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The Unglamorous Chrystie Street

by Don Cruise

Chrystie Street, which is Second Avenue's name below Houston, is named, like several Lower East Side streets, for a hero of the War of 1812. Lt. Col. John Chrystie (Columbia class of 1806) led two unsuccessful attempts to invade Canada at the Battle of Queenstown Heights; he was captured and died of "bilious colic" in 1813.

Another source claims Lieutenant­ Colonel John Chrystie was killed on the Niagara frontier in 1817.

In 1845, Congregation Emanu-El's rented a room on the second floor of a private dwelling at the corner of Grand and Clinton Streets on the Lower East Side. Soon, however, the space became inadequate, and in 1848 Emanu-El moved to Chrystie Street, a few blocks west of its original location. A former Methodist church was purchased and transformed into a Jewish house of prayer and meeting place.

The Chrystie Street Connection is a major connecting line of the New York City Subway, and is one of the few connections between lines of the (former) BMT and IND divisions. As a road, Chrystie Street extends northward to become Manhattan's Second Avenue, and to date the Chrystie Street Connection is the only part of the long-planned Second Avenue Subway to be completed and opened to service.

59 Chrystie Street is the first section of Track #15 on the album Paul's Boutique by American hip hop group the Beastie Boys, released on July 25, 1989.

Chrystie Street Gallery, is located on the 2nd floor of 167 Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. The spacious gallery last year featured the works of seven photographers, on the theme of BDSM (read review).


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