GVSHP Oral History: Gloria McDarrah

Gloria McDarrah at her home, February 27, 2014. Photo by Liza Zapol.

Gloria McDarrah at her home, February 27, 2014. Photo by Liza Zapol.

GVSHP is excited to share our oral history collection with the public, and hope they will shed more light on what makes Greenwich Village and the East Village such unique and vibrant areas. Each of these histories highlights the experiences and insights of long-time residents, usually active in the arts, culture, preservation, business, or civic life of the neighborhood.  Recently we launched new collections focusing on the East and South Villages, and have been highlighting some of the featured individuals on Off the Grid.  These posts can be found here, and the entire oral history collection here.

Gloria McDarrah was born on June 22, 1932 in the Bronx to a family of Ukrainian immigrants. They later moved to 108 East 4th Street and then to Lebanon, Pennsylvania where her father worked in the garment industry. Gloria visited New York City once a year throughout her childhood, staying with family at her former 108 East 4th Street home. Gloria has fond memories of the Jewish neighborhood and Jewish delis on 2nd Avenue, as well as visiting Sara Delano Park, Russ & Daughters, and movie theaters.

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Happy Birthday, Off the Grid!

GVSHP Blog, "Off the Grid" website logo.

GVSHP Blog, “Off the Grid” website logo.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” For almost everyone in the workforce this stands out as the most clichéd question you can hear during a job interview.  However, in 5 years a lot can change, develop, and become more than what was originally intended.  On top of our landmarking victories and successful advocacy for the last five years, today GVSHP celebrates another milestone — the birth of our blog, Off the GridRead the rest of this entry »

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GVSHP Landmarks Webpage, A Great Resource!

lm leadEver wonder what is going on with the construction of the landmarked building next door, or anywhere in Greenwich Village, NoHo, Gansevoort Market, the South Village, and the East Village?  Well GVSHP offers to the public its Landmarks Applications Webpage, a wonderful resource that provides up-to-the-minute information on landmarked properties which require review via a hearing by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).  This includes all proposals for demolition, new building and alterations which affect the exterior.  Click HERE for further information of the permit process by LPC.

 

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On this Day: Washington Square Village Found Eligible for State and National Registers of Historic Places

Washington Square Village [photo source: wikipedia.com]

Washington Square Village [photo source: wikipedia.com]

On this date in 2011, the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), presented a “Resource Evaluation” that agreed with the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s earlier finding that the complex known as Washington Square Village was eligible for inclusion in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

In this evaluation, SHPO noted that Washington Square Village “embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction; or represents the work of a master or [possesses] high artistic values…” and that, “…the superblock complex of two residential towers, elevated landscaped plaza, commercial strip, and below-grade parking [is] an impressive example of postwar urban renewal planning and design.

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Happy Birthday, George Washington (sort of)

Image via blog.tourtexas.com/

George Washington was born on February 22nd, and his birthday was unofficially celebrated by Americans on that date throughout the 19th century. February 22nd finally became a federal holiday in 1879.

The holiday was celebrated on February 22nd until 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Law to provide annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays in order to  “bring substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the Nation…offer greater opportunities for families—especially those whose members may be widely separated—to get together…allow our citizens greater participation in their hobbies as well as in educational and cultural activities…improve commercial and industrial production by minimizing midweek holiday interruptions of production schedules and reducing employee absenteeism before and after midweek holidays.” Since the law went into effect we have celebrated Washington’s birthday on the third Monday in February.
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GVSHP Oral History: Maria Kenny

GVSHP is excited to share our oral history collection with the public, and hope they will shed more light on what makes Greenwich Village and the East Village such unique and vibrant areas. Each of these histories highlights the experiences and insights of long-time residents, usually active in the arts, culture, preservation, business, or civic life of the neighborhood.  Recently we launched new collections focusing on the East and South Villages, and have been highlighting some of the featured individuals on Off the Grid.  These posts can be found here, and the entire oral history collection here.

Maria Kenny at the offices of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, June 10, 2015. Photograph by Liza Zapol.

Maria Kenny at the offices of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, June 10, 2015. Photograph by Liza Zapol.

Kenny’s Castaways was a bar and music venue located on Bleecker Street from 1977 until 2012.  Pat Kenny, the founder and original owner, was an Irish immigrant who moved to NYC and started the original Kenny’s as a supper club on the Upper East Side.  However, as a lover of music, he wanted a venue that would showcase diverse, up-and-coming talent as opposed to established acts. As a result, Kenny’s Castaways was established.

Through the years, the venue saw a wide range of performers, including Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Willie Dixon and the Fugees. However, rising rents in its last years forced this Village institution to permanently close.  Maria Kenny is the daughter of Pat and also a contributor to the GVSHP Oral History Collection.  Not too long ago, she sat down with us where she discussed her father, the venue, and the impact Kenny’s had on the Village music scene. Read the rest of this entry »

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GVSHP Oral History: Ingrid Bernhard

121 Charles Street

GVSHP is excited to share our oral history collection with the public, and hope they will shed more light on what makes Greenwich Village and the East Village such unique and vibrant areas. Each of these histories highlights the experiences and insights of long-time residents, usually active in the arts, culture, preservation, business, or civic life of the neighborhood.  Recently we launched new collections focusing on the East and South Villages, and have been highlighting some of the featured individuals on Off the Grid.  These posts can be found here, and the entire oral history collection here.

You probably don’t know Ingrid Bernhard, but you may know her old house. We have written extensively about 121 Charles Street many times here on Off the Grid.
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GVSHP Oral History: David Amram

amramGVSHP is excited to share our oral history collection with the public, and hope they will shed more light on what makes Greenwich Village and the East Village such unique and vibrant areas. Each of these histories highlights the experiences and insights of long-time residents, usually active in the arts, culture, preservation, business, or civic life of the neighborhood.  Recently we launched new collections focusing on the East and South Villages, and have been highlighting some of the featured individuals on Off the Grid.  These posts can be found here, and the entire oral history collection here.

Born on November 17, 1930 in Philadelphia, David Amram has been a noted musician, bandleader, prolific composer, and pioneer of the jazz French horn for over 50 years. At age seven, he started piano lessons, tried trumpet and tuba before settling on French horn. He attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music for a year, and in 1951, earned his Bachelor’s Degree from George Washington University. Amram then attended the Manhattan School of Music.

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Funny Face: ‘S Wonderful! ‘S Marvelous!

funnyface2Funny Face, the iconic American romantic musical comedy directed by Stanley Donen and written by Leonard Gersche about a Greenwich Village bookworm transformed into the belle of the Paris fashion runways, was released on February 13, 1957. Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, and Kay Thompson star in the movie, which contained assorted songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Though it contains the same star, Fred Astaire, and several of the Gershwins’ original songs, the plot is vastly different from the 1927 George Gershwin Broadway musical of the same name.

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Really, Really, Ridiculously Awful (and probably illegal) Billboards

The Gansevoort Street side of the Hotel Gansevoort Billboards, Image via Google Maps

The Gansevoort Street side of the Hotel Gansevoort Billboards (Image via Google)

Nine years ago today, on a freezing cold February day (like today), GVSHP and hundreds of neighbors protested the Hotel Gansevoort billboards that had just been erected at the corner of Hudson and Gansevoort Street.  GVSHP Exec. Dir. Andrew Berman’s statements then stand true today, “The Hotel Gansevoort profits in every way it can from this neighborhood – from its name to the views it enjoys over our low-rise buildings, which remain thanks to the landmark protections we fought for. Their eight-story high billboards… turn [these neighborhoods] into backdrops for their crass self-promotion and profit.

Unfortunately, the Hotel Gansevoort billboards  are on a block not included as part of Gansevoort Market Historic District, and thus did not need landmarks approval. GVSHP argued that the billboards were illegal based upon zoning rules, but the City refused to enforce what we saw as a pretty plain and clear interpretation of the zoning law.

Sadly but unsurprisingly, the Hotel has failed to even maintained the appearance of the billboards, as they promised to do at the time, as they continue to rake in millions of dollars per year at the expense of their neighbors.
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