TUCKED away beside the Manhattan Bridge, predating it by a century or more, was a one-lane alley called Birmingham Street, running between Henry and Madison Street east of Market Street. When the mighty Manhattan was built from 1903-1909, it was shadowed for about the next sixty years before it was unceremoniously eliminated. Here’s what you’ll find there now.
This map from 1924 indicated Birmingham Street clearly. Interestingly there had been a theater beneath the Manhattan Bridge on Henry Street. The spot corresponds to what would be 75-79 Henry, but unfortunately, it doesn’t turn up in the Municipal Archives Henry Street photo collection.
However there are a few Birmingham Street photos, and this one is the best. As you can see there were 4 or 5 tenements buildings on this skinny block, but it must have been dark indeed as I cannot spot a lamppost.
According to the essential Gil Tauber, Birmingham Street had been eliminated by 1962 and it leaves no trace. In fact by 1950 it had been renamed Livingston Place, for no reason I can discern. This is what the former intersection looks like at Madison Street…
…and at Henry; across the street is the south end of Forsyth Street, which forms the right side of Sara D. Roosevelt Park for most of its run.
I’m not sure if Birmingham Street ever received a 1960s-era Manhattan gold and black street sign, so I’ll run one up here. Sick transit, Gloria!
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