Coordinates: 40°46′34″N 73°56′57″W / 40.7762231°N 73.9492079°W
Yorkville is a neighborhood in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. Its southern boundary is East 79th Street, its northern East 96th Street, its western Third Avenue, and its eastern the East River.
The neighborhood, in Manhattan Community Board 8, is among the most affluent in the city.
Looking west at 90th Street and Second Avenue
In August 1776, George Washington stationed half of his Continental Army in Manhattan, with many troops in the Yorkville area in defensive positions along the East River to protect the other half of his army if they were to retreat from Brooklyn, and to inflict damage on invading land and sea forces. Following the Battle of Long Island defeat on August 27, the Continentals implemented an orderly pivoting retreat in the Yorkville area, leading the enemy to entice the Continentals to fight by piping "Fly Away", about a fox running away from hounds. The Continentals' disciplined northerly retreat led to the successful Battle of Harlem Heights in September 1776.
In 1815, the Upper East Side was a farmland and market garden district. The Boston Post Road traversed the Upper East Side, locally called the Eastern Post Road; milepost 6 was near the northeast corner of Third Avenue and 81st Street. From 1833 to 1837 the New York and Harlem Railroad, one of the earliest railway systems in the United States, was extended through the Upper East Side along Fourth Avenue (later renamed Park Avenue). A hamlet grew near the 86th Street station, becoming the Yorkville neighborhood as gradual yet steady commercial development occurred. The current street grid was laid-out between 1839 and 1844 as part of the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, so the Eastern Post Road was abandoned. The community had been referred to as Yorkville before 1867.
By 1850, a significant proportion of the inhabitants of the area were the Germans and the Irish that helped build the Croton Aqueduct. The area was included in the 19th administrative district whose boundaries were 40th and 86th Street. In 1858, trams were built along Second and Third Avenues. After the American Civil War, mansions replaced slums in Yorkville. On December 30, 1878, the IRT Third Avenue Line opened, followed by the IRT Second Avenue Line in August 1879.
For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, Yorkville was a middle- to working-class neighborhood, inhabited by many people of Czech, Slovak, Irish, Polish, German, Hungarian, and Lebanese descent. The area was a mostly German enclave, though. The neighborhood became more affluent.
From 1880, Yorkville became a destination for German-born immigrants. However, by the 1900s, many German residents moved to Yorkville and other neighborhoods from "Kleindeutschland" (Little Germany) on the Lower East Side after the General Slocum disaster on June 15, 1904. The ship caught fire in the East River just off the shores of Yorkville, leading family members to move closer to the site of the incident. Most of the passengers on the ship were German. In addition, the general trend towards moving to the suburbs reduced the German population in Manhattan; by 1930, most German New Yorkers lived in Queens.
On 86th Street, in the central portion of Yorkville, there were many German shops, restaurants and bakeries. Yorkville became the melting pot of populations arriving from various regions of the Prussian-dominated German Empire and its colonies, where many cultures spoke German. In the 1930s, the neighborhood was the home base of Fritz Julius Kuhn's German American Bund, the most notorious pro-Nazi group in 1930s America, which led to spontaneous protests by other residents. Yorkville was a haven for refugees from fascist Germany in the 1940s, and from refugees from communist regimes in the 1950s and 1960s. The neighborhood is the site of the annual Steuben Parade, a large German-American celebration.
The largest non-German group were the Irish. Irish mostly lived in an area bounded by 81st and 85th Streets, and Lexington and Fifth Avenues. They attended mass at such churches as St. Ignatius Loyola on 84th Street and Park Avenue, Our Lady of Good Counsel (90th Street) and the Church of St. Joseph (87th Street). There were many Irish bars including Finnegan's Wake, Dorrian's Red Hand Restaurant, Ireland's 32, Carrol's Hideaway, O'Brien's and Kinsale Tavern. Until the late 1990s, New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade ended at 86th Street and Third Avenue, the historical center of Yorkville. In addition, Jews also lived on Second Avenue.
79th Street was a hub for the Austro-Hungarian populace. Popular restaurants included the Viennese Lantern, Tokay, Hungarian Gardens, Robert Heller's Cafe Abazzia at 2nd Avenue, Budapest and the Debrechen. There were also a number of butcher stores and businesses that imported goods from Hungary. Churches included St. Stephen Catholic Church and the Hungarian Reformed Church on East 82nd Street. In addition, Czechs, Poles and Slovaks lived from 65th to 73rd Street. Besides Ruc, a Czech restaurant off Second Avenue, there were sokol halls on 67th and 71st Streets. There were other Czech and Slovak businesses, such as Czech butcher shops, poultry and grocery stores, and shops that sold imported goods such as Bohemian books, leather products and crystal.
A sidewalk clock on 1501 Third Avenue
Around the late 1920s, Yorkville's ethnic diversity was beginning to wane. In 1926, the New York Times wrote of Yorkville's changing ethnic makeup:
Yorkville, for well-nigh two decades known to connoisseurs of east side life as the exclusive domain of Czechoslovaks, Hungarians and Germans, is slowly giving up its strongly accentuated Central European character and gradually merging into a state of colorless impersonality…
In 1928, a one-block section of Sutton Place north of 59th Street, and all of Avenue A north of that point, was renamed York Avenue to honor U.S. Army Sergeant Alvin York, who received the Medal of Honor for attacking a German machine gun nest during World War I's Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
The dismantling of the Third Avenue El in 1955 led to the demolition of many mansions. This led to the acceleration of the exodus of Yorkville residents. Over the years, this trend continued. Thus, in the 1980s, a building for members of the German gymnastic society Turners, at the intersection of 86th Street and Lexington Avenue, was demolished. Cafe Mozart, on 86th Street between Second and Third Avenues, was also demolished. In their place were built high-rise residential complexes.
By the turn of the 21st century, East 82nd Street was co-named St. Stephen of Hungary Way. The area from East 79th to 83rd Streets, spanning approximately four blocks east-west, is colloquially known as Little Hungary.
76th Street between Second and Third Avenues
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Yorkville was 77,942, an increase of 1,174 (1.5%) from the 76,768 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 319.14 acres (129.15 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 244.2 inhabitants per acre (156,300/sq mi).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 76.0% (59,233) White, 3.7% (2,858) African American, 0.1% (51) Native American, 9.3% (7,226) Asian, 0.0% (25) Pacific Islander, 0.3% (216) from other races, and 1.9% (1,466) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.8% (6,867) of the population.
The median income for a household in Yorkville is almost twice the average for the city, at $85,724.
The New York City Department of Education operates several public schools in the area.
The Lycée Français de New York is located on East 75th Street between York and East End Avenue.
The City University of New York has its administrative offices in Yorkville.
Fordham Graduate Housing is located on East 81st Street between York and East End Avenues.
East Side Middle School is located on 91st Street between First and Second Avenues.
The New York City Subway's 86th Street and 96th Street stations (N, Q, and R trains) serve much of Yorkville. Meanwhile, Western Yorkville is served by 77th Street, 86th Street and 96th Street stations on the 4, 6, and <6> trains, one block west of Yorkville's western boundary at 3rd Avenue. As of March 2015 , bus routes M15, M15 SBS, M31, M72, M79 SBS, M86 SBS, M96, M98, M101, M102, M103 of the New York City Bus also operate in Yorkville.
Formerly, Eastern Yorkville was very far from any subway connections, and had among the farthest walks in Manhattan to any subway stations. From 2007 to 2017, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority built Second Avenue Subway's 86th Street and 96th Street stations, leading to increased residential construction and real estate prices in advance of the opening of the new subway line.
Yorkville is expected to be served by the Citywide Ferry Service starting in 2018.
- Carl Schurz Park is a small park on the far east side of Yorkville, near the East River.
- The Fox Television Center is the studios of WNYW, the local Fox Broadcasting station. They have been here since 1954, first as the Dumont Tele-Centre, then as the Metromedia Telecenter from the 1960s until 1986, after which it became the Fox Television Center.
- Gracie Mansion is the official home of the mayor of New York City.
- The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce was founded in Yorkville circa 1920, founded by 11 local businessmen.
- The Municipal Asphalt Plant was constructed in 1941. Asphalt Green, a fitness center, opened in the building in 1984.
- The 91st Street Marine Transfer Station is a controversial waste transfer plant being planned next to Asphalt Green, at York Avenue. The waste facility is supported by New York City mayors Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg. The waste facility has been criticized by some area residents.
- On 86th Street and 3rd Avenue the first Papaya King opened in 1932, and it is still in operation today.
Residents of Yorkville have included:
- Bob Cousy (born 1928), professional basketball player
- James Cagney (1899–1986), actor, grew up in the neighborhood.
- Lou Gehrig (1903–1941), Major League Baseball player, was born at 309 East 94th Street.
- Ignatz Theodor Griebl (born 1899), German-American physician and a recruiter for the German spy network in New York City.
- Norma Kamali (born 1945), fashion designer, grew up and went to school in Yorkville
- Helmut Krone (1925–1996), art director who was considered to be a pioneer of modern advertising.
- Bert Lahr (1895–1967), actor best known for playing the role of the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz
- The Marx Brothers, comedians, lived at 179 East 93rd Street.
- Henry Miller (1891–1980), author, was born in Yorkville.
- John P. Morrissey (1885–1966), electrical engineer and politician who served in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature.
- U.S. President Barack Obama (born 1961), lived in the early 1980s at 339 East 94th Street, before and after his graduation from Columbia University.
- Martin J. Scott (1865–1954), Jesuit author, a priest at St. Ignatius Loyola Church from 1902 to 1915
- Georgette Seabrooke (1916–2011), muralist, artist, illustrator, art therapist, non-profit chief executive and educator, who is best known for her 1936 mural, Recreation in Harlem at Harlem Hospital Center.
- Robert F. Wagner (1877–1953), U.S. Senator, after whom the middle school at 220 East 76th Street is named.
- Multiple mayors have lived at Gracie Mansion.
In popular culture
Church of St. Monica on 79th Street
Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary on 83rd Street
View of Yorkville at 86th Street
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On June 15, 1904, about 1,200 people from St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church (323 Sixth Street, between First and Second Avenues, the site of the Community Synagogue since 1940) died when the steamship the General Slocum, taking them on a day trip up the East River, burned. It was the deadliest disaster in the city before Sept. 11, 2001. It traumatized the community and hastened residents' flight to uptown areas like Yorkville.
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