Block Party

BLOCK PARTY: 2nd Avenue between St. Mark’s Place and 9th Street



You may not expect a ton of history in a Dallas BBQ, but the story of 132 2nd Avenue stretches back to the days of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. and its last director-general, Peter Stuyvesant, who lorded over the colony from 1648 to 1664. The severe Stuyvesant was little liked by his charges, barking out orders and hobbling through New Amsterdam on his peg leg (the handiwork of Spanish cannons during an ill-advised raid in the Curacao.) Colonists chafed against his religious intolerance, contempt for drink, and insistence on hard labor to improve the colony. No surprise that, when the British invaded New York in 1664, the colonists refused to rally behind Stuyvesant. Instead, they begged him to surrender Manhattan without firing a single shot. Stuyvesant reluctantly delivered the articles of capitulation on the condition that the settlers be allowed to remain in the colony under British rule, muttering under his breath “I had rather be carried to my grave.”


The Fall of New Amsterdam, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1932)

In shame,  Stuyvesant withdrew north to a large tract of land stretching from 14th Street to Houston Street and the East River to Astor Place. This became his farm, or in Dutch, bowery, and his descendants cultivated the land for centuries. As late as 1850, John R. Stuyvesant lived on this corner with his mother. According to a contemporary insurance map, the Stuyvesant house was gone by 1868, replaced by a convent for the Sisters of Divine Compassion. (More on them next door.)

The current apartment was built by George F. Pelham for the Charles I. Weinstein Realty Co. in 1904. It’s not very distinguished save for the unusual yellow brick, but the six storefronts and fifteen apartments merited a glowing recommendation in Apartment Houses of the Metropolis (1908). “Its proximity to the Second and Third avenue ‘L’ and the Subway, which is one block distant, the Second avenue surface cars, that pass the house, and the Eighth street lines, make it exceedingly well located.” Exceedingly well-located for what is unclear – the only business I could find here before the Dallas BBQ was a store called Berimbau in 1977 that sold imported Brazilian clothing and African instruments.


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