Then & Now: 3rd Avenue & East 10th Street, Part 2

Last week we tantalized you with an incredible photograph of 3rd Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets taken by Berenice Abbott in 1937. Today, we revisit that block to take a look at some of its history. In case you have forgotten how much the block has changed, this is what it looks like today.

And this is what it looked like in 1937.

3rd Avenue and East 10th Street in 1937 (courtesy of the New York Public Library)

How can we forget the Stuyvesant Curiosity Shop at 48 Third Avenue, with rifles in display cases on the sidewalk and lots of … well, curiosities. What the picture did not reveal is that the Curiosity Shop was housed in an extraordinarily elegant Romanesque Revival building, which was unusual for tenements. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Village Angels’ Protect Tiles for America

L: a birds-eye view of the tiles being taken down pre-Irene (image courtesy of Erin Clermont); R: storing the tiles during the hurricane take-down (image courtesy of Jack Weingart)

As many of you may have seen or heard, the beloved 9/11 Tiles for America on the fence at Mulry Square were removed two weeks ago in preparation for Hurricane Irene.  The neighborhood group that has been tending to the tiles over the past ten years and had organized their safe removal has been unofficially called “Village Angels.”  Last evening, one of GVSHP’s staff noticed that an abundance of tiles were being stored in a shopping cart on Greenwich Avenue.  Wanting to make sure that they were being safeguarded, we investigated and, of course, the amazing Village Angels had it all under control.

The shopping cart of tiles outside Cafe Rou Rou where they are being looked after

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A Greenwich Village Artifact in Texas

A door from Frank Shay's Greenwich Village Bookshop is the spotlight of a new online exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin

We love receiving research queries here at GVSHP, but never more so than when the person asking the question has something to tell us.

So we were quite pleased to receive an inquiry from a curator at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, who wanted to know the history of the building at 4 Christopher Street. Turns out, they happened to have an extraordinary item in their collection relating to the address: an interior door from the Greenwich Village Bookshop opened by Frank Shay at that address in 1920.

But make no mistake — this is not just any door, as made clear by The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door, the Harry Ransom Center’s online exhibit about said artifact.  The door was signed by 242 Greenwich Village authors, publishers, artists, and other notables. Turns out, the door was a transplant from 11 Christopher Street, a building occupied by writer Floyd Dell, managing editor of The Masses.  It isn’t known how the tradition of signing the door came about once it came to live in the bookshop, but the exhibit does have a fascinating history of the door as an artifact.

Those with even a little knowledge of Greenwich Village history will enjoy perusing the door.  Most will be sure to recognize more than a few of the names, such as John Sloan, Susan Glaspell, Theodore Dreiser, and Sinclair Lewis. While exploring the exhibit, be sure to take a look at the “Bohemians” section, which allows you to see the signers grouped by category.  This section notes that the Provincetown Players, who made a home at the Provincetown Playhouse on MacDougal  Street, are arguably the single most influential community associated with the bookshop.

And for those of you wondering whether the building that housed the Greenwich Village Bookshop at 4 Christopher Street (just west of Greenwich Avenue) still stands … it does not. The building that stands now is a modern one, built in 1960, nine years before the Greenwich Village Historic District, which includes the site, was designated.

Site of the Greenwich Village Bookshop today


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Seen and Heard Around the Village 9.7.11: East Edition

The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, the East Village's newest neighborhood business, opened this past Saturday to lines down the block (image courtesy of NYU News)

Want to see pictures of the crazy, quirky, opening weekend of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop?….here’s a sneak peak- Anthony Bourdain dressed up as a nun….see pictures here, here, and here.

Oldest house on East 6th Street  block has been completely demolished (EV Grieve)

East Village pub-crawlers set world record– more than 170 bars in 24 hours (NY Daily News)

1st Avenue & East 9th Street gets whited out (EV Grieve)

Brick crenelation demolished atop Puck Building (City Room)

Parking lot becomes another parking lot….for now (EV Grieve)

Flaming Cactus will continue to grace Astor Place until June 2012 (City Room)


Seen and Heard Around the Village 9.7.11: West Edition

The Waverly Inn, the famous celebrity hangout on Waverly Place & Bank Street, that was robbed this past weekend (image courtesy of

Waverly Inn employee injured during liquor robbery (DNAinfo)

Coen Brothers confirm Greenwich Village folk film! (Gothamist)

Chairman of Flatwood Capital sells his 133 Perry Street apartment for $11.8 million (The Real Deal)

10th annual Father Mychal Judge Walk of Remembrance took place on Sunday and ended at Mulry Square, where the ‘Village Angels’ hand rehung Tiles for America (DNAinfo)



Groundbreaking Gadgets on 4th Avenue

For those of you who don’t flip through your grandparents’ stacks of mail order catalogs, Hammacher & Schlemmer (say that ten times fast!) was the city’s first hardware store, opened in 1848, and is the country’s longest running catalog, first published in 1881.

The store originally opened in 1848 at 221 Bowery at a time when high-quality hardware was hard to find.  Then just 12 years old, William Schlemmer would sell tools in front of his uncle’s store.   By 1867, he, along with newly acquired partner Alfred Hammacher (a fellow German immigrant), bought the business and renamed it Hammacher & Schlemmer.  The two men turned this local shop into a national company, inventing numerous firsts: pop-up-toaster (1930), electric razor (1934), stem iron (1948), microwave oven (1968), cordless telephone (1975), among many others.

A view of the Hammacher & Schlemmer building in 1906, at the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and 13th Street (image courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York, photograph by: Byron Company)

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Labor Day Redux

Garment workers rally at Webster Hall, photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

This Monday most of us will be enjoying a day off, celebrating the last unofficial (long) weekend of summer. This well-deserved holiday makes it a little hard to remember that Labor Day became a national holiday because of labor unions, who have fought for many years on behalf of working people.

In the spirit of the holiday we suggest re-reading our recent post about the role of the labor movement past and present in the Village.

Happy Labor Day Weekend.

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Seen and Heard Around the Village 9.2.11: For Food Lovers

Inside the East Village's newest sweet-tooth addiction, Jane's Sweet Buns

A tour of Jane’s Sweet Buns, East Village dessert spot that serves cocktail-inspired pastries (Food Republic)

Danny Meyer will operate new restaurant within the Downtown Whitney (Eater)

Uh Oh, 7-11 coming to the Bowery (EV Grieve)

East 11th Street ice cream parlor teaches neighborhood teenagers more than just how to scoop (NY Daily News)

Eater takes a look inside Frankies 570, opening on Hudson Street next Tuesday

EV Grieve breaks news that the Big Gay Ice Cream store will open on Saturday!  And the Village Voice has a menu!

Highlands team to open Whitehall in former Sweetiepie space (Eater)

Seen and Heard Around the Village 9.1.11: East Edition

Olek's shopping cart on 2nd Avenue (not a garbage can!)

EV Grieve continues its Hurricane-Irene-in-Tompkins-Square-Park-aftermath news….here & here.

The fallen willow tree at La Plaza Cultural is more than just a loss of a tree (City Room)….as EV Grieve notes, there is even a memorial set up

The man behind the Mosaic Man’s & Ray’s Twitter reveals himself (The Local East Village)

Did you miss the Marble Cemetery funeral procession?? (EV Grieve)

As NYU Students Move into Palladium, “Limelight” Recalls its Days as Den of Depravity (The Local East Village)

Parking lot closes, out-of-scale apartment building (potentially) opens (EV Grieve)

Take a look inside the NoHo home of design superstar team Roman & Williams (Curbed)

W.H. Auden, past East Village poet, approaches a significant month (The Local East Village)

Illegal work continues on 12th Street (EV Grieve)

Seen and Heard Around the Village 9.1.11: West Edition

Reflecting the Stars, the new art installation at Hudson River Park by Jon Morris for the Windmill Factory

A rare 7th-floor Village walk-up has gotten the attention of both NearSay and The Wall Street Journal

Alec Baldwin buys a posh pre-war pad in the Devonshire House (casasugar)

Bob Giraldi, Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ director, sells in 176 Perry (NY Observer)

John Bartlet announces closure with letter explaining his plans to rescue animals (Racked)

Check out Reflecting the Stars, a new art installation at Hudson River Park by Jon Morris for the Windmill Factory