Posts Tagged ‘Piggery District’

Where was Manhattan’s lost town of Carmanville?

January 3, 2011

Carmanville was just another little hamlet, like Harsenville and the Piggery District, thriving on Manhattan’s West Side in the 19th century.

Named after its founder, a wealthy contractor named Richard Carman, Carmanville’s exact boundaries are a little unclear.

According to Phelps’ New-York City Guide, published in 1853:

“This is a pleasant village, situated upon the rising ground, on the Hudson River, in the vicinity of Fort Washington.”

Another reference, The Tree Bore Fruit, about nearby Manhattan College and published in 1953, puts Carmenville a good 28 blocks south at 155th Street.

[NYPL postcard of 155th and Amsterdam Avenue in 1917—the remains of Carmanville?]

And according to a 1914 New York Times article, a Carmanville Park once was located at Amsterdam Avenue and 152nd Street.

Still another Times article, published in 2004 to commemorate the opening of the New York City subway, has Carmanville at 125th Street.

What happened to Manhattan’s “Piggery District”

March 13, 2010

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.