Staple Street - Tribeca - New York City
- By Vivienne Gucwa
There are streets that I return to over and over again. These streets tug at memories I haven’t made yet while yanking memories I treasure from the deep recesses of my mind. They haunt me in all the best ways. They represent the New York City in my mind.
Everyone seems to have a different version of New York City in their mind. It's the version that they look for when turning a corner and glancing down a street. My own version of New York City was formed early on. It's a result of falling in love with a combination of streetscapes in classic film noir cinema, futuristic sci-fi city environments in literature and film, and years of traversing New York City on foot.
This is one of those streets that I could have only dreamed existed until I turned a corner one day and stopped dead in my tracks as I looked down the street towards the skybridge that crosses between buildings. It’s Staple Street in Tribeca. A tiny alley-like street, it contains one of the most fascinating pedestrian bridges (also known as a skyway, traverse, skywalk and a host of other terms) I have ever seen in New York City.
Some history about this street: “In 1894, New York Hospital built the House of Relief, a downtown clinic, on Jay from Hudson to Staple, with an ambulance entrance facing Staple. In that year The New York Herald noted that the hospital was sending its ambulance out as often as seven times a day, sometimes on emergencies involving sunstroke, ”which so often occurs in the lower part of the city,” perhaps because of the large number of men working outdoors on the docks.
In 1907 the hospital built an annex across Staple Street (replacing the saloon/row house at Jay and Staple) as a stable and laundry, connecting it at the third-floor level using a pedestrian bridge. Although Staple Street was then just an industrial alley, the hospital had the architects Robertson & Potter design a handsome little building with a terra cotta plaque bearing the ”NYH” monogram on the Staple Street side. The monogram is still there.” - from “Streetscapes: Staple Street in TriBeCa” New York Times By Christopher Gray, February 2001
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