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NYC Grid is a photo blog dedicated to exploring New York block-by-block and corner-by-corner. Each post covers a new street or feature with a focus on the mundane and ephemeral.


Entries in Chinatown (15)


Bowery Between Division St and Canal St 

There's been much lamenting about the gentrification of The Bowery over the past decade or two. However, it seems to me that much of this change is relegated to the short stretch between Houston and 4th Street. Way down here where the Bowery Begins it still seems to retain much of its original character. Lined with endless rows of low-rise buildings, most everything here in bilingual and packed tight. 

This part of The Bowery seems to have changed so little that even mailboxes still have logos that were phased out 15 years ago. This first main stretch has a nearly comical concentration of bank branches- though that dies quickly by the time you pass the Manhattan Bridge. 



Chrystie St Between Canal St and Hester St 

With with grand entrance to the Manhattan Bridge behind me (along with the towering mass of buildings in the Financial District), walking north along Chrystie street into the maze of blocks that make up the Lower East Side can be a bit disorienting. The tangle of streets that make up the various ramps onto the bridge create for a bit of a pedestrian nightmare. If not for the massive arch structure acting as a visual clue to traffic, it'd be hard to tell where to go.

The right-hand side of this street is home to a big, open astroturf field which belongs to Pace High School. Also starting here is the 7-block-long Sara Roosevelt Park (Which Google Maps misspells as "Sarah" similar fashion to how it misspells "Grammercy"). It also seems, at least according to my map, that the school is located in this park, but that may be coincidence .

By the end of the block, much of the park space is fenced off, and is under construction. It seems that by next spring there will be some really interesting changes coming to this part of the LES.


Monroe St Between Market St and Catherine St

Just beyond the traditional reaches of Chinatown, and in between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, the short staccato existence that is Monroe Street sits. Monroe really only spans two full blocks; beyond that it pops up only as a small side street a few blocks to the east. This is the longer of the two main stretches and is mainly home to a large apartment development on the south side of the block. The north side is a more traditional combination of low-rise structures, new buildings, and a church.

Despite not officially being Chinatown, the cultural influences of the neighborhood still reign here. The majority of the stores and shops sport bilingual signs. The south side of the street with the apartments had a number of basement community centers, as well as some offices. There were a number of gates which seemed to lead into some nice communal green spaces.

Perhaps it was just the time of day I visited, but there wasn't much light reaching the street, and there weren't a whole lot of trees to place the blame on either.  The towering apartments really cut out a lot of the natural space, especially being this close to the waterfront. Though, the Verizon building looming in the distance didn't help much either.

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