A few of our intrepid commenters correctly guessed this week's location, which is indeed Minetta Street in the West Village. For those who are knowledgeable about the city's history, the clue—"this street still bears the name of something that's long since been absent from the area"—would have been a dead giveaway, as the Minetta Brook once flowed through the neighborhood. According to the Museum of the City of New York, "Washington Square Park was once a swamp fed by the brook," but the small body of water was eventually diverted underground.
Minetta Street also got a reputation as a dangerous throughway thanks to the proliferation of saloons and gangs that packed the area in the late 19th-century. From a 2005 New York Times article:
In the late 19th century, the Golden Swan, just around the corner on Sixth Avenue and West Fourth Street, otherwise known as the Hell Hole, was an Irish pub owned by a former prizefighter. It had what sounds like a hard-core following among neighborhood people, Irish youth gangs and artists like Eugene O'Neill. It stayed open all hours, fights broke out regularly, and it figured prominently in O'Neill's imagination, surfacing notably in ''The Iceman Cometh.'' The street was also used as a location in the Al Pacino film Serpico, based on NYPD whistle-blower Frank Serpico's fight against police corruption (though he actually lived on Perry Street when the events the movie is based on happened). In 2014, it was revealed that one renter on the street only pays $10 per month for his duplex apartment, but residences typically are much more expensive than that—a small house at the corner of Minetta Street and Minetta Lane sold for nearly $4 million in 2013.
· Hint: This Small Street's Name Is About As Old As New York [Curbed]
· Cornerspotter archives [Curbed]