Friday, May 1, 2015

Walking in the City - Alphabet City

My latest city walk took me to Alphabet City, a place I was not even aware existed until my daughter asked me whether I wanted to spend the day exploring the area. Part of the East Village, it is made up of four avenues, appropriately named A, B, C and D, between First Avenue and East River Drive running from 14th Street in the north to E. Houston Street in the south.  

It is only a tiny area in Manhattan but once among its streets it's easy to forget that you are still in New York City. With barely a chain outlet in sight, independent shops and restaurants line the avenues, many of the latter offering outdoor seating and a chance to relax and watch the world go by - a temptation hard to resist on the warm, sunny day of our visit. 

The cross streets (1st -14th St) tend to be mostly residential although every so often a church or public building appears in the midst of the renovated apartment blocks adding interesting character to already attractive streets. 
Even the fire escapes add a certain charm!

San Isidro y San Leandro of the Western Orthodox Catholic Church
Free Public Baths of the City of New York

Community gardens abound in Alphabet City. I lost count of how many we passed. Many are tiny but one which was open to the general public offered more than just a place for residents to put their gardening skills to good use.

You could admire the sculpture or perhaps even find your next good read:

If a regular park is more to your liking there is Tompkins Square Park running for three blocks between 7th and 10th Street and Avenues  A and B, a popular place for families with its playgrounds, basketball courts and mini-pool. Performances are hosted by the park including the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival.

This building, across from the park, was Charlie Parker's residence from 1950 -1954.

 We also spotted some interesting murals on our walk relating to poets:

Gil Scott- Heron, Poet, Musician & Author
Fuerzas Irresistibiles 
And perhaps we should not have been surprised to see this mural:

The area has a considerable history primarily due to the waves of immigrants who made their home in the area. In the 1840-1850's it was known as Little Germany so it was perhaps appropriate that we ended our exploration with drinks at Zum Schneider.

 A pleasant way to end an enjoyable day.