18. Famous Alphabet City residents have included none other than Madonna

Madonna apartment

Alphabet City’s history of arts and progressive counterculture has attracted dozens of up-and-coming celebrity residents over the last few decades. Perhaps the most notable was Madonna, who came to New York City from Michigan at just 19 years old. Madonna Louise Ciccone moved to New York in 1977 with just $35 in her pocket, settling in a spare bedroom in apartment 3-B at 270 Riverside Drive. The apartment was shared with Saul Braun, whose son Josh co-wrote a few of Madonna’s first songs. After a year, she moved to 232 E. 4th St. in a fifth-floor walkup. While living here, she performed with various bands including Breakfast Club, later releasing her debut single “Everybody.” Her Alphabet City apartment was described as “two small rooms, no furniture except a big white futon, and a perpetually hissing radiator” by her brother.

While his Central Park West apartment was more notable, Bruce Willis lived in Alphabet City during the early 1980s before rising to fame on the television show Moonlighting. Geraldo Rivera, the television personality and political commentator, also lived in Alphabet City in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Members of the rock band The Strokes resided in the neighborhood, as did actor Bobby Driscoll and artist Kiki Smith.

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