City Living: South Tompkins Square Park
Nestled within the heart of the East Village, this quaint micro-neighborhood beats at a slightly slower pace beneath the hustle, bustle and foot shuffling of partygoers and tourists.
Defined by its trees, low-rise buildings and a park that serves as a backyard for local families, it offers a welcomed respite for those in search of a more toned-down version of the city but one thats not too far from the liveliness, should they ever yearn to return.
We call it South Tompkins Square Park, and it is known for its shady side streets and trendy but laid-back main avenues.
Saturated with everything from restaurants, bars and boutiques to community gardens, art galleries and classic New York delis, the area is a vibrant hub of activity infused with palpable East Village-Alphabet City edginess and charm.
Historic tenement houses and classic three- to five-floor walk-ups line its side streets, with some facades splashed in red, gray and black. And though trees populate many blocks, greenery is all the more present at the 10.5-acre Tompkins Square Park, from which the area takes its name.
The park was once home to squatters ranging from students to the homeless, and served as the site of the 1988 Tompkins Square Park riots. But the green space takes on a different air today.
Basketball and handball courts provide an outlet for neighborhood kids to play, the dog run is an asset to dog owners and, on a typical day, New York University co-eds can be seen sitting on the benches, eyes glued to laptops, while residents catch up a few feet away or visitors stroll through.
Thirty years ago youd be afraid to walk through the park, said longtime resident John Moloney. He has lived on East Ninth Street with his wife since 1967 and raised six kids there.
Now no ones afraid to walk home at night; thats whats great, he said.
Tompkins Square Park stretches from East Seventh Street up to East 10th Street and sits between Avenues A and B.
The South Tompkins Square Park area starts at E. 9th St. and ends at E. 3rd St. The avenues go from Second to C. More »
L train to First Avenue; F train to Second Avenue; F, J, M trains to Delancey Street; M8, M21 buses More »
Tompkins Square Library branch of the New York Public Library is the closest, at 331 E. 10th St. More »
P.S. 64, 600 E. Sixth St.; Tompkins Square Middle School, also at 600 E. Sixth St.; East Side Community High School, 420 E. 12th St. More »
USPS Tompkins Square Post Office, 244 E. Third St. More »
The Tompkins Square Park area is covered by the Ninth Precinct, aka “the fighting Ninth,” located at 321 E. Fifth St. More »