Riis Houses on Ave D in Alphabet City

At the end of Alphabet City is the Jacob Riis Housing projects.  I was there on a very cold day and the smart people, unlike Famous Ankles, were inside and comfortable.

But, I have to admit that I’m not fond of this area.  Not because of anything other than the Soviet-style feel to the place and it’s general lack of any aesthetic that I can appreciate.


I guess that they may look good on paper and they are probably laid out in some nice little grid that I can’t appreciate…but I just don’t think much of the area.


In the middle of the above picture, you can see a bit of artwork that someone put there.  And to the left, there’s a children’s playground.

Here’s a closeup of the sculpture.


And the playground.


I mean, there’s nothing really to object to, but I don’t like it.  Maybe it’s because it looks like a low-income project, and maybe it is one, and such things seem to have a hopelessness about them.  But, I think it is just that it is so very sterile and there’s no signs of life here.  No sign of commercial activity, no sign of much.  I’d just walked through a number of blocks of mostly empty streets, but got none of the negative feeling I got from here.  I hope and expect it’s more my imagination than anything else, but all I can think of is that some architects really didn’t put much of themselves into this place.


Explore posts in the same categories: Greenwich Village, LES, Manhattan, Wanderings

3 Comments on “Riis Houses on Ave D in Alphabet City”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    The artist who created that sculpture is named William Tarr. There are 6 in total spread across that area. I live there…the building behind your pic, 819 FDR Drive is where I live…42 years now

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Ha, do you not realize those are housing projects? Depressing indeed!

  3. Flower Says:

    The Jacob Riis Houses are, in fact, what people would consider “the projects,” but it’s nice that people with low incomes are still able to afford housing somewhere in the city. A few notable people have come from the Jacob Riis Houses, too, including artist/bruja/rapper Destiny Frasqueri, perhaps better known as Princess Nokia, and the hacker Sabu. Just some information for you!

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