510 East 5th Street | Block : 400 | Lot #11
Description & Building Alterations
This row of nine identical buildings (506-524 East 5th Street) was built for owner William B. Astor as investment properties in 1859-1860. They each housed eight families above a ground-floor store. These Italianate tenements had arched brownstone lintels and simple projecting sills and would have had raised stoop entrances. No. 510 still retains its cornice and window lintels and sills, although they have been painted. Of the nine buildings, this one appears to be the most intact. Like its sister buildings, this one had small windows added in the center of the facade in the 1930s and the ground-floor shops have been replaced with apartments.
In 1927, a single mother of two young boys aged 10 and 2 died, possibly of yellow fever or cholera, which were rampant at the time. The family was so poor that funds were donated to have her buried in a church cemetery and not potter’s field (present day Washington Square Park), where other outbreak victims and the very poor were buried. Her death was not remarkable other than it was recorded at a time when so many other young parents were dying in similar situations. One block over, the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer had an orphanage for children like her two boys. The Children’s Aid Society located at 295–297 East 8th Street was also a home for children like hers, and was in fact where her two young boys ended up. For more information on Mrs. Bode and her sons, please click on the 1927 New York Times article under Additional Resources. For more information about the Children’s Aid Society, click on the link for our blog post also under additional resources.
Block : 400 / Lot : 11 / Building Date : 1859-1860 / Original Owner : William B. Astor / Original Use : Residential/Commercial / Original Architect : Unknown