Today I checked the first skateboard champ in years, the Manny Mani at the new LES skatepark. It was a great championship, lots of manual tricks, and I even got to see Ronnie Creager skate super smooth. Great.
Well, after that, me and the Madrid local Nahum walked around the neighborhood and ended up at Five Points. Nahum told me that area used to be super filthy, and where gangs from different neighborhoods went to fight and set their differences.
Epic. Now, that area is part of Chinatown and the area that was worse, is now long gone and demolished and filled with government buildings.
While we walked around we were checking Google maps and old maps of the area and reading the stories of the place.
I get really excited by history, and more excited when I feel “part” of history, that is walking around the places that used to have some story.
Five Points, even thou is nearly demolished, has still some areas worth visiting, at least to know what was up back then.
The description can be found here:
“The name Five Points was derived from the five-pointed intersection created by Orange Street (now Baxter) and Cross Street (now Mosco); from this intersection Anthony Street (now Worth) began and ran in a northwest direction, creating a triangular-shaped block thus the fifth “point”. To the west of this “point” ran Little Water Street (which no longer exists) north to south, creating a triangular plot which would become known as Paradise Square or Paradise Park.
Five Points gained international notoriety as a disease-ridden, crime-infested slum that existed for well over 70 years.”
Its really interesting to note how the area was in the early 1800 a middle class neighborhood created around a water pond, and how many business basically fucked the water by polluting it and making people to flee as that was the main drinking source in the neighborhood.
What happened then, can be seen in “Gangs of New York”: Irish immigrants in the 1820-1840 filling the place and creating factions, infections, disease-carrier mosquitos and filth.
If you want to check the “then and now” of the area, I found this amazing article in “Anthropology in Practice”.