The King of Oliver Street: Governor Al Smith and his Neighborhood

Janes Walk


Led By Deborah Wye, Board Member, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI)

Governor Alfred E. Smith, one of the Lower East Side’s proudest sons, was indelibly shaped by his neighborhood. His roots in the old 4th Ward were deep. As he often said: “My mother, my father, my sister, my wife, and my five children, were all born within about 5 blocks of each other.”

The symbolic heart of this area is bounded by Oliver Street, St. James Place, James St., and Madison St., and Smith jokingly referred to himself as “The King of Oliver Street.” Our walking tour will include places that were major forces in Smith’s life—his home, his church, and his school, first and foremost. But we’ll also talk about the nearby Bowery, the local Tammany Hall Clubhouse, the old Fulton Fish Market, and the Brooklyn Bridge, all touchstones for Smith as he rose in New York politics and then became the 1928 Democratic nominee for President.

The walk will be on narrow city sidewalks. There are a few steps to enter the Alfred E. Smith Playground, the last stop on the tour. The nearest subway stop is Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall, with the 4-5-6 trains. It is about a 15 minute walk to the subway from the last tour stop. According to Google Maps Directions, the tour will be .6 mile.
Location Information

RSVP is required and capacity is limited. Meeting location, ending location, and directions will be provided via email before walk date.


Sunday, May 8, 2022
3:00 PM
Greater than 1 hour

Borough: Manhattan
Theme: Advocacy, Art & Architecture, History & Culture
Language: English
Monument at the Alfred E. Smith Playground at 4 Catherine Slip in Manhattan. Photo: Deborah Wye.