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

2 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!

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