The uptown stretch of Avenue A

As the carved stone sign on this school building on 78th Street shows, Avenue A—long associated with the East Village—used to exist on the Upper East Side as well. The uptown branch started up again at 53rd Street. 

79thstavenueasign1 So why the name change? In 1928, most of Avenue A north of 59th Street was renamed York Avenue in honor of World War I hero Alvin York, a Tennessee native awarded the Medal of Honor in 1918.

The portion between 53rd an 59th Street had previously been recast as Sutton Place, after developer Effingham B. Sutton, in the late 19th century.

Here’s more on Alvin York and what he did to win the Medal of Honor.

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9 Responses to “The uptown stretch of Avenue A”

  1. tacony palmyra Says:

    So was the name “Yorkville” not used for the neighborhood until after 1928?

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Great question. Does anyone know?

  3. petey Says:

    i’ve seen ‘yorkville’ on maps from as early as the 1840s.
    also, on 3rd ave between 84th and 85th streets, west side, you can see a very old ad painted on the side of an apt building for a store located on avenue A in the 70s.

  4. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    ‘The Epic on NYC’ a Narrative History by Edward Robb Ellis lists “The village of Yorkville held about 100 houses” and this in 1784.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks for the info. According to several New York Times articles, York Avenue was named for Alvin York in 1928. I trust their reporting, though it seems strangely coincidental for York Avenue and Yorkville to have been given the same name in separate centuries. Will look into it further….

  6. petey Says:

    i checked this morning, and that ad reads:
    some carpet store at “1410 Ave. A Cnr. 75th Str”

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    What a great find, thanks for checking it out.

  8. Defunct city addresses on vintage real estate ads | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Lots for sale on 83rd and 84th Streets at Avenues A and B? That’s not a misprint—York Avenue was Avenue A until the 1920s (and some Avenue A signage still exists, like this school address). […]

  9. This Upper East Side school still has boot scrapers | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] is PS 158 in Yorkville on 77th Street (above in 1920). The cross streets on the school’s facade still say “Avenue A,” the old name for York Avenue. It’s a wonderful […]

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