of the river bed reclaimed and tamed. Alphabet City, like many Lower East Side neighborhoods, became home to a succession of immigrant groups as they settled in the area. By the 1840s and 1850s, much of present-day Alphabet City had become known as “Kleindeutschland” or “Little Germany.”
Famously, by the mid-19th century, thanks to its German immigrant population, New York burgeoned into the third-largest German-speaking city in the world after Berlin and Vienna. Most of these German speakers settled in and around Alphabet City. Furthermore, Alphabet City is considered to have been the second most substantial non-Anglophone urban ethnic enclave in the history of the US, a close second to Philadelphia’s own Germantown
The neighborhood has a long history, serving as a cultural center and ethnic enclave for Manhattan’s German, Polish, Hispanic, and Jewish populations.
The area’s German presence in the early 20th century, in decline, virtually ended after the General Slocum disaster in 1904.
Name for Civel War General and New York Congressman Henry Warner Slocum, the PS General Slocum was a passenger steamboat built in Brooklyn, New York in 1891.
Seemingly cursed by one mishap after the other, the PS General Slocum ran aground four months after launching requiring tugboats to pull her free. Three years later she struck a sandbar with such force that her electrical generator was rendered inoperable and failed. The following month she again ran aground off Coney Island due to inclement weather.
In keeping with her almost monthly disasters, she collided with With the tugboat R.T. Sayre again in the East River–one might say she should have avoided the river entirely. Slocum continued on her collision course to ruin by colliding With the Amelia near Battery Park. In another slew of bad luck, 900 drunk anarchists started a riot on board in an attempt to seize the vessel. The dedicated crew fought back and retained control of the disaster-bound ship. Her last disaster before her fateful and fatal sinking saw her run aground yet again, stranding 400 passengers overnight.
It’s a wonder anyone continued to travel on the infamous & ill fated ship.
The General Slocum caught fire and sank in the East River of New York City on June 15, 1904. German Americans from Little Germany in Manhattan from Saint Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church had chartered the steamboat for a church picnic. An estimated 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board died. The General Slocum disaster was New York’s worst disaster in terms of loss of life until the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The Slocum sinking was the worst maritime disaster in the city’s history, and the second worst maritime disaster on United States waterways. The events surrounding the General Slocum fire were explored in a number of books, plays, and movies and resulted in the exodus of many German residents in Alphabet City.
Most Germans moved out of Kleindeutschland and began relocating Uptown, to the Yorkville section of the Upper East Side. As they moved out and freed up the affordable homes in the area, Eastern Europeans began replacing the German expats as the dominant ethnic group in Alphabet City. At the time, the area was considered to be part of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and was settled by mostly Eastern European Jewish, Irish, and Italian immigrants.
Alphabet City’s poor domestic amenities featured no running water forcing the residents to commute to bathe. Residents would travel to the northern half of Alphabet City to the Asser Levy bath on 23rd Street and Avenue C, north of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town to clean themselves and their families.
The area also has quite the seedy and iniquitous history.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Alphabet City became home to the world’s oldest profession. Becoming Manhattan’s Red Light District, Alphabet City was thought to be among the worst slums in the city–but that didn’t stop people from coming.
Alphabet City became one of the most densely populated areas in New York City, due in large part to its proximity to the garment district where many newly arrived immigrants were able to secure jobs. Following the subway system’s construction, workers were finally able to relocate to more remote areas and commute. As a result, Alphabet City’s population shrunk drastically. Maybe the lack of running water had something to do With the exodus.
Seizing on the opportunity engendered by the departing original residents, the area was settled by thousands of Puerto Ricans. The 1960s & 1970s saw Alphabet City’s Red Light District evolve into Loisaida meaning Lower East Side in Spanglish. As the area filled with Puerto Rican denizens, the area became central to the development of a distinctive Puerto Rican identity become the Nuyorican Movement.
Famous intellectuals, poets, and artists of the Nuyorican movement, such as Miguel Algarín and Miguel Piñero, brought legitimacy to Alphabet City.
As the 1980’s dawned, Alphabet City took in struggling artists and musicians attracted by the Nuyorican movement, low rent, and creative and inclusive atmosphere. As the Bohemian population began populating the area, Alphabet City became home to what many consider to be the first graffiti writers, breakdancers, rappers, and DJs. The Bohemian counterculture brought With them high levels of illegal drugs which in turn begot the attenuating violent crime that follows illegal activities.
Alphabet City again shot to notoriety when Jonathan Larson penned his iconic rock opera Rent.
Loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera La Bohème, Rent debuted exactly 100 years after Puccini’s. Rent follows a group of impoverished young artists as they struggle to live and survive in NYC’s East Village under the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic during the thriving days of the Bohemian movement in Alphabet City.
The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning show officially opened to the public in 1996, but Jonathan Larson, the show’s creator would never know these honors: He died suddenly of an aortic dissection the night before the musical premiered Off-Broadway. Believed to have had an undiagnosed case of Marfan Syndrome, a disease which can be managed with proper treatment, Jonathan’s play would eventually have a 12 year run with 5,123 performances in New York alone, making it the eleventh-longest running Broadway show (behind Wicked whose lead, Idina Menzel, was also one of the stars of Rent), and became a motion picture in 2005, featuring most of the original cast members.
Infusing art with reality, Jonathan Larson based the musical on his friends and personal life living, working, and struggling in Alphabet City.
Inspiration was drawn from Life Café, where several songs are set. Life Café was an actual restaurant on 10th Street and Avenue B in the East Village. Sadly it closed in 2013. A riot featured as the finale to the first act was based on the Tompkins Square Park riots that broke out in 1998 as a consequence of the city-imposed curfew for the park.
Today the area has seen a wave of gentrification with many luxury buildings and co-ops being built or already open. These mixed use buildings have seen an increase in commercial activity from the buzzing developments. Still known as an artists haven, the area’s creative spirit and entertainment options and increasingly diverse eateries, including the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe, has increasingly been attracting students, hipsters, artists, and young people.
As Manhattanites flee high rent prices in the city, The East Village has become more popular driving up rental and home prices.
Thought to be a quintessentially New York area, some of the older residents aren’t quite happy With the residential developments and gentrification taking over. Longtime residents complain that as the neighborhood gentrifies, it is losing the uniqueness and grungy old-fashioned homey feel to commercial establishments, students, and luxury homes. with buyer demands for downtown living and limited space in Manhattan, the previously overlooked area has indeed seen an influx of more upscale options.
Perhaps Jonathan Larson’s struggling Rent characters would no longer recognize the area they once called home as the East Village revitalization has continues taking over.
The median home price, according to StreetEasy, is $860,000 to purchase a home with apartment rentals averaging $3,150. Prices have continued to rise steadily for the past five years. Fueling the wave of new developments is the fact that while high, these prices are still lower than the Manhattan median by 29 percent. However, the farther east you go, the lower the price.
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We are offering a same day delivery NO minimum at the following NYC Manhattan neighborhoods and zip codes:
Alphabet City | Astor Row | Battery Park City | Bowery | Carnegie Hill | Chelsea | Chinatown | Civic Center | Columbus Circle | Cooperative Village | Diamond District | East Harlem | East Village | Financial District | Five Points | Flatiron District | Garment District | Gashouse District | Gramercy Park | Greenwich Village | Hamilton Heights | Harlem | Hell’s Kitchen | Herald Square | Hudson Heights | Hudson Square | Hudson Yards | Inwood | Italian Harlem | Kips Bay | Koreatown | Lenox Hill | Le Petit Senegal | Liberty Island | Lincoln Square | Little Germany | Little Italy | Little Spain | Little Syria | Loisaida | Lower East Side | Lower Manhattan | Madison Square | Manhattan Valley | Manhattanville | Marble Hill | Marcus Garvey Park | Meatpacking District | Midtown Manhattan | Morningside Heights | Murray Hill | NoHo | Nolita | NoMad | Peter Cooper Village | Pomander Walk | Radio Row | Randall’s Island | Roosevelt Island | Rose Hill | San Juan Hill | SoHo | South Street Seaport | South Village | Strivers’ Row | Stuyvesant Square | Stuyvesant Town | Sugar Hill | Sutton Place | Sylvan Court Mews, Sylvan Place, and Sylvan Terrace | Tenderloin | Theatre District | Times Square | Tribeca | Tudor City | Turtle Bay | Two Bridges | Union Square | Upper East Side | Upper Manhattan | Upper West Side | Wards Island | Washington Heights | Waterside Plaza | West Village | Yorkville
In Manhattan and Central Harlem: 10026, 10027, 10030, 10037, 10039
In Chelsea and Clinton: 10001, 10011, 10018, 10019, 10020, 10036
In East Harlem 10029, 10035
In Gramercy Park and Murray Hill: 10010, 10016, 10017, 10022
In Greenwich Village and Soho: 10012, 10013, 10014
In Lower Manhattan: 10004, 10005, 10006, 10007, 10038, 10280
On the Lower East Side: 10002, 10003, 10009
On the Upper East Side: 10021, 10028, 10044, 10128
On the Upper West Side: 10023, 10024, 10025
In Inwood and Washington Heights: 10031, 10032, 10033, 10034, 10040
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