Saturday, September 20, 2008

Alphabet City, Avenue A Between 4th and 5th Streets

Mary Sargent © 2008 …………………………………….. click to enlarge

We have now come to Alphabet City, a subset of the East Village. It's obvious why it's called Alphabet City (Avenues A-D), but I have been trying to find out when it got its name, with no success. Anyone out there know?

Here's something that's bothered me forever. Why didn't they start the numbered avenues in the west and go east, instead of going from east to west? When you read a map, it's backwards. Why wouldn't you start the numbers at the left, the way we read? (AND of course, the Avenues A-D go west to east, the right way.)

This is Etherea, a small and well-regarded record store.

See map.


Bill said...

More bicyclers than I associate with New York.

luka said...

I don't know the answer to your questions, but I would like to take a guess (which means I have an opinion about it):

When I lived on E. 11th between A and B, in 1962-64, I knew nothing of Alphebets or even East Village, and I just thought I lived on the Lower East Side, and it was dangerous to even go toward C--cause B was bad enough.

However, it was also the time when strange and enthralling stuff was moving its way East across 8th Street, and places like The Dom were becoming trendy.

I left the City, and when I came back in 1967, happily living in the West Village, the East Village had been established, and the flower children lived in Tompkins Square Park, and it's even possible that Alphebet City had been named, although I don't think I heard it called that for many years, but what did I, a West Village Resident, know...?

Anyway, my guess is late 60s, early 70s.