Posts Tagged ‘Houston Street’

Wining, dining, and celebrating at Little Hungary

June 30, 2016

On a stretch of East Houston Street nicknamed “Goulash Row” for its Hungarian restaurants was a place called Little Hungary, an improbable haunt of the city’s elite and tourists in the pre-Prohibition city.


Little Hungary featured “the atmosphere of Budapest, of gay nights on the Danube, of the Rhapsodies of Liszt” as well as goulash handed out as part of a free lunch with an order of glass of beer, wrote the New York Times.

Little Hungary hosted a wild and festive dinner for Teddy Roosevelt in 1905, after he won the presidency a year earlier. The Eighteenth Amendment in 1920, however, put an end to the place.

[Postcard: 1910, MCNY]

A Houston Street park inspired by a Paris palace

January 2, 2014

Opened in 1900 on Houston and Pitt Streets, Hamilton Fish Park was one of the city’s first playgrounds.

Created after the 1887 passing of the Small Parks Act, it provided a gymnasium, outdoor play area, and later two pools for neighborhood kids living in tight quarters and no place to run and play.


Parks officials could have hammered together a functional yet unsightly gymnasium.

But with the idea in mind that public architecture should be inspiring, the city had Carrere and Hastings—the heralded firm behind Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, the Frick Mansion, and the Public Library on 42nd Street—to design a gymnasium building that would also serve as an entrance to the park.


Carrere and Hastings used the Petit Palais in Paris as their inspiration. It’s not quite an exact replica of the circa-1900 gallery on the Champs-Elysees  built for the Universal Exposition that year.

But you can see the similarities and appreciate Carrere and Hastings’ attempt to bring something lovely to what was then an overcrowded, terribly poor neighborhood.

It’s not the first time New York architects were inspired by Europe; the Bronx’s main thoroughfare pays homage to the Champs-Elysees, while Jefferson Market courthouse takes a Bavarian castle as its inspiration.

The pushcarts and peddlers of Houston Street

October 11, 2010

George Luks’ 1916 “Houston Street” shows a fiery, frenzied scene of buying and selling.

In a review of Luks’ work, a 1916 New York Times article gives kudos to some recent paintings, including this one of Houston Street, “blazing with Oriental color,” according to the Times.

The giant Picasso on Bleecker Street

March 3, 2010

Some New Yorkers love it; others loathe it. But the 36-foot “Bust of Sylvette” has greeted passersby in a plaza on the Village-SoHo border since 1968.

Sylvette has been around long enough to get landmark status—which it achieved in 2008, along with the three I.M. Pei-designed Silver Towers apartment buildings it fronts between Bleecker and Houston Streets.

Technically it’s not even a Picasso sculpture but a “reinterpretation” of his much smaller “Portrait of Sylvette,” completed in 1934.

Pei asked Picasso to design a monument for him, so he had a collaborator recreate Sylvette by sandblasting her into 60 tons of concrete.