My Favorite Things: The Corner of West 4th and West 10th Streets

Corner of West 4th and West 10th Streets, Nat Kaufman Collection, c. 1950, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Corner of West 4th and West 10th Streets, Nat Kaufman Collection, c. 1950, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Villager’s often point to the neighborhood’s low scale buildings and meandering, off-the-grid street pattern as one of the many factors that make the Village so special. I have to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with the Village’s off-kilter streets. But then again, I get lost with a map. Prior to 2005 (the year I joined the staff of GVSHP), I was lost anytime I visited Greenwich Village. I particularly remember one frantic morning en route to a conference at the New York AIA on LaGuardia Place.  I found myself at the corner of West 4th and West 10th. I looked up at the street sign and wondered how I would ever find my way in a neighborhood where two numbered streets which should be six blocks apart suddenly intersected.

Then, in 2008, when I was working with an archivist to catalogue GVSHP’s image collection, I ran across this image of West 4th and West 10th Streets from the Nat Kaufman collection. Kaufman was a Villager and avid amateur photographer, whose portfolio covered many of the distinctive sites of Greenwich Village in the 1950s: Washington Square Park, the Women’s House of Detention, and 75 ½ Bedford Street, to name a few — places that I have come to know and love.

From the Nat Kaufman Collection, c. 1950, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

From the Nat Kaufman Collection, c. 1950, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Now, when I see slightly bemused tourists (and even New Yorkers) looking rather lost, I think of the intersection of West 4th and 10th Streets and lend a hand. While the Village’s off the grid street pattern  hasn’t always had a positive association, it certainly does now. In fact, it is one of my favorite Village things. Greenwich Avenue and Greenwich Street … well, that’s another story.


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avatar Sheryl Woodruff is GVSHP's Senior Director of Operations.