Alphabet City is a very nice neighborhood situated between the Lower East Side and East Village in Manhattan, New York. It is named after the Avenues A,B,C and D, the only streets in town that have their name formed from just one letter. On the south side it is bordered by the Houston Street and by 14th Street to the north. Among its most known landmarks we distinguish Tompkins Square Park and the lovely Nuyorican Poets Cafe. The district has a long, interesting history and also it’s also a cultural center. Over the years, the place hosted several ethnic populations, like Polish, German and Hispanic.
Moreover, back in the 19th century, instead of Alphabet City there was an extensive salt marsh, a kind of wetland that was part of the East River ecosystem. The wetland was drained, and a patch of the river bed was reclaimed by real estate developers. In time it has grown considerably and now the place is in great demand.
What is more, the place was home to a succession of immigrant groups, like many other places on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. By the 1840s and 1850s, a large part of the Alphabet City is known today under the name of “Kleindeutschland” or “Little Germany”. During the mid-19th century, New York claimed to be one the third-largest German-speaking city in the world, after Berlin and Vienna, with most of those German speakers. Also, the name “Alphabet City” is rather a recent change as the neighborhood was considered to be simply a part of the Lower East Side for a long time. Urban historian Peter G. Rowe states that the name only began to become used in the 1980s, when gentrification spread east from the Village. Only later, in 1984, a Times article describes it using a number of names: “Younger artists… are moving downtown to an area variously referred to as Alphabetland, Alphabetville, or Alphabet City (Avenues A, B, C and so forth on the Lower East Side of Manhattan)”.
In addition, with regard to its recent history, Alphabet City was one of many neighborhoods in New York to experience gentrification in the 1990s and early 21st century. Various factors resulted in lower crime rates and higher rents in Manhattan in general, and Alphabet City in particular. Avenues A through D became distinctly less bohemian in the 21st century than they had been in earlier decades. Most apartments have been renovated and formerly abandoned storefronts are now bustling with new restaurants, nightclubs and retail establishments.
It was a small neighborhood, where residents included various ethnicities, but in the recent years it has developed considerably. It now has a brand new name and features different attractions that tourists may find really attractive. Also, low rent prices, the nice warm cafes, and the sparkling shops make it a very nice place to visit.