Following up on last Friday's item about Allen Street's sordid past, a Curbed reader points us to an article in the spring issue of URBAN that offers a longer historical perspective. Writes Juliette Dellecker Michaelson,
In the spring of 1924, Julius Miller proposed a comprehensive plan to modernize the Lower East Side, to convert "the east side from a section of dilapidated old buildings, breeding disease, poverty and crime, into a section of model tenements with landscaped streets and courtyards." Because Allen Street was the most egregious example of archaic and unhealthy living conditions, Miller proposed that the first step of his plan to modernize the Lower East Side be to widen Allen Street from 50 feet?the width of a typical street in the Lower East Side?to 138 feet?just two feet less than Park Avenue. Lewis Pink, a member of the State Board of Housing, promised that Allen Street would "vie with many of the boulevards of Paris and Berlin and will be the Park Avenue of the plain people."
The article (pages 14-16) is an interesting read?worth the pain of the PDF download.
· Allen Street and the 'Park Avenue of the Plain People' [URBAN, PDF]
· URBAN Magazine [urban.columbia.edu]