This narrow little passage off Rivington Street between Chrystie Street and the Bowery now attracts well-heeled, hipster New Yorkers looking for a table at retro Freemans restaurant, at the end of the alley.
The breadline stemmed from the Bowery Mission, which had just relocated to nearby 227 Bowery. That building, a former coffin factory, was remodeled so its rear entrance opened to the back of Freeman Alley. Apparently the alley’s end wasn’t closed at the time.
Freeman Alley is a bit of a mystery. No one is sure if it honors early 19th century surveyor Uzal Freeman, or if the name refers to the Second African Burial Ground, a cemetery for black New Yorkers on the site of Sara Roosevelt Park that was closed in 1853.
[NYPL Digital Gallery photo of the Bowery Mission Breadline]
Tags: 227 Bowery, Bowery Bums, Bowery Mission, Bowery Mission Breadline, Freeman Alley, Freemans Restaurant, New York in 1909, New York street, Sara Roosevelt Park, Second African Burial Ground, skid row bowery, Uzal Freeman