TEASDALE PLACE, Morrisania

by Kevin Walsh

I had no idea I would be writing about either Donald Byrd or Teasdale Place in the Bronx today, since I was scouring Google Street View looking for something else, but it just goes to show that there’s always fodder for a Forgotten NY page and I rarely run out of material. Which is a good thing in the spring of 2020.

Boston Road branches off from Third Avenue in the Bronx a bit north of East 163rd Street (in that borough, it’s always Third, never 3rd) and basically runs a few hundred miles to Boston, as part of US Route 1. However: in a long story I won’t duplicate here as I have mentioned it elsewhere in Forgotten NY, it doesn’t replicate the old Boston Post Road route until you reach Westchester County.

In 2017, the Department of Transportation subnamed the intersection of Third and Boston Road for jazz great Donald Byrd. I’m not a big jazz guy (I dabble in John Coltrane and Miles Davis) but I consider myself something of a pop and rock historian at least in the Age of Rock, 1955-2000; show tunes and big band came before 1955, and hip hop and beats music dominated after 2000. Thus, my only pure acquaintance of Donald Byrd came via a pop hit that he had when he produced the Blackbyrds, a group of student musicians at Howard University, who had this 1975 smash:

Byrd was much more than that; he was a great jazz trumpeter of the 1950s and 1960s, and had a generous outlook that incorporated elements of R&B. As a member of the Jazz Messengers, he played with Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Max Roach. He “discovered” Herbie Hancock, who first appeared on vinyl on Byrd’s 1961 Royal Flush collection.

Though a Detroit native, Byrd resided for a time in the unnamed housing project seen to the rear of the signs.

Speaking of the signs, note the sign for “Teasdale Place” in the rear. As you can see from the above image, there’s no such street there; it’s a walkway through the housing project, and if you followed it all the way through to Cauldwell Avenue, you’d find a Teasdale Place street sign there, too.

Well, you might have guessed it, s this 1911 map indicates, Teasdale Place was a real street at one time and it went two blocks, running east as far as Trinity Avenue. However when the housing project was built, it swallowed the Place whole… and it exists now only on the street signs. I strongly suspect that some of the houses in the project were given Teasdale Place addresses, which explains the sign’s persistence. If you know of anyone who can confirm, let me know in Comments.

Of course, Teasdale Place was once a through street as these 1940 photos from the Municipal Archives show. This was the Bethany Lutheran Church, shown on the map…

… while these were #650 and 652 Teasdale Place, just off Cauldwell.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

3/24/20

8 comments

redstaterefugee March 25, 2020 - 10:37 am

Thanks so much for finding “Walking In Rhythm”; I wasn’t familiar with the name Donald Byrd, but as soon as I played the video I remembered the song (which I always liked. Now that you’re locked down indefinitely, I’ll retrn the favor with this link. Do yourself a favor & discover jazz. KJZZ HD2 is AZ’s NPR outlet dedicated to all jazz all the time (no intrusive talk or ads). The range of styles & artists is broad, “Try it, you’ll like it”; click & enjoy:

https://jazz.kjzz.org/sites/all/services/jazzstreamer.php

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Mitch45 March 26, 2020 - 2:49 pm

Ghost streets are not unusual in NYC. There are still signs for “Myrtle Avenue” in downtown Brooklyn even though the street itself gets cut off at the start of
the MetroTech office complex.

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Andy March 28, 2020 - 5:22 pm

The newer apartment buildings pictured at Teasdale Place are probably 1980s construction, built to replace older buildings that were no doubt emptied in the 1970s when the Morrisania neighborhood was rife with arson and abandonment. I was on the faculty at Morris High School from 1971 until 1974, a few blocks further north at 166th and Boston Road, and witnessed the deterioration of the area. Teasdale Place was probably eliminated for vehicular traffic at the time the newer buildings went up, but the name persists as a pedestrian street.

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Anonymous March 30, 2020 - 3:18 pm

Whoever you are.Thank you for researching and writing about Teasdale Place in Morrisania,the Bronx.When I saw the name something jumped inside my chest.Im 81 years old,soon to be 82 in two months.We lived on Teasdale Place when I was a very small boy. We had a fire in our apartment and we moved in the spring of 1942 south a few miles to North New York (E.145 th.street) .I don’t see it on the map but I remember that directly across the street from our apartment house was a small “vest pocket” park,Those are my actual very earliest memories.God bless you!

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Tom March 30, 2020 - 3:19 pm

Whoever you are.Thank you for researching and writing about Teasdale Place in Morrisania,the Bronx.When I saw the name something jumped inside my chest.Im 81 years old,soon to be 82 in two months.We lived on Teasdale Place when I was a very small boy. We had a fire in our apartment and we moved in the spring of 1942 south a few miles to North New York (E.145 th.street) .I don’t see it on the map but I remember that directly across the street from our apartment house was a small “vest pocket” park,Those are my actual very earliest memories.God bless you!

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Tyrolene Ansley July 31, 2020 - 11:28 am

I can definitely confirm that there was a Teasdale Place. There were several Brownstone buildings in that 2 block radius that included the Park. I know because I lived there at 595 from 1950-1962 when we moved to Boston Road. It’s a shame that they just tore down everything. Do you know if there are any photos of the old buildings in the archives?

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Jon October 4, 2020 - 9:28 pm

Thanks so much for this! I remember Teasdale Place. Separated from it by an elevated park, the next street north was/is E. 164th Street, on which I lived as a kid. I had friends on Teasdale. There was a big abandoned building* on Teasdale just west of Cauldwell Avenue where we kids would live out James Bond and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Adventures—complete with hummed themes and drawn finger pistols.
*One small caveat: that abandoned building might have been in the same general position on 163rd Street. Long time and many miles ago. But it’s the same memories with friends from Teasdale Place.

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James Paul Newson October 18, 2020 - 7:29 pm

Thanks for the memories!
I lived in 972 Boston Road from 1948 to 1963 before we moved to Soundview. I played in the elevated park between 164st and Teasdale Place. I can’t find any photos of my old building!
So many memories! I used to love to watch the el go by from neighbors front view apartment!

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