When East 79th Street was “Little Hungary”

New York’s first Little Hungary centered around today’s East Village; Second Avenue was dubbed the “Hungarian Broadway.”

“It is to that part of Second Avenue between Houston and East 10th Streets that this title has been applied, for almost everybody who walks there hails from Hungary or Bohemia, and nearly every second house presents the sign ‘Hungarian Restaurant,’ proclaimed The New York Times in 1900.

But as with the huge German population in the East Village at the time, the Hungarians and Bohemians soon relocated to Yorkville. And 79th Street east of Lexington Avenue became the new Hungarian Broadway—also known as “Goulash Boulevard.”

It’s all pretty much all disappeared now. Oh, St. Stephen of Hungary School and Church as well as the Hungarian Reformed Church, both on 82nd Street, still have a presence.

And the original 1916 Hungarian Reform Church, at left, is a few blocks south on 69th Street.

A Hungarian cafe and Hungarian meat market also exist. Yet famed Austro-Hungarian restaurants such Hungarian Gardens, the Viennese Lantern, and Debrechen have long since closed up shop.

But then, the other main drags of Yorkville have also lost their ethnic edge. East 72nd Street, once “Bohemian Broadway” because of all the Czechs living in the vicinity, has dwindled.

And though some German food specialty stores still exist along East 86th Street, the “German Boulevard” is nothing like it was in its heyday.

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7 Responses to “When East 79th Street was “Little Hungary””

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Here’s a piece about Hungarians in NYC

    http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2010/10/first-hungarian-reformed-church-344.html

  2. petey Says:

    still, none of these groups is gone. a new hungarian pastry shop opened maybe two, three years ago on second avenue (mmmmmm hungarian pastries). you can still hear the magyar (and the deutsch) spoken in the neighborhood, e.g. in st elizabeth’s church which has hungarian mass.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    I didn’t know there was still a Hungarian mass, that’s fascinating. Here’s a web link:
    http://www.stelizabethofhungarynyc.org/pictures.htm

    • petey Says:

      hmmm. no mention of hungarian mass at the website (that i saw). this requires investigation.
      but i was baptized there. that’s for sure.

  4. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Check out that Dayton in Manhattan blog (above) that I put it, it’s fascinating.

  5. Emmnyc Says:

    There are still Hungarian masses held at St. Stephen’s of Hungary Church on E. 82nd Street

  6. When Murray Hill was “Little Armenia” « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] Syria, Little Hungary, the Jewish Quarter: Manhattan really used to be a collection of tight ethnic [...]

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