Today’s Mulberry Street is a slender little strip of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques—part trendy Nolita, part Little Italy tourist district.
The southern end of the street abutted Collect Pond, once a source of fresh water but by now the site of tanneries, pottery works, and other noxious industries that needed access to water.
One of those industries was the slaughterhouse business. After one opened in the 1770s, others followed, to the point where Mulberry Street was known as “Slaughterhouse Street.”
The rollicking Bull’s Head Tavern, on the Bowery (parts of which have been recently uncovered underground), catered to the butchers and cattle men who worked in the abattoirs on and near Mulberry Street.
This circa-1800 sketch of the tavern and an adjoining pen belonging to a slaughterhouse provides an idea of what Slaughterhouse Street looked like. (What it smelled like, one can only imagine!)