The remains of two streets no longer on the map

IDrydockplaygroundsignmagine the East River from 12th Street down to Grand Street lined with great ships in various stages of construction.

That was the reality along the river from the 1820s through the end of the 19th century, when today’s far East Village was known as the Dry Dock District (a dry dock is a narrow basin where ships would be built).

Drydockstreetnypl1936Thousands of New Yorkers who made their homes along Avenues B, C, and D were employed by the neighborhood industry as dock workers, mechanics, and shipbuilders.

Today, that thriving industry is long gone. Even stubby Dry Dock Street, which survived at least into the 1930s between Avenues C and D off 10th Street, no longer exists (right).

Dry Dock lives on in name only at Dry Dock Playground on 10th Street and Avenue D.

South of the playground on the north side of East Houston Street is a handsome elementary school building that has the name “Manhattan Street” lettered on one side.


Manhattan Street? Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it.

This little road closed in the 1940s when the Lillian Wald Houses were built. From at least the mid-19th century, Manhattan Street cut a short path between East Third Street to East Houston Street east of Avenue D.


Off the Grid, the blog for the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation, recently posted a fantastic history of this forgotten pre-Civil War street.

[Second and fourth photos: NYPL Digital Gallery]

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13 Responses to “The remains of two streets no longer on the map”

  1. Robert Ross Says:

    Is this the elementary school with all the owls on the roof that you can see from the highway?

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I’m not sure; I walked to it. I think the one you’re referring to is on Delancey Street just before the Williamsburg Bridge. I remember those owls!

    • Robert Ross Says:

      That sounds right; I’ll drive on the FDR later this week and double check. Did you post a picture of that rooftop? I remember seeing one, maybe from the bridge.

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        I don’t think I ever did–I’ve tried many times, but my camera isn’t good enough.

  3. Fran Says:

    I remember Dry Dock Bank in the 1970s, must have started in that area.

  4. Anne Fullam Goeke Says:

    Drydock is where boats are taken out of the water, usually during winter, to have their hulls scraped of barnacles, repairs made, to be painted. Drydock is not where boats are constructed. sent from my Samsung Mobile

  5. 전세계의 최신 영어뉴스 듣기 - 보이스뉴스 잉글리쉬 Says:

    […] Two local streets that are no longer on the map (Ephemeral New York) […]

  6. johnnybilo Says:

    The owls building is PS110, the Florence Nightingale School (my son graduated from there last year). That’s on the south side of Delancey. The one they are talking about is on Houston, as it says in the text and you can see on the picture.

  7. Ralph Feldman Says:

    housing for seniors not gardens for rats

  8. MIchael Says:

    The school in the photo (where my grandmother taught from the 1940s-1980s) is PS 188, the north side of which once faced East 3rd Street. The west side of the building faced Manhattan Street, now Lillian Wald Drive.

  9. Linkage: Eminent Domain Suit in East Harlem; Activity at 25 Great Jones | Pistilli Realty Group Says:

    […] E.Harlem property owner sues city over eminent domain [DNainfo] · Finding the remains of the East Village’s “Dry Dock District” [ENY] · Fashion VIPs list UWS co-op for $2.8M [NYP] · Lot at 535 Manhattan Avenue sells [Harlem […]

  10. 5 houses from the East Village’s shipbuilding era | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] who were recent Irish and German immigrants—toiled in shipyards and ironworks in what was then called the Dry Dock District, east of Avenue […]

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