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. Read the rest of this entry »

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372 Lafayette Street – Take Two!

372 Lafayette Street today

Back in August, we wrote about 372 Lafayette Street, the proposed new building designed by Morris Adjmi that will – once given the go-ahead by the Landmarks Preservation Commission – occupy the site of the existing one-story garage on the corner of Great Jones Street in the NoHo Historic District. The LPC was only partially in support of Adjmi’s original design, and after the public hearing in August they sent him back to the drawing board to make some modifications. You can see photos of the original design and read about the LPC’s comments HERE.

Today, the architect returned to the LPC with a revised design, which the Commission unanimously approved. View photos after the jump.
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When was my building built? and other tricky research questions

An old photograph can help you find out more about the history of your building.

An old photograph can help you find out more about the history of your building.

The New York Public Library, whose digital gallery we here at GVSHP turn to quite frequently when looking for images to assist in our own research, recently included an article in their November newsletter entitled “Who Lived in a House Like This?” with tips on researching the social history of your home  and neighborhood. It is an excellent overview of the sources available for those interested in genealogy or even to those looking to learn who lived in their apartment before them. But for those looking to learn a little more about the architectural history of their building, we thought we would share some tips we’ve gained over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

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On This Day: Ellis Island Closes

Bacalaitos & Fireworks is a celebration of immigrant history

On this day in 1954, November 12th, America’s gateway, Ellis Island, closed its doors for good.

According to, 40% of Americans today can trace their roots through Ellis Island.  If we had to guess, that percentage most likely increases dramatically when looking at the population residing in the Village.  The South Village was marked by its large Italian community that settled in the late 19th Century.  Around that same time German, Irish, and Italian immigrants found work in the breweries, warehouses, and coal and lumber yards near the Hudson River.  The East Village saw an influx of German, Eastern European, and Jewish immigrants.  Later in the mid-twentieth century, the lower, eastern part of the East Village, now known as Loisaida, became home to a large Puerto Rican community.

And this Monday, you can celebrate the heart of Loisaida with GVSHP’s program, Bacalaitos & Fireworks.    Arlene Gottfried, a native New Yorker with a passion for photographing the city, discusses her newest book, Bacalaitos and Fireworks. Comprised of color photographs that document New York’s Puerto Rican culture and changing Lower East Side/East Village, her book begins in 1970 and documents the culture of Loisaida through the present.

Spending Veterans Day with the Doughboy

Abingdon Square Doughboy

Ever since Ralph Lee staged the first annual Halloween parade in the courtyard of Westbeth in 1973, October 31st has been a day of heavy reveling in Greenwich Village.

But that’s been covered. And anyway, today is Veteran’s Day, not Halloween, so what’s the connection? Well, fifty-two years prior to Lee’s first parade, on the afternoon of October 31st, 1921, a different kind of procession marched the Village streets to Abingdon Square, where over 20,000 people witnessed Mayor Hylan’s unveiling of the Abingdon Square Doughboy to commemorate those lost in World War I (Veteran’s Day actually began in 1919 as “Armistice Day,” commemorating the end of World War I on that date). It was reported that over 200 Gold Star Mothers (those who lost their sons in World War I battle) were in attendance that day.

Ninety years later, Off the Grid reflects on this enduring symbol of the bravery of Greenwich Village’s veterans.

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My Favorite Things: Gone But Not Forgotten Edition

This is the latest installment of Off the Grid’s series, “My Favorite Things,” in which we showcase some of our very favorite spots around the neighborhood, highlighting the incredible architecture, history, people, and businesses of the Village, East Village, and NoHo.

As the old saying goes, you win some, you lose some.  That’s particularly true in preservation, where sometimes in spite of the most heroic of efforts and compelling of cases, historic treasures succumb to the wrecking ball.

I’m frequently asked, “Which fight do you most regret losing; which building do you mourn the loss of most?”  It often comes as a surprise that the answer, inevitably, is a parking garage — one which seemed to almost eerily peer into the future.

The Tunnel Garage, 1922-2006.

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Seen and Heard Around the Village 11.9.11: For Food Lovers

Gothamist goes inside the vault at Pfaff’s, the 19th century beer cellar turned cocktail loungs….and inside the new Veselka Bowery….and inside Prima, the new East Village seafood-centic cafe/bar

First look at the menus of Whitehall, the new West Village, London-inspired restaurant and bar (Grub Street)

The New York Times reviews the Bowery’s Saxon & Parole

Team behind Torrisi Italian Specialties to take over 90-year-old Rocco Ristorante (Eater)

Serious Eats editor reveals her favorite East Village food & drink spots

The early word on the Bowery location of Neapolitan pizzeria Forcella (Eater)

Sticky’s Finger Joint will bring lots of chicken tenders to 8th Street (Fork in the Road)

Real-life ‘Willy Wonka’ chocolate factory has 70-year-old Village history (DNAinfo)….and in more chocolate news- Li-Lac Chocolates is purchased by loyal customer (WSJ)

Seen and Heard Around the Village 11.9.11: East Edition

Demolition permits on file for historic 316 East 3rd Street (EV Grieve)

New York’s most loathed architect is no stranger to the East Village (NY Post)

EV Grieve looks at the collapsed chimney on East 13th Street….and as of yesterday residents were still displaced

Billy Leroy, of Billy’s Antiques & Props, misses the Old New York (Huffington Post)

Russ & Daughters becomes pop-up gallery (DNAinfo)

Steve Jobs Memorial Tree planted in Tompkins Square Park (EV Grieve)

Seen and Heard Around the Village 11.9.11: West Edition

image courtesy of Bob Estremera

On the market: a loft/antique store hybrid and St. Vincent’s condos (Curbed)

Gothamist goes inside the new Greenwich Village Country Club

Off-Off Broadway theater, Manhattan Theatre Source, closing….as is 30-year-old jazz cafe, Caffe Vivaldi (Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York)…but you can sign a petition to save Vivaldi!

House with the largest south garden in the Village can be yours (WSJ)

Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York takes a look at meat on hooks

Three Cheers for Father’s Heart Church!

Last month we all cheered when it was announced that the Bowery Historic District was added to the State and National Register of Historic Places – a well-deserved recognition of one of New York’s oldest and most historic streets. We are also thrilled that another historic site in our neighborhood, an East Village icon, was added to the State and National Register of Historic Places.

“A new chapel, situated in East Eleventh Street, near Avenue B, where it was erected by the New York City Sunday School and Missionary Society of the Methodist-Episcopal Church, was formally dedicated to the service of God, yesterday…”- New York Times, Jan. 13, 1868 Read the rest of this entry »

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