When you leave our office through the Crosby side, you immediately face the small 2-block alley known as Jersey Street. I must admit this is one of my favorite streets in SOHO which runs from east to west and basically is the merging of two alleys. It begins at the south side of the Puck Building on Mulberry Street and ends at Crosby Street. The fact that no one knows the origin of the alley’s name only adds to its mysterious appeal, perhaps because it was formerly named Columbia Alley after Christopher Columbus.
There are only two addresses on Jersey Street, #1 between Crosby and Lafayette and #10 between Lafayette and Mulberry which is a NY Public Library branch in a former chocolate factory. The two buildings generate very little pedestrian and vehicular traffic, making it the ideal shortcut. This seemingly private street is also why it becomes the perfect backdrop for movies, commercials, photo shoots and original street art. More recently, it has become a venue for performance art as well such as last year’s urban golf rounds by artist Patrick Barr as a sideshow to selling his artwork. And in the latest New Museum’s Ideas Festival, giant balls were rolled through the streets of SOHO including Jersey Street.
If you ever need a moment to yourself, slip off the main strip and stroll slowly through Jersey Street. It might be one of the few places in the city where you can stand in the middle of the street without having to watch for cars. And who knows what you will do there…look at the admonishing signs on the building, wonder about who resides in building #1, learn about early NYC history from the cobblestones or manhole covers, or simply get to your next destination by walking on this quiet street in SOHO.
For more on Jersey Street, go to http://forgotten-ny.com/2012/12/jersey-street-soho/ or http://www.nypl.org/locations/mulberry-street