A sign on the east side of Broadway, just south of West 125th and in front of the General Grant Houses, advertises the presence of a Moylan Place. However, there’s no Moylan Place — just the sign.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and this 1949 Hagstrom map segment shows that, indeed, there was a Moylan Place between Broadway and West 125th at Morningside Avenue. The NYC Housing Authority website reveals that the Grant Houses were built in 1957, and that’s presumably when Moylan Place was plowed under.
Since 1949, there have been plenty of changes to the Manhattanville map. For one thing, the neighborhood is one of the oldest in the borough and had been thriving since colonial times — and even has its own small street grid that’s independent of the John Randel Jr. 1811 survey that determined the streets surrounding it. One big change has already been made — Manhattan Street has already been changed to West 125th. Later, Lawrence Street would become West 126th. The Grant, Manhattanville and Morningside Houses would eliminate some of the side streets. The Convent of the Sacred Heart would become the South Campus of CCNY.
Moylan Place’s street sign is a puzzlement, since the street was eliminated 55+ years ago. The street does have a connection with the late, great George Carlin, one of the greatest comics and social commentators. In his autobiography Last Words, Carlin writes:
The Moylan [Tavern] was on a street that’s long gone called Moylan Place. Right under the El, off Broadway near 125th Street. They built a project over it.
It was the classic New York saloon. Being on the common border of several neighborhoods, it had great cross-cultural influences. There were blacks and Puerto Ricans of all trades, seminarians from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary, Irish construction workers, cops, firefighters, students and professors from the Juilliard School of Music, columbia and Teachers College, retired pensioners and young Irish bucks trying to earn their wings, every type of New Yorker rubbing up against one another and most of the time in a peaceful manner.
Carlin went on to describe how he introduced his future wife, Brenda, to his crowd in the bar and how one of her falsies came loose as she was playing pool.
Who knows, maybe someone at the Department of Transportation is a Carlin fan and kept the sign up to remember him.
There’s another street sign in Manhattan without a street — Temple Street.