History of Streets: Szold Place, An Overlooked Street in NYC’s East Village

Szold-Place-Henrietta-sign-East-Village-Dry-Dock-District-NYC-Untapped-Cities-Stephanie-Geier

Quietly nestled in the East Village between Avenues C and D and stretching between 10th and 12th streets lies one long block with small residential buildings, a school and the Dry Dock park and swimming pool: Szold Place. While most people have never heard of Szold Place, as it is easy to miss, its namesake marks a unique figure among the New York City’s streets: Henrietta Szold was a woman and non-New Yorker.

This block, next to the Jacob Riis Housing Projects and Con Edison East River generating plant, used to be called “Dry Dock Street” when the neighborhood was the Dry Dock District in the mid-1800s because of the iron-works and ship fitter industries that filled the area. Today, the local park that abuts Szold Place is officially called Dry Dock Playground.

Szold Place-Henrietta-street view 1-Dry Dock District-East Village-NYC-Untapped Cities-Stephanie GeierA street view of Szold Place

Szold Place-Henrietta-Dry Dock District-East Village-NYC=Untapped Cities-Stephanie Geier-street view 2A street view of Szold Place

Szold Place was named after American Zionist leader Henrietta Szold (1860-1945), who was born in Baltimore. With a group of Jewish woman in New York, she founded Hadassah, or the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, which remains one of the largest Jewish organizations today and raises money for community organizations and health initiatives in Israel. The organization helped set standards for Palestine’s health system.

She also founded the Thud political party, which was based in Mandate Palestine and dedicated itself to a binational solution in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the book The Street Book: An Encyclopedia of Manhattan’s Street Names and Their OriginsSzold was “frequently described as ‘the most brilliant Jewish woman in America.”

Henrietta Szold at home in Jerusalem. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Thus, in 1951, the mayor renamed it “Szold Place” in a ceremony on Purim that year because of her importance in fostering Jewish life. Because of her successful endeavors, a few institutions in Jerusalem and Upper Galilee were named after her, as well as P.S. 134 along Szold Place.

Next, try 5 Alleys and Small Streets in Chinatown Tell the Neighborhood’s Vibrant History and 15 of NYC’s One Block Streets

 east village, history of streets, Szold Place

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