The area of the Lower East side was called Alphabet City because of the surrounding single-letter streets: Avenues A, B, C & D.
The Lower East side area was called Alphabet City because of the surrounding single-letter streets: Avenues A, B, C & D.
In 2015, Australian Yok and Singaporian Sheryo, in conjunction with the Green Villian arts group and artists Steiner, Victor Ving, Elmo, Kevin Lyons, Roachi and Buffmonster, created a mural titled Alphabet City on the corners of Avenue C and East 6th Street. The mural is inspired by South-East Asian culture and the surf, skate and music scene.
The term Loisaida (pronounced low-ee-side-uh) is a "Spanglish" version of the pronunciation of "Lower East Side".
During the 70s, the residents of Alphabet City were predominately Spanish speaking and mainly of Puerto Rican descent. The area was called Alphabet City because of the surrounding single-letter streets: Avenues A, B, C & D.
Alphabet City and the East Village were originally part of the Lower East Side. Based on what I found online, the area of the Lower East Side above Houston street became the East Village when a real estate developer wanted to piggyback on the popularity of Greenwich Village. The local Nuyorican denizens still considered Alphabet City part of the Lower East Side. The term Loisaida (pronounced low-ee-side-uh) is a Spanglish version of the pronunciation of Lower East Side. The word was popular with the Spanish-speaking community. They voted to make it official as the name of Avenue C in 1987.
The Lower East Side was traditionally an immigrant, working-class neighbourhood, but it began rapid gentrification in the mid-2000s. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has placed the area on their list of America's Most Endangered Places.
The workshop was ending, and we were using the last fifteen minutes to make our way back to One on One, where we started. As we walked by, I pointed my camera in the direction of the barbershop. This man walked into the frame, noticed my camera and stepped out of the frame.
"No, no. The photo would be better if you were in it.", I called out.
He looked happy as he stepped back and walked back. He posed, and I got the shot. The sign behind him said, "Se necesita barbero con experiencia. Hablar con Raúl Joe", or "Experienced barber needed. Talk to Raúl" in English.
But then the most exciting thing happened. Raúl introduced himself as the owner. He told me about some of the histories of the barbershop and pulled out his phone and showed me a photograph of a street artist he said was famous but I didn’t recognise the man in the photo. He then told me that actor Luis Guzmán got his hair cut here. That his barber was inside.
He must have noticed the disbelief in my expression, so he invited me inside, and I was introduced to the barber. Next to his workspace was a photograph of the barber with Luis Guzmán and Raúl. I know of Luis Guzmán from movies such as The Do-Over, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and Crocodile Dundee II. I was so excited about what was happening that I forgot to ask the barber's name and photograph the barber at work.
It wasn't until I was home that the disappointment set in. Raúl’s Barbershop is located on Avenue B in the East Village between East 2nd Street and East 3rd Street. It has a 4-star rating on Yelp.