What's happening behind the Avalon? A whole lotta garbage dumping. Curbed reported last year on Avalon's plans to turn this alley into "a slice of the Left Bank, a pedestrian mall lined with interesting boutiques and cafes." Maybe the left side is poised to be Left Bank, but the right is strictly a slice of the old Bowery.
The alley is called Extra Place and it's behind the defunct CBGB's. Read and see more about its rock-n-roll history from ForgottenNY.
Go further back into its history with Brendan Gill, who wrote about Extra Place for The New Yorker's Talk of the Town in 1952. Back then, the alley housed a garage, a metalworking shop, and an old guy who fondly recalled the speakeasy that used to be there in the '20s.
Click on these to enlarge and read from Gill's piece:
Take a walk back there to soak up its still-seedy atmosphere, before Avalon succeeds in turning it into another trendoid Freeman Alley. It's just up 1st Street from Mars Bar, so be sure to fuel your visit with booze from the holdout dive. Whether in the 1920s or the 1970s, it sounds like Extra Place might have been best enjoyed when drunk.
Here's what the Avalon developers want it to look like when privately owned by them:
photo and more info: Real Deal