What happened to Manhattan’s “Piggery District”

Mid-19th century New York City had its genteel side, but mostly it was a collection of rough edges. One long-forgotten hardscrabble neighborhood was the Piggery District, between Sixth and Eighth Avenues in the West 50s.

It was a dirty, smelly, rocky area of hog yards and shanties housing the poor Irish and Dutch families who eked out a living raising and slaughtering pigs.

No one seemed to care about the Piggery District until Central Park opened in 1859. With the city accelerating northward, the neighborhood was deemed a filthy nuisance, and the Department of Health wanted it gone.

That year, the city sent dozens of armed men into the Piggery District to forcibly shut down the offal-boiling places and round up the pigs. 

On at least one occasion, they also ended up ripping apart residents’ homes. A Times article from July 27, 1859 about the raid quoted one woman whose shanty was demolished:

“Very poor revenge,” said she, “to tear down people’s buildings after the pigs is all sent away entirely.”

Here’s another West Side neighborhood that once thrived, then disappeared around the turn of the century.

This Lincoln Center–area neighborhood held out a little longer, but it too is dead and gone.

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5 Responses to “What happened to Manhattan’s “Piggery District””

  1. Laura Says:

    It looks like the Upper West Side is popular for razing, doesn’t it?

    Harsenville, the Piggery District, and the section of housing Robert Moses tore down to build Lincoln Center.

    Thanks for another interesting post, among many!

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks! I think the UWS remained a collection of quasi-rural villages longer than the UES, and that made developers lick their chops.

  3. The poor, lawless district of Pigtown, Brooklyn « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Nineteenth century Manhattan had a Pigtown too—a hardscrabble neighborhood known as the Piggery District. […]

  4. Where was Manhattan’s lost town of Carmanville? « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] was just another little hamlet, like Harsenville and the Piggery District, thriving on Manhattan’s West Side in the 19th […]

  5. The “squatters” who called Central Park home | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] groups of Irish as well as Germans dotted other parts. These residents were poor, but they worked in the service trades or ran businesses, kept […]

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