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Porches, Points and Poverty: How Other Halves Lived

February 8, 2014

Less faded print:

This scene, from the infamous “Five Points” slum of the 1800’s, I first saw in some article 30 years ago on Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives was so intriguing, because it was being shown as an example of old “tenement” life, but it doesn’t look like a NYC tenement at all. The wooden staircase and deck and the windows made me think right away of New England, but even there the windows don’t look quite like that. (I can also see in this wider picture that it’s not a full “porch” like in New England or Chicago; just a landing for the second floor exit).
I had never heard of Five Points, and don’t even remember that article mentioning a specific locale.
So I wondered where this was, or even if it really was New York. Maybe it was really Boston or somewhere else in New England. I didn’t even know when it was. Some old black & white picture like that made me think of the 1930’s, like the old Little Rascals films.
It’s actually dated “c1890”, and I don’t see it in the online copies of How the Other Half Lives, so it must have been from some other project of Riis.

I deduce it was an industrial building. That’s where you usually see windows like that. I guess it reminded me of New England because of the old Kings Department store/Indian Motorcycle plant hull in Springfield (and the front of my grandmother’s townhouse had something similar for decorative purposes under the little wooden gable over the doorway).

But come to think of it, there are also “loft” style buildings in Brooklyn that look like that. (The old Wythe Confectionery, which has been turned into loft apartments, is an example, though the windows are bigger).
The vaults under the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan side are enclosed by walls with (bricked up) windows and doors that look like that. There’s even a really old little building with windows somewhat like that a block from me. The first floor is some sort of garage, like an auto shop. You could see where the second floor in the front used to have a doorway. Should throw in the Minetta Garage on W3rd St. in the Village as well.
Shouldn’t forget, the city’s new/current “Five Pointz”, a warehouse in LIC they want to tear down for another modern condo (except that the windows are all double, though).

Those seem really old, so it really had me at one point thinking that was a common universal design (both industrial and residential) in the city, that must have been mostly demolished in favor of the oldest buildings we see today. But there are many buildings around from even before that picture.

Edit: I find that there is a name for this style: Victorian Institutional. I got this term from a page describing another similar building not too far from me I had always noticed, the 1870-1872 (with additions in 1888 and 1938) former Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Augustine’s Home for the Aged; now Bushwick Leader’s High School for Academic Excellence ( the dormers on top would represent the “Neo-Colonial influence”, which is a normally residential style we will also see a lot in old Five Points).

So this confirms that this was an industrial design in that century.

While “segmental arches” (two or three rows of bricks in a curved configuration to hold up the wall above the window) became almost universal on brick building rear masonry (residential and industrial alike) in the early 20th century, I’m seeing from these old pictures from the 19th century, that most of those really old brick residences from back then used lintels (a one piece concrete block, sometimes sculptured) instead of arches. [More in comment below].

The arches on prewar residential windows don’t have such a high “rise” or “camber” (i.e. it’s not as “curved”, unless part of frontal decorative masonry.
The windows are also usually more taller than they are wide, though there are some from the 19th century that are about this size. But these always have lintels, again.

The building on the left is a somewhat more typical looking really old residence, with more normally shaped windows, and a fire escape even. (That dark entrance in the very corner with the protruding steps the woman is posing on does look a bit odd. Especially the shutter-like door in the middle of the flight of stairs, and that it’s so up against the other building with no space in between. However, there is a bricked up door to the left of the opening, in line with window above it, which looks more typical for where the doorway would have been. The slabs of stone the four boys are posing on looks like it was a collapsed former stoop to that door. So that could have still been a converted non-residential building as well, or perhaps a conversion the other way, from residential to industrial, then made a part of the other building, and now back to residential).

In LA, plain rear windows do look more like the building on the right, but then they are still bigger, usually double, and the walls are thicker, for the earthquakes).

So if this was residential (as evidenced by all the clothes lines), it was likely converted. They did that a lot back then in the area this was in. (The boarded up first floor window is another evidence of this). These were called “rookeries”.

When I first saw the picture, Billy Joel’s “Leave a Tender Moment Alone” was frequently playing on the radio (Summer ’84), and its sad sound (with the simple piano melody and weepy harmonica solo) fit the image of the picture (even though it’s a love song). So that’s what comes to mind when I see this picture.

It’s a really haunting picture, especially the poorer quality print with the blurry black and gray shadowing on top seen here (and this one shows a bit more to the right). Dirty whitewashed walls, and most importantly, impoverished looking people, mostly women and children, sitting on filthy, probably muddy doorsteps. (Closeup, here). Other Riis pictures, such as the more well known “Bandit’s Roost” and “Bottle Alley” scenes from the nearby “Mulberry Bend” block (the most infamous part of the area), don’t even look this somber and depressing.
When putting together this article, I showed it to my wife, and she seemed skeeved for some reason and doesn’t even want to take a better look at it (she was looking from across the room, and didn’t have her glasses on, so only saw a blurry glimpse of it).

Eight years later, turns out I would be working about 100-200 feet from the site, in the NY County Clerk’s Office basement offices at 60 Centre St, though at that point I still never had any idea of where it was, or even if it was really in the city at all.
I was still working there 15 years ago (’99) when I saw another picture of the building in an article (it was reverse of this one), and this article said it was Baxter Street, which is right behind the court building. Not knowing where on Baxter, and wondering if it could still be there, I took a lunch break and walked the length of Baxter. The closest thing I could find that looked like that was №118-122, a few blocks up on the other side of Canal. Nah; probably not. (No sign of there once being a doorway on the second floor).
The grimy looking really old looking triangle shaped building where Walker merges into Canal, at Baxter was actually the first thing to come to mind, but that certainly wasn’t it. Arches used raised bricks. (Looking at Street View, they really painted it over nice. Didn’t realize that).

Little did I know I likely passed right through the site as soon as I exited the back ramp of the courthouse (which leads right to what’s left of the Five Points intersection at the center of the whole area!)

This was a junction of three streets, Anthony, Orange and Cross St.
Anthony which ended there from the west, in 1854 became Worth, and in 1859 was cut further through the original grid to Chatham Square (making the corner six points afterward), Orange was renamed Baxter (1854), and Cross (Park St. after 1854) was de-mapped for 60 Centre west of the intersection, and later became a walkway through the park that replaced the Bend block between the intersection and Mulberry, and the remaining block, (between Mulberry and Mott St). was even more recently renamed Mosco Street. (Which I would sometimes cut up the steep hill to go to an arcade called “Chinatown Fair”, one of the last neighborhood video arcades. Still usually go there during the San Gennaro festival.
The festival BTW, years ago used to come down around the bend to Worth, but now stops at Canal. Edit: It seems this previous extension is totally forgotten about now, but it’s mentioned as “stretching from Columbus Park in Chinatown up Mulberry to Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just below Houston Street” It also at least one year even jumped across Houston, to the small last block to Bleecker; the site of another noted “Five Points” era slum called “Cat Alley”. This article has a photo of a San Genarro food stand actually run by Chinese guys, in front of 54 Mulberry, just a couple of doors from the actual Bend).

Now, the link (from the MCNY collection copy) goes as far as to gives us an actual address: 24 Baxter, which places it right near where the new federal courthouse is, behind the old state/county court I worked in. The space was a park and parking lot before the courthouse was built (right as the last government shutdown occurred). I remember in ’83, when we all went to San Gennaro (which is what got me into the festival afterward to the present), Dad having parked in the lot (he worked in 80 Centre, so probably parked there all the time anyway), and going back to the car afterward, I looking toward 60 Centre, and it was very humid and the evening was not even cooling it, and Dad saying the heat “hangs” in the city, because of all the people.
I would have no idea less than a year later that I was standing right on the site of that picture!

This entry was supposed to be about the wooden “back porches” that are so ubiquitous on pre-war multi-story apartment buildings in other cities like Springfield, MA and Chicago, but are so absent in NYC except on old pictures like this. Then it became more about 24 Baxter, and from there, about Five Points in general. [Split off into comments]. So now, to get back to the original point.
While 24 Baxter wasn’t really a full porch, and again, was possibly not even residential, Riis did capture some other buildings in the area that did resemble those other cities.

These technically are probably not really “back” porches, as these buildings seem to be all “rear tenements”, which were buildings squeezed into the back yards of other buildings (like what I saw on Mulberry. This seems to be what the 24 Baxter building was also). So those may have been the primary (“front”) egress of the buildings, even though they still led to back yards. (Hence all the clothes lines).

“An old rear tenement in Roosevelt Street”.
Roosevelt St. is what Baxter/Orange St. became when it crossed Park Row.

“Jacob Riis, Rear tenement in Mott St”

wider picture:

Since Mott was never cleared like parts of Baxter and Mulberry, I wonder if this one could have survived. (When peeking behind the building on Mulberry, having heard about the rear tenements, I mulled the possibility and surprise of encountering a view like this). Even if it did, the woodwork probably would have been removed, since I once read that NYC at some point banned “wooden fire escapes”. (And it mandated the current steel fire escapes in 1861).

Now this one, from Brooklyn (Gold Street. 1890), looks like it’s right out of Connecticut:

The American metropolis, from Knickerbocker days to the present time, Volume 3 By Frank Moss (1897) p.293 has a similar one at “Alley of house; corner of Watts and Sullivan Streets”. (

“Tenement Life in New York – Rag-pickers Court, Mulberry Street” Harper’s Weekly, April 5, 1879 Drawn by William A Rogers, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck
This too was in the “bend” block replaced by the park.

Two different sets of “Rheinlander” rows in the West Village, one with metal balconies and the other, with wooden ones:
This one says “New York”, but has me asking “which city” [i.e. in the state]. I see the ones on the left have been outfitted with fire escapes, but it still looks like somewhere outside of NYC. I would say New England; it looks like those three story box frame tenements I have found are called “triple deckers”. But the one story brick building in front uses American Bond (discussed in comments), which is rare in old New England buildings. Though Boston has them a bit [Edit: this is “Lewis W. Hine
Playground in mill village 1909”, and is apparently Boston: There is a place called “Mill village” in nearby Sudbury]).

This page says “tenement homes in NYC. Jacob Riis put these photos in his book ‘how the other half lives'”

Yet I find it is also apart of this book on Chicago (where this became common into the present):

Here BTW is an article I recently found on Chicago, addressing these porches:
Chicago’s flammable fire escapes

The things to me always looked just plain ugly, creating dark shadows, and were creaky to walk on. (In addition to adding a heavier “fire load” in firefighting lingo).

I imagine, to answer my age old question, these were just relics of 19th century architecture that lingered in some regions, but happened to be banned in NYC. The above article, comparing with NYC, points out that we don’t have the alleyways (and thus the space) that Chicago does. (Back then, we had the alleyways, and even though there wasn’t much space, we crammed stuff into them anyway, until the building codes became stricter).
So we instead went with steel climb-out fire escapes, which are much smaller. (Then you have places like Norfolk, Richmond and even New Haven and some other places, where they are big walk-out structures like the wooden ones, yet are usually made of steel).
Chicago stuck with wood (despite their “bad luck” with fire) because it was cheaper, and they were treated to not burn quickly anyway, plus, simple “tradition” (they were a “Center for the lumber industry”). I imagine smaller cities which weren’t as congested did not see fire as much as a danger as New York did, and plus, of course, also had the space.

Two frame houses in the city that still have these: 2875 W17th St. Coney Island (screened 3 story back porch with separate stairways for both sides of building visible from Stillwell terminal though may have gotten a bit harder to see with all the new construction in the area), and 1739 Zerega Ave. Bronx; back of building right on Castle Hill Ave. which Zerega merges with at that point. Looks like it was lifted right out of New England).
There are some two story brick bow-front rowhouses close by in Ridgewood (Catalpa/Fresh Pond area) that have them, though without stairs. Some were removed.

I became familiar with them from Springfield, and with a grandmother who was hard to get along with a lot of times, plus the antiquated apartments, it all made quite an impression on my young Aspie mind. (Especially the first one she lived in in my lifetime, in the 1874 “Northern Heights” row in South End; with stuff I never saw at home or my other grandmother’s or godmother or any other house I went to in NY, even in really old buildings: large built-in gas room heaters and kitchen stove with big pipes going into the wall, open “window” between kitchen and bathroom, how rickety those porch stairs were, the mud in the alleyway in the back, plus burned out buildings all around; this BTW was thankfully all renovated in the late 70’s, including new steel back stairways and paved driveway).

Even though this was simply typical old-time living (I guess like having gone back 100 years), to me it was like another planet. I guess this impact a couple of long hot miserable summers there as a child had on me is why I’m “connecting” with those Five Points pictures so much (even though Northern Heights was still not nearly as bad. That was I guess the closest I came to that, coming from a 1920’s former luxury apartment complex in Brooklyn, with marble halls (including the stairs), elevators, central heating, modern bathrooms, paved backyards we had cookouts in, and fire escapes we generally didn’t use).

And so hard to believe all that squalor was right behind where I worked for nine years. It was like another side of the city I had never seen, being so much different than even the familiar “ghettoes” (South Bronx, Harlem, Bed-Stuy) I knew about 100 years later.

  1. Seeing someone else, a close friend who often has this spiritual “sense” of things, react to the 24 Baxter picture at the top of the post, and then my wife more recently described it as “that window” (like that’s what really stands out), I wonder if there’s something about the shape of the window.
    I know it was both the window, as well as the wooden stairs, that made it stand out so much to me, because as I said, it didn’t look like a NYC tenement, but reminded me more of Springfield, and was thus so “unique”, and I had hoped it survived wherever it was, and was “redeemed” (fixed up and in good condition).

    What makes the distinguishing shape is the arches which as I said above have a larger “camber”, meaning basically that it’s more curved than ones with a lower rise. These are all called “segmental arches”, with a full arch being a 180° semicircle (having a rise that’s equal to the radius), and a “segment” of an arch being less than 180° as is the case with these common window arches. The bricks making up the arch are in usually two or three rows, and these were the default, element for the “plain” wall sides of buildings not facing the street, and stopped being used in the 30’s I believe, in favor of steel slats to hold up the bricks above the window, which is what my building had, though built in the 20’s

    As I said, LA has windows with larger cambers like that on the backs of most of its pre-war buildings (you can compare the below image with the above one to get a sense of what I’m talking about), and I should mention a building in an old “Emergency” episode I saw in pre-teens, that was like a forerunner to 24 Baxter.

    Here is a diagram of a full semicircular arch, showing most of the parts of the arch:

    The camber is the entire space between the actual arch and the springing line. (Should also point out that the intrados and extrados are actually the ridges of the arch. The full surfaces are called, respectively, the “soffit” and the “back”).

    “Nagging Suspicion” had as its climax a shootout between a sniper and the cops, from the side of a typical 3 story old LA apartment building. The windows were shaped just like 24 Baxter (including being covered in grime), except that they were one brick layer deeper, as nearly all CA brick buildings have (the walls are apparently thicker due to the earthquakes). There was also a steel staircase (LA prewar buildings usually have climb-out fire escapes similar to NYC; sometimes walk-out ones on the hallway, but I didn’t really take note of that then; this was probably right before the 1979 dream that got me so into the porches in the first place, and the comparison of NYC and Springfield and elsewhere architecture*, and afterward, I always tried to remember if there was a porch or stairway on this building).

    The building also had brick window ledges instead of slabs of slate or concrete as most older buildings (with the “segmental arches”) have. This reminded me of home and childhood (the protruding bricks, in a laid position called “rowlock” always reminded me of bare knees, when a kid wears shorts or a dress), and brought to mind if something like that happened in my building, and hoping it would be over, and life could get back to normal. (Plain segmental arches are also usually rowlocks).

    So the fire dept. arrives and tries to hose the guy out. So it looked like they were fighting a fire, and then they do shoot in a firebomb that starts a fire that spreads to all floors, finally flushing the guy out.

    A fire is exactly what I had feared and hoped wouldn’t happen, as the ledges sort of represented home, and the arches were an exaggeration of the ones on the back of nearly every other pre-war building anywhere, except mine, including many buildings in the neighborhood that were being burned out (such as the row of stores next to us on Flatbush that burned to the ground, “Panama Court” complex on the corner on Ditmas, and the similar ones across the backyard on Dorchester, then, the other rundown areas across the city such as the South Bronx, etc) and the particular shape of the arches on the TV building reminded me of stuff I used to see in Springfield, also often burned out.

    An old brick segmental arch with burn marks covering it is like a (negative) icon of 70’s urban living.
    So I hoped this building with these uniquely shaped arches (according to NYC standards) would not go the same way, but, like some kind of archetypal [no pun intended] omen, naturally did. ** (Also, the lab that burns to the ground at the beginning of the movie 4D Man seems to look something like this as well).

    Seems to be something about the arches being more curved than the normal ones. At least for me. I guess a big part of this obviously is the AS fascination with shapes. Also, curves remind me of femininity.
    So this is something in my “personal unconscious”.
    But what about the two women who also reacted to 24 Baxter? Perhaps something in the collective unconscious as well? (Though they insist it’s purely “spiritual” and not sensory at all, but the two are not mutually exclusive).

    Like what else does that window look like? The first thing that comes to mind is a brick oven, or a furnace or kiln. You even saw this on old wrappers for Arnold “brick oven” bread, which I grew up with (the wrapper designs have since been totally changed). An oven is something that naturally contains fire. So could it trigger some connotation of Hell or destruction by fire or something?

    I know for me, the associations leading up to it make sense: run down Springfield South End in the 70’s, hellish times with a difficult grandmother, completely homesick, very hot and uncomfortable (we used to walk down Mulberry St. of Dr Seuss fame, which actually had piles of rotting crushed mulberries on the sidewalk in the heat. Ironic this street bears the same name as the notorious NYC Five Points thoroughfare I was discussing above). Then, the LA “emergency” scene, and finally, the horrors of the Five Points area surrounding 24 Baxter.

    Found this site that tries to interpret the picture as well:

    He suggests that a photo like this (part of a series shown in some presentation, apparently) “contains symbolic use of lighting (amazing considering the primitive level of the technology at the time) and spectacular use of mise en scène. In ‘Baxter Street Court, NY’ for example the children appear illuminated while the adults are, either a dark silhouette or, returning into the gloom. The dark figure overlooking the scene seems almost regal in his surveillance of his dominion, there may be some pun intended on ‘court’. His darkness and bearing may suggest an inability to relinquish either his grasp on the ‘Old World’ or indeed on the next generation. The division of the scene by the clothes-line however leaves the picture a hopefulness that supplants the foreboding mystery figure.”
    He likens both the man, as well as the clothes lines and “the abandoned cart in the foreground” to some fictional characters he’s discussing.
    [Edit: Great example of introverted iNtuition function; discussed more: ]

    I had noticed the man, but never knew what to make of him. It’s supposed to be a picture of squalor, but this guy looks kind of rich, with his top hat and suit; like someone who would fit in better in the classy mansions further uptown. Who is this?
    I figure he’s probably the owner of the place. Probably drawn to the scene by the photographer being there. (And it’s true that the pose he’s making looks authoritative). After all, it would be the living and/or working conditions he’s maintaining that are being exposed, and threatened throughout the area at that time.
    He does have a spookiness to him, and perhaps that could be part of the “spiritual” sense people are picking up.

    *At my other grandmother’s, here in Brooklyn, I would often wander around the area, and I liked an old 5 or 6 story building on Clinton or Washington Av. that had a fancy looking long marble hallway. (Likely either Fulton Court, Clinton Court, Royal Castle or 500 Washington).
    So the dream was encountering this building, or one that looked like it, in Springfield. I then realized that there are no buildings like this in Springfield, and this is part of what made me feel some homesick in the long summers I spent there (’72, ’73).
    Hallways are basically the same as in rowhouses; just a wooden stairway and landings. Some of the frontal design was similar to some buildings in NYC, but with no fire escapes, while a lot looked totally different (there’s this distinct dirty New England maroon brick color and brick bond), and they all had the back porches like the Northern Heights townhouse, and later, the Burr St. framehouse I stayed in.
    There are only two prewar five story buildings that aren’t like that and look like NYC buildings (but without fire escapes). The former hotel now called “Museum Park” (condos now, I think), and the Van Der Hayden (which also looks like it may have originally been a special building, like maybe a nursing home. There was also Longhill Gardens, which was a an early postwar 3 story development from the 50’s, but was on landslide area over the I91, and demolished).

    **Seeing this episode again online a year ago, it looks like the building was real, but the fire was clearly torches in the window they were turning on and off throughout the scene. I watched a movie shoot that did this up on St. Nicholas Av. years ago during a long break on a B job at 145th. (Never do see what any of these movies I’ve seen filming were).

    Should also mention the movie “Batteries Not Included”, about a tenement a developer was trying to tear down, and ends up burning it down, but then it’s magically brought back at the end. This was a fake prop I had actually passed on E8th St, (Alphabet City; with the burned to the ground remnant prop sitting next door to the standing building), and the sides did not look like NYC, as the arches were like LA and 24 Baxter, and the floor scale was smaller as well. I figured they copied LA architecture, as Hollywood often gets NYC things wrong like that. Don’t even get me started on subway scenes!
    This too would be burned, and you could see the torches in the window.
    The LA scene had several run down old apartment buildings on the same corner, and while I’ve seen a few areas like this still there, they seem to be sparse, and seeing how whole areas were obliterated for development (like the PE subway being severed for the Bonaventure and the freeway, and the tunnel exit being built around) something tells me this was in a slum area about to be cleared.

  2. The Incredible History of the Area:

    Here’s a map directly giving an idea where all of this is situated, though it’s not lined up completely right.
    The mistake they made was that Cross didn’t bend at the intersection; it went straight, and then bent further west, so that is should be where the text “Paradise Park” is printed, then bend southward to the left of that.

    This map shows the outline of where the 60 Centre courthouse would sit.

    So 24 Baxter was right at the gold colored Worth St. entrance of the federal building (Daniel Patrick Moynihan US Courthouse). BUT, since in the title of the MCNY photo (at the beginning of the OP) it is labeled a “court”, and there appears to be a space between the buildings at that point, with a long alley (actually between №20 and 22) leading to a more open space behind the Baxter St. buildings, this would place the actual scene of the picture right in the space (Cardinal Hayes Place) between 60 and the new building, where I often still access the ramp to the basement of 60 when visiting my former coworkers (because there’s never a line to get in through the metal detectors back there like there is in the front entrance).

    The above map doesn’t show the complete outlines, though other ones like these do: from Bromley, George Washington, Atlas Manhattan, 1891 David Rumsey collection).

    №24 is the second lot from the corner (actual lot #222, or #36 at the end of the century), and it looks like open space there, but it was really a long narrow building that ran to the building sitting on the current wall of the old courthouse. That’s №65 Park, which it was connected to. “The ‘court'” was the space next to it behind №22, which was the little building in the front.
    This one, from the NYPL, allows you to fade the 1853 map from the first link into a modern one with a slider

    If the picture is pointing in the right direction, my work area 100 years later would be only a few dozen yards ahead, and visible in the picture if it could see into the future, and through walls!

    Seeing drawings of a another nearby building-converted-to-tenement, the “Old Brewery” (formerly Coulthard’s Brewery, around the corner on Cross St. at №61, shown in the map, but may have had access to the same rear space in the block #160 as the Orange/Baxter courts); it had windows and 2nd floor doorways that looked something like the building in the picture, but it was torn down in 1852 to be replaced by a mission (whose purpose was “converting errant Catholics to faithful Methodists”). The 24 Baxter picture was supposedly from the late 1880’s or 1890’s. Perhaps it may have been a later rear addition/annex to the brewery, built in a similar design, and left after the main building was replaced? Perhaps it then became apart of the mission? That could explain the people in the picture. [Edit: There was actually a later brewery on 24 Baxter/65 Park; see next comment]

    This drawing of the brewery seems to be from earlier in its existence. All of the others I’ve seen show it wearing the “Five Points Mission” banner, which would only be from the building’s last seven months. It’s really two conjoined buildings, at №59 and 61 Cross.
    It looks like there’s nothing to the left, and yet a row of small typical gable roofed buildings behind it, almost perpendicular to the front, as though around a corner. Yet the later pictures all look like this as well, when the buildings to the left; №63-73 Cross were obviously there. So I’m not sure if this is simply at a time when the rest of Cross St. wasn’t built yet, or it’s using the same technique the other drawings use
    [Edit: the 1852 building map we will look at shows apparently a space between the brewery and 63 Cross, so №63 is probably there off fo the left. It was two stories, while the building shown is three stories.
    Also, even though there is no Mission banner, since it is already “The Old Brewery” and not still Coulthard’s, and the space between the gables of the two roofs has already been filled in with that new wall and window, which was likely done in the residential conversion when they divided a high ceiling floor into two {Anbinder, p.67}, the drawing would most likely be after 1837, and №63ff were already built]).

    The brewery and later mission house was centered on the current hall with the steps, removable ramp and ADA lift leading to the rear exit of 60 Centre. The front of the brewery/mission was in the center of the light shaft between the ramp and Room 117B (to the right, if you’re heading into the buildding toward the center). The back of the mission was around the light shaft to the left. A coal yard adjacent to it to the west was in the round hallway in front of 117 and partly into the Rotunda. №57 Cross, to the west of that (shown in one drawing as a tall gable-roofed building) was dab smack in the Rotunda. The eastern part of the Mission (and №63 building annexed to it) was near the rear metal detectors and offices to the side of it.

    The №24 court (actually, behind №20 and 22) was right in the middle of the wide space where the Hayes walkway opens out to the sidewalk of Worth, and the whole №24 complex would fit right between the two courthouses, neatly plugging the entrance to Hayes Pl. (Wouldn’t it be funny if the water pump in the picture in front of the wagon and steps was right where one of the fountains in the plaza is?)

    RM 103B (the Record Room under the big steps; where I worked for the first four years) is where Cross St. ran into Pearl.
    The employee lunch room, bathrooms and stairway on the corner of the building at the end of RM141B (where I worked the last five years there) are at the Pearl St. entrance of what was known as “Murderer’s Alley” (which led to the back of the brewery) [Edit, there were TWO alleys, one between 486 and 488 Pearl, that led to the Brewery, which had it’s own “Murderer’s Alley”, suggesting to me a direct connection in the names. That’s the one now in the perimeter of 60 Centre. But the true Donovan’s Lane was a wider alley between 474 and 476 Pearl, which led to the Baxter St. rear space, particularly 8-14. This alley is now occupied by the Moynihan courthouse to the east].

    The bulk of Rm 117B is Paradise Park, a triangle formed by Cross and Anthony west of the intersection. Part of the park location is outside the building, still along the sidewalk of Worth. (Since it’s a hexagonal building, none of the walls are parallel to any of the streets).

    That was the first part of Five Points to go, in the 1830’s (Five Points: The Nineteenth-Century New York City Neighborhood That Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections and Became the World’s Most Notorious Slum by Tyler Anbinder, p.22. Some people think the current park between Baxter and Mulberry was what bore this name, though Riis did call it “another Paradise Park” when planning it; quote below).

    Across Worth St. the southeast corner of 80 Centre is the site of the little triangle block of gable-roofed little buildings (with dormers and chimneys sticking out) seen in the 1827 George Catlin drawing that has become associated with the movie “Gangs of New York”.

    Left to right: POINT 1 (BLOCK 160): 26 Orange St. or 73 Cross St. (“Orange St” sign visible on store); Cross St. goes to the left (Coulthard’s Brewery is down that block); POINT 2 (BLOCK 166): house cut in half by Anthony St.; (likely №70 or 72 Cross; future “Paradise Park” triangle); Anthony St. hangs left; POINT 3: 30 Orange St (round front), Orange St. hangs right, looking toward “bend” (though barely visible in the distance); POINT 4 (BLOCK 165): 82 Cross St. (aka “Home of the Rioters”; blurry “Cross St: sign below roofline); Cross St. goes to the right. The 1855 “Valentine’s Manual” version of the picture (bottom) also shows POINT 5 (BLOCK 161): №27 Orange on the right edge, with presumably a prostitute looking out of the second floor window. (Forgot where I read that at).

    (The view today, looking surprisingly similar to the old one at first glance, is of 80 Centre St in the middle, with 60 Centre on the left and the park on the right. The gable roofed stone park comfort station (on the former 35½-37 Baxter rear lot space) evokes the Home of the Rioters that was closer up, on the corner).

    №24 itself, is just off to the left of this picture, with №26 next door straddling the left edge. According to an almanac from the same year, the same operation marked in the later map was already there. (This we shall explore later, when we trace the history of the block).
    Since the front building was always wooden, it might have just looked like the others.

    To me, hearing about how horrible the whole area was (who would imagine, today?), and seeing the people in utter squalor, it represents something that needed redeeming (by being fixed up), but the quick easy solution was just clearing the whole area, and eventually making it like it never existed.
    I tend to get fixated on the buildings, but in the background of my mind, the condition of the people does greatly touch me. Buildings are built for people, and if they (as well as the whole area) are run down like that, then the people using them are suffering. As the accounts of this area all testify. I can’t help thinking “these poor people”!
    There are people suffering like this everywhere, and to the present, of course, but these scenes literally a stone throw away (though displaced in time) really brings it home!

    To me, a neighborhood of small residences like that represents frail human lives, as opposed to huge impersonal business or government or even modern high rise residence buildings built by big business or government, used to sweep out the powerless “little people” who are nothing but “filthy trash” to them.

    And since people suffering like that often turn to crime and hedonism, what do aloof onlookers do, but begin judging and talking bad about them:
    “The rich would venture into Five Points on guided tours, observing its poverty and sordidness as though at a zoo” (This was called “slumming”).

    From Wikipedia:

    Charles Dickens described Five Points in 1842 in his book American Notes for General Circulation:

    “What place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us? A kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies behind this tottering flight of steps? Let us go on again, and plunge into the Five Points.”

    “This is the place; these narrow ways diverging to the right and left, and reeking everywhere with dirt and filth. Such lives as are led here, bear the same fruit as elsewhere. The coarse and bloated faces at the doors have counterparts at home and all the world over.”

    “Debauchery has made the very houses prematurely old. See how the rotten beams are tumbling down, and how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimly, like eyes that have been hurt in drunken forays. Many of these pigs live here. Do they ever wonder why their masters walk upright instead of going on all fours, and why they talk instead of grunting?”

    The following is from Jacob Riis’s How The Other Half Lives:

    Mulberry Bend Park
    Where Mulberry Street crooks like an elbow within hail of the old depravity of the Five Points, is “the Bend,” foul core of New York’s slums. Long years ago the cows coming home from the pasture trod a path over this hill. Echoes of tinkling bells linger there still, but they do not call up memories of green meadows and summer fields; they proclaim the home-coming of the rag-picker’s cart.

    In the memory of man the old cow-path has never been other than a vast human pig-sty. There is but one “Bend” in the world, and it is enough. The city authorities, moved by the angry protests of ten years of sanitary reform effort, have decided that it is too much and must come down. Another Paradise Park will take its place and let in sunlight and air to work such transformation as at the Five Points, around the corner of the next block. Never was change more urgently needed.

    Around “the Bend” cluster the bulk of the tenements that are stamped as altogether bad, even by the optimists of the Health Department. Incessant raids cannot keep down the crowds that make them their home. In the scores of back alleys, of stable lanes and hidden byways, of which the rent collector alone can keep track, they share such shelter as the ramshackle structures afford with every kind of abomination rifled from the dumps and ash-barrels of the city. Here, too, shunning the light, skulks the unclean beast of dishonest idleness. “The Bend” is the home of the tramp as well as the rag-picker.

    Background information: Merchants owning property along the periphery of Five Points petitioned the municipal government in 1829 to demolish the heart of the slum by widening and extending Anthony and Cross Streets.

    “That the place known as “Five points” has long been notorious… as being the nursery where every species of vice is conceived and matured; that it is infested by a class of the most abandoned and desperate character….

    “[They] are abridged from enjoying themselves in their sports, from the apprehension… that they may be enticed from the path of rectitude, by being familiarized with vice; and thus advancing step by step, be at last swallowed up in this sink of pollution, this vortex of irremediable infamy.

    “In conclusion your Committee remark, that this hot–bed of infamy, this modern Sodom, is situated in the very heart of your City, and near the centre of business and of respectable population….

    Remove this nucleus—scatter its present population over a larger surface—throw open this part of your city to the enterprise of active and respectable men, and you will have effected much for which good men will be grateful.”

    – “Petition to Have the Five Points Opened,” Board of Assistant Aldermen documents (24 October 1831), Municipal Archives, City of New York.

    (This wasn’t accomplished until about 1897, not too long after this picture was taken).

    Davy Crockett Tours Five Points

    Black and white, white and black, all hug-em-snug together, happy as lords and ladies, sitting round in a ring, with a jug of liquor between them, and I do think I saw more drunk folks, men and women, that day, than I ever saw before… I thought I would rather risk myself in an Indian fight than venture among these creatures after night. I said to [my friend]…these are worse than savages; they are too mean to swab hell’s kitchen.
    A Narrative of the Life of Davy Crockett, Written by Himself (self-published, 1834-5)

    “As a result [of the horrible conditions created when houses were sheared in half for Anthony Street to be cut through the grid]* stated a committee of councilmen, the [Paradise Park] triangle’s buildings were ‘occupied by the lowest description and most degraded and abandoned of the human species” (cited in Anbinder, p.21)

    *(This site says 1817 was when Anthony St. reached the intersection. So it was around then that the houses on the block would have been cut in half. A slightly different version of the Catlin picture, attributed to “Valentine’s Manual, 1855” and used on the New York Mythic Slum article linked below, Where THe Gangs Lived: New York’s Desperate Five Points Neighborhood in the Ninteenth Century
    By Gregory Christiano 5_points, and Tales of Five Points: Working-Class Life in Nineteenth Century New York by [the same author] Rebecca Yamin which is in black & white and shows different people and at a different angle— looking straight down the street on the right, reveal the street signs, which were located above the windows on the buildings, and this is looking down Orange (toward the bend in the distance, sign is on right of building in center, which is 30 Orange/168 Anthony, block #166), Anthony is the the left, and Cross street runs right to left (sign clearly visible above the Grocery/Bed store/Lodging (29 Orange/84 Cross block #165 “the bend”); which is obviously the same wooden “Home of the Rioters” building shown on later pictures in a warped condition with a grocery still on the corner. You can see the round, brick corner of 30 Orange/Baxter as it appeared in the Catlin drawing in some pictures of the wooden building).

    So the block in the center of the picture is actually the northwest point, where 80 Centre sits, and the Paradise Park block (still 166, since that block was cut through) would actually begin with the yellow building to the left, which does in fact look like it was sheared from an original square shape into a triangle, and a new wall put up on the new street. The gable still faces Cross only (where they would usually be placed on all walls facing streets), so the wall without a gable is obviously a newer fill-in. So these old houses in that state are what set the stage for the triangle to take on its impoverished character).

    Meanwhile, when reading about 19th century NYC, it also often immediately brings to mind the area a few blocks to the south and west; the center of city government, controlled by the Tammany Hall political machine under the corrupt Boss Tweed. The organization supposedly aimed to help Irish and other immigrants. (The area was heavily Irish, Italian and Jewish. Blacks had been there too, especially after slavery ended in 1827, but soon moved uptown. So this was one horrible slum not really tagged on us for a change! Although, these conditions the other groups faced are often used today to say “See, they overcame that, why haven’t blacks?” Also, as Anbinder’s title indicates, while there, they and the Irish together invented the tap dance).

    In an Amazon review of Anbinder’s Five Points: “A corrupt city government kept the police at bay, making the neighborhood safe for a succession of crime lords but woefully dangerous for residents–most of whom, in time, would be newcomers from Ireland, Italy, Russia, and other faraway lands, as well as African Americans newly arrived from the South. ‘Locked into the lowest-paying occupations,’ as Anbinder writes, they labored, saved, and eventually moved on, making room for the next wave of immigrants.”

    So while they talk about the people of the neighborhood like dogs (perhaps with some amount of justification for many of them, but a lot, such as the children were helpless victims of it all); what about the equally corrupt political machine? (Though Riis, at least did address this, below).

    With little trace of all of this left,* it’s yet another example of the [collective] “shadow”. (Recall, much conservative Christian rhetoric would virtually claim everything in this country was fine until the 1960’s, during the “sexual revolution” and when prayer was removed from schools; the issues that mattered to them. I guess other stuff like this didn’t count, just like slavery and racism didn’t. Or maybe it could just be blamed on the typical scapegoats of Jewry and Catholicism).

    Just like in today’s political debates, there’s always another side to things. According to this site

    “But not all notable writers and journalists portrayed Five Points as America’s black hole – an entire community of lost causes. In 1842’s Aurora, New York native Walt Whitman came to Five Points’ defense, arguing that residents were ‘not paupers and criminals, but the Republic’s most needed asset, the wealth of stout poor men who will work.’”

    For reformers, Riis included, the trouble with the Bend wasn’t merely the profits it returned to slumlords and city politicians, nor was it just the high rents that forced tenants to sublet floor space to strangers. The problem was also how to portray the Bend in a way that conveyed its contagious force, the absence of basic sanitation, of clean water and fresh air, the presence of disease, corruption, and crime, the enervation and despair. It was, for Riis, the problem of representing an unrepresentable level of defilement. The power of his silhouette map, for instance, is flawed by its white margins, which falsely imply that conditions improved across the street, when, in fact, the entire Sixth Ward was cramped and impoverished. Even the grimmest of Riis’s photographs show only a few people, at most, in the back alleys and basement dives. Powerful as they are, these pictures fail to convey the simple tonnage of human flesh in those dead-end blocks.

    But the problem of Mulberry Bend was also how to interpret it. On a bright spring morning in the 1880s or early 1890s, a New Yorker—curiosity aroused, perhaps, by one of Riis’s articles—might have strolled over to Mulberry or Baxter Street to see for himself. What he found there would depend on his frame of mind. It might have been, as photographs suggest, a bustling streetfront crowded with people going rather shabbily about the ordinary sorts of business, much as they might in other neighborhoods. Such a New Yorker—disinclined to push through to the dark inner rooms a few flights up or to the dismal courts and alleys behind or to the dank beer dives below—might conclude that perhaps Riis had exaggerated and that perhaps all there was to see here was a people, immigrants nearly all of them, who were insufficiently virtuous or cleanly or hardworking or American. It would be possible for such a person to blame Mulberry Bend on the very people who were its victims. But when the tenements were condemned and their inhabitants moved into decent housing, particularly in Harlem, they blended imperceptibly into the fabric of the city.

    Riis has been faulted for his glib descriptive use of racial and ethnic stereotypes, a convention of his time that sounds raw and coarse to us now. In his defense, he came to understand that the power of a place like Mulberry Bend was enough to corrupt its residents, no matter who they were, as it had the Irish, and then the Italians who were their successors in the Bend. No iniquity within the Bend was as great, to Riis, as the political and financial iniquity that sustained the tenements there.

    But the tragedy of Mulberry Bend isn’t only that it came to exist and, once in existence, to be tolerated. It was also that when the city finally tore down the Bend and at last built the park that Calvert Vaux had designed for the site, a kind of forgetfulness descended. A New Yorker coming to the newly built Mulberry Bend Park in 1897, or to its renaming in 1911, or merely to watch the sun rise on a bright spring morning in 2001, might never know that there had been such a place as the Bend. The park that stands in its place is some kind of redemption, but without memory no redemption is ever complete. And without action of the kind that Riis undertook, justice remains only a matter of desire.

    “Shadow” is right!

    (Part of book frontispiece: depicting wealthy and poor in New York City. By Matthew Hale Smith, publ 1869).

    Perhaps this psychic “shadow” dynamic is part of why this picture creeps us out, or at least has such an emotional affect on me.

    (Note: here we see what I mentioned earlier; of the brewery appearing to have a street corner to the left of it with perpendicular buildings behind it, appearing to be in the shade. In fact, the first one looks like the side of the brewery building! But by this time, №65-73 were obviously built, and look; there’s the big flat-roofed hull (now white) with its three chimneys looming over them from behind! That’s how the building of our focus, the three story №24 Orange rear, appeared from Cross St. A drawing of Paradise Park with the mission building that replaced the brewery shows the same buildings to the left, in line with the mission. So I don’t know why they always drew the brewery with the other buildings’ fronts appearing to be at an angle. (Must have been some technique of impressionism, where you’re looking at Cross Street at an angle, but they want to show the front of that one building as though you were looking straight at it; or, that’s just their way of capturing angular “perspective” for distance, sort of like those modern camera tricks that make the picture look spherical).

    Also, of note:

    Much of what was written in newspapers, tracts, and books, says archaeologist Rebecca Yamin, was colored by religious zeal, a desire to sell papers, or plain-old fear. “Middle-class outsiders looked at this neighborhood that was teeming with activity and street people selling food, and it was frightening. They just looked from the outside and assumed it was all very bad.”

    *(48-50 Mulberry Street, on the actual “bend”, along with the stone church on Mott; both visible in the aerial picture above, are two notable survivors from those old pictures.
    On another lunch hour around that time, I walked through the doorway of 48-50 and saw the rear building in the backyard. The biggest changes to the front are the shutters removed and fire escapes added.

    The very first tenement, the seven story 65 Mott (on the next block from the bend) from 1824-7 remains as a typical large lintel-windowed red brick building with a Chinese gift shop on the ground floor.
    There are a lot of little old buildings from the early 19th Century dotting the area, but the new development boom is finally catching up to some of them. Again, it was the real estate industry that essentially crashed the economy, yet it continues to run strong, with blame yet again placed on the victims.

    Should also be mentioned that the new Moynihan Courthouse on the site was called the “Foley Square Courthouse”, but Foley Square is really the space in front of 60 Centre, while the federal court is behind it. It’s by all means really the “Five Points Courthouse”, but the name has long been retired and largely forgotten due to the horrible stigma).

    It should be pointed out in passing that people often think of “tenements” as four or more story, deep (i.e. front to back) brick row buildings that take up pretty much the whole lot. But those are really more the ones from the middle of the [19th] century and after (with 65 Mott as probably what sparked off that design).
    The term as used by Riis and the other observers refers to any building divided up into small living spaces.
    This includes former private houses (like what we’re seeing in the 1827 drawing), as well as converted industrial buildings; another example (after the Brewery was gone) said to be the worst was in an old wooden former church on Mulberry. You see little wooden buildings in the bend pictures, and these are apart of what they were talking about.

    The maps showing building outlines (most of them William Perris fire insurance maps) reveal a lot of little structures on each lot (and there a lot of “half” addresses), and ones still around that I’ve seen (such as the row on Grand @ Mulberry, SW corner) are very small in scale (one way to tell it’s really old) and these are what created the network of little alleys on each block that became so dangerous.

    This came to represent something that needed redemption, not to just be cleared and the people talked about like dogs and swept aside, and the whole thing becoming like it never existed

    The 24 Baxter picture 30 years ago made me wonder if that’s what city residential architecture looked like 100 years earlier, but it really wasn’t. That was just a particular industrial design, used here and there, which you can still find in various places around the city.
    Basically, seeing a lot of these pictures now, the common element you see before the larger boxy tenements of the mid-to late century and later is the gabled roof with dormers and chimneys sticking out. Like in the Catlin drawing. Almost all residences had them, it seems.
    It basically looked more like London and other European cities, which kept the gables in their 20th century architecture. You also see this a lot on the colonial villages that have been preserved, like Plymouth, Mass.

    Here’s the story of how this area became this way in the first place (from Wikipedia):

    Collect Pond

    The Collect Pond and Five Points on the topographical map by Egbert Viele Five Points is where Park Street (Cross) intersects with Baxter Street (Orange) and Worth Street (Anthony)

    The Lenape were the first inhabitants of what would become Five Points

    The topography of the area that would become Five Points was a major factor in the progression of the neighborhood from middle-class homes built upon reclaimed land to a sprawling, disease-ridden slum in a relatively short period of time.

    The Collect Pond (or Fresh Water Pond) was a body of spring-fed fresh water, occupying approximately 48 acres (194,000 m²) and as deep as 60 feet (18 metres). The pond was located in an inverted U-shaped valley with a linear portion in the north heading northwest to the Hudson River. The eastern and western sections of the valley were separated by a hill the Dutch called Kalk Hoek, (Dutch meaning Chalk Corner), named for the numerous oyster-shell middens left by Native Americans. The elevation rose in the south, with Pot Bakers Hill dominating the south southwestern shore.

    The pond was located in the eastern section of the valley, with Kalck Hoek to the west and Bayard Mount – at 110 feet (34 metres), the tallest hill in lower Manhattan – to the northeast. A stream flowed north out of the pond and then northwest through a salt marsh (which, after being drained, became “Lispenard Meadows”) to the Hudson River, and another stream, known as the Old Wreck Brook or the Old Kil flowed out from the southeast through Bestevaer Swamp (later Beekman’s Swamp) called Bestevaer Kreupelbosch by the Dutch to the East River. The southwestern shore of the pond was the site of a Native American settlement known as Werpoes. A small band of Canarsie who were Munsee Indians – the northernmost division of the Lenape – occupied the site until the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam was established.

    The pond was the main source of drinking water and freshwater fish for the City of New York.

    Beginning in the early 18th century, various commercial enterprises were built along the shores of the pond, in order to use the water. These businesses included Coulthards Brewery, Nicholas Bayard’s slaughterhouse on Mulberry Street (which was nicknamed “Slaughterhouse Street”), numerous tanneries on the southeastern shore, and the pottery works of German immigrants Johan Willem Crolius and Johan Remmey on Pot Bakers Hill on the south-southwestern shore.

    The contaminated wastewater of these businesses flowed back into the pond, creating a severe pollution problem and environmental health hazard. Pierre Charles L’Enfant proposed cleaning the pond and making it a centerpiece of a recreational park, around which the residential areas of the city could grow. His proposal was rejected and it was decided to fill in the pond. This was done with fill partially obtained from leveling Bayards Mount and Kalck Hoek. The landfill was completed in 1811 and Middle class homes were soon built on the reclaimed land.

    The landfill was poorly engineered. The buried vegetation began to release methane gas (a byproduct of decomposition) and the area, still in a natural depression, lacked adequate storm sewers. As a result, the ground gradually subsided. Houses shifted on their foundations [you can see badly sagging wooden buildings in pictures of the bend], the unpaved streets were often buried in a foot of mud mixed with human and animal excrement and mosquitos bred in the stagnant pools created by the poor drainage. Most middle and upper class inhabitants fled the area, leaving the neighborhood open to poor immigrants that began arriving in the early 1820s. This influx reached a height in the 1840s, with large numbers of Irish Catholics fleeing the Irish Potato Famine.

    The pond is still basically there, or trying to be there. When I first arrived in the courthouse in ’92, the sub basement was still used for files (as recent as four years earlier, and the further around the building you went down there, the older they became), but swamp-like water kept seeping in, and rusting the file shelves and rotting the floor covering. You can even see this water seeping up from the ground in the light shafts between the outer ring of the building and the rotunda. The air quality was bad, and that’s when I went from never getting sick anymore, to small colds now turning into bronchitis. The whole place down there became like a cave.
    They at one point even tried injecting some liquid that turns into foam into the floors, to corral the water, but that didn’t work. A brand new spiral staircase (a shortcut given to us) from the main basement file room was eventually closed off by a door, and all the files removed (the microfilming process had started up again, and a lot of stuff was moved to the archives on Chambers St). You can open the door and peek down there, and it’s a pure dark “netherworld”.

    For years afterward, I would have dreams about the building (and still do; especially now putting together this project). Since it has six huge floors, you can go down several flights and find you have only gone down a couple of floors, as happened to me when I used to retrieve files from courtrooms or judges chambers upstairs in the afternoon. So for a while, I would dream I was walking down bottomless or extremely long staircases, not getting anywhere, then looking down the central shaft, and with possibly a door to Hell on the dark bottom. (I was a struggling futurist “duty-faith” evangelical at the time, and despite the doctrinal ideals, when salvation is conditional on our choices, there always lingers doubts that you could still turn out to have not had true “saving faith” in the end).

    Sort of fitting for the “ghost” of such a one-time horrible place! Again, I had no idea at the time! (Also, during this same period I was hearing on transit boards about a similar netherworld beneath Grand Central Terminal, and saw a very long bare brick stairwell when a door behind the Grand Central Market was left open once).

    • Chronology of a Nineteenth Century Manhattan Industrial Corner (Block 160, southwest “point” of Five Points)

      It’s interesting looking at the building outline shapes shown in old fire insurance maps and trying to figure what building was what. Site where you can find a lot of these old maps:

      When we see really old buildings, most of which today are a century or so old, we assume they were the first things built there, but it was really like a whole other world there before, with even earlier generations before that; and all in these same familiar spaces!

      You can get a good idea of what the area looked like from “Gangs of New York”.

      Some of the buildings seemed to have been faithfully represented, especially the Old Brewery at the center of it all, the D. Brennan Grocery and Liquors in its left half (shown in the really early real life drawing), the coal yard to the right of it, as well as 30 Baxter (northwest corner, block 166) and 84 Park (“Home of the Rioters”; northeast corner, block 165) across the intersection.

      (Remember, that brewery is sitting roughly where Room 117B of the County Clerk’s Office is today. —Where I used to maintain tax assessment folders in the summer. The building to the right of the coal yard is the Rotunda!)

      Only they have only two other buildings to the left of the clearly marked 63 Park (which had become attached to the Brewery), where it should be five: 65, 67, 69, 71 and 73(26 Baxter) on the corner. So I don’t know if the “Money Lent” place next to 63 (Shown as “Hausman” Buy & Sell) is supposed to be 65 (which was part of the 24 Baxter complex, and the storefont is portrayed with a brick first floor looking like the Baxter Court picture, and a wooden second story. 65 seems to have always been completely brick, at least since the 50’s), or one of the other buildings.

      It’s likely that the building on the corner is 73 Park or 26 Baxter, as it appeared with the grocery store in the Catlin drawing. So there should be four buildings where “Money Lent” is. The drawings of the area show №63 and 65 looking pretty much the same, at the same scale, a bit larger than the others (as №63 is shown here), so Money Lent likely represents №71, then.
      There’s also in the concept picture a big brick building around the corner (towering over the first two Park St. buildings), which would appear to represent №24. It’s much shorter than it was in real life because of the missing space.

      This building did appear in the set, as you can see in the trailer as it pans out from a westward view of Paradise Park, and 24 starts to become visible on the left, until it jumps to a further out view, where you can barely make out 24 as a square front building, and you can also see the whole area beyond the intersection differs drastically from real life (there’s a big street running parallel to Worth that cuts through what should have been the Bend block and then takes Mulberry’s alignment, and the rest of the block pattern consists of curved streets and bears no resemblance to the actual 6th Ward).

      The wide scene was obviously a model. A above view of the actual set (with the piers to the north of the Bend) can be seen here: , showing the roof of №24 toward the bottom left. ←[currently right where the “№24” is in this preceding sentence].
      I don’t know if the front was ever shown in the movie, as I haven’t watched it (I watched this trailer, and several clips on YouTube. Saw the guy running across Paradise Park hacking everyone he passed with a meat cleaver, and know I cannot watch the movie).

      In an 1880 drawing of the area in 1859, you can see all of the buildings on Park to the left of the Mission (№63 plus all five of the others), which are still small gable-roofed structures, and a larger box-like brick structure (with three chimneys) behind them, fronting on Baxter.
      (Looks like it has some faint sign painted under the roofline).

      It is actually hard to find photos and drawings of Five Points facing that direction, other than the ones showing the Old Brewery. Most of them are looking the other direction, toward the infamous “Bend”.
      In this one, we see the area as represented in the movie; with the gambrel-roofed (i.e. barn shaped) 27 Baxter still sitting right in the path of Worth St. It also looks like the old gabled 26(73 Park) is still on the corner (though it looked sort of flat-roofed in the Catlin Picture, but that was probably from the overhang of the roof pitch facing Orange. In this picture, the sloped pitch is facing Park[Cross], which stumped me. The lot probably did belong to Orange along with the 22/24 row it endcapped, so it would sense the slope would face Orange. The disparity might be explained by what I saw in Anbinder, p.22, where Cross was to be widened at the same time the triangle bloc was demolished and the park formed in 1832. So that’s a newer house in the 1859 representation. Don’t know the effect of this widening of the other buildings on the block, including the Brewery). It must have been right between the two maps listed below dated 1857.

      Another mistake is the two brick buildings shown behind the burned out wooden building on the corner. (The first one has “Hardware” painted on the side). That would be the southeast “point” (block 161), before Worth cut through it, yet those buildings were always wooden; even up to the 1899 picture. (They did later receive brick faces, but the building portrayed in the set is all brick). 95 Cross/29 Mulberry on the end of that block did get a 6 story brick building between ’85 and ’91, and that’s obviously not what’s shown in the movie.

      It looks like they were trying to portray the sole brick tenement built at 31½ Baxter (block 165, “the Bend”) seen in Bend pictures, and the burned out building (covered in ice in several scenes) looks a bit like 84 Park situated in front of it. But then the one on the northeast corner, at the correct position (marked “Tavern”), looks like it too, including the store portico on the corner. However, it doesn’t seem to have a brick tenement to the left of it. (Also, its roof is slightly gambrel, like the real life 27 Baxter/81 Park. Meaning quadruple-pitched instead of double pitched. It has two extra ridges; think of a barn). So it looks like they may have gotten Park and Baxter Streets confused.
      Also, the west side of Mission Place consisted of brick row buildings, not the little country-like wooden ones shown in the movie (at least not in 1853 on).

      The biggest anachronism is that the movie takes place in the 1860’s, but the Old Brewery building had been replaced in 1852 and the new mission opening at the beginning of 1853. (You can see a drawing of that in the above link). There’s only one year that the old Brewery would have graced the “Mission” banner shown in the movie and in drawings, and that’s 1852 (May to December). Wikipedia says “The film begins in 1846 but quickly jumps to 1862.”
      In addition to Worth extending past the intersection (making it actually six points, though I don’t think it was ever called that) in 1859. So the burned out building (which would be №27 Baxter or №81 Park) should not be there at all.

      For the next couple of years after first seeing the 24 Baxter picture, I would be reminded of it when going off to college in Norfolk, and seeing the nearby old Huntersville section (Church St. corridor north of Brambleton), before they started tearing it all down, while I was there, and built all new over it afterward.
      It was actually a lot like the “Gangs of New York” set, with a lot of little shabby two story row structures (most flat-roofed, though, and many abandoned, and mostly brick, while the rundown mostly wooden neighborhood was the one around the campus), and wooden landings and stairs from the second floor rear, similar to in the picture.

      For me, I guess part of the interest is the linear connection, in both space and time. You see isolated pictures and drawings, all in this small area, and they beg what it’s like to walk from one scene to the other. Since it’s [almost] all gone now, it’s like a mystery what the whole experience of the area as a whole would look like. Also, that it’s actually connected in time. Same area, but so different from one point in time to the other.
      Sort of like knowing that part of four dimensional shapes are familiar three dimensional ones, and you can see different parts at once, but never the whole, but wish you could.
      I also had the same feeling right after 9-11, when you saw isolated pictures of the destruction, but not a whole panorama of the area for awhile; and it was hard in places to know where exactly you were looking at, and to try to piece it all together.

      When I found out №24 was on the other side of Worth (Google placed it on the northwest corner, part of block 166, which was cleared at the same time as the block 165 (Bend) park, but then I found the Fire Insurance Maps which showed it clearly on the southwest side, block 160), I wondered if that bleak scene from the “Court at No. 24 Baxter” picture (which for some reason got me so interested in this address when I found out where it actually was) could have at least survived into the 20th century, and directly cleared to make way for 60 Centre, in 1913.
      But a 1902 map showed a pair of newer style “dumbbell tenements” (the turn of the century buildings still common in the city with the narrow tapered ended light shafts between them) in the №22-4 space (they must have only been there a very short time). Though it looks like the adjacent №20 and its rear building are still there, as is the formerly connected 65 Park.

      If the rear buildings of either №20 or №65 were the one in the picture, and it was not in the spaces dug up for either 60 Centre or the more recent federal courthouse, the foundations could still be there! (Some old foundations were uncovered when the park was excavated for the federal courthouse. See
      Though what’s shown wouldn’t have been this building; it’s on the corner of Park Row).

      №24 was apparently part of a second brewery on block 160 that we don’t hear about. It connected with №65 Park, which was two doors from the infamous “Coulthard’s Brewery” at №61, which was converted to the “Old Brewery tenement” in 1837, and became one of the worst residences until being taken over by a religious organization in 1852 and replaced by a mission building in less than a year.

      Since that was for a time the same year I could find the earliest indication of another alcohol production plant, the next step was finding out whether the two breweries ever co-existed, or whether they may have once been part of the same plant.

      The fire insurance maps will show this other plant labeled with at least two different names over the years to follow. (Could “Old” brewery have been in reference to this other brewery as the “new” brewery on the block?)

      So it was an interconnected complex of buildings, which right away reminds me of the old Atlantic Terminal meat market my grandmother used to take me to when I was really young, and I was intrigued by the web of different building connections with ramps leading from one section to another (since different buildings will be on different scales).
      They began scaling the whole thing down, until a single building was left for years, which they then replaced with the first part of the new mall (with the Pathmark on the ground floor), and now the new section of the mall (anchored by Target) replacing the LIRR terminal is connected to it by a foot bridge over the street.

      These industrial buildings converted to residences were also known as “rookeries”, which were what we today call “lofts” (as opposed to a building built as a “tenement”; a “purpose-built tenement“).
      This is apparently what 24 Baxter in the picture also was, with all the clothes lines visible, even though it clearly looks like an industrial style building.

      They were obviously ill-fitted for living spaces, which is what made this area so infamous, but this was before the laws started addressing the issue.
      It was probably the impending New Law which I imagine finally totally outlawed the “rookery” conversions (which would have still had windowless rooms squeezed in, and inadequate water and sanitary facilities), that made the landowner (who was making it more residential) replace it with a new building; a “purpose-built” [residential] tenement (though still in the “Old Law” shape. Or maybe it was the Old Law that gave the owners time to phase out the rookeries? The last detailed map also shows the complex with some sort of hybrid residential/industrial use).

      So wondering which building that was (like a sort of “Easter egg hunt”), I ended up following the whole plot of land from 1852 (earliest building map available), up to the clearance for the current Civic Center.

      [Continues with Chronology in separate article: ]

      • MOVED:
        (Was way too big, and slowed down the memory when on this article).

      • Here I’m trying to determine any original connection between the 24 Orange/65 Cross distillery complex, and the brewery at 59-61 Cross.

        Found some interesting clues!

        The American metropolis, from Knickerbocker days to the present time, Volume 3 By Frank Moss (1897) p.58 says “A portion of the Old Brewery still remains standing on the west side of [Baxter] Street, south of Worth Street“. (Also cited Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York By Luc Sante, p. 392) There’s only one building at that date this could refer to.
        It is remotely possible he’s figuratively referring to “What’s left of Donovan’s Lane, otherwise known as ‘Murderer’s Alley’…in the yard of Number 14 Baxter Street” he had just mentioned several crimes occurring in, but the term “standing” makes it sound literal, and it may have been connected to the alley, and apart of its vice. The initial impression I got from the context was that the author was giving us a sort of walking tour of the area, from Mulberry to Park Row to Baxter (p54), and then describing what he sees “looking up this street from Park Row”. He afterwards describes the names he sees on the street going up to Canal.(On a side note, he is portraying Baxter St. as the Jewish section of Five Points, and while mentioning the “colored people” who once lived there as a religiously zealous “decent population”, he harshly characterizes “the people who took their places”).

        [So if I’m reading it right], what this would mean, is that in the Riis photo at the top of the article, we’re actually seeing a piece of the original brewery that survived another 40 years!

        (That’s the point of this part of the study.
        Where the brewery was torn down in 1852, and there didn’t seem to have been any real photos of it —photos of other parts of Five Points began arising shortly after; but photography was new at the time. It would be interesting to be able to point to the Riis photo as representing a real photo of part of the Old Brewery).

        And it would really figure. The “Old” brewery; particularly the №61 (left) half, also has that same façade design with the “industrial” brick window arch style, and even the sashes look the same as the court picture; with the six part panes, so it really would make sense that they were originally part of the same complex. The portion sitting on the Orange Street lots likely being a rear wing added in an expansion, as the plant grew.

        I don’t think it’s quite as old as the original main buildings. It would have been almost 100 years old in the photo, and the bricks didn’t look as decrepit as the brewery is portrayed.

        That window design was apparently around in the late 1700’s when the main brewery was built, and would be used throughout the 1800’s, so this rear addition could have been designed to match.
        But come to think of it, the arches are mainly on №61. The right (№59) half, actually uses lintels on the upper floors, so the two halves actually have different designs. I imagine №59 and 61 themselves were likely built at different times, with №59 probably the older original building (from 1792), and №61 perhaps the first expansion.
        This makes me have to wonder now about that Bellel map, as it shows only №59 as the Old Brewery, and №61 as a regular building, and №24 and other lots appearing empty. Is it really “incomplete”, or is it showing a much earlier date after all? (If so, where did he get it from?)

        (I should mention, that I’m basing all this only on the movie portrayal of the brewery. Drawings do show arches on the windows, but the actual camber shape varies on them. On some of them, they resemble the movie and №24, but on others ⦅which appear to be more realistic attempts⦆, they more resemble the extant window of the Rhinelander Sugar House, which was a large stone mill-like structure built the same year as the brewery, near what’s now Police Plaza, and a single window preserved nearby, behind the Municipal Building. That one is similar in shape to 20th century buildings, except for having some of the bricks in a different position).

        When they say “built in 1792”, they’re not telling us which building; they’re counting from whatever first opened that year, not expansions, or wood to brick conversions either. (Like we have to wonder what’s with the front part of №24 being wooden. Likely, the brick rear was an expansion they simply connected to a wooden house in the front. Wish Catlin’s drawing showed just one more door to the left to see what that looked like; whether it was a regular house or not!)
        So maybe №24 rear was built in conjunction with №61. Though since №24 seemed to be flat roofed, while both 59 and 61 have the old double pitched roofs, it seems both are older.

        Or if built together, I have to wonder if the sides of either building were the original fronts, from before the street grid was built. (It was reportedly in an open countryside, with just a path to the Collect Pond). On the sides, they look like regular “Federal” style buildings, with the roof sloping that way, and the dormers facing that way. You don’t see this on the side of any other small buildings (i.e. the gable wall facing you with the roof sloping toward the sides). This would also explain in the old green tinted drawing, a building behind №61 also facing left. (Which might be the long rear portion of that building as shown in the 1852 map).
        So then the sides facing Cross St. might originally have been the actual sides, and converted to a new “front” later with new façades, perhaps when Orange St. was built up, and that new building added.

        What was different were the buildings along Cross St., which were the standard two story side-gable roof “house”-like structures; №67-73 being wooden. I imagine they too were built at a different time, perhaps earlier, and №63 and 65 incorporated into the big brewery through expansion.

        So then, what apparently happened, even though it hasn’t been spelled out in the other accounts, is that when Isaac Coulthard died in 1812 and his son William (also “a brewer”) died in 1822 (, 59-61 Cross (and likely №63 with it, see below) then was passed to a successor, and the remaining portions of the complex, at 65 Cross and the large rear portion on the Orange Street lots were sold off to another brewer, remaining an alcohol plant for decades to come before becoming a rookery, while the main brewery went out of business in 1837 (and then, converted to a rookery at that time) and this is the segment of the plant the histories of the area all focused on.

        The first clue was seeing the rear complex labeled as “The Manhattan Brewery” in the 1857 map, and the second one was the 1852 Dripps map that labeled that portion of that side of Cross St. as “Pirnies Distillery”.
        At first, I couldn’t even be 100% sure which building it was referring to.
        Initially, the most I could find looking up the name was a “the distillery of John Pirney” in a passing reference in Immigrant life in New York City, 1825-1863 by Robert Ernst, and couldn’t be sure if it was the same person with the different spelling of the name.
        However, on a later random “try your luck today” search, I run across Longworth’s American Almanac: New York Register and City Directory (and the 1837-8 edition on Google Books, p497) which lists:

        Pirnie John, 24 Orange h. 65 Cross
        Pirnie Peter, distiller 24 Orange h. 107 Cross
        Pirnie J. & P. distillers 24 Orange


        (There’s also a Pirnie George, grocer 39 Duane c. Cross. I take it “h” is “home” and “c” is “cross street”, and the actual street named Cross Street ended at Duane and Reade on the other side of the big junction with Centre St. that’s now the southern tip of Foley Sq., so this too was nearby. №39 was a three story brick building on the corner there that was also №27 Park, and was thus on the next block south/west, from the distillery. Very likely relation).

        An earlier edition of the almanac; looks like 1827, shows “Coulthard & Co William, brewers” at 61 and 63 Cross.
        So 63 was still connected with the brewery, as it would be connected with the Mission!

        However, it also has “Barnes Joseph, Brewer 61 Cross h. 213 Pearl”. This must be the Coulthards’ successor.
        I can’t find any further information on who ran the brewery the remaining 10 years after that.

        George Pirnie still has his grocery on Duane, and the year before (1826) he’s on 25 Cross. In both years, the other two Pirnies, “John and P. distillers” only list 24 Orange.
        The only thing on 65 Cross is Budd Richard H. reterinary [sic] surg. at 28 Mercer being born there —assuming “b.” is “born”.

        1834 has the Pirnies in place on Orange and Cross, but Barnes is gone, and I don’t see 61 Cross, but 59 Cross (the right side half of the building) is “Shanahan, John, carpenter”. 1839 had “O’Connor Dominick grocer” at that address. (Recall, the early drawing of the Brewery has “D.Brennan Grocers” in the №61 half. That can tell us when that drawing was from, but I’m not finding it in the almanacs yet).

        The Coulthards are in place in 1816, but nothing on Pirnie, 65 Cross or 24 Orange. Maybe those buildings weren’t built yet. —Or, maybe they were apart of Coulthard’s plant?
        Not only am I not able to find earlier information of the two plants, but these NYC almanacs seemed to stop after the ’39 one, to see who was running №24 afterward.
        (Could the mystery man in Riis’ photo be one of the Pirnies? Not John or Peter, who didn’t live to that time, but another descendant possibly; assuming that family kept the property).

        Since the name of the company was apparently “J&P” with both men receiving equal billing, I took it they were brothers, and not a father & son, whose company names always seemed to take the form “…& Son”; such as “Coulthard & Son” {brewers Isaac, [William], address “Cross near the collect”} appeared in the 1808 almanac. However, Ernst had cited “John Pirney’s distillery” as an example of a father and son business). Checking his source, I find the
        Biographical Register Of Saint Andrews Society of the State of New York Vol. II 1807 «» 1856, WILLIAM M. MAC BEAN, LL.D.

        The father, John, died in 1862 (by that time, living at 125 East 12th Street; he probably had sold the business by 1857 when it had a new name), and the son, Peter in 1854, “at the early age of thirty-six years”.
        There was also a John Junior, born in 1822, died 1891 (right around the time of Riis’ photo) but he studied law, became a volunteer fireman, and then moved to the midwest in 1860, having only two daughters. (While Peter had four children. There is no mention of George, the nearby grocer in this volume).

        “John was the first of the family to come to America and prior to the year 1817, for on July 16 of that year he married in New York. Family tradition has it that after his marriage he returned to Scotland, was shipwrecked on the Irish Coast, eventually reaching home with his bride. In July 1818 he returned on the ship Glenthorn from Greenock. His brothers and sisters soon followed him.
        In 1822 we find John at Christopher Street, corner of Greenwich Street, engaged in selling liquor and cordials. He had removed to that neighbourhood on account of yellow fever. His brother James died suddenly June in, 1825. In that year we find him and his brother Peter engaged as distillers at 24 Orange Street.

        In 1843 the partnership of J. & P. Pirnie was dissolved, John carrying on alone. Mr. Pirnie was an influential and well known business man of New York in his day. When he died he had succeeded in amassing what in those days was considered wealth. In 1845 he was rated at $150,000.”

        Now this says they were brothers It seems very unlikely, though. John was 27 years older than Peter (1791 vas 1818), and John’s mother was almost 50 at that time, and his father dying 9 years later. Plus, if he was born in 1818, he would only be eight years old when first listed as a partner, and in that of all businesses!
        There has to have been two Peters (with an uncle/nephew relation to each other) and John had named one of his sons after one of his other brothers, who became his distillery partner. (That would explain why it says in the Peter Brown Pirnie entry “In all probability he joined his father’s firm, J. & P. Pirnie, distillers”, when it should have been obvious “Peter” was a partner).

        If the Pirnies had been in any way connected with the Coulthards (which is what I’m trying to determine), it would probably say so here. (Though this record doesn’t mention the Coulthards. But they probably weren’t in this “Society”, though they were likely famous enough to be mentioned if this member had gotten his start in their business).
        It looks like he went from having his own little business to perhaps buying part of a bigger one (which was probably beginning to go under after its founders died). Or maybe he just set up shop next door, to compete, perhaps knowing he could capture the faltering industry’s business. But I’m not sure if he would have been able to build the huge 24 Orange plant by himself so soon.

        (BTW, there’s one really old little two story building on the corner of Christopher and Greenwich definitely which looks like it could have been around then, possibly as his liquor shop. There’s a lot of really old stuff around there, including even the old dormer roof houses here and there).

        But all of this confirms that 24 Orange was itself the distillery, and 65 Cross was the owners’ residence! (At least for some period. Peter’s home, at 107 Cross, was a brick house that got replaced by the current tenement at 21 Mott, on the corner. {Think, the back half of the current Hop Kee restaurant and the Mosco St. door to its basement kitchen, given the downgrade on that street, basically. More on this building in below comment}).

        So it also shows that their distillery did operate side by side with Coulthard’s brewery; its first 12 or so years overlapping with the brewery’s last 12 years).
        The question remains where the distillery originally came from. (I really don’t know anything about the brewing industry. I take it “brewery” is for beer, and “distillery” is for wine and the other “spirits”. Under “Augustus Graham”, I see he had built a brewery upstate, “later adding a distillery”. So the task is to find out if this is what the Coulthards had done, and their successors then spun off the distillery after the father and son died).

        Should also add here that when I saw in the 1894 map that a bowling alley was added to the court, I wondered if this was “Manhattan Lanes“, as printed “Ln” on the previous’ Sanborn map, even though a separate structure was not shown until now; even though what I saw as “Ln” was probably the word “Brewery” partly erased.

        This page: says the very first bowling alleys were right on the next block— the Bend, at №51 and 63 Baxter (near Bottle Alley, another infmaous Riis photo location). It says it was in 1880 “and the apparent origin of the term” [“bowling alley”], but other sites claim the first indoor bowling was someplace called “Knickerbocker Alleys” in 1840, but no one says where. Wonder if it’s the same place, and the date was wrong.

        In any case, the №22/24 alley would also be a pretty early one. Probably a last ditch attempt of the landowners to bring in some additional revenue.

        Some other info on the address:

        The Annals of Hygiene, PA State Board of Health, Volume 7 p.90 Says that both 21 and 24 Baxter was “the Newsboy’s amateur theatre ‘The Grand Duke’s [Opera House]'”. 24 itself was apparently a little wooden building, and the brick buildings were in the court to the rear. This theater is mentioned in Anbinder p.190 as being in the basement, but cites two sources as saying it was on 17 and 19 Baxter. Theaters By Andrew Craig Morrison has an illustration of it from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper on p77, but the images are not shown on the Google Books version.
        Since it was not a theater building, but was just a performance being done in buildings, it probably was moving from place to place.

        The Five Points, Rocco Dormarina, fictionally portrays 24 Baxter “or what was left of it” as “a small grey house [(which formerly might have been considered “handsome”] with a severely sloped roof from which two arched dormers protruded”. The chimney had collapsed, there had been a fire in the balcony blowing out the dormer windows, and the rest of the windows were boarded up. Some boy led a homeless girl there for food and warmth.
        (Don’t know if this has any basis in reality, but that address seems to have been industrial all along. Though other industrial buildings like the original 63 and 65 Park had that design too, though without the dormers apparently. The 24 front house had two stores on the ground floor, according to the 1894 map).

        A Neighboring area:

        I looking up these maps, I kept noticing on some of the previews, this big “X” pattern in the streets. This was located in the neighboring 4th ward (Five Points was the 6th Ward), and was formed by the intersection of the extensions of Chambers St. and Bowery (which first appear in the 1857 maps). Chambers st. would go through the big archway in the current Municipal Building, and continue east. The Bowery extension was later renamed St. James Pl. but nearly everything else was wiped off the map when they built all those highrises over there. The X was enclosed by a box, that was bounded by Pearl on the west (it came at the square diagonally, but then veered to the left to head toward Foley Sq. and the street that takes the same alignment is the Bowery extension), Madison St. on the north, Roosevelt St. (which was totally eliminated) on the east and Oak St. on the south (which was also eliminated, but became Monroe St. which is extant further east).
        Both Bowery/(Pearl south) and Chambers were very wide, and this really stands out on the map.

        You would think they had a name for that. If nothing more than “The X” which is used for a big intersection in Springfield. Wondering what it would be called, or what it must have looked like, I was able to find an article on it:
        It’s referred to as “the six triangles” (There was a little street, Chestnut Street, running between Roosevelt and Pearl that also ran through the intersection, dividing two of the four right triangles, making six).
        This site (aptly titled “Lost Neighborhood”) also discusses it and has a lot of photos, and an overlay of the streets on a current view:

        Sad to see such wide swaths of interesting parts of the city obliterated for big, cold, monolithic cookie cutter development.

        I did used to wander over to the northeast corner of what’s left of the box; where St. James intersects Madison (and where Roosevelt used to pass through, and I knew nothing about the street until more recently), in the triangle shaped old building (25-27 Madison St./27-29 St. James Pl.), because the store there had Drake’s Swiss Rolls, toward the end of my court job, c. ’99-00. Probably the last time I had them. (Don’t think new owner McKee is interested in bringing them back, especially when it conflicts with the name of their Little Debbie imitation Yodels).
        Looking in Google Street View, they really cleaned that building nice (shown from the Madison St. view, while the St James view still shows the old red paint job). A sort of sister building (both plain red brick with slate lintels) is on the other end of a triangle, at 61-63 St. James, near Chatham Sq.
        Next block down on Madison remains one of those old little houses with the dormers (№49) that must be almost 200 years old, next to a row of really old looking tenements (39-45, on very shallow lots) which are of the red with white lintels design, but have had a lot of new bricks added to the façade. They were there in the 1853 map).

  3. Locate That Photo:

    Kept running across this photo, that had not been placed, and wondered where this rustic hardscrabble scene was (from Chritiano “Where the Gangs Lived”):

    I wonder if the site host even knows where it is.
    It’s obviously not the familiar Bend pictures, so it perhaps it could be one of those mystery places I had wanted to see a picture of (like Baxter south of Worth)?

    I had been seeing a slightly different version on the Latin American Studies site (see below) which shows more of the right side, but less of the left side. However now on this one, I finally caught notice of the addresses clearly printed on two adjacent buildings: 88 and 90. Now, which street near the Five Points has addresses in that range? It then began falling into place, and suddenly, two familiar structures (to me in my day, that is, which are very familiar landmarks) became recognizable:

    Here, from the same location as the original:

    Wow; the difference in 130 years!

    The stone church on the left (built in 1801, IIRC, and thus lasted through the whole Five Points era to its clearance, to the present), and №21 Mott, the five story tenement with the plain red brick façade with arched lintels (as I discussed in the above comment. It even retains a few of the old four pane window sashes, on the third floor). As I’ve said; I often cut through there, usually on the way to Chinatown Fair ( at 8 Mott St. (to the right, around that corner. 1950’s-70’s era looking building there now); often at the end of a San Gennaro trip, and occasionally on lunch when I worked at the courts.
    Of course now, the whole street is dominated by Confucius Plaza, the big highrise way over on the other side of Bowery, at the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge.

    What’s hard to make out in the old picture is Mulberry St. which crosses in the middle of that stretch. You can see №31 Mulberry which is a “colonial” style (gable roof with the double chimneys; this can even be seen in the 1879 3D birdseye drawing, as well as this rare picture I found of Home of the Rioters, but at a more easterly angle:
    Here’s another rare drawing in the same direction, showing 21 Mott and the church steeple in the distance:

    In the photo, you can even barely make out the little house at 30 Mulberry (Black Horse Tavern; the last wooden building, shown in a picture with the current tenement at №32 already there —, where “Sam’s Deli” is now on the ground floor of the tenement built shortly after; seen on the left of the current day picture. Coworkers often went there. The house is easier to see in the below picture). To look to the left down Mulberry around this time, you would see this common view: №48-50 and the similar №46 to the right of it are the ones still there, though look different with the shutters and 48-50 without the fire escapes (№46 had an older style fire escape since replaced my a modern one).
    The 1879 representation also shows one tenement each on the southwest corner of both Mott and Mulberry, but again, it’s hard to tell if those were actually on the corner, or perhaps next to it.

    The corner of Mott was always interesting, with the hill Mosco (what Park is now) goes up, leading to the intersection, and the fieldstone church on one side, and the really old looking somewhat tall (5 story) tenement on the other side. These same two buildings were in this picture, when the street was covered with dirt and stones, and all these other old buildings were everywhere else.

    It’s so funny, because I’ve been imagining what it would be like being transported back in time to Five Points; like before I did all this research on it and so not knowing so much about it, and then trying to find my way around. Like if I suddenly woke up in the 24 Baxter court still not knowing where it was (or even if it were really in this city).

    So ok, I’m at this building I’ve seen a picture of and wondered about for so long; now let’s see where it/I really am.
    So I head out the narrow alley between the [wooden] №20 and 22, (probably terrified of what lurks around every corner in this most likely scary looking ramshackle area), placing me on Baxter St. It would of course be totally unrecognizable, and what I would see depended on what part of the century I was in. Early part, looking north, I would see the badly warped Home of the Rioters on the corner, and likely be drawn that way. If after 1875, that would be gone, with more typical looking city buildings there, but looking the other way, I would see the Third Avenue el on that corner (Park Row, but not called that yet), and I of course would instantly be drawn that way, and probably quickly find City Hall, or at least Chatham Square.

    So I usually imagine earlier, especially before Worth was extended eastward. I would see this one diagonal street ending at this five-cornered intersection, and try to think where I’ve seen something like that. Before 1854 would be even better, because I wouldn’t recognize any of the three street names. So I imagine seeing this little street that ends a few a blocks away at another street, so to keep some bearing in the grid, perhaps, I go down that way (tripping over all these rocks in the not even paved looking little street, and having to squeeze past all these horse carriages and wagons).
    While some drawings show street names on the buildings, I wonder if I would notice them. If I do, I soon cross Mulberry St. but not knowing where I am at all, and other cities have Mulberry St. (including especially Springfield) I can still only wonder if it’s really NYC. What are this Cross, Orange or Anthony Streets? I wonder if the bend in the street mid block to the north would tip me off (even though it would look so different than today. Before the 1880’s, №48-50 and other buildings on the east side wouldn’t be there yet, it would all be the little gabled, mostly wooden houses). So if I reach Mott, I would see the stone church at the top of the hill. I would probably then figure it out. Of course, if there’s a sign, that would confirm it.

    Both the 1894 Sanborn map, and Google satellite view show №21 and 19 as dumbbell tenements. So they were probably built in or after 1879, and the new street names, extended Worth St., the el and other things would have probably tipped me off or led me away before I got to that intersection.
    [edit: finally got some 1870’s maps, and they were there in the 1875 map, but not 1870. See chronology above. They predate the Old Law by a few years though conforming to the light shaft that would afterward be required].
    The second Park St. drawing showing №21 looks like it’s dated 1879. (But probably not since the Home of the Rioters was gone by the 1875 map. Maybe it was a retrospective drawing from 1879, or maybe the “9” is another number. Whichever year, it must be the very last days of the Home of the Rioters). So 21 Mott, which does look sort of brand new from what we can tell, may be one of the first dumbbell tenements, and perhaps a late example of that plain arched lintel design (the Tenement Museum’s 97 Orchard uses that style and is from 1863) since the architecture was starting to become more ornate around that time.

    Seeing that better view of Park St. It looks like it wouldn’t be familiar at all until I got to the corner at Mott. Still, in 1879, I would have those lures to the other direction.

    If I was simply transported to the time and place of this picture, then I could imagine still not knowing where I am, heading to the end of that street; perhaps still not recognizing Mulberry and glossing over it.
    Or maybe let’s make the walk from the 24 court at night. Then it would be harder to recognize things and read signs (and the area all the more frightening as well, so I would be hurrying through).

    So I could imagine the shock of ending up on the street between the brick №21 and the church, and then looking up at both buildings and suddenly having a flashback[or ahead] to my own time. “So that’s where this is?”

    The point was, in imagining this, it was hard to picture the surroundings as I walk that way, as I thought I had no pictures looking east on Park St. But now knowing what this picture is, I can see exactly what I would have seen on that walk.

    (Of course, many of the other buildings in the area, are newer 20th Century New Law tenements, such as (of the ones in the pictures blocking Mosco[Park/Cross] from continuing) the yellow-beige 26 Mott. 24 Mott is an Old Law dumbbell, but is clearly of a later style than №21 (smoother red bricks with terra cotta jack arches). What appear in the old picture seem to be little three story tenements in those lots. №22 (just to the right of what’s visible on that corner) has the same red brick arched lintel design as №21, but has been totally modified, with a 1920’s style fancy pedimented parapet replacing the cornice, window ledges replaced with brick “rowlocks”, and the lintels cemented over. №28 (to the left) is an older looking five story dumbbell and №30 is a really old looking three story building; probably the remnant of a row that included what’s seen in the picture at №24 and 26. So it certainly would not have stood out as something I would notice).
    So isolated tenements dotting the area that existed both now and then would probably not have made the street familiar.

    If before 1859, the church and Mott St. name by itself (along with the bend in that street) would still give me an almost certain clue, but when I figure I’d walk to Chatham Sq. (making a note to try to point out where Chinatown Fair would be), only to find a regular perpendicular two-street intersection, then I would be dumbfounded (“Where’s Worth St.“?). The cross street would be called “Chatham Street”, which I had never heard of (It’s what Park Row was called), though I would figure it must have something to do with the Chatham Square I do know of.

    Next is another picture not placed:


    Right away, if it’s Chinatown or Five Points, than there’s only one street that would be at an angle like that with the rest of the grid: Worth St.
    But where exactly?

    I at first figured probably just west of Baxter, with the House of Industry to the left beyond the picture, and the tenements the ones on Baxter (which you can catch a glimpse of in a picture of the House of Industry, though I didn’t check that one at this point to see if they were the same).
    But looking at the 1894 Sanborn, again, to the east of Baxter, I found a small wooden structure fitting the shape of the little wooden liquor stand shown. This is 175 Worth, and what you see behind it are the backs of the buildings shown on the right side of the first picture! 89 and 93 Park, on the south side of the street, opposite 88 and 90.

    The one big difference, is that the cleanly white painted tenement (29 Mulberry, on the corner of Park; aka 95 Park) is not in the first picture. So it evidently wasn’t built yet. You would think it was much older than that, with the plain rear lintel design, but this did continue to be used throughout the century, even as most buildings went with the segmental arch by that time). It was likely very new in this picture. The 1885 map shows there still being a wooden building there, though 1891 shows the brick one, and that it sticks out back further than the ones to the right of it, exactly as we see in the picture (№27 and 25; these two were in the 1885 map), and everything else aligned accordingly.

    So then the first picture is likely in the 1880’s, when 21 Mott is there, but not 29 Mulberry. Actually, a lot was built up in the Five Points by that time (The Mission, the House of Industry, and the bigger tenements and lofts around them, and even the corner to the right of this picture), so the scene of the first picture was just a remaining pocket of the really older little buildings and a poorly paved or cleaned street.
    The following version of the picture says 1861, but I just saw the 1870 Perris map, and the old wooden building is still at 21 Mott. The church steeple visible in the photo was added in 1868 (Wikipedia).

    If it had been 1861, that would be good for my imaginary trip, as potential clues along the way such as the el would not be there yet. The Home of the Rioters (№84ff) would be right to the left of the picture.
    It does also confirm what I was saying regarding the “Gangs of NY” set; that there was no four story brick tenement on the south side of Park, behind 27 Baxter, but rather small wooden buildings, that by 1891 do get brick faces. This is exactly what we see here in this other version:
    So again, it looked like they were portraying 31½ Baxter.

    These brick fronts on №87ff are also evidences of a later date for this picture, as they might not have been added in 1861. 24 Baxter front received one in that incorrectly dated “1902 Bromley” map, but I found that this map is more likely 1867 Perris (The site that has it doesn’t show Park St. much east of the corner). So it seems to be a later pattern.

    Now, there’s this one, captioned “Five Points in snow, 1890”; I had just found and never saw before:
    at from
    Again, 45° street, must be Worth.
    The address on the corner building seems to say 365, but that might be a “1” instead of a “3”. The northwest corner of Worth and Baxter (where I first thought the previous picture might have been) is №167 (aka 30 Baxter).
    So in the 1894 map, 165 is a little 2 story wooden industrial structure with a brick face that also holds the lot at 32 Baxter, and to the left of that, an uncovered 1 story wooden structure that sticks out toward the street. Behind all of this is the side of a dumbbell tenement. Looks like what we’re seeing here. There’s also supposed to be 163, another 2 story brick faced industrial wooden structure, and to the left of that, the tenement (34 Baxter) has a second front at 161 Worth. (This can be seen in this picture of the House of Industry:

    It is looking north, from the people’s shadows (from the sun). Still, we see across from that tenement, another one, fitting the image of the old 31½ Baxter. And in that case, to the right, we see what at least one of the brick buildings replacing the old Home of the Rioters looks like (№82 Park; more of the arched lintel variety).

    The lots in the picture are apparently smaller than they seem, so perhaps that was something that was there. Though the tenement does look like it’s coming close to the street too quickly, so that there would be no room for a 163 Worth. But sometimes photography is like that, where foregrounds become compressed (don’t know if that effect existed back then). So not 100% sure. If not, then it’s not Five Points at all, as none of the other corners of Worth match at all.
    [Edit: had contacted MCNY about the 24 Baxter photo, and the person mentioned it was apart of a “stereo view” Riis and two associates had done; hence different prints showing more or less on the edges. “Stereoscopy” is the technology I was trying to describe here, which alters depth, so yes, it was common in the 19th century; so this is definitely what we’re seeing here with 34 Baxter. It’s why many of these photos have different prints showing more to the left or the right.
    Also since ran across this site, which clearly tags the photo at this location:
    This version of the photo, without the snow on the ground, shows more to the left, including the beginning of the Worth St. front of the tenement as seen in the House of Industry photo: You can see from the front of that building, in addition to №167/30, that it’s looking at a slight angle to the east, and not perpendicular to Worth as one might assume; so that would also explain why the tenement seems to come toward the street at too great an angle].

    It would also show that the original 30 Baxter from Catlin’s drawing did not last until the end, as I thought. It was still shown with the rounded corner in the ’94 map, however, but it was now 3 stories (as we see in the picture), where the original building was 2 stories plus the dormers (which did not usually seem to count as a separate floor, but I assumed it was probably a modification of the building).

    Here’s a picture I just found, dated 1873 which appears to be looking at that corner, with the old 30 Baxter (and huge House of Industry beyond it), but the new 82 Park:
    (Confirms arched lintel design on that building).

    Another rare view, showing the large tenements to the north of 30; i.e. №36-40 (which would be the same ones in the background of the Dens of Death photo):

    This appears to be them too: (Lights and Shadows of New York Life, by James D. McCabe p683-4 “LX. TENEMENT HOUSE LIFE”)

    Funny, as Google placed the address of 24 Baxter on this corner, and that’s where I thought it was, and was looking at in House of Industry pictures and even Catlin, before the fire insurance maps showed me where it really was. This picture gives me a clear shot that proves it wasn’t there. Still hope to find a picture like this of the southwest corner where it really was.

    Obviously the new Bend park, but I always wondered which direction it was looking. Now, looking at addresses, “106” could only be on Bayard, so this is looking north, with Baxter to the left. Another area rarely shown.

    Now, I notice that you can even see the same scene from a distance in this photo whose location was always obvious:

    Bottle Alley” is a familiar Bend location, and the scene of a murder. The first picture is the more common one, and in both looking from where the stairway is placed, the second is looking right face from the first one.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an address given for it, but in the first picture, you can see the “bend” shaped rear of the bigger buildings, which would fit 51 and 53 Mulberry, which appear in the familiar “Bend” (front) picture as brick tenements.

    Looking at the building maps, you can see the row of wooden shanties behind the also wooden front building at 45 Baxter, the rear of the brick 43 Baxter, and the view is cut off by the rear side of 39 Baxter, which is the end of the row of big tenements replacing the Dens of Death.
    So the house with the deck is the 47 Baxter rear (Which is opposite 51 Mulberry), and next to is is the 49 rear.
    (Note: just found this site which identifies it as 47 Baxter:

    Some drawings I haven’t been able to place:

    Murder’s Alley aka Donovan Lane

    That’s the alleyway on Block 160 that was a shortcut from Pearl to Baxter (and also the back of the Old Brewery), and thus used as an escape route for criminals. If I’m looking at the right spaces between buildings, it goes from between №474 and 476 Pearl, and comes out between №6 and 8 Baxter. It may have, at some time, connected to the №18-24 court which it was only a few lots away from. (And Frank Moss 1n 1897 mentioned №14 being associated with it as well).

    Not able to make out which buildings are which, from the maps, yet. With the shadowing, they’re probably in the sunlight, and it’s facing east or south.
    The only thing I could see this being is (left to right) №478 Pearl rear (which is also on the №476 lot rear), №14 Baxter rear, the brick №12½ Baxter, and the old gabled wooden №10 and 12 Baxter. The background (across the street) might be №13 Baxter which was part of a big industrial complex, and a shorter №15 to the left of it.

    “Marketing at Five points, circa 1850, from John Duffy’s A History of Public Health in New York”
    Wondered if this could be the southern view of the intersection we’ve been missing, but the building in the background is too big to be 24 Baxter (and it never seemed to have a railing on the roof like that). It might be the bend on Baxter itself looking south), with the big building being №40.

    Sketch of Baxter Street, New York, 1880s, Charles W. Witham,-New-York,-1880s.html

    I don’t know where to begin trying to place this one. Those “colonial” style houses were all gone from the immediate Five Points area by that time, so it may be further up the street. The Mulberry Bend Park picture I deciphered above shows some of these structures on Baxter [still] immediately north of Bayard, and that was at the turn of the century. So it’s a good bet this drawing was from around there somewhere, especially with the bigger buildings in the background, which as it was made me think of that area.

    “Backgrounds of Civilization — Realities of the Five Points,” featured in the New York Illustrated News on February 25, 1860

    Two street scenes, but I can’t read the captions. Mentions a “Crown’s alley”, which I haven’t heard of before.

    “Five Points in 1837”
    This can’t be Five Points, because of the ships and rolling plains and mountains in the background
    One building says “______ street Hotel”; too bad the street name is behind the other building.

    More uncertain stuff I found:

    This site: has a picture captioned as Baxter St. and said to be in 1893, and it’s looking north at high noon, but there looks like an el in the distance. Baxter doesn’t go south of Park Row (where the el was); Roosevelt St. starts there, slightly to the east, while this street goes straight through.
    Since it says Italian immigrants, it’s probably north of Canal, and the metal truss I see going across must be something else.

    Newspaper with a drawing of scenes from the area:

    This one says 1913 Five Points:

    [Edit: seeing a larger print of this, I just notice addresses (often key to cracking photos like this) on the two corner buildings facing us: 47 and 49. It can’t be Baxter, Mulberry or Mott, because of the corner; or Worth, Bayard, Leonard, White, Walker, Canal, Elizabeth, because of the address range; and not even Park (at the corner of Centre), because the numbers are going up, toward the corner, where on Park they would be going down. Most likely not Five Points at all].

    “Children at Worth Street and Five Points play in dirty snow banks; wagons, tenements and shops can be seen in the background, c 1880-1900”
    (doesn’t look like Worth because of the square corners, and I don’t see any addresses).
    Another version that says “Worth Street and Five Points 1880-1899 Street Scenes”

    • Other stuff I found while compiling this comment:

      Also found another rare drawing view, of the Old Brewery looking southwest, showing the buildings up to №67, plus the buildings on the west side of Little Water St.
      So Gangs of NY got that whole street wrong, portraying almost farm like wooden buildings, including one sitting on a little hill, but it was really an attached row of mostly brick “federal” style buildings.

      Another Catlin-like drawing I hadn’t seen before.,-Seventy-five-Years-Ago.-2F3HRG2233U.html

      A real photo of the OLD Mission building (no other buildings seen, though). It didn’t seem one even existed:

      All the old drawings showed it as having a symmetrical arrangement of 10 columns of windows: the four multistory arched windows in the middle, and three columns of regular windows on each side.
      Yet now, we see a total of 13 columns, with six coulmns on the left (an extra three columns, or the standard width of a single lot). 63 Park has already been integrated into the building!

      Another one in The American metropolis, from Knickerbocker days to the present time, Volume 3 p.87 though that might be a really good drawing.

      Another version of one of the Mission drawings showing more of the surrounding area:,-N.Y.-2F3XC5057JN.html

      Good closeup drawing of the Old Brewery/mission, and you can read the signs; and BREWERY” is also printed on the side of 24 Orange (Good support for my “Old Brewery/New Brewery” idea).

      (Also, of note, the twin 63/65 Cross are drawn with keystoned jack arches, like №18 Bowery, which is a noted 1700’s survivor. So perhaps they were from the same period like the brewery?)

      The Bend from a bit further back than the familiar one:

      Now, some real interesting stuff!

      Centre Street County Courthouse
      Panoramic view, before construction Looking northeast to Baxter Street

      Only thing that fits is the dumbbell tenement (with Coca Cola ad) as №8 Baxter, and the rear and front tenement as 472 Pearl. This basically was “Murderer’s Alley”! (It’s really looking more southeast. The southwest corner is the one that lasted longer, as the courthouse was to the northwest of the block).
      470 Pearl, which occupied the whole lot, must have been demolished aready, along with a wooden rear structure on the 4 story half of 468 (shown in 1898), allowing us a view of the three story half, which is seen between the №47s buildings

      Here we see to the left of that: exposing something we’ve never seen before; most of the east side of Baxter, block 161: right to left, the smaller scaled 5 story arched linteled 7 Baxter, the larger scaled 5 story industrial 9-13, (which are likely seen in silhouette form in the background of the Donovan’s Lane drawing) 15 (which was very new, replacing an old wooden building), the small old 17, and the start of 19-23, which ran to the corner.
      №8 has a Hohner Harmonica ad painted on front half of the side (where the Coca Cola ad was on the rear half. Though both businesses started in the latter half of the 19th century, with these huge wall paintings, on more “modern” tenements, we can tell we’ve entered the 20th century now).

      And here’s to the left of that, showing the corner, the triangle block and Mulberry Bend Park:

      Overhead of the whole area:
      We can see the two old Park Street properties that were never upgraded from the old little wooden structures, which only received brick façades.

      Aerial view, new Criminal Court
      August 10, 1941

      Like the Bing view, you can make out the porch on 48-50 Mulberry

      Finally, that southwest view of Five Points block 160 we’ve been looking for —but too late for all the buildings in that corner:

      The buildings shown would be the ones whose foundations were uncovered for the Moynihan US Courthouse. (The actual ones shown in the link were on the west side of the street; i.e. #8 and below, and the ones on the east side such as #23 would have been uncovered as well).
      Upon this excavation, they were dubbed “the infamous Five Points tenements” (with artifacts collected, but then lost in 9-11 from being stored at WTC somewhere), but these are not the same buildings that had gained so much infamy from the writings of Crockett, Dickens and others, or even the remaining rookeries Riis captured. They were just regular turn of the century city tenements.

      I remember first seeing the Catlin drawing, and thinking those must have been the foundations uncovered! They looked different from other “tenements”, so this was like such a unique housing development. But that was a totally different generation of structures (a half century or more apart, actually), and as we see, this last generation were the same as the common modern (relatively speaking) ones that still exist all over the city, including nearby Mulberry (east side of street), or Baxter north of Bayard. Those can be considered “Five Points tenements” as much as these were; these were just closer to the actual intersection. (№17 was the sole remnant of the old gable-roofed generation).

      After following this corner and particularly the №24 lot for 50 years of its history, seeing it level makes me almost glad the old distillery building of the Riis photo likely didn’t last until this end as I had hoped! (It’s not what was just cleared; it was its replacement the tenements that had just been razed).

  4. Look what I found apparently on the back of 48-50 Mulberry:
    This from Cross, er, Park, er Mosco St. No entrance to the rear anymore.

    Definitely the top of some sort of multistory veranda.
    I was first tipped off when doing the above comment, where I was describing imagining seeing Mott St. in the 1800’s, and looking up which of the old buildings there now were around then. I was comparing the old insurance maps used above with the Google satellite view. I noticed several rear buildings on block 164 that had these wooden attachments (including 54 and 56 Mulberry. Together, they look like they could have been the “Mott St.” examples in the pictures in the OP! It’s easy to imagine the Mulberry rear space mistaken for Mott St. rear), but it looks like the ones that had them were all replaced by newer buildings at some point. Though (from Google) there are a few of the other rear buildings still there, including 39 and 47 Mott and 60 Mulberry and possibly also 58.

    But looking at all of this, I suddenly see (on the 1894 map) that 48-50 had one too! A building obviously well known to be still there!
    Something I had passed by, starting with my first San Gennaro festival (with my family) in ’83 (When it still came that far down), right around the time I was becoming so interested in buildings and always pondering the difference between New York and Springfield and other New England cities that have “back porches” on the tenements in place of fire escapes. The following year, I would see the 24 Baxter picture (though not knowing really where it was), which would seem to be an odd fitting counterexample for the city. Eventually, I would make San Gennaro a regular annual thing (don’t even buy anything other than an eclair or something; just like the setting and the bustle), and I would work near there, and always see the old looking rust colored building across the park. One day, the coworkers even had a little softball game in the park, and 48-50 stood out.
    All that time, and little did I know!

    The Google satellite showed the shape of the roof incorporating this addition to the south side of the rear part that sticks out (which may be a rear building that abuts the front building; the whole thing being “T” shaped). But the shadow of the building next to it obscures that wall, and when zooming in, it begins distorting the shapes. Bing “Bird’s Eye” doesn’t zoom in close enough there. It gosh darn looked like I was faintly seeing under the roof vertical beams and a stairway to the right like the porch is still there! (You would think they would just replace the porch with a regular fire escape, or brick it in; i.e. incorporate it into the interior, like they do on some wooden buildings in places like Yonkers. Wonder what made them decide to keep this one as an open deck).
    [Edit: here is the Bing URL, and what I just found is that if you play with it, it may change to a different time of day, with the sun shining right on that wall instead of it being in the shadows, and then you can even zoom in further; and you can see it is clearly a “porch”-style balcony!]

    “And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street”:
    New York, NOT Springfield, that is!

    So I have to think I might have misremembered which door I went through 15 years ago looking to see if I would ever find something like that in the rear of the buildings.
    I had chosen 48-50 from seeing an open passageway to the rear, and had just seen the Roosevelt St. photo with it’s big porch, and that it was described as a “rear tenement”; and thus figured perhaps that’s what I might find a porch on in the city, and the passageway would be a sign of a rear house. Add to that, the plain rust colored brick with lintels kind of looked a bit New Englandish, and something that looks like it would come with a back porch, if there were ever one to be found in the city. The buildings shown with these things all seemed to have a plain lintel design.

    Now I figure it must have been №52 that had the opening to the rear (it did have a rear tenement at one time), but that was on the other side of this rear wing of №48-50. I remember looking to the right, towards 48-50, and seeing nothing; probably a blank wall. (Likely blank, considering the new “Hotel Mulberry” building is at 52 now, right up against the whole north wall).
    Wow; if only I could have seen the other side! I was looking for that, but figured it was a wild shot, and nothing like that would ever really be left, in Manhattan of all places! So close!

    In this new [first] photo you can clearly see a gray painted horizontal beam supporting the extension of the roofline (which leans slightly, as they usually do on such extensions), and a vertical beam supporting it, and dark open space with a red painted wall under it. Looks like steel, though not completely able to tell, though the big beam does look too wide and smooth to be wood; like a wide I-beam. A regular fire escape is to the right of it (its deck slightly higher since it’s on a window and not a door), which must be the garbled stairs I saw on Google. So the veranda probably doesn’t have a stairway of its own. I imagine the apartments on it probably now have internal access to the main hallway staircase, where originally, this was probably the main entrance to the rear tenement (which were usually detached from the front building). Perhaps the balconies are the “hallway” for these apartments, accessed by a door to the inside hallway.

    You can see serviced by the fire escape a regular segmental arched window (and then the new hotel towering over the whole thing from behind). I assumed it would use lintels like the front and like most other rear tenements, though this is from the 1880’s, and by that time, most buildings used the arches in the rear. (Many “double tenements” were probably much older than this, from when the front buildings were very small {The block 160 brick rear houses were about the same age as this one, replacing older wooden structures. None of those are still around, of course}; but it seems this peculiar “Old Law” era layout was a sort of compromise, where they abuted, instead of going with the standard “dumbbell” shape most other buildings were using at the time).

    If it is metal, I wonder when it was replaced, and if the apparent renovation and cleaning years ago was when they replaced the wood. Probably not, but when I worked down there and it looked like this: it was easy to imagine it with the wood, from seeing so many New England buildings like that.

    So this gives a clue as to what might happen if one of those [rear] buildings that had these survives to the present.

    For some reason I thought №46 had that demolition disguised as renovation (where they remove the façade), but I guess I was misremembering №52, which is the new hotel. Instead, it too looks like it’s had a brick cleaning, and is being kept up as well. (Asking around, it seems to have the same owner). Possibly what threw me off was perhaps one San Gennaro/Chinatown Fair trip seeing the scaffolding for the cleaning, and figuring it was next, after №52.
    The cornice stills says “1886”.
    I would think any surviving buildings that appeared in any of those old Five Points pictures should be landmarked.

    Meanwhile, at 19 and 21 Mott, the dumbbell shaft shape is evident in the wall of the businesses on the ground floor, but there are no windows on it visible.
    The cornices have a space that look like it would have a date, but are blank. Recall, the picture in the last comment says 1861, but I don’t think they’re that old, since they are dumbbells which were the 1879 law.

    Also, wonder how I forgot all about this old picture I got from years ago:

    A friend who worked for the Buildings Dept. had told me of a case he had there (W156th St.), where the residents had to use that thing to exit the building, because of some condition in the hallway, which is what the doors to it lead from.
    Don’t know what made them decide to do that on just that one building. LA old apartment buildings do that too, and the door will often be kept open and you can look right down the straight hallway. (My honeymoon hotel window overlooked a building like that, though the shape of the stairway was more like a regular fire escape).

    Also should be mentioned, right across the backyard from where I grew up, 521 E21st St. (Brooklyn), which is one of the typical 1920’s Flatbush buildings, but in the corner of a rear little bay, one line of apartments had a steel balcony (including the vertical support column), which on most floors was usually screened, resembling a “porch”. (French doors opened out onto it). Even something like that I did not see anywhere else on the pre-war buildings in the city (many post war buildings have concrete balconies with no vertical support beams).
    However, years ago, on one visit to a friend (whose apartment overlooked that backyard), I noticed it was gone, and the doorways raised into regular windows.

    I better chill with the buildings for now, before something happens to another interesting or memorable one somewhere and I get upset. Especially after all that rain. That’s when they sometimes start collapsing. There was already a retaining wall that collapsed.
    Also, I see the little row on Mulberry @ Grand I mentioned is in danger! It has a name, Stabile Row: reminded me of the similar ones on Grand @ Thompson –that they replaced with a new building they tried to make look like the old one by painting it green like the old one was!

  5. Truly extraordinary post. Thanks especially for your attention to aligning the old photos with the current streetscapes. I’ve long been puzzled by 46 Mulberry. From a couple of maps it seems to have been built in 1886, just as its cornice announces (the cornices, as you know, were easily replaced, so its date is no proof of construction), yet it has no indentation on either side for an airshaft. I imagine it escaped the law on the north side for the sake of the odd-lot courtyard, but I’d expect the south side should have a dumbbell indentation, but it has instead the kind of makeshift redesigned airshaft of pre-laws accomodating to the Old Law.

    It’s also not as deep as most Old Laws, it’s only 5 stories (although many Chinatown Old Laws are only 5 stories, not the usual 6 throughout the rest of the LES), and it has not a hint of terra cotta on its face, even more unusual for 1886. It’s shallow presumably because there’s no room in the lot, and it’s shallowness may have allowed it to escape the law. The lack of terra cotta may indicate that the original owner was Protestant — the Astors, in their buildings, spurned the terra cotta fad viewing it as barbaric, undignified markers of immigration. Any wisdom on 46?

    • Thanks!

      You know; you’re right. I didn’t even think of that. (I was of course so focused on the extremely rare “back porch” of №48 next door).
      They usually build the dumbbell impression regardless of what’s on the adjacent lot, unless it’s on the corner that side of the building is on the other street.

      I do know it wasn’t in the 1884 map (which is not online; the NYHS had it), and that figured for an 1886 construction.

      It’s hard to tell what exatly is on the south side of that building, because the maps blur a a bit in the closest zoom. I see some triangular shaped thing on the roof near the back on the south side, but it’s hard to tell if that’s a shaft, or something on the roof. It also looks like two parapets separating the rear few yards of the roof from the rest, and not being able to make out the stuff on the rear wall, I have to wonder if that one has a back porch too.
      №44 does have an almost “new-law” style square shaft on that side, even though it looks like it’s as old as 46.(Didn’t follow the history of that one). But again, they would usually build the dumbbell imprint regardless of what the other building has. (I see two places in Brooklyn, where one wooden tenement, and a converted loft building, which had no imprints yet have windows on the wall (later additions for the frame house), are having new buildings going up next door, with the new brick walls rising right over the [still used] windows! Hence one couldn’t assume that because a current next door building allows light space, that it would always be like that).
      So I don’t know how they pulled that one off. Perhaps as you said, it’s not too deep. The same with №48-50, and being in that odd “Bend” configuration.
      (Again, on the flipside was 19 and 21 Mott, around the corner, which predate the law, and even appear in the earlier plain red brick with arched lintel design, yet have the dumbbell shaft between them, and the imprint on the south.

      Terra cotta is the almost glossy stone №40 and below have over the windows, right? But those are newer style; like closer to the turn of the century. While №40 is a dumbbell, the big №36-8 (the funeral home) is New Law shape, yet in the same basic façade style. (Beaux Arts). So when you mention terra cota, you weren’t expecting Beaux Arts, were you?
      From what I see, №46 is typical of the 1880’s. That’s where it was still fairly plain, but they added the horizontal stone (in this case, slate, it appears) lintel abutment stripe, and still rust red brick.

      What you said about the religious aspect of it was interesting, and I didn’t know. Ridiculous, and I cited stuff on the religious bigotry surrounding the Five Points Mission.

      Last month (when I got the pictures), I went into the laundromat in this building, trying to see the №48 porch, and there was a back door pointing right in that direction (left), but the manager or whoever wouldn’t let me. Then a few weeks ago, I swung by there again, and the YoBerry (which the girl said was reopening) in №48 itself, had its back door open, which would leave you right under the thing practically, but she wouldn’t let me look!

      Here, BTW the building appears in this shot of what I thought was a rare view of Bandit’s Roost, but it’s address is usually given as №59½, and this location would be around №43 where there’s an alley shown in Bromley:

      [Edit: Just found out that this was called “Maloney’s Alley ]

      • Fantastic photo from the alley. I’ve always assumed that the triangular shape on the roof is a rennovation to comply with the 1879 law, but now that I think of it, why create an air shaft so near the rear face?

        New Law terra cotta was preceded by Old Law terra cotta, much more elaborate, outlandish, individualistic, showy and unrestrained and untrained than the strictly Parisian and so more uniform and principled Beaux Arts of the New Law with its dignified imprimatur of exclusive and elitist European education. #1 Elizabeth and the Herter Bros buildings opposite on Bayard are typical of 1880’s. I believe #1 was constructed in 1886. I’m guessing that Beaux Arts style of the New Law was far more acceptable to Protestant landowners than the previous style that they must have found vulgar and chaotic, the mark of immigrant new money. Kerri Kulhane, in her report for the Chinatown-Little Italy historic registration, mentions that the elaborate terra cotta was especially popular among Jewish owners.

        Riis describes the replacement of cornices with new dates on old structures. Oldest building on my block, provably (and fascinatingly) from the early 1850’s, perhaps earlier, has a cornice announcing “Katz 1890.” Amusingly, the local preservation community took it as an 1890 construction, and proudly promotes it as a valuable, old 1890 building, even sending a letter to the Landmarks Commission about it with this false date. Well, the replacement cornice was intended to deceive…

  6. OK; just looked at 1 Elizabeth on Google. The terra cotta that’s the same color as the brick. I never knew what exactly that was; figured it was just the same brick clay baked into a sculpture, but not sure.
    Yeah, that looks like a typical c1880’s design as well, and yes, it marks the begining of the Beaux Arts style, with the pediments over some of the windows (while others have the full arches that were the most common). Even the cornice has the curved rises that foreshadows the 1920’s front parapets that replaced cornices (20 Mulberry is kind of an example of what I’m talking about).

    So the designers of 46 Mulberry wanted to stick with something less ornate. (That is a VERY common design all across the city. They even revived that style in the NEW rows in spots in east Harlem, like entire block bounded by 117th, Madison, 118th and 5th).

    I’m not sure which ones the Herter Bros. buildings are, though I see the three with the ornate white carved terra cotta (one of them has them painted red), and the keystones also have faces. I always thought those were later features (turn of the century, at least).

    Again, you’re probably right about the religious bigotry. Brings to mind Baptist groups that still this day say music should not be lively (“rock” or “jazz”-influenced), because the types are from “the jungle” (though many cover up some of this language), and thus only the old hymns are acceptable.

    There’s a building on Broadway (Brooklyn) right next to the elevated station platform, that is a double building that shares one cornice, but has two years in the window arch keystones for each side; 1873 and1906. It’s not like you can see one side is older, and the other a new extension. It’s all the same style, so I wonder what’s what. I guess it’s an extension and the two façades were made to match.

    Also, if you look at the clip of the 1894 map I have above, you’ll see there are these two areas of 46 on the sides that look like shafts, but are pink (part of the building), so I’m not sure what that means.

    • Yes, the terra cotta is made of the same material as brick and fired similarly although it can be molded in a variety of colors. Take a look at 162 Henry for a beige version. #1 Elizabeth is unusual — most designers in the 1880’s tried to bring as much variety to the facade as possible, including those brightly colored glazes on Bayard. #1 is a bit of a kind of a clever designer’s joke. The Herters included all the different design materials — the terra cotta ornaments, the sandstone on the sills and lintels, even the galvanized iron cornice — all match the brick, all the effort of diversity reduced to uniformity, a sort of elegant amusement.

      I think of the introduction of the Beaux Arts ideals as a strong reaction against these terra cotta fantasies of the 1880’s. In the Beaux Arts tenements you find very few masks — faces mostly disappear, replaced with a variety of abstract Roman temple elements. But it’s rare to find an 1880’s tenement without a face. The terra cotta craze was following an English fashion. Between it and the introduction of Beaux Arts, there was a period of neo-Renaissance, also elaborate and fussy, but not so idiosyncratic and more consistent with classical models and principles. Beaux Arts was brought by a cosmopolitan aspiration to vie with Paris and also Chicago, which had just presented the Beaux Arts models at its World’s Fair Exposition of 1893.

      46 is less ornate, but I don’t think it was looking to any past style. Architectural fashion in the 19th cen was a strong current that carried every boat, so it’s always been surprising to me to see any designer buck the trend.

      The long social and political struggle in 19th century NYC was between the Protestant elites who owned the city and its industry, and the Catholic immigrant labor that the elites exploited. Labor won just after mid century, and ruled until recently. Blogger to blogger, here’s my history of the neighborhood:

  7. Well, 46 was pretty much a plain red brick with lintels (which is what all the early 1800’s buildings used, like 65 Mott, and all the “Federal” houses), with the addition of the horizontal abutment stripes. So it looked like a slight step up toward more masonry design.

    Do you live in the Lower East side? I’m almost never over there on the other side of the Manhattan Bridge. I was over there last year trying to catch an electric test bus running on the M22. Didn’t see it that day, but later caught it elsewhere.
    I may some day go take a look at 527 Grand, the little wood frame building at the end of the street I always noticed (it’s visible from the Williamsburg Bridge). That corner looks like typical Brooklyn.

    I see your article mentions the theater on Baxter St. I read one article that said it was at 21 and 24, but then it said it was really 19 I think. 24 had commercial space on the ground floor of the front, so it’s possible (if those litle “theaters” used commercial space and not just basements or something).

    Speaking of ol’ 24B (the focus of my interest), I’ve almost certainly determined that a part of the roofline with one of its chimneys (that were portrayed in several Brewery/Mission/Paradise Park drawings) is visible in the background of this clear copy of the “Dens of Death” photo:

    It’s looking in that direction, and the rest of 24 is behind the 31 Baxter tenement on the left.
    This would mark the only other real photo of 24 beside the Riis photo of the court.

    • Yes, the stripes are the marked innovation. They don’t seem to quote any previous style near to it or of remote past, the minimal concession to progress or difference or distinctive modern taste. I’ve seen a couple of such tenements in the neighborhood, but I can’t recall where offhand. The lack of dumbbell air shaft and the limited height remain puzzling.

      I live in Loisaida (Alphabet City) on 11th btwn B&C.

      If you ever run across a photo of the theater, I hope you’ll post it. I’d be curious to see what it looked like.

      • The stripes are just added to the plain rectangular lintel and red bricks. Nice way to add some design without going into a lot of detail.
        Perhaps the ones without the shaft were before the Old Law went into effect, or because of the low height.

        Interior of the Grand Duke’s Theater – The audience during the performance of the thrilling spectacle of the march of “The Mulligan Guards”

        I also list other sources that had images (including Anbinder), but the images are excluded.
        I thought I had once found a picture of the theatre people posing outside of somewhere, and wondered if it was №24 but determined it wasn’t, but now can’t find it, or may have remembered something else. The full name of it I had searched before was “the Newsboy’s amateur theatre ‘The Grand Duke’s [Opera House]‘”, so you can search that.
        Again, they did not have their own theater building or anything like that; it was a bunch of young guys (a gang, actually) that played in basements.

  8. Here, putting all the scenes together, to give an even better sense of where everything was in relation to each other, and to the area today:
    (click for full size)

  9. Here’s one that looked like it could be the southwest corner.
    Especially given that the scrap metal place sign has an address of “73” on it! The corner is shaped just like 73 Park/26 Baxter, though the brick building at that address appeared in the late 1850’s, and I don’t think they were still building those old gable roofs then. That’s what the new buildings were replacing!

    The tall building would be 18 Baxter (though the side doesn’t seem to be shaped like it), followed by and old gabled №20, yet the one after that is a corniced brick building, while 22 Baxter remained an old wooden building to the end, and think that’s more than a façade. Next to that, the industrial looking facçade is not a separate building, but rather the side of the one on the corner.

    Also, the apartment building opposite, while similar to 23 Baxter, is not the same (the latter has a rounded corner, and different masonry).

    There’s no Third Avenue El (visible in the above picture of the clearance of the corner), and even if the picture was taken before it was built, you can also see in that picture that the street ends at the end of the block (at Park Row where the el ran). The street in this picture goes past there. It alomost looks like the bend in the distance (which would belooking the other way, north, but this isn’t the northeast corner).

    Plus, it’s dated 1937! (And the sign on the opposite building advertizes a Loews on Canal St. Don’t know if that’s where this is supposed to be).
    Oh well.
    But this shows us pretty much what the corner would look like.

    Edit: Nearly two years later, I happen to notice a street sign on the corner and using the site’s preview zoom in feaure, see that it’s Pike Slip running right to left. The “slips” were what streets turned into that last block before South St. and the riverfront. Also, the corner is not shaped (truncated) like Five Points block 160 as I thought; it’s completely 90°, and it’s something about the bulding on the corner that made it look like it was at an angle.
    Given the direction of the sun, this is looking east, probably down Cherry St. (can’t make out the other sign, though it does look like it starts with a “C”, and that’s currently the last street, though Water St. might have been the last back then), and at this date, the Manhattan Bridge is passing right behind and almost over the photographer. When I was a kid, more of the old buildings were in the area (seen from the train on the bridge), but then they built the Pathmark supermarket, and now, that itself has just been demolished for redevelopment.

  10. Wow; find out more stuff that had been left out of the common history of the area.

    Even before 60 Centre was built, the whole Paradise Park area had been cleared for a “Cantonment” unit (military barracks)!

    As this was 1918, it was around WWI, and thus figures. Perhaps area had already been cleared for the huge round prototype courthouse that never got built.

    (Captions say “Baxter and Worth”, but it’s really Park and Pearl, with Mission Pl. and the totally flat Paradise Park on the left, and Baxter St. in the background, and in two of the pictures, Mulberry Bend park further in the background).

    Here we see what the area looked like before (1912) i.e. Park Street looking north from Pearl Street.

    This interesection is right where the big steps are now, with the Record Room underneath. The slim clearing past where the street bends is Paradise Park

    173 Worth (earlier image of this area in above comment):

    New brick building on right replaces little wooden stand. 100 Centre (Criminal Court) looms over from behind.

    The very tip of that corner that remained wooden:

    Five Points 1898 (pencil sketch)

    Looks like it’s looking at that same corner, from further back, with 30 Baxter on the left, and the 82 Park corner (by now likely cleared for the Bend park) obscured.

    It’s extremely rare to ever get anything from the west side of Baxter; but here are a few from north of Worth:

    West side of Baxter looking north from Worth to Leonard Street.

    On the left are what remain of the old 36-40 Baxter tenement row from the Dens of Death photo and some drawings. To the left of that is the beginning of the c1898 park extension that took over the whole corner, including the the original leftmost building of this row, №36. So these two (each very narrow at three columns of windows wide; the whole row originally had 12 columns) would be №36½ and 38. №40 apparently got replaced with this bigger turn-of-the century style tenement.

    West side of Baxter Street looking north from Franklin to White Street.

    Baxter Street west side looking south from Franklin to Leonard Street.

    I did run across this one from Block 160 occasionally, but can’t find anything between here and Worth (beside the ones where it’s all cleared already):
    4 Baxter with Municipal building in background through alley:

    Another sketch of the old 30 Baxter:

    Better picture of new Mission Building, dated 1905:

    Apparently stereo left, you can’t see the front edges of the Mission Pl. buildings on the right like the other one, but you don’t see more to the left on Park St. or 24 Baxter either (i.e. the start of the dumbbell indentation. It is a much clearer view of the building, though).

    Another sketch of the Old Brewery

    Rough sketch, 1900.

    If the forground is 30 Baxter, then the background would be the Park St. buildings and №24 tenement, and this assuming the old wooden buildings next to №30 had been cleared to make the space to the right. Actually, that whole corner disappeared around the same time as the old №24 (hence the above photo of №36½ff), so perhaps this was when they were clearing it, and the new tenement at №24 was already up. But the space to the right looks more like a street. And the foreground building is 4 stories, where the new №30 was three stories.
    Since we’re seeing the 45° angle, we know Worth St. must be involved, but it’s hard to figure where else it would be.


    With the wooden 45° angle corner building, must be looking southest from Park to Worth, basically opposite of the pictures above. But then, the larger building to the left should be brick, as it appears in the above photos.

    Given that dates can be wrong (and in the case of drawings, it can be a drawing on that date, of the area in an earlier date), the narrow building in the furthest background looks a lot like the 24 Baxter rear, complete with the arched windows with partitioned glass panes, and especially the chimneys! This is how we would expect it to look from Baxter St., assuming it had windows on the third (top) floor overlooking the 2 story front house. (Where all else we have of it are from the court and from Cross/Park St).
    But it’s too tall, towering over a five story tenement.
    Looks like a big park is in the foreground. Don’t see how it could be Mulberry Bend Park, given the street angle and view direction.

    A retro-themed 1985 (not 1895, as I assumed!) sketch:

  11. Here’s the original concept of the [Paint-drawn] Five Points map, above:

    (Click to enlarge)

    Also of note, I heard “Five Points” coming from the TV, and it’s NY1’s “Today in NYC History” which mentions that today is the anniversary of the 1857 battle [Bayard St. Riot] between the Bowery Boys and Dead Rabbits.

  12. Should not omit a couple of older House of Industry drawings:

    dated 1860

    I first saw the first one way in the beginning of this study, and couldn’t place how this compared to the other photo, showing a larger building on the corner. I wasn’t even sure which was earlier. I didn’t realize how quick the “turnover” rate for lots was back then.

    So now, this second one is the earliest, showing the old federal buildings (in the immediate left in the Henry E. Rile 1859 “Bloody Ould Sixth” drawing, linked earlier) still on the left.

    From the first link:

    The first official House of Industry mission building was built in 1856.[1] The original tenement building was demolished and a two story mission was built in its place.[2] Five years later, the mission was again replaced, this time with a five story building.[3] This mission house remained open until 1895 when it was declared unsafe. The next year, the five story building was demolished and an eight story building was opened at the same location.[4]

    In the insurance map history, above:
    [1] In 1853, the whole corner apperared to be cleared
    [2] The “two story building” is probably the one on the left of the [undated] first picture (155 Worth), and the “tenement” it replaced was probably the federal style houses in the second picture. You can see it looks like Cow Bay on the left has been completely fenced off. It had been de-mapped for a time.
    Again, in the “1857-62” map the corner was shown cleared, and the first House of Industry building built in the 153-157 lot (the six story building on the right shown in all three pictures, which seems to have been totally omitted in the Antebellum blog’s synopsis).
    [3] That’s probably the ornate Victorian one in the Wikicommons photo, linked in an earlier comment (and included in the above collage).
    [4] Now THIS I didn’t know about. I assumed the Victorian five story one in the Wikicommons photo was the final building. I have not seen a picture of an eight story building. (Though now checking the 1902 Bromley, I see a new House of Industry that completely covers the Cow Bay street site and several lots to the west).

    Speaking of this “Rile” photographer (who also did “Five Points in 1859” and the one showing the 36-40 Baxter tenements), here’s yet a fourth Catlin-esque (dated 1829) drawing, this one showing no people in the intersection.

    Not Five Points related, but did come up in a search for the 8 story House of Industry:

    Exactly 100 years and two days ago. And they rebuilt it, rather than tearing it down! (Today, they would never bother to fix up a type 3 that badly damaged! They were probably brand new). Today, you’d never know, except for the cornices being missing, but a lot of those old “ghetto” tenements are like that, especially the ones that had gone through the cycle of fires and other decay.

    The photo doesn’t say where on Lexington, but I quickly recognized the church. It’s 103rd, southwest corner. I used to go up to Mt. Sinai adolescent center for counseling in teens, and the train station was right there. When I first started going, I noted how steep the hill past those buildings was, though you can’t see it well in this picture. I used to run down it to gain speed (this taking 102nd across, but if you take 103rd to Park or Madison, it’s almost totally flat!)
    You would hear the old Detroit 6V71 engines on the buses straining to climb the hill.

  13. A prototype of the photo sleuthing I did above was from years ago, when someone on a transit board posted a photo of this area and asked us to guess where it was. (the photo used showed less of the surrounding area, so was harder).

    After a few days of vain guessing, another photo, with an el running through it, from one of the narrow streets, surfaced. With the angled street and little park, I tried to think of every street scne like that I could figure, and what kept coming to mind was somewhere in the West Village, like Greenwich Ave. or where 7th cuts through the grid below there.

    Turns out, it’s Peter Minuit Plaza, down by the Battery and Staten Island Ferry. It doesn’t look like the seaport area at all, in the photo, but that’s what’s behind the photographer. And of course, it’s mostly new office buildings now, with the small streets to the right totally elminiated.

    Some time after this, I was working the , and would sometimes go to the street to walk back to the other end of the Whitehall st. station, to get a snack, or tea or something, and I recognized the big white building with few windows in the upper center (it used to be a phone company building, IIRC). The very ornate old red brick building (the former US Army Building, 39 Whitehall) appeared to be replaced with a typical new glass skyscraper, but then I heard that it was the same structure with a new façade and floors added. Sure enough, toward the end of my working the line (2009), when walking down little Moore St. (the alley-like little lane to the right of it), some of the ground floor panels were removed, revealing the stone work, including some windows, as this article (From around that time) reports:

    Still trying to come up with a better way to define the congitive functions of type, the propensity for all of this sleuthing is apart of the ego’s dominant introverted Thinking, which deals in “impersonal connections”. Extraverted Thinking does too, but is more about external efficiency. The introverted version is more about internal maps and blueprints, so I like knowing how things are (or even were) arranged, more than arranging them myself. (If I do seek to arrange, its to fit things to the internal blueprints).

  14. New, compacted essay:

    As part of this project, illustration of Catlin and Riis piictures in relation to each other:

    Also, a map (from Anbinder) of the ethnic makeup of the area in 1850:
    (though since it has the new street names and the Mission instead of the Brewery, it must be later in the decade)

  15. San Gennaro time, bringing me close to the Points, and I had been planning for some time to draw simple overlays of some of the unbelievable structures that used to occupy these innocuous looking grounds.

    I arrive at 24 Baxter to find a construction site. A little concrete block structure is right at the front of the former lot (behind the statue in this picture). What; are they rebuilding the distillery?
    Of course, not; I asked what was going on, and one of the construction guys said they’re building a glass enclosure for the immigration and other waiting lines into the federal building, like at 26 Federal Plaza.
    The plywood fencing is blocking some of the ground of my drawing, but I just drew over it.

    (The bright red façade in the background through the trees is the spruced up 46-50 Mulberry, on the very “bend”.)

    [Edit: Dens of death location corrected below]

    The windows of the Moynihan courthouse, to the upper left above the trees, have faded for some reason (now blending in with the rest of the sky) but are still barely visible. But the angle would basically confirm that one of the chimneys of the Manhattan Distillery building is one of those seen in the original photo. The 24 Baxter lot begins right in front of the courthouse, and proceeds to the right, so as soon as the 31 Baxter wall (as drawn) ends (which is about the same place the Moynihan front ends, the drawn wall provides like a new outline for the courthouse!), that’s directly what you’re looking toward!

    Ever since the spring when I got an early afternoon view of this next one, I figured it would be better to get a later afternoon view, so the sun position would match more closely the 1870s-80s photo. This makes it look a little bit more like the old photo.

    For this last one, I’ve recently run by one site that claimed “what’s left of Paradise Park” is the tip of the 80 Centre block, where there’s that tiny green space. (Also, The Wikipedia Five Points article says that the house in the middle of Catlin’s picture, which is the aforementioned place, is the site, and this may have been what I was thinking of). Asbury’s The Gangs of New York says it “became the southwest corner of Mulberry Park, which has been called Columbus Park since 1911” (p.5).

    But Paradise Park was both south of Worth and west of Baxter.
    Here’s the real “what’s left of it” green space!

    The rest of it would be inside the basement windows under that greenhouse-looking cover, which is Rm 117B where I used to do some work from 1996-2001.
    (Of course, it’s not really a leftover from the actual park, as if they just left some of it as a park and simply built around it. The whole plot of land was clear and the triangle mostly cemented over as a large “sidewalk” for some time, before they built the courthouse. The 1918 military base pictures do reveal a single tree left at the eastern tip of the former park, right in the spot the tree in the current picture sits; but I doubt it’s the same tree. I believe all the current greenery is fairly new. But nevertheless, it is a piece of the triangle that became the park. Also the site of the cut in half house on the left side of the Catlin drawing that preceded the park).

    Cross/Park St. passed right through the eastern corner of the hexagon (to the left of center, facing the walk), while the northern corner (beyond the right edge, facing Worth) was the western edge of the park, Little Water St./Mission Place.
    (I also just found out, from Anbinder, p.24, that Little water on this side of Anthony(Worth) was nicknamed “Squeeze Gut Alley”, just like on the other side of Anthony, it was Cow Bay. The whole strip was the residence of white, black and mulatto prostitutes and the men who keep and visit them).

    This is actually pretty much the same view as all the Old Brewery drawings and 1859 Bloody Ould Sixth showing the Mission. (The Brewery site itself is totally within the perimeter of the building).

    In other news, on the way down, wondering if Stabile Row would even still be there, I decided to stop inside at the Italian museum, and ask the guy what was going on with the museum selling to a developer. Not even sure if he knew what I was talking about, but it seems that has apparently fallen by the wayside, hopefully.
    Around the corner, three story “Federal” styled 192 Grand (directly across from the Ferarra bakery) has scaffolding (and a new building next to it), but there is a corrugated metal floor visible through the windows, so it looks like it’s just an interior renovation (which is what the Buildings Dept. permit notice says.

  16. Decided to get a close as possible identical view to Riis, today.
    (Angle seems to be still slightly off. №22 rear should not be parallel to 60 Centre wall; it should be at a 15° angle).

    Also, here’s what’s being built there (made it hard to get the right angle for the above:

    You can see behind the fence the little stone structure I mentioned before. (This would be right at the front of the former address). Not sure what that is, since it’s not part of the glass enclosure being built, and is further out from the building.

  17. Stumbled across the order to condemn 22 and 24 Baxter rear “tenement house buildings” “Pursuant to the provisions of chapter 567 of the Laws of 1895”
    (City Record November 11 1897 p.4015)

    The value of the buildings was a paltry $150!

    The law cited (1895) — Chapter 567, So -non 8. (Amends Section 661, Consol. Act.) said:

    ” In all tenement houses hereafter constructed, or buildings hereafter converted to the purposes of a tenement house, all staircases shall be fireproof; but this provision as to staircases shall not apply to buildings which are not over 5 stories high above the cellar, and which contain not more than three suites of rooms on a floor. Every tenement house hereafter constructed, or buildings hereafter converted to the purposes of a tenement house, which building exceeds three stories in height or has basement with three stories above the cellar, shall have the entrance hall and entire stairwell and stairs built of [such] slow burning construction of fireproof material [as the superintendent of buildings shall decide] ; also no wainscoting shall be allowed in the main halls except of cement, or other fireproof material; [excepting that the hand-rails and balusters can be of hard wood]; at least one flight of such stairs shall extend to the roof and be enclosed in a bulkhead building of fireproof material; [on second floor of all tenement-houses not fireproof throughout all entrances from stairs to halls shall be closed off with fireproof double swing doors; it shall be the duty of the owner or lessee of such tenement-house to have said door on second floor closed every night at not later than 10 o’clock].”

    So it was the wooden stairway (that drew me to it in the first place) that did it in? That looks like something easily replaceable. ANd There are still buildings with wainscoting (like the one where I do my laundry. The laundromat has a door to the hall). Unless that was not the whole law, and there were other violations.

    Also saw that the Riis photo was used in the very beginning of Christian History magazine #104 (from last year, it seems): The article was on Christians in the Industrial Revolution.
    This photo will crop up anywhere, and seems to have an almost iconic quality about it, being the epitome of the misery of the time and place. It has far more that effect than more popular pictures such as Bandit’s Roost or even the Old Brewery.

    Saw this, and was tipped off by the address (28) and the grade of the street. Another one looking up Park St. from Mulberry to Mott. (Can just barely make out the church and its little iron fence on the left, and 21 Mott arched lintels stick out on the right). Of course, 28 Mulberry is still there, too, and the second floor masonry is the same, but the ground floor has been changed, with a romanesque pair of doorways on each side of the corner. (It’s another Chinese funeral parlor).

  18. Still finding more stuff!
    (From Pinterest) Catlin corner (block 166) 1893

    We not only get a corner view (closely mimicking the angle of the Catlin photo) of the new 30 Baxter (aka 167 Worth, and note the old 165 Worth with the side of 161 Worth/34 Baxter behind it; that’s how I know it’s this corner; aside from the fact that the store is named after the intersection), but we also get a view straight down to the Baxter bend (looks pretty much like the existing Mott bend), and get a small angle view of the large tenements that replaced the Dens of Death on the right (33-39).
    Further confirming it, on the bend itself, we can see the same buildings visible in the “Baxter Street west side looking south from Franklin to Leonard Street” photo (link in above comment), which has the large 48-60 Baxter on the bend itself (notice the the arched triple windows on the 5th floor), and then 62, 64 and 66 to the right.

    Since it looks so “modern”, and thus confusable with today’s Mott St., then we can see that it really was quite possible for someone to “stroll over [here]…and think Riis exaggerated”, as was stated!
    But it was behind these buildings, especially the ones on the right (actually being the infamous block 165 itself!), which were back to back with Mulberry St., which as pointed out didn’t get these newer buildings; that was where all the horror still was. (And on this side, past the large row, you can make out smaller buildings, which were also the older ones).
    While Dens of Death and Home of the Rioters (in the front on the street) were gone, you still had Bandit’s Roost, Bottle Alley and Ragpicker’s Row back there, and this was around when those photos were taken. (As I had determined above, you can see part of the back of 39 Baxter, which is the left most of those large tenements on the right, in one of the Bottle Alley photos. That’s where the buildings in the distance are still the smaller older ones like on Mulberry. You cn also see right on the corner how much dirt there was in the street).

    If the Mulberry side (and some of the buildings on this side further up) had been improved like this, then maybe the block would not have become so notorious, and then not have been condemned, and then might still be here today! Baxter St. below Bayard would look like the block above Bayard, where you have the residential section (with commercial ground floors lined with bail bonds offices interspersed with Chinese businesses), across the street from the back of the big court buildings. It would also remind me of today’s 148th St. Jamaica, Queens, which has a similar setup, including six story apartments. Doing jury duty there once, the two streets did remind me of each other).

    Now; if I can only, for once, find that picture facing the other way (before 1926!)

  19. On vacation now, and finally able to get inside to get the actual Old Brewery location photos:

    Bottom of shaft containing front of Brewery/Mission site with Collect Pond waters STILL seeping out.
    I had forgotten that room 117B is now closed off (used for storage), so couldn’t get the whole buildings from a looking up view as I originally planned, but instead had to go to the next floor above to the hall leading to Rm130 (Motion Submission Part), so the first floors are cut off. But the most important features of the buildings are shown.

    Rear entry ramp. Coal Yard site at side of Brewery (where it begins narrowing toward the rear). Distillery site is straight ahead out the door.

    Corrected the angle and some other details of the Baxter Court (i.e. distillery) photo:

    Also found out a coworker had been transferred from where we used to work, to a small office on the first floor, with a window looking directly out over the site!

    Had since joined Pinterest when I was prompted to sign up through Facebook, just to see someone else’s pins, and so now I have all my Five Points related photos in one place:

    Also, found this site on the show “Copper” (on the Five Points) with a realistic set of the first Mission house:

  20. Merryl Osdoby permalink

    incredible!!!! super impressive!!!!! thank you for this excellently researched article on a subject that fascinates me to no end!!!!

  21. OK, now here’s an interesting story. Monday, first workday of vacation, I had over to the former job, to get these Old Brewery site pictures to try to draw to a close my nearly year-long Five Points project, and also say hi to former coworkers.
    So I get the pictures, and then they all tell me that the boss, NY County Clerk Norman Goodman’s retirement party is Wednesday.
    I knew he had been there “forever”, because I remembered hearing that in ’71, he tried removing the time clock and letting people just sign in, but this favor was abused, and he put the clock back. (When I started there, we had to both punch and sign in, but IIRC, he did eventually get rid of the clock, but sometime after I left, they then got an electronic badge system, so they have to clock in again).
    So he actually started as Deputy County Clerk in ’66 (a month after I Was born), and then got the promotion in ’69. So he had been there for 45 years, and was 91! (The courthouse opened in 1927 —and was therefore built but not open yet in the 1926 Five Points photos on MCNY, but at a total of 87-8 years old, for more than half of its existence, he was the top man there!)
    Now, a black guy two years older than I am is becoming the new County Clerk, beginning Jan.2!

    So anyway, I head back there, and then decide with this opportunity, I should get the picture of the hallway looking out onto the shaft containing the brewery site. I had thought of this after I got the other pics Monday, because everything looks nearly the same in this round (hexagonal, actually) building, and those shafts all look the same. This would pose a potential trick for me as well.

    I thought I remembered the hallway I took the picture from as the one leading to 139. The ceremony was in the rotunda facing the back, which is the hallway leading to 139, which is opposite the front entrance (and thus also directly over the rear entrance in the basement. So this hallway was right behind the little podium everyone spoke from in the ceremony ⦅which included a marching bagpipe band coming in from the front entrance lobby⦆).

    Recall, the brewery space cut across the hallway leading to the rear entrance. The front of the brewery site was in the light shaft on the north side of this hallway, and would be facing Rm. 117B.
    In the basement, the rooms don’t have hallways open to the rotunda; the “spokes” of the hexagram are apart of the rooms themselves. But now 117B (which used to be where people requested tax certiorari files, which I was maintaining from ’96 to ’01, when I left) is closed and used for storage. (Not sure if they just request them from the Record Room counter, or maybe the Rm. 109 counter, which is closer).
    So I would have to go up one flight (a couple of rooms over to access the stairs) to use the hallway window above. This was Rm.130. But for some reason, I remembered using the hallway to 139. Rm. 130 has steps down, while 139 is level with the rotunda. I remembered passing by a hallway with steps, but don’t remember taking the picture from there. (And the room to the right of 139 had that too). I had swung by there, rushing, and getting confused, as again, these parts of the building look similar.

    So I get the picture and pin it (Pinterest). Now, two days after that, Friday, my plans being to continue to clean up the back room, and then head over to my annual December visit to RXR Plaza to see that tree (same as last year; five colors plus warm and cool white LED’s).
    I wake up suddenly realizing that Rm.139, which I was looking toward the whole two hours on Wed. and recognizing it was opposite the front entrance, would then be the wrong hallway to take the picture of the front of the brewery site from! I needed the room over 117B. 139 is over the rear entrance. I was basically standing IN the brewery space itself when looking out that window.

    I’m like “OH NO! How could I have messed that up?!” (I’m very much into “actual fact”, which is from my dominant introverted Thinking perspective, which is the “servant of impersonal truth”. Things have to be CORRECT/TRUE, according to my own [“universalized”] criteria. I could just say it was the other shaft, and no one would know or care; but I really want to be able to say that THIS was the “very ground the Old Brewery was on”.

    So Friday, I swing back over there on the way to RXR. (Yet another East New York framehouse burning to the ground has cut off J service for the weekend, so I had to go around some other way to get to Jamaica anyway. It was right next to a landmark of mine, the 4 story 1920’s apartment complex that sits right next to the station).

    I take the pictures, making sure I get them from the 130 hallway “this time”. (And in addition, the correct hallway, to Rm. 130, but it came out very blurry. Was in such a rush, again). I also get some Bend photos I skipped, because it was too cold the other two days (the three most popular Riis sites: Bandit’s Roost, Ragpicker’s Row and Bottle Alley; all in the Columbus Park), and then made the 3+ hour trip to Uniondale (on those slow buses, followed by Macy’s Herald Sq. on the way back, via LIRR).

    When I get home I prepare to begin to trace the Brewery drawing, which is tedious, because even though I did them drawing in white, it pixellates when you “save” it. This renders useless a shortcut I figured out, of turning the photo to black & white, which blacks out everything but pure FFFFFF white. But since some of the white pixels turn to other near white colors, they become black, and all I’m left with is a very thin dot outline of the drawing. So I have to draw over every drawn line, (first in another color, to know what I’ve covered, and then just use the “fill” jar to turn the new drawing white) and then convert it to B&W (all the new drawing is still pure white because it’s not “saved”), and then copy and paste over the original source photo (with “transparent selection” checked, and black set as the background color, so that it become invisible and the white then overlays on the photo, instead of the other way around, which is the default. This is what I did when I decided to redo the Baxter Court overlay. It saves the bulk of the work, which is scaling the old drawing to the photo).

    But now, in comparing the new photo to the old one with the Brewery overlay drawing, I notice some of the same objects; especially the upside down box laying at the edge of the Collect Pond drain backflow puddle. Then, even the positions of the air conditioners in the windows, and objects inside the windows, and dirty spots on the bricks. What looked like a dark spot on the wall, which was in a different location in the new photo, was really a spot on the window! (Which “moved” because I wasn’t holding it in the same exact position the two times).
    Like holy cow; this is the same place! I kept checking the file names to make sure one was Friday’s photo, and the other from Monday. (The original file names are the date and time to the hundredth of a second).

    So I did take the photo from the right place after all! All that extra work I could now skip. What a relief! (I went to work drawing the overlays for Bottle Alley and Bandit’s Roost instead).

    Again, I was running so fast on Monday, I glossed over the steps in the hallway (which require standing on a ledge to look out the window) and the stacks of chairs I had to pass, next to the window.
    (But come to think of it, when looking at the 139 hallway Wed. night, I didn’t remember the vault I took the picture from being arched like that. Hard to know which details I ignore and/or miss are the real “clues” as to whether I got it right. Typologically, the Se/Ni “Realizing Awareness” preference is much more attuned to both current tangible details as well as the opposite, of unconscious inner hunches).

    Since I had this 139 photo, and that was directly over the rear entrance, and thus also had the brewery space running through it; I figured I might as well overlay that one as well.

    I’m not exactly sure of the scale of the brewery compared to the courthouse, but it’s obvious the old, very non-luxury 1792 factory is on a smaller scale than the huge lofty 1926 Neoclassical building, whose floors are about the height of two regular floors. (I used to have dreams of bottomless stairways from working there, because when you walk down from the 6th floor to the basement, you’re going down at least twelve flights!)
    But this first floor hallway is more likely where the roof of the brewery was. Street level is of course lower than the first floor, and several feet higher than the basement. When I did the rear entrance, I managed to fit almost the whole brewery building on the basement level, and I knew that it was likely a bit taller than that, but again, scaling it is difficult, and I wasn’t going so much for vertical accuracy on that one, as horizontal, just to show the brewery’s footprint.

  22. RAGPICKER’s ROW area (59 Baxter) Opposite Bandit’s Roost (above). [Edit: Ragpicker’s Row is to the left on the other side of the fence. See below. This site is actually 55 Baxter, which had a photo of its rear tenement arcade. Overlay also added below].

    There are a few pictures attributed to Ragpicker’s Row (including a drawing owned by the Maggie Black site with a building with a 3 story veranda. Another photo looks more like the Bottle Alley scene). The most common one, as the stairway to the left, coming down from the wooden building, and to the right is a brick building. Looking at them closer, you see it looks like the same wooden and brick buildings (with the latter having its arches painted darker) as in the Bandit’s Roost photo (with the gangsters or whoever sanding beside it, and the old looking person looking out the window).

    It took me this long to try to do those two areas, because I was never sure of what was where at the addresses (#59 of both Baxter and Mulberry, which are back to back on block 65. The two streets are reverse in which side odd/even numbers are on, unlike most other areas).
    I assumed Bandit’s Roost was an alley leading to Mulberry St. but saw no alley at that address there on any of the maps. Looking at it again, I see there is an alley, but it doesn’t lead directly to the street. It comes from the middle of the block to the back of the front building, and then another alley running behind all of the buildings, and leading to the next alley to the street which is Maloney’s Alley in the 40’s, just south of the actual “bend”.
    This is the “network of alleyways” people mentioned, that made the block such a pocket for crime and squalor.
    On the Baxter side, with this maze, it’s even harder to tell what is what from the picture. Yet, on the most common picture (see you again can see what looks like the same brick building from Bandit’s Roost, although the wooden building is different, with the stairway. The map shows actually two brick rear tenements at #59 in a perpendicular row, forming the alley. There are other versions of Bandit’s Roost, showing a statue from a festival from different places. In the Ragpicker photo, you can see the end of the alley, and I think you can see the end of the alley in the distance of Bandit’s Roost. So it looks like Ragpicker’s might be the same alley as Bandit’s, but further back (since it’s addressed to Baxter anyway) but I can’t make out a second wooden building with the steps.

    So I’m not sure, and that’s why I didn’t draw an overlay for Ragpicker’s. But that is the address, looking so clean, green and peaceful; a far cry from 120 years ago.

  23. OK; now I’ve finally found the final, 8 story House of Industry (and you see the old six story building next to it).
    But by this time (1911), it’s no longer called that; it’s the (very familiar) Children’s Aid Society! (Italian branch).

    Also, ANOTHER real old Mission photo (after all), this time showing the new 65 Park (and possibly part of the wall of the distillery above it, but it’s hard to tell. And this is not simply a left stereo version of the other one, because this one has people on the very right near one of the entrances).

  24. OK, drawing to a close this year long project.

    Mom wanted to go to a train show with me. Namely, the one on Botanical Gardens (which I saw 10 years ago), but I suggested NY Historical Society, which is having one of its own, which I was considering going to, and could then close some open ends in this project, and get at least one phone picture of a map.

    So she agrees to that. (The museum has a pap of the 134 abolition riots, which you can see here, and I found out that 105 Cross; next door to Peter Pirnie at 107, has historical significance as the home of an English newspaper editor targeted in the 1834 abolition riots).
    So while waiting there for her, I have an hour to go to the library, and review not only 1870, 75 and 84, but also decide to check out the mystery 1867 Perris map.

    I find that it is in fact, what the HERB site (linked above) had labeled 1902 Bromley.
    And I saw first hand why it looks so funny. It has several edits pasted over different parts of the map. That’s why “Brewery” cuts off as “Br” where a pale looking 65 Park appears. That whole Mission plot (including 65) was a pasted add-on.

    This also clears up the mixup of the map showing Worth going through, yet 1867 Dripps didn’t. (Which completely confused me, and made me think Dripps was wrong. Then I find the extension was really 1869). All of block 161 was another of these paste-ons.
    You figure; OK, so perhaps this was an edit from shortly after, and then we continue on with 1870. But what was worst of all was that another of these paste-ons showed the new 19-21 Mott St.
    Uh oh! Even the 1870 map showed the old houses still there.

    So I figure these add-ons are from sometime after 1870. Dens of Death and Home of the Rioters were not pasted over (I had always wished the HERB copy of the map showed a little more, to see if they were still there). So the edits must be from around the same time as the 1872-3 drawing of the Home of the Rioters showing 21 Mott in the background.
    So that fits well, but then I don’t know what else to trust or not trust on the map, as being from 1867 or not. (Like the pink brick face indicator on the 24 Baxter front looked hand drawn, which would figure. So I’m not sure if that was added then, though it does appear in 1870 and afterward).

    (Speaking of Home of the Rioters and Dens of Death, while I forgot the exact dates, and thought I saw them attributed to Riis, I saw them again attributed to the Board of Health, 1872. I think that first drawing with the new buildings was 1873. So this really helps narrow down the timeline for the end of these buildings.

    There’s also the matter of exactly which riots the “Home of the Rioters” after all this time of referencing these buildings by that name, were named after ⦅there were several, of course⦆. One of the biggest riots was the 1863 Draft riots, but while people in the area were involved, given the high Irish presence, and blacks being in the area as well, most of the actual rioting was done elsewhere. There was a big demonstration at 38 and 40 Baxter, the rightmost units of the large tenement row just built, which apparently had a lot of colored people, and next door to that, at 42, was the NY African Society for Mutual Relief. Also, the black boarding house at 105 Park —Anbinder, p.315-6⦆.
    But before that, was the equally well known 1857 Dead Rabbits Riot. (This weird name actually meaning “dead” being slang for “very” and “rabbit” the Irish-American pronunciation of “raíbéad,” Irish for “man to be feared”

    Officer Shangle states that he, in company with another Metropolitan officer, named Ellis, went down to Baxter street while the fight was at its height, and within passing through Baxter street, near Anthony or Worth street, saw a man in a window pelting the crowd below with brickbats and stones. He tried to get to him, but could not at first, but finally succeeded in battering down the door, when he found that the mass, together with two women, had nearly a bushel of stones and brickbats, with which they were firing away in good earnest. They took the man and one of the women prisoners and carried them off to the Tombs. They then returned and found that the police had left, and the rioters were still at work.

    This may well have been the 29 Baxter/82 Park building, and what gave it the name. The main rivals, the Bowery Boys, were said to be in league with the police, so these were probably the Dead Rabbits attacking them from the window. The biggest battle was the one a block away, on Bayard St. This riot apparently started in reaction to a law closing saloons on Sundays, issued to try to control alcoholism:

    Anyway, here are some of the new pics:
    1870 overview. Last appearance of Home of Rioters and Dens of Death:

    Manhattan Distillery:

    1884. Privy still in court, 22 and 24 rears different colors, new 3 story 30 Baxter:

    1867 overview (if you look closely, you can see the pasted on sections):

    1875 Home of Rioters and Dens of Death gone, but not Old Church tenement (7-9 Mulberry rear; last appearance):

    The only thing left, really, now, is to try to find any photos or drawings of the Baxter side of block 160, with the old buildings there (distillery or tenements. Both would of course be desired). It seems every time I search for something after a period of time, I find new gems I never knew existed. (But they’re almost always looking the other way, at block 165 or 6). So who knows, maybe they are out there, and will show up some day. I meant to ask the NYHS librarians for any help with that, but I can do that over the phone.
    Edit: just ran across this other overlay of the area, which also gets it right, and shows what’s left of the outdoor Paradise Park space:

  25. OK, doing some pinning of other photos from this series (created a new board: and finally found a pair of Bend Park pictures looking SOUTH (And one of them, right on MCNY):

    SO CLOSE, BUT YET SO PARK! “Street Scenes, Mulberry Street, Peddlers, 1898.” (at Bayard toward the Five Points intersection).
    What you see in the background are the buildings on the south side of Park St. (still the old wooden ones from a photo you can see above) with the big 19-23 Baxter complex behind it, but you can’t make out anything (except a very faint silhouette) to the right of that. Too hazy. Darn! (This would likely be around the time the old distillery was being replaced by the new tenements, and given the angle, the silhouette might be #18 or lower. There’s also another bigger building behind #19-23).

    This one (from nycgov), newer than the other one, most of the wooden buildings on the south side of Park have been replaced, and you can see the little 169 Worth on the tip. 19-23 Baxter tenement behind them, but it cuts off in the middle of that building.

    Another somewhat shocker; 149 Mulberry, the little old “federal” style house next to Stabile Row that contains a handbag store, which I pass by every year at San Genarro, is actually WOOD (with a brick façade) like many others had been done.
    Now, checking Google Street View, I see that side wall actually still looks the same (likely faux clapboard siding), and even though there’s a slightly taller building there next to it; I still wonder how I didn’t catch that. (Assumed it was just siding over brick, as is done at times?)
    I didn’t know any wooden gable houses were left in Manhattan. The ones I know of, that still have wood façades, had the gable replaced by a full third floor.

    (Was trying to get exact address last year, but I saw 149 on the building to the left. Must be 149½).

    Where all the buildings in the old photo had the bricks painted, as was commonly done back then, now only Stabile Row remains painted, where the two to the left have the bricks cleaned. This is what made the house look like a real brick house (and the same with the three story 251 Mulberry further up the street).

    Also, someone else has been doing what I’ve been doing, by drawing overlays of old buildings over current scenes:

    Newer 30 Baxter/167 Worth from 1880’s

    Black Horse Tavern/Sam’s Deli

    He also has 6 Av. el station at 14th St., Ebbetts Field and a couple of others.

    While I did pretty rough sketches on most, he actually put perfect detail into them!

    After all this time, I finally find a video tour of the set of Gangs of New York! It starts at the Brewery, with the center piece of wall of #59 ripped out by an explosion in the movie.
    Orange St. only runs half a block either direction; blocked by a church looking south, and a “Sails” building with a “203” address looking north (The dock sets are behind that).
    You see the little wooden buildings on top of the hill lining the west side of Little Water Pl. (In real life, it was an attached row of three story brick houses on regular ground level).
    The burned out house at 27 Orange is completely gone, so the two “hardware Store” tenements are by themselves (with a hole in the wall. Later on, you see past them and the dirt hill marking the end of the set, is a modern apartment high rise).

    You then get a leftward pan starting at 26 Orange (“GROCERY, Best Liquors, Rum, Wiskey, etc), and we see 24 is portrayed as a three story tenement, though having a similar “Victorian Institutional” masonry as the real life Riis photo and the Brewery. It looks gutted or maybe even burned out or something.
    Few tenements had arched windows back then, (most used lintels), so it was more fitting for the brewery/distillery complex.
    Next to it is a space and another three story brick tenement attached to a same sized wooden one, and then the church, which is a grey stone ashlar Gothic design that reminds me more of 20th century churches.

    24 Orange St. front in “Gangs of NY”. A purpose built tenement instead of a distillery
    At one point, like a ghost town, we see a door blowing open and closed by the wind. (That scene is likely in Cow Bay).
    Later on, it shows the docks.

    In other news, I had taken the time to rearrange the pins on the original Five Points board, with a new feature they just added, where you can move up to 50 pins to another board at once. Just “move” them to the same board, and they appear at the top. So just do it backward with the ones you want at top last, and I had a pretty nice order with them grouped according to different subjects. (Pinterest for some reason has no other way to rearrange pins within a board, like a simple drag and drop or something).
    So I create the new board to not upset the order, and find it reset back to the order originally pinned. So now, I’ve added some of this new stuff and a bunch of others to the board, and stuff that’s not really Five Points (or I haven’t placed the picture yet) to the other board.

    • 2018/06/25 at 12:30 pm

      Finally got around to actually watching this movie; generally looking away during the gore scenes.

      Only the opening battle scenes take place in 1846, then it jumps 16 years (to 1862. 27 Orange remains a gutted shell the whole time). The villain; “the Butcher”, the knife wielding guy with the top hat and mustache, mentions to Boss Tweed “The Five Points” as streets (a common mistake) compared to his five fingers (which he makes a threatening gesture with), and worse than that, the streets are “Mulberry street. And Worth, Cross and Orange and Little Water”. The three streets whose names changed all did so at the same time (1854), so Worth would have still been “Anthony”, but as this is by now 1862, they all should have been the modern names.

      Of course, the biggest anachronism was the Brewery still being around after 1852, but now, a flyer for a “Gala Dance” pasted on the wall inside it identifies it as “The Five Points Mission”, No. 61 Park Street, between Pearl and Baxter Streets”! (Now the other street names have been updated!)
      It also serves completely as the Mission: with wide open space, and cramped balconies on the sides, the child choir sings there, all the drinking and the live entertainment including the Butcher’s knife stunts are in the floors below, and at one point, the religious leaders are shown trying to chase the debauchees out, and doesn’t seem to be a residence anymore.
      The first 1862 scene shows the now grown up hero of the story, the son of the priest killed by the Butcher in the opening scene, entering these caves beneath the Brewery, where he finds his father’s knife, the centerpiece of the movie. (My wife points out, “but wasn’t there water under there?”)

      We also see what happened to the 24 Baxter tenement; it was set on fire during fireworks (which ignited the roof, but it was the bottom two floors that burned), and then competing amateur fire brigades arrive and begin fighting each other, instead of the fire. (An onlooker covers the hydrant with a barrel to sit on!). Then, the looters arrive (including the hero), to “save” all the valuables inside (“before there’s nothing left”. Typical movie fire, the whole apartments are engulfed, but there’s minimal smoke outside, none inside, and just avoid the isolated pockets of flames, and the occasional falling burning object, and you’re OK). When the pump wagon arrives, and the hydrant is uncovered, the Butcher points out “What’s the point; the fire’s near burned anything of value inside!” Then, Tweed, acting as a fire chief announces “forget that one; next building over [#22]; mustn’t let it spread”, which is really only a call for the looters to “take what you want from that one”, to the objection of the resident of that house.

  26. Did two sketches of the pictures I’m still looking for, at the southwest corner, block 160 (one mid century, and the other, turn of the century with the replacement tenements), and showing the Baxter St. fronts and a closeup of the old corner buildings visible in the distance of “Bloody Ould Sixth, and part of #26 in Catlin, of course), and their replacements, which I have not seen a single bit of (and thus cannot even illustrate, beyond the basic shape and height).

    If anyone sees anything like these views, please tell me.

  27. Think I’ve pretty much verified the location of Riis’ “Roosevelt St. rear tenements” (second photo in OP), which was the second big photographic intriguement after his “Court at #24 Baxter”, because of the wooden porch.

    The only thing I can find on the maps that looks like it could be that court would be at 56 Roosevelt. It’s an odd configuration, as the rear buildings (facing the right, with Roosevelt St. itself behind the photographer) would be actually facing the backs of 18 and 20 Oak St. (another erased throroughfare, which was basically Monroe St. west of Catherine), as if they were the rear buildings of those lots; though shown as within the Roosevelt St. property line, and lasting longer than the original Oak St. front buildings. (Where Roosevelt was the eastern edge of the Six Triangles “box”; Oak formed the southern edge, though this lot would be outside the box, on the east side).
    We also see in the photo that the porch building is part of a larger row continuing in the background, and so beyond is a row of dormered houses which would perfectly match the 22-26 Oak rear buildings on the map.
    Further evidence is that there was a space between the #56 front and rear buildings, with a recessed wooden structure between them. You can see, toward the left, that the porch ends, and there is the start of a space to the left of it.
    We also see four stories, which is reported on the maps.

    Like 24 Baxter, this last appears in 1897 Bromley; being replaced by a 6 story dumbbell tenement by 1899 (likely same law knocking all of these things out at the same time), though the dormered buildings in the distance survived into the 1900’s. (The 1913 map shows the 22 Oak rear still there, and 24 and 26 replaced by a new bigger building that fills the whole lots).

    The foreground would be roughly on the current site of the 23[?] St. James St. high rise unit of the Smith Houses, which is the northwesternmost building of the development, on the east side of St. James, south of Madison.

    So now all that’s left is the “Mott St. rear tenements”, but there are several places that looked like that on the maps, including one where the rear tenements really belong to Mulberry (54 and 56). But none of the ones on the bend block have the wall to the left. The only thing I see that matches that (on the 1894 Sanborn, which shows all the wooden extensions, and is before the mass condemnation after the 1895 law) is 193 Mott (between Broome and Spring; where Kenmare St. was later cut through), though the porch should end at an alleyway (with a wooden building next door), instead of seeing a blank brick wall to the right of it. Also, the building in the photo is 5 stories, while 193 Mott is only 4.
    There’s also Gold. St (Bklyn) as well, still.

    Recently added this collection of maps showing the old buildings at 60, 80 and 100 Centre St.

  28. Finally figured out the angles of the Ragpicker’s Row and Bottle Alley photos I was unsure of!

    Ragpicker’s Row was an alley that in fact was opposite of and lined up with Bandit’s Roost; as if they were the same passage, but were separated by a wall. So the photographers on either side are actually facing each other, looking toward this common wall (shown as an easily ignorable thin line on the maps) from opposite directions.
    The photo often called “Baxter St. alley, from the rear of Bandit’s Roost” is actually a closeup of the rear of Ragpicker’s Row, that is clearly seen in the more common Ragpicker’s Row photo (the one showing the lady standing at the top of the steps. In the former photo, the photographer is simply standing a bit “ahead” of the other one; past the stairway, looking in the same direction toward the same wall).

    Bandit’s Roost
    Ragpicker’s Row
    “Baxter Street Alley, directly in the rear of Bandits’ Roost Ragpicker’s Row.”
    “Feast day: A shrine in ‘Bandits Roost’, during the feast of Saint Rocco”

    On the Bandit’s Roost side, you see just a wooden fence in the background. On the Ragpicker’s Row side, you see the same fence, sitting on top of a brick wall. This is because Baxter Street is lower than Mulberry Street, from being closer to the banks of the Collect Pond, originally. (Just like on Mosco St., you still have a noticeable hill going up toward Mott).

    One thing throwing me off was the buildings. In both alleys, you have wooden buildings on the left, and brick buildings on the right, even painted similarly, with the segmental window arches in a darker color. (Making me think they might be the same building).
    But the maps reveal that this is how the buildings happen to be arranged. On both sides, looking toward the center, you have two 3 story brick rear tenements in a row perpendicular to the street, on the right. In Bandit’s Roost, you have two 2 story wooden structures opposite them, and in Ragpicker’s Row, you have one 3 story wooden building, with a slightly set back 3 story brick building behind it (abutting the ones on the Bandit’s Roost side of the fence, forming a solid row).

    You can’t really see this in the Ragpicker’s Row photo. In the “Baxter alley” closeup of the rear however, you can make out that behind the clapboard building is in fact another building set back to the left (and with fire escapes), and looking closely, it does appear to be brick. You then see the building next to it on the other side of the fence (with a man standing on top of the fence), which is not set back, and this exactly matches the map.
    On the standard Bandit’s Roost photo, you can’t see what’s beyond the buildings on the right, because of all the clothes lines. However, in the closeups of the rear of Bandit’s Roost, showing the St. Rocco feast shrine (which was set up against the fence), you can see on the right the clapboard building behind another building that’s set back, and has the fire escapes.
    (On another version of the feast scene, from further back, you can see through to the opposite street, above the Ragpicker’s Row structures, and the six story tenement at 60 Baxter [west side of the street] forming the background).

    The only thing I have not still placed yet is the Ragpicker’s Row drawing, from the Maggie Blanck site. This shows a three story building with a porch covering all stories, and another three story building to the right of it (both appear brick), and a 2 story wooden building abutting them perpendicularly. I don’t see anything like this in the 1894 map I’ve been using. I don’t even know when that drawing is from, but if older, things could have changed.

    Now, on Bottle Alley, I figured out the third photo, showing another building with a deck and stairs, but to the right, instead of straight ahead like the more common photo. There’s also a “X” marking a murder, like the other photo, but it’s on a different wall.
    The first impression was that the building with the deck was simply the same in both photos, but in the more common photo, the steps are perpendicular to the deck, and then consist of two smaller flights at a right angle with a landing and up against a wall, while in the other photo, it’s one straight flight, aligned with the deck.

    Well, on the bottom of the staircase’s bannister is another “X”, and this bannister is the same surface with the “X”, right in the left foreground of the first photo! (Duh! I should have seen that).

    What that means, is the the two photos are actually facing each other (i.e. looking on the opposite direction)! The first photo is obviously looking away from Baxter St., and you can see the shape of the “bend” in the back of the Mulberry St. rear tenements (51 and 53) behind the Baxter rear building (with the deck, and cornered stairway to the right).
    This other photo is looking toward Baxter St., but the 47 and 49 front buildings abut there (so you can’t see the street), and the 49 building is also a two story stuccoed brick structure with a wooden appendage (like the 47 rear in the other photo), and this is the deck and stairway on the right. (And it leads, in the background, to a narrower alley and then a passageway through the building, to the street).

    So what you see is a narrow alley with the deck running into it on the right, and to the left of this is a small stuccoed white building (actually marked as wooden on the map) up against a bigger clapboard building to the left (which would be 45 Baxter front). In front of that is a small angled stairway, with a guy sitting on the landing, and at the bottom is a one story wooden shed, with an “X”. And the bottom of the stairway on the right, opposite this, also has an “X” (though it’s harder to see), and this is actually what appears more clearly in the foreground of the other photo.

    (And an additional photo, which I figured out before, is looking perpendicular to these, to the south, and you see the X on the shed now to the right, the angled stairway of the 47 rear deck to the left, and the back side of the big 39 Baxter tenement in the distance beyond the fences of the neighboring lots. In center foreground, next to the shed with the “X” is a row of privies, and the X shed itself seems to be apart of them, though the row is set back and thus out of view of the second photo).

    Bottle Alley looking east (bannister “X” to the left, 47 rear house stairway to the right)
    Bottle Alley looking west (shed “X” to left, bannister “X” to the right, on front house deck stairs)
    Bottle Alley looking south (shed “X” to the right, 47 rear house stairs to left).

  29. OK, got the new photos, and also correction of Dens of Death location:

    Ragpicker’s Row:

    Bottle Alley looking west

    Bottle Alley Looking South:

    Dens of Death correction:

    The old photo I had tagged as Ragpicker’s is actually next door at 55 Baxter, which had a photo of its rear tenement arcade!

    And now, finally, overlay of Catlin scene!

    I was considering using the old (Dec.) photo I had tagged as Ragpicker’s Row, as the location of the first indoor bowling alley, at 51 Baxter, but it’s too far north; actually at 55. (51 was right on the bend, and directly across from 48-50 Mulberry). Ragpicker’s row itself I found was north of that, since it’s directly across from Bandit’s roost.
    For east/west precision, I used the Bayard St. buildings, particularly the old 1850’s style 104 Bayard tenement, which lined up with the building with the steps.

    Speaking of which, I was shocked to find that a branch of the tree actually resembles the female standing at the top of the steps with hands on hips in the original, and is just to the left of the same spot!

    Now, with Dens of Death, I awhile ago noticed on the 2 bp blogspot map that the current stone comfort station actually sits on the dividing line of the 35½-37 Baxter and 39-41 Mulberry lots. (Also confirmed by it being directly across from still existent 42 Mulberry). 35½ and 37 Baxter were the two gabled roofed houses in the middle of the DoD row. I had the whole row to the north of the comfort station. In December, I was only looking at general area for that one, ad didn’t think to plot out the exact lots.

    In the Catlin scene, I had to step way back to get the whole intersection. Catlin’s drawing seemed a bit panoramic, and you’re supposed to be looking down the middle of both Anthony and Orange Sts. so that both sides of the street converge. In my angle, only one side of each streets converge. For this reason, the cut in half house at 72 Cross sticks out (part of this was to take into account several widenings of the street since), and to show the shape of it as appears on Catlin, is not aligned completely with the street.
    (this other photo of the intersection I’ve run across is better for Worth St. but Home of the Rioters would be out of the picture. His camera angle is probably wider than my phone anyway. Also of note, I don’t know when this picture was taken, with the snowflake light decoration, but in mine, it’s still up and on, in March!)

    In other area news, the two old wooden two pane sash windows on the 3rd floor of 21 Mott St. have been newly replaced. (You can see them here).

  30. They actually have a Five Points (Gangs of NY) BOARD GAME!

    Likely not really interested, since board games are so “old hat” for me (Grew up on nearly all of them). But it is interesting. And I wonder how I never ran across it this whole past year.

    “Five Points: Gangs of New York is a game of struggle for political control of Manhattan in the mid-19th century. As the leader of a powerful political faction, you manipulate gangs and influence politicians behind the scenes to seize control. Effective use of your resources will gain influence, win elections, and let you control the destiny of New York; fail and you will be less than a footnote to history.

    Several tools lie at your disposal if you have the strength to acquire and use them. Your loyal rabble will execute your will. Controlling districts with your rabble could give you access to a limited number of important buildings: Tammany Hall, Board of Elections, 5th Ward Offices and many others. Your control of these buildings may provide influence and special powers. Bid for control of election-influencing manipulations that may swing the vote.

    In Manhattan, your burgeoning political machine may affect politics in America’s great city for over 100 years. At the heart of this machine are the gangs of New York who enforce the will of the bosses and determine elections before the first vote is cast.”


    20 neighborhoods (city block tiles)
    24 manipulation markers
    32 control markers (8 of each color)
    9 building tiles
    100 rabble cubes (20 of each color)
    25 boss markers (5 of each color)
    2 election markers
    5 pass markers
    60 victory point chips (1s, 3s, 5s)
    1 start player marker
    5 headquarters (player mats)

  31. So now, another Five Points game, which I could make up myself:

    Google decides to celebrate APRIL FOOLs by allowing us to play anywhere on a map.

    So in “Five Pacs”, Pacman starts on Pac Street next to Pacfiguration Church and Chomp Kee restaurant. The ghostmonsters’ lair at the “Chompsdowne Enclave” on the park pathway (which becomes a playable street) between the sites of the Home of the Chompchasers, and the Dens of Gameover. Also, Hayes Walk Run and paths (Including Monster’s Roost and Ragpac-er’s Row) connecting Pacberry Bend with Pacxter St.
    Too bad it can’t show the Old Chompery, Pacadise Park or Chomp Bay, now occupied by the Pac-Land Civic Center. Pac-ham Square (Where Pac Row runs into The Powery) is there, though!

    I guess in this world, they go into ChinaPac Fair (at 8 Dott St.) to play a game of the real world!

  32. Almack’s Dance Hall, site where the tap dance was created, as Irish and blacks competed with the jig vs the shuffle. Easy to place, as it was directly opposite 42 Mulberry, which is now occupied by the new parking garage made to look like a tenement, and on the current park entrance and walkway.

    It’s colored as brick in the 1853 map, but by 1894 was marked as wooden with a brick façade (This was apparently a distinction Perris/Sanborn added later, as they may have been fooled earlier on). So apparently, it lasted until the block’s demise the following year.
    I’m sure the front house was the hall. The abutting (but not connected) industrial building to the rear was likely the rear building for 105 Bayard.

    This might be my last photo, and I considered getting the area of the first bowling alleys; but it’ still not clear what that was. 51 and 63 Baxter are mentioned (the latter being two lots away from this photo, and the other in the ball fields between the Bottle Alley site and the current fence between the #55 and Ragpicker’s Row site (see recent photos), but then I read the first was Knickerbocker Lanes, with no address ever given, and I don’t know if that was one of these, or something else.

    In other news, I happen to flip through Anbinder looking through something, and catch (on p.209, which I hadn’t gotten to yet) another ramshackle scene photo I’ve never seen before. I gasped as the caption read looking west on Worth from the Five Points intersection, and at first (given the angled corner of the building) had to wonder if I was finally seeing the ever so elusive 73 Park corner. (My wife said I looked like I found out my father was not my real father!)
    But this was really the Crown Grocery at 150 Worth on the corner of Mission Place. It’s a raggedy wooden building, with the gable facing Worth, and the portion of the building marking 7 Mission Pl. built out from the half pitch of the roof (no dormers), and then you see the beginning of the brick 6 Mission on the left edge. To the right of this, you see the typical dormered buildings going down to the dual chimneyed building on the corner of Centre (72 Centre and also occupying 136 Worth; it’s just like 31 Mulberry, in the photo looking the other way down Park St), and then you can see a bit on the block past Centre.

    Basically, imagine in the “Five Points in 1859 (drawn in 1888)” (or “Bloody Ould Sixth”) drawing, the photographer facing you, and that’s the view. You can see the same two story porch or sidewalk cover on the wooden building (with part of the Mission in the background of the drawing).

    I had forgotten that one building was wood; I thought the whole side and corner of Mission Place was brick.
    But now seeing the whole thing, I’ll bet this was what the Gangs of New York portrayal of Mission place (as those similar looking wooden buildings) was based on! They didn’t realize the wood was only on the corner and the whole row of 1-6 Mission was brick, which I only know because of the fire insurance maps, and one old drawing of the park I found.

    Recall, Anbinder also has an exclusive photo on p.16, looking the other way toward 30 Baxter (167 Worth).
    Well, he attributes these photos to the NY Historical Society, which I had joined to get the missing maps. I had considered next asking them about any maps not online, but just hadn’t gotten to ti. This now moves me to see what else the might have.

    Anyway, Anbinder discusses the bordello brothel above the store, where young girls, including the owner’s daughters worked in prostitution. (Though says such cases were undoubtedly not the norm).
    The photo is dated 1868, but the late 1850’s maps show that whole side of Worth already wiped out (and remaining empty for the time) when the street was widened (even taking a piece of the corner of 6 Mission, which then became the new corner building).

  33. This may finally be what I’ve been looking for! The southwest corner; block 160’s front on the intersection, including the front of the former distillery complex.
    Got my own copy on the phone from NYHS, and waiting for the permissions, but getting the name for it, (A Bit of Baxter St., C.F.W. Mielatz), found it on this auction site:

    Here we see a 3 story snubbed corner building, on an angled corner, followed by (going left) two wooden gable buildings, an alleyway (looks fenced or gated off), a 3 story building, and then a taller building. Perfectly fits 18-26 Baxter, 1880-90’s, and we even see a gazebo on the right, in what would be Paradise Park! (one appears in the 1894 map). Behind that is what would look like the later large buildings of Mission Place.
    Notice also, the storefront at what would be #24 says “Lager Beer”, fitting the address’ long time association with the alcohol industry.

    The copy I saw says 1914, but this was likely just the date of the Sun newspaper it appeared in. The Old Print Shop page (which doesn’t show the picture) says 1893, which would fit perfectly.

    So this really looks like “it”, this time!

    The rest of what I found was a lot of stuff already seen online, like the funeral at 31½ Baxter, Baxter at the Centre Market Place end, The 1888 drawing of the park and mission in 1859 (at Bowery Boogie), the “last day” (12-1-52) drawing of the Old Brewery (several color and B&W copies), and Paradise Park looking west (naked eye view confirms that the Brewery did not have the Mission banner in that one, so that’s two without the banner).
    Found two of Anbinder’s prints: Crown’s Grocery looking west, and the Old Brewery with six of its parts numbered, which really sheds some light on things. But I didn’t find the photo of the north side of Worth, so I’ll have to find where that came from.

    There’s also another clear photo of the Brewery (Oliver & Brother) looking east.

    Also shot a bunch of Park Row photos, from Baxter/Roosevelt to the City Hall area.

  34. Here’s my copy
    Pretty sure now that this is the mystery “missing” corner!

    Apparently the 3 story brick rear 24 building is totally obscured by the gable of the “2½” story front building. The same thing happens on the next photo, of the Mission.
    In this print, you can see a chimney over the ridge of the house, but it’s hard to tell whether it’s part of that building, or the one behind it.

    #22 candidate has both of its dormers (joined into one, it seems), and #24 candidate looks like its right dormer is set back/higher and more off to the side (almost obcured by the corner building) than the other one. 24’s dormers are pedimented and arched. #20 candidate has a full 3rd floor with a flat roof, and as IIRC, it was once 2 stories, it likely had its gable converted into a floor, as many other buildings did mid-century. (So my drawing of it with the gable at the turn of the century would be wrong [fixed]). The #18 candidate looks to be two stories taller than #20 (it was 5 stories) and is wider in the front, as appears in the maps, being a sort of prototypical “dumbbell” tenement. Can’t see any of the front, though.

    20 and 22 have porticoes, but not 24. 26 has one as well, and is clearly marked as a clothing store, which the back of the print I saw says Baxter St. was known for, and that it and the wooden buildings were relics from the area’s past. (This made it seem it might not be the corner, since 22 and 24’s wooden houses were replaced by then, but if the drawing was new, then like the “Bowery Boogie” one, it would be a retrospective of decades earlier, hence the 1893 date).
    Both 22 and 24 had received brick faces, though it’s hard to tell what the façades are made of here. Both look like the second floors might still be clapboard, and while 22’s first floor is obscured by the portico, 24 looks like it has a brick façade on the first floor, complete with segmental arches! It actually looks pretty much the way the house where 65 Cross should be [i.e. the “Money Lent” place] on the Gangs of New York set looks!
    (So this actually raises the question, regarding the maps, of how many floors a brickface actually covers in the drawings. I don’t remember seeing that specifid anywhere).

    “63 Park Street between Baxter and Pearl”; George T. Bagoe Collection, showing the new 63 extension, with part of the old 65 (now a “Box Factory”) and also, the back of the 22 rear tenement (which is a larger scale than 24 as you can see in Riis’ photo, but both three stories, so it sticks up above the 65 roof), but apparently nothing inbetween. So like in the Mielatz front view, the 24 rear is obscured on this side by the 65 front house (Recall, it too is connected to 24 as well as 22, in the rear). If you could se the whole left side of 65, then it would be visible. It otherwise is only visible over the smaller 67-71 houses then (where it looks huge). In the 1888 drawing of 1859, on Bowery Boogie, you can see that the roofline of 24 is the same height as the ridge/apex of the rather large 65 gable, so I should have known it would not be visible over the 65 roof.

    Crown’s Grocery on Worth @Mission Pl. looking west (only other place seen is Anbinder, p.209)

    The house rotated with the gable facing Worth is 68 Centre St. The grocery today is the location of the north apex of the 60 Centre hexagon and the ramshackle scene beyond is Foley Sq parkland (former Hamill Place, which cut the corner of Centre and Worth as one of the sides of the hexagon).

    Old Brewery with six entrances numbered (Also in Anbinder p.70; click or mouse over to enlarge).

    This helps clarify those somewhat confusing descriptions of the brewery. And it leads to a shocker: Murderer’s Alley looks to be apart of #63 (the house next door), not 59 or 61 (the “Brewery” proper), which had a door to a brick hallway to the rear on its west side! This is what we see the “1” in front of! (Was hard to make out the numbers in the book, but easier seeing the print directly). This actually survived the Brewery, inasmuch as the old #63 house lasted a little longer and sat side by side with the Mission for over a decade afterward. (1867 is the first to show both 63 and 65 replaced, though this is on a paste-on, which on that map seems to reflect c1870, when the next map was produced. The above photo and others showing the new 63 extension with the old 65 must be sometime in the 1860’s). The alley appears in maps as a dotted line, “brick wall not on all floors”, which; recall, 65 Mott has, and represents the hallway to the rear court.
    2 is the entrance to #61, the “main groggery” (“D Brennan Grocery”)
    3; entrance to the “Den of Thieves” is the rightmost door on side (corner) of 59
    4, the leftmost side door connects the “drunken alley” (former coal yard site) with the Den of Thieves
    5, on the narrower rear section is “another entrance to the Den of Thieves” (this is right near the ramp to the rear exit of 60 Centre)
    6 the rightmost door in the rear, is a “door leading to a gamblng area in the rear”

    There’s also another clear photo of the Brewery (Oliver & Brother) looking east, and a building where the distillery should be (behind 67 and 69, and the same height as 63/65) is drawn at a very large angle to the Cross St. buildings (?) and there’a silhouette of another building behind it, which looks more like the way the distillery appears.


    Also, in looking for a background for the opening (and settling on the old street map over the Collect Pond image, and also finding a picture of the fronts of 22 and 24 Oak St. [the front of the 56 Roosevelt rear tenements] on the same site) I found some surprising info on the Five Points Mission:

    I never knew what happened to the mission, after the area was cleared around 100 years ago. I figure it may have moved, perhaps changed its name or something, and likely fizzled out sometime, but was not seeing anything on this.
    Apparently, it moved across the way to Ward 4, 69 Madison St. (a couple of blocks from the 1850’s triangle shaped tenement with the store on St. James near the former “X”), and in 1966, it was taken over by the current church, which now has a plaque on the wall saying it extended from the old Mission!

  36. 6/28

    Also, another surprising find, this picture of the Five Points Mission’s “First Mission Room”:

    The street sign says “Cross St”. From the look of it, it’s 31 Mulberry, the Federal house on the southeast corner of Block 165, (facing the Black Horse Tavern), which appears in the hard to recognize Park St. photo that also shows 21 Mott in the background opposite the Transfiguration Church.

    So this is where it was before it took over the Brewery, down Cross St.!

    On this site:,0.065,0.206,0.119,0 is a 1776 NY state map with an inset for the city you can zoom really close into, and you see:

    Orange street was originally the two blocks from Chatham, and ending at where the Bend would be, as that’s was the edge of the Collect’s marsh, leading up and away toward the Hudson. Cross St. (unlabeled) simply dead ended at the banks of the pond west of the intersection. On another map, where Little Water St. has been built, you can see it ends just west of there, where the later bend in that street toward the south was. Anthony wasn’t built across yet, so all you had west of the intersection was Cross St. and Little Water running from Cross, onto a little peninsula out into the pond. This of course was “Cow’s Bay”.

    Mulberry and Mott were only so named south of the bend; the “Little Italy”-aligned streets north of there changed to “Ryndert” and “Wynn” Streets, respectively. By 1797, Mulberry was made “Catherine St., which you still had south of Division to the river several blocks over, and Orange became “Mary St.” at the Bend, and ran to Prince St. (On what’s now Cleveland Pl., as I’ve reported). If that weren’t enough, what became Anthony St. was also named “Catherine St.” for its whole length, from Hudson St. to the pond, where Centre St. would have been, but the whole area wasn’t built up yet. So then next to it between Broadway and the pond was “Catherine Lane”, which of course is still there, as a virtual alleyway between buildings!
    Elm at the time was a second “Ann St.”, in addition to the one down by City Hall. Another “Ann” was Grand, west of Bowery. The Centre St. alignment was occupied by a short “Potters Hill” that ran the two or so blocks from the junction with Chatham St. to a “Barley St.” that later became Duane St., which was a slightly misaligned two halves interrupted by the pond’s surrounding grounds.

    At that point, Cross actually has finally been extended, but instead of bending southward toward Reade, it bends the other way to merge with “Magazine St.” which was the section Pearl later took over, from Chatham to Broadway. It crossed over what was by then a short stream connecting the larger main and smaller southern parts of the pond. It was originally named after the “Powder Magazines” that lied between the larger and shorter ponds according to the 1776 British map, which also showed the “Tanners Yard”, occupying the whole Orange/Cross area, which are what polluted the pond). This map also shows the “Hope walk” built along the marsh from the Orange bend to just short of Hester.
    The little street after Orange next to the pond, was not “Little Water”, but rather simply “Water Street” (—separate from the other Water Street near the river). The 1799 map, shows Cross Street taking its final alignment. The smaller southern pond has by now been filled in.

    The 1807 map has even more surprises! The pond is now completely gone (even though the filling in of it is usually attributed to 1811. This may have still been a plan not built yet), and the entire grid is in place. Water Street has actually been extended and renamed “Collect Street”, and takes the future alignment of Centre Street north of Leonard Street. At Canal Street (which ended at this street), it then becomes the new “Rynders Street” and then merges with Orange Street at “Broom [sic] St.”. Orange St.’s little dead end north of Prince St. is shown, and now it and Mott and Mulberry have also been renamed for their entire lengths.
    South of Leonard, a small unnamed street takes the future Centre St. alignment for two blocks, ending at Magazine Street. (Old streets site says this was “Brooks St.”, and that it was what was absorbed by Collect St., having run to Hester). Anthony Street ends at this street. So Cross Street is still the next “through” street running the two blocks between Magazine and “Reed” [sic] Street (and thus serving the function of the later full Centre St), and connecting the area to City Hall.
    The entire area is now finally marked as “Sixth Ward”.

    This now sheds light on the reason why the final “Cow Bay” was the way it was. It wasn’t simply the original dead end at the banks of the pond used by cattlemen, and they simply left it that way, and then built up everything around it, as you would assume. It was actually a full through street for while! (Must have been good for Coulthardt’s brewery, right at the end of the street coming from uptown! But then, when the full Centre Street was finally built through the area, Collect Street was then renamed “Little Water Street”, and cut off north of Anthony, recreating the “Cow Bay” dead-end. The encroaching building lines of the new street are what caused the resultant “alleyway” to end up “narrowing…back to a point about a hundred feet from the entrance” as reported in Five Points slum stories.

    Mulberry in all these maps still went to Chatham, and I don’t think the blocks were numbered at that point, so I wonder then, why block 161 jumped across Mulberry if it was always two separate blocks. Pell and Doyers weren’t built at all, through 1789. I imagine at least Pell was added when the Mooney House was built on the around this time. Elizabeth, Bayard and of course Bowery were the same, but after Bowery was First Second and Third. Sts., leading eventually to Orchard. (Lends support to the notion that if NYC had an original “Main St.”_), Bowery would have been the eastern version, with Broadway as the western one). South of Division was mostly “Jews Burying Ground”. (The infamous African Burial Ground, over on the other side of the pond, isn’t marked at all). Pearl St. was still Queen st. It just ended at Chatham near Orange, as the next street over from Roosevelt. St. James and a shorter Oliver and Catherine were there as well.

    All of these maps, beginning with 1730 (Where the entire area is undeveloped, and on the very edge of the map), and 1754 (where the immediate Five Points Grid begins to take shape, but the area was called the “Out Ward”) can be seen here:

  37. FINALLY got this thing! (48-50 Mulberry rear “back porch”; rare in NYC). Front door was open, hallway leads to back door out to under the veranda (upper left) as I figured, and building workers or supt/landlordgave me permission to take the photos!

    Obviously new steelwork, and not the post-1895 ironwork shown in 1905 Sanborn (center left). This would be from 2000’s renovation (and recall, the original 1880’s construction shown in 1894 Sanborn was wood!)

    Odd configuration, as instead of having its own staircase as they do in other cities, it has steps up to the standard climb-out window fire escape on the left, and abuts another fire escape on the right. (They appear to be separate by their railing/ballustrade, but it looks like there’s a step from one to the other as well, so I wonder if those are gates between them).

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