Mulberry Street (Manhattan)
Mulberry Street c. 1900
|North end||Bleecker Street|
|South end||Worth Street|
Mulberry Street is a principal thoroughfare in Manhattan in New York City. The street was listed on maps of the area since at least 1755. The "Bend" in Mulberry, in which the street changes direction from southeast to northwest to a northerly direction, was to avoid the wetlands surrounding the Collect Pond. Mulberry Street, during the period of the American Revolution, was usually referred to as "Slaughter-house Street", named for the slaughterhouse of Nicholas Bayard on what is now the southwest corner of Mulberry and Bayard streets until the summer of 1784, when it was ordered to be removed to Corlaer's Hook.
Mulberry Bend formed by Mulberry Street on the east and Orange Street on the west was historically part of the core of the infamous Five Points with the southwest corner of Mulberry Bend formed part of the Five Points intersection for which the neighborhood was named.
Mulberry is between Baxter and Mott streets. It runs north to south through the old center of Little Italy. At the southern end of Mulberry, the street merges into New York's Chinatown, here the street is lined with Chinese green grocers, butcher stores and fish mongers.
The street was named after the mulberry trees that once lined Mulberry Bend, the slight bend in Mulberry Street. "Mulberry Bend is a narrow bend in Mulberry Street, a tortuous ravine of tall tenement-houses... so full of people that the throngs going and coming spread off the sidewalk nearly to the middle of the street... The crowds are in the street because much of the sidewalk and all of the gutter is taken up with vendors' stands." For the urban reformer Jacob Riis, Mulberry Bend epitomized the worst of the city's slums: "A Mulberry Bend Alley" contrasted with "Mulberry Bend becomes a park" were two of the photographs illustrating Jacob Riis's call for renewal, The Battle with the Slum (1902).
Feast of San Gennaro
During the Italian-American festival of the Feast of San Gennaro each September, the entire street is blocked off to vehicular traffic to make way for the street fair. The San Gennaro Feast began in 1926 and continues today. It is the largest Italian-American Festival in New York and possibly the United States.
The Puck Building stands near the north end of the street on the southwest corner of Houston Street. Further south is Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral, standing in its churchyard. Church of the Most Precious Blood 113 Baxter Street was built by Italians, who as new immigrants were not allowed to worship in the main Churches of Transfiguration and St. Patrick's Old Cathedral. Below Prince Street (no, 247) is the former Ravenite Social Club, where wire taps acquired evidence that sent John Gotti to prison.
In popular culture
Mulberry Street has been the subject of books, films and music. Billy Joel's song "Big Man on Mulberry Street" is a jazz influenced song from his 1986 album The Bridge (1986). In 2006 a horror film took the name Mulberry Street.
The street is also quoted in the song "Io tengo n'appartamento" by the Italian singer Renato Carosone: an old story of a rich singer in Little Italy missing his hometown Napoli.
- Abattoirs; History of New-York Slaughter-Houses — Interesting and Curious Data. The New York Times, April 1, 1866
- R.K. Chin, "A Journey Through Chinatown"; Mulberry Street
- Columbus Park, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Accessed October 27, 2007.
- New York Songlines: Mulberry Street, Main Street of Little Italy
- Harlan Logan, "The Bowery and Bohemia", Scribner's Magazine 15 1894:458.
- Max Page devotes a section to "Jacob Riis and the 'leprous houses' of Mulberry Bend" in The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940, 2001:73ff.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mulberry Street (Manhattan)|
- New York Songlines: Mulberry Street, a virtual walking tour
- Mulberry Street Storefronts - photographs of buildings and stores along Mulberry St from Chinatown through Little Italy
- Mulberry Street, New York City from 1900 via the World Digital Library