Culture on the Cheap
Williamsburg’s Three Third Streets
This weekend was a 48 hour crash course in extremes. One minute I am screaming at my husband via cell phone about how Verb has the shittiest customer service on the planet (unless of course you are cool enough to deserve better— and I wasn’t). The next I discover something wonderful and completely unexpected: like what I found at the intersection of Berry and North 6 Street Saturday afternoon.
I have read that Bedford Avenue, Berry Street, Wythe Avenue, etc., were once numerically named, e.g.; Fourth Street, Third Street and Second Street respectively. This was the first time I have actually seen physical evidence of it outside of old maps. Here is a section from a map of the Village of Williamsburgh from 1850 showing the old system. I have annotated it with a few contemporary street names to make it easier to get one’s bearings.
Williamsburg once had (for example) three “3rd Streets”: 3rd Street, 3rd Street and South 3rd Street. Not unlike how the television show Newhart had Larry, Darryl and Darryl. Pretty damned confusing if you ask me. This is why I wish to give a big New York Shitty salute to the unsung hero who named Greenpoint’s northernmost streets alphabetically. I can honestly say the Garden Spot is the only place I have never gotten lost.