In the late 1930's I lived at 48 Myrtle
Avenue in the Roseville Section. It was a working class neighborhood
which didn't require locked doors. One night my mother was sitting
near the front window reading the paper and my father was sleeping
on the sofa. I was laying on the floor playing with something. From
the street it looked like my mother was home alone. The front door
opened and in walked a stranger. My mother screamed" Charley
wake up there's a man in here" and my father jumped up out
of a dead sleep and grabbed him. He threw him up against the wall
and asked him what did he want? The guy said he was looking for
money to go down south. My father took him to the front door and
threw him down the steps. When he came back in he was just about
awake and he realized what he did. He ran outside again to arrest
the guy but he was gone.
Between Myrtle Avenue and Roseville Avenue there was an alley.
To my knowledge there were two other similar alleys and they were
both in Vailsburg. There was one between Alexander Street and Pine
Grove Terrace and another one between Smith Street and Sandford
Avenue. The purpose of that type of alley was to gain access to
the back of ones property to stable a horse or garage a car. Many
of these house lots were very narrow some only 20' wide which made
access to the rear difficult.
The alley near Myrtle Avenue was affectionately called "Pigtail
Alley". Most city kids played in the street but playing in
"Pigtail Alley" was very special. There was no traffic
to deal with and in some ways it was like our own special playground.
This last winter I visited "Pigtail alley for the first time
in over 60 years. It didn't seen as big to me as it did as little
boy. It's funny when your a little kid everything looked bigger
than what it does as an adult. I left my wife in the car as I went
into the alley to take pictures. The area is very tough and it is
no place to take someone on a tour. When I was in the alley I saw
no one but I sensed that I was being watched. Within seconds someone
sent a dog out to greet me. Looking back I laugh because the same
dog must have been released to greet the person who took the Roseville
Tour, Part II from Saint Rose of Lima. Roseville Tour, Part II from
Saint Rose of Lima
I have attached three pictures of Pigtail Alley. The above is
the entrance from Myrtle Avenue with Orange Street and The Armory
in the background. Below left is Pigtail Alley. Below right is the
entrance to the alley from Sussex Avenue with the Roseville Avenue
Presbyterian Church on the right.
The two alleys I knew in Vailsburg were nameless and will probably
will remain so. But the one in Roseville with the houses that have
locked doors will always be affectionately known as Pigtail Alley.
Click on photo to enlarge:
Click on photo to enlarge: