runs from north to south and is the westernmost of the avenues to be defined by letters instead of using the numbering system in the New York City borough
. Avenue A runs from Houston Street
to 14th Street
, where it continues into a loop road in Stuyvesant Town
, connecting to Avenue B
. Below Houston Street, Avenue A continues as Essex Street
It is considered to be the beginning of Alphabet City in the East Village. It is also the western border of Tompkins Square Park.
Under the Commissioners' Plan of 1811
that established the Manhattan street grid, the avenues would begin with First Avenue
on the east side and run through Twelfth Avenue
in the west.To the east of First Avenue there would be four additional lettered avenues running from Avenue A eastward to Avenue D
Former sections of Avenue A
While First Avenue was the easternmost avenue in most of Manhattan, there were several discontinuous sections that had been known as Avenue A
north of present-day Alphabet City.
A short section of Avenue A was cut off from the exiting section in 1947 with the construction of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and was renamed as Asser Levy Place.
Sutton Place was one of these stretches. Effingham B. Sutton constructed a group of brownstones in 1875 between 57th and 58th Streets, and is said to have lent the street his name, though the earliest source found by The New York Times dates back to 1883. The New York City Board of Aldermen approved a petition to change the name from "Avenue A" to "Sutton Place", covering the blocks between 57th and 60th Streets.
In 1928, a one-block section of Sutton Place north of 59th Street, and all of Avenue A north of that point, was renamed York Avenue in honor of World War One US Army Sergeant Alvin York, who won the Medal of Honor for an attack in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive on October 8, 1918.
The northernmost section of Avenue A, stretching between 114th and 120 Streets in Spanish Harlem, was renamed Pleasant Avenue in 1879.