Block Party

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


Right next door to their convent, the Sisters of Divine Mercy operated the House of the Holy Family at 136-138 2nd Avenue, “one of those excellent institutions which accomplish much good without ostentation and lessen great social events with but scant resources,” according to an 1874 New York Times article. 134 was added in 1881. Moses King’s Handbook of New York City (1892) shows a 6-story building with a plain facade where “girls between the ages of 10 and 21 years may be committed or admitted on their own application or that of their friends; they must remain long enough to show fruits of their training.” That training included primary education, sewing lessons, and crafts classes, culminating in an annual Christmas Bazaar where girls sold their wares.

At its peak, the House of the Holy Family, later known as the Association for Befriending Children and Young Girls, served 400 children, but were down to 102 in 1900 and a mere 58 in 1910. The Sisters relocated to White Plains shortly after. 

Not much on the current building, alas. I know it was erected in 1938 and served as the Warschauer Haym Salomon Home for the Ageduntil the mid-1950s. 134 was the Bar Verchovyna Tavern in the 1980s, and today it’s the Foundry Theatre, a second-floor Off Off Broadway venue dedicated to performing new works by playwrights and poets. 136 is owned by the Ukrainian National Home, but more on them later…


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