Monday, June 12, 2006
The MULBERRY BEND welcomes you.
Here's a little story:
In the old-timey days of New York's Lower-East Side 'down near what is now Federal Plaza, Mulberry Street used to bend leading you directly into the depths of the Five Points. Well-to-do city folk considered "the bend" to be the cut off, or point of no return as it were since beyond that elbow in the street a man might expect to lose much more than a pitiful rookerful of change.
Photographer/police blotter, Jacob Riis became obessesed with the terror and inhumanity that swarmed below the Mulberry Bend. The Five Points was the intersection of five streets (Mulberry, Worth, Little Water, Baxter, Bayard) and was said to be the deadliest intersection in the world. Riis, an immigrant and well on his way to becoming self-made, championed to cause of erradicating the Mulberry Bend, and he did!
Even still however, the Five Points was one of the most fertile cultural places in New York -an offshoot of the Bowery- it was the neighborhood that introduced tap-dancing, and the rough & tumble New Yorker, its own particular New York dialect, and a original and unpretentious style of dress. Writers such as Horatio Alger, Stephen Crane, Edgar Allen Poe, and Charles Dickens were all fascinated with the life that teemed in the points.
The slums of the Five Points and the Bend evenutally fell in the 1890s and in their place sprang the grass, trees, swings, and benches of Columbus Park. If you go there now you may see the park and the various Historical Society signs which to little justice to the pages of dark history that were written on those corners and their surroundings, now you will see a string of Chinese funeral homes huddled in the armpits of towering Federal buildings. U.S. Marshalls in their cheap suits buldging with some sort of firearm, can be seen every which way and that-
The Mulberry Bend is being reawakened. Not to impinge upon a slum-free zone, or to threaten, or terrorize, but to bring voices down into the mouths of a culture resting beneath the surface, of a forgotten code.
We will bring you news and culture, art and history, thoughts and fashion. We wont be preening the Bowery in case that be your worry, we want it stir it back to life.
Help our Cause.