Manhattan Snaps, Week of March 14, 2018

manhattan snaps 3 14 2019

An overhead view of Tompkins Square Park on Jan. 1, 1936, shows how some things have changed since then. Back then, the park sported a couple of gazebos in its center. And today, unlike 82 years ago, there are chess tables — and usually a collection of sundry characters among them — around the Samuel Sullivan Cox monument in the park’s southwest corner, at lower right. Cox, who lived on E. 12th St., served in Congress in New York for 20 years, and was known as “The Letter Carriers’ Friend” for championing postal workers’ rights. And just east of the park on Avenue B, St. Brigid’s Church can be seen still sporting its two steeple spires. The towering 16-story Christ0dora House, also on Avenue B, also still stands there today, of course. It had been constructed eight years earlier as a settlement house — known as a “vertical settlement house” due to its height — to help out low-income and immigrant community members. Its top nine floors were rented out to residents to help fund the organization’s operations. After a long period during which the building was largely empty, it was converted to condos in 1986, in what was seen as a major beachhead of gentrification into the neighborhood. In the center background, near the Con Edison plant, are large gas tanks, from what was formerly known as the Gas House District, which were later removed. (Courtesy NYC Parks Department)

An aerial view in 1938 of the East Village, then still known as the Lower East Side, showing East River Park still under construction, in foreground, and the towering gas tanks of the Gas House District, at right.


A celebration parade in 1938 for the new East River Drive (later to be renamed the F.D.R. Drive) passing through the Gas House District.


A large tree and planters being carted in during the celebration parade for the new East River Drive in 1935.