A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Where do socialist birds lay their eggs?"/"In a communest.” (2/23)
“My body is a temple…to Dionysus” (2/23)
“The problem with drinking and driving is that trees defend themselves very well” (2/23)
“The only thing you can believe in the papers is the date” (2/23)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (2/23)
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Entry from April 11, 2013
Ragpickers’ Row (59 Baxter Street)

"Ragpickers’ Row” (also called “Ragpicker’s Row") was located at 59 Baxter Street, Manhattan, in the mid-19th century. Residents of the neighborhood were so poor that they survived by selling rags. “Ragpickers’-row” was cited in print in the 1850s.

The area was demolished in 1897 to create Mulberry Bend Park, now known as Columbus Park.


Wikipedia: Mulberry Bend
Mulberry Bend was an area in the notorious Five Points neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. It was bound by Bayard Street in the north, Cross Street (changed to Park in 1854) in the south, Orange (changed to Baxter in 1854) Street on the west and Mulberry Street on the east. The “Bend” in the street layout was due to the original topography of the area. Orange and Mulberry Streets headed from southeast to northwest then turned north at the “Bend” to avoid the Collect Pond and surrounding low-lying wetland.

Mulberry Bend was one of the worst parts in the Five Points, with multiple back alleyways such as Bandit’s Roost, Bottle Alley and Ragpickers Row. In 1897, thanks in part to the efforts of Danish photojournalist Jacob Riis, Mulberry Bend was demolished and turned into Mulberry Bend Park. The urban green space was designed by Calvert Vaux. In 1911 it was renamed Columbus Park.
(...)
59 1/2 Baxter Street: The location of the alleyway known as “Ragpickers Row” immortalized in a photograph by Jacob Riis.

23 August 1856, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (New York, NY), pg. 167, col. 2:
A NUISANCE ABATED.—The Commissioners of Heath have ordered the City Inspector to break up the tenement-houses in Third and Sheriff streets, known as Rag-Pickers’ row and Cottage row.

10 September 1858, New York (NY) Times, “The Staten Island War”:
Since the last meeting of your honorable Board, case of fever has outside the Quarantine walls, in what Is termed Ragpickers’-row, a part of the block heretofore as the district.

Google Books
Lights and Shadows of New York Life:
Or, The Sights and Sensations of the Great City

By James Dabney McCabe
Phladelphia, PA: The National Publishing Company
1872
Pg. 695:
There is a square on the East side bounded by Houston, Stanton, Pitt, and Willett Streets. It contains a group of three front and seven rear houses, and is known as “Ragpickers’ Row.” These ten houses contain a total of 106 families, or 452 persons. All these persons are rag-pickers, or more properly chiffonniers, for their business is to pick up every thing saleable they kind find in the streets.

Wikimedia Commons
File:Ragpickers Row Alleyway at 59 Baxter St Five Points NYC.jpg
Description
English: “Baxter Street Alley, Rag-Picker’s Row” In the February 12, 1898 issue of the New York Sun, Jacob Riis wrote, “At 59 Baxter Street . . . is an alley leading in from the sidewalk with tenements on either side crowding so close as to almost shut out the light of day. On one side they are brick and on the other wood, but there is little difference in their ricketiness and squalor.” -Jacob Riis
Date 1898
Source http://www.museumsyndicate.com/item.php?item=42895
Author Jacob Riis

Google Books
Nooks & Corners of Old New York
By Charles Hemstreet
New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons
1899
Pg. 44:
There “Bottle Alley,” “Bandit’s Roost” and “Ragpicker’s Row” were the scenes of many wild fights, and many a time the ready stiletto ended the lives of men, or the heavy club dashed out brains.

Google Books
The Rough Guide to New York City
By Andrew Rosenberg and Martin Dunfor
New York, NY: Penguin Books
2012
Pg. ?:
In 1829, the local press started using the Five Points moniker, and by 1855, when immigrants formed 72 percent of the population, its muddy streets –- called Bone Alley, Ragpickers’ Row and other similarly inviting names –- were lined with flimsy tenements.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Thursday, April 11, 2013 • Permalink