From Sonny Rollins to Ruby the Fruit Man: A Tribute to the People of 400 Grand St. | The Lo-Down : News from the Lower East Side
400-402 Grand St. This story first appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of The Lo-Down's print magazine. More than half a century after the brilliant jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins moved to the Lower East Side, he still has vivid memories of his life at 400 Grand St. During a two-year sabbatical beginning in 1959, he walked from his modest apartment building to the Williamsburg Bridge every day, transforming the old wooden walkway above the East River into his own personal practice studio. The result of those open-air sessions was The Bridge, the legendary 1962 album that cemented Rollins’ place in history as an improvisational genius. Sometime in the next month, 400-402 Grand St., the twin tenements just west of Clinton Street, will be knocked down to make room for a new 15 story apartment building that is part of Essex Crossing. The large development project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area will eventually bring a thousand new apartments, half of them affordable, and a