Both “Little Hungary” and “Little Germany” used to be located in Manhattan’s lower east side. Gradually, both communities moved uptown to Yorkville.
Yorkville’s East 79th Street was named “Hungarian Boulevard” or “Hungarian Broadway.” The Hungarian influence in Yorkville has decreased and the names are largely historical today.
Another name for “Hungarian Boulevard/Broadway” is “Goulash Alley” or “Goulash Avenue.” Other ethnically named streets in Yorkville include German Broadway or German Boulevard (East 86th Street) and Bohemian Boulevard or Bohemian Broadway (East 72nd Street).
Wikipedia: Yorkville, Manhattan
Yorkville is a neighborhood within the Upper East Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Yorkville’s northern, eastern and western boundaries include: the East River on the east, 96th Street (where Spanish Harlem begins) on the north, Third Avenue on the west and 79th Street to the south. However, its southern boundary is a subject of debate. Some sources and natives consider 59th Street to be the southern boundary, while others put it as 72nd Street. What is certain is that Yorkville’s boundaries have changed over time. At one point, all of what is now called the Upper East Side was Yorkville. Its western half was referred to as “Irishtown.” The neighborhood’s main artery, East 86th Street, was sometimes called the “German Broadway.” Its ZIP codes are 10021, 10028, 10075 and 10128. Yorkville is advocated for by Manhattan Community Board 8.
For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Yorkville was a middle to working-class neighborhood, inhabited by many people of Albanian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Irish, Jewish, Lebanese, Polish, and Slovak descent. While most of the neighborhood’s ethnic establishments have closed, a number remain. Many of the area’s long-time residents still live in Yorkville.
Many of Yorkville’s original German residents moved to the area from Kleindeutschland on the Lower East Side of Manhattan after the General Slocum disaster on June 15, 1904. The ship caught fire in the East River just off the shores of Yorkville. Most of the passengers on the ship were German.
The Bohemian Boulevard was 72nd Street. The Bohemians were considered the Czechs, Poles and Slovaks who lived from 65th Street to 73rd Street. Besides Ruc, a Czech restaurant off Second Avenue, there were sokol halls on 67th and 71st Streets. These halls were the gathering places for those who enjoyed good food, gymnastics, theater and ballroom dancing (especially polkas). In addition, there were other Czech and Slovak businesses, such as Praha restaurant on First Avenue and 73rd street, Vašata Restaurant on Second Avenue and 74th street, as well as Czech butcher shops, poultry and grocery stores, and shops that sold imported goods such as Bohemian books, leather products and crystal.
The Hungarian Boulevard was 79th Street, a hub for the Austro-Hungarian populace from 75th Street to 83rd Street. Popular restaurants included the Viennese Lantern, Tokay, Hungarian Gardens, Budapest and the Debrechen. There were also a number of butcher stores and businesses that imported goods from Hungary, a few of which still exist. Churches included St. Stephen (82nd St.) Catholic Church and the Hungarian Reformed Church on East 82nd Street, all of which still exist.
The Irish were scattered throughout Yorkville. They attended mass at such churches as St. Ignatius Loyola on 84th St. and Park Avenue, Our Lady of Good Counsel (90th St.) and the Church of St. Joseph (87th St). There were many Irish bars including Finnegan’s Wake, Ireland’s 32, O’Brien’s and Kinsale Tavern (still in existence). Until the late 1990s, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade ended at 86th Street and Third Avenue, the historical center of Yorkville.
The German Boulevard was 86th Street, attracting the German populace from 84th to 90th Streets. Popular restaurants included Die Lorelei, Cafe Mozart and the Gloria Palast. The Palast had a German movie theater on the main floor. The rest of the building contained ballrooms for waltzing and polka dancing. All this is now gone, replaced by fast-food stores, boutiques and other shops. Other restaurants included Kleine Konditorei, serving some of the finest German pastries in New York, and the coffee shop-style Ideal Restaurant.
In the 1930s, the neighborhood was the home base of Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund, the most notorious pro-Nazi group in 1930s America. As a result of their presence, Yorkville in this period was the scene of fierce street battles between pro- and anti-Nazi Germans and German-Americans. Today there are few remnants of Yorkville’s German origins (Schaller & Weber grocery shop, Heidelberg Restaurant and a German church,Orwasher’s bakery), Glaser’s Bakery, but it has largely become an upper middle class residential neighborhood. Since the 1990s, Old World merchants, such as the Elk Candy Company, Kleine Konditorei bakery and Bremen House market (all German), as well as the Rigo bakery and Mocca restaurant (Hungarian) have closed. The Steuben Parade, one of the largest German-American celebrations in the US, still winds its way through the neighborhood, however.
Yorkville’s natives value its long history. There are very few chic clubs in the area, but one holdover from earlier days, however, is Brandy’s Saloon, a popular 84th Street piano bar dating from the speak-easy era of the 1920s. Brandy’s is host to large crowds each year after the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
12 January 1975, New York (NY) Times, “Bubble On, O Melting Pot!” by Richard Peck, pg. 8:
Yorkville earned its German reputation between the wars. Then as now, ethnics and others drank Gerolsteiner sprudle and forked Dobosch torte at Cafe Geiger, Cafe Hindenburg and the Kleine Konditorei on 86th Street, “German Broadway.”
The side streets still speak of other equally firm ethnic entrenchment. The Hungarians established themselves south of the Germans, from 59th to 76th Streets, after 1900. The Czechs created “Little Bohemia” along Second Avenue in the lower 70’s. After Czechoslovakian independence in 1918, the downtown Slovaks joined them.
New York (NY) Times
Letters: Yorkville Recalled
Published: July 3, 1983
To the Editor:
Having read your article entitled ‘’If you’re thinking of living in Yorkville’’ (May 22), I would like to share my wonderful memories of the neighborhood, where I spent the early years of my life from 1922 to 1947, with the exception of three years in the Army during World War II.
Each of three streets crossing Yorkville had an ethnic flavor of its own.
The Bohemian Boulevard was 72d Street. The Bohemians were considered the Czechs, Poles and Slovaks who lived from 65th Street to 73d Street. Besides Ruk, a Czech restaurant, there were sokol halls on 67th and 73d Streets. These halls were the gathering places for those who enjoyed good food, gymnastics, theater and ballroom dancing (especially polkas).
The Hungarian Boulevard was 79th Street, a hub for the Austro-Hungarian populace from 75th Street to 83d Street. The restaurants with which I was most familiar were the Viennese Lantern, Tokay, Hungarian Gardens and the Debrechen. Besides the great food, we had Viennese waltzes and the czardas. These restaurants no longer exist.
The German Boulevard was 86th Street, attracting the German populace from 84th to 90th Streets. Besides the restaurants mentioned in the article, we had Die Lorelei, Cafe Mozart and the Gloria Palast. The Palast had a German movie theater on the main floor. The rest of the building contained ballrooms for waltzing and polka dancing. All this is now gone, replaced by fast-food stores, boutiques and other shops.
THEODORE A. BODNAR, Staten Island
Manhattan User’s Guide:
The Guide to New York for New Yorkers
By Charles A Suisman and Carol Molesworth
New York, NY: Hyperion
By WW1, E. 86th St. was known as the “German Broadway,” First Ave. as the “Czech Broadway,” and Second Ave. as the “Hungarian Broadway” (also known as “Goulash Avenue”).
does anyone recall 435 East 79 Street.. supposedly there were family homes there—row houses or brownstone homes in 1902s, 1930s. It is now an apartment building.