Great Jones Street
The street was named for Samuel Jones, a lawyer who became known as "The Father of The New York Bar," due to his work on revising New York State's statutes in 1789 with Richard Varick, who also had a street named after him in SoHo. Jones was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1796 to 1799, and also served as the state's first Comptroller.
Jones deeded the site of the street to the city with the stipulation that any street that ran through the property had to be named for him. However, when the street was first created in 1789, the city already had a "Jones Street" in Greenwich Village, named for Dr. Gardner Jones, Samuel Jones' brother-in-law. The confusion between two streets with the same name was broken when Samuel Jones suggested that his street be called "Great Jones Street". An alternative theory suggests that the street was called "Great" because it was the wider of the two Jones Streets.
In popular culture
- According to UrbanDictionary.com and other sources, the verb "Jonesing", a word used to describe an intense craving, originally for a drug, but now extended to everyday use, comes from Great Jones Street, a former junkie hangout, although other explorations into the etymology of the slang expresssion do not mention this as an origin.
- 1968: Thomas Reichman's documentary film Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968 contains a scene which shows Mingus' November 1966 eviction from his loft at 5 Great Jones Street, which he had hoped to turn into a music school. The musician's belongings, including his instruments, are shown being hauled away, and Mingus himself is arrested when hypodermic needles were found in his stuff.
- 1973: In Don DeLillo's novel Great Jones Street, the main character, Bucky Wunderlick, a "rock star and budding messiah" is "holed up in a crummy room on New York's Great Jones Street until he somehow regains his will to go on."
- 1988: Artist and film director Jean-Michel Basquiat was found dead on the sidewalk in front of 57 Great Jones Street on August 12, 1988.
- 1994: "Great Jones Street" is the title of a song by the American band Luna, from their album Bewitched. Dean Wareham, who founded the band, lists DeLillo's book as one of his favorites, and a press release for the band was signed by "Bucky Wunderlick", the name of the main character in the novel. Wareham calls the song "A little tribute" to the novel.
- New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Postal, Matthew A. (ed. and text); Dolkart, Andrew S. (text). (2009) Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.) New York:John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1 p.62
- Moscow, Henry. The Street Book: An Encyclopedia of Manhattan's Street Names and Their Origins. New York: Hagstrom, 1978. ISBN 0823212750, p.56
- Boland, Ed, Jr. "F.Y.I.". New York Times (March 17, 2002). Accessed October 8, 2007. "In 1789 a street was opened there, but New York already had a Jones Street in Greenwich Village. So the new street was named Great Jones Street because it was wider than the norm."
- Gordon, John Steele "A Thoroughly Unfair Quiz About New York", New York Times (August 10, 1985). Accessed October 8, 2007. "When neither man would yield the honor of having a street named for him, Samuel settled the issue--and one-upped his brother-in-law--by saying, 'Then make mine Great Jones Street.'"
- "Jonesin'" at UrbanDictionary.com
- New York Daily News (May 5, 2005) Quote: "1960s Jazz great Charles Mingus moves in next door at 5 Great Jones Street. The term 'Jonesing' enters the language as junkies and dealers come and go from the alley next door."; as reported at "jones/jonesing" on Wordwizard
- Safire, William. "On Language; Jonesing" New York Times Magazine (May 11, 2003)
- Barrett, Grant. "Jonesing Origin" A Way With Words (December 9, 2012)
- Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968 at the Internet Movie Database
- "Charles Mingus and His Eviction From His New York City Loft, Captured in Moving 1968 Film" Open Culture (August 2, 2012)
- "Great Jones Street" on Powells.com
- Blackburn, Sara. "Great Jones Street" New York Times (April 22, 1973)
- Hoban, Phoebe. Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art (excerpt) New York Times (August 9, 1998)
- Joyce, Cynthia. "Penthouse View" Salon (May 7, 1996)
- "Interview with Dean Wareham" Goodreads (April 2008)
- Daley, David. "Just This Side Of The Moon" Hartford Courant (November 3, 2002)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Great Jones Street.|
- Third Street With Great Jones Street: A New York Songline - virtual walking tour