Beyond the Village and Back: 1083 Fifth Avenue Mansion and Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Harlem

In our series Beyond the Village and Back, we take a look at some great landmarks throughout New York City outside of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, celebrate their special histories, and reveal their (sometimes hidden) connections to the Village.

In this series we usually explore the roots and history of a great New York City landmark and then look at how it’s connected to our neighborhoods. But today we’re looking at two great New York City landmarks: 1083 Fifth Avenue, a beautiful Second Empire style mansion located in the Expanded Carnegie Hill Historic District between 89th and 90th Streets on ‘Museum Mile,’ and Our Lady of Lourdes Church, a landmarked Venetian Gothic style Catholic Church located in West Harlem at 463 W 142nd Street that today serves a primarily immigrant congregation from Latin America and Africa, and when designated was called “one of the oddest buildings in New York.”

Both were built at the turn of the last century.  And both also bear strong connections to Greenwich Village in at least one surprisingly similar way.

National Academy of Design (L), Our Lady of Lourdes Church (R), via Wikipedia

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There’s Been A Lot of Talk About Affordable Housing in SoHo and NoHo. Here’s What They Really Mean:

An abridged version of this piece appeared as an op-ed in the January 23, 2020 edition of AM-Metro NY.

A recent report issued on behalf of the NYC Department of City Planning, the Manhattan Borough President, and City Councilmember Margaret Chin called for seeking opportunities to create affordable housing in SoHo and NoHo, and to increase density to do so. That suggestion has recently been amplified by a small but vocal group of activists who’ve made this their No. 1 priority as zoning changes are being considered for these lower Manhattan neighborhoods.

The report — click to read.

This may sound benign enough; there’s no denying New York City in general and these increasingly pricey neighborhoods in particular need affordable housing, and one could easily be forgiven for thinking that “increased density” means nothing more than allowing smaller buildings to be replaced by larger ones for this purpose. In fact, what is actually being called for is something far less innocuous, that would result in much more super-luxury than affordable housing being added, and in grossly out-of-scale development of the sort currently prohibited in these neighborhoods. And no one would benefit so much from these proposed changes as the real estate developers who would earn a tremendous windfall from these changes.

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Native American Contemporary Art Sites in our Area

AMERINDA, American Indian Artists, Inc., is the premier Native American multi-arts services and the only independent, multi-arts organization of its kind in the United States, serving emerging and mid-career Native American artists. Founded in 1987, Amerinda catalyzes Native American performing, visual, literary and media artists, and promotes awareness of these artists. AMERINDA presents curated exhibitions of contemporary Native art and stimulates research into the history and trends of Native American contemporary expression. AMERINDA is the steward of the New York Contemporary Native American Art Movement and as such fosters the advancement of tribally-enrolled Native Arts community. This incredible organization has its headquarters in the East Village at the St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church at 288 East 10th Street.

St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church at 288 East 10th Street, home to AMERINDA headquarters. Photo Credit: Trevor Reed (Hopi)

Recently AMERINDA reached out to Village Preservation and identified sites in our area which are significant within the Native American Arts community, and we thought we would share them with you today.

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Why Isn’t This Landmarked?: 80 Fifth Avenue

Part of our blog series Why Isn’t This Landmarked?, where we look at buildings in our area we’re fighting to protect that are worthy of landmark designation, but somehow aren’t landmarked.

80 Fifth Avenue, an elaborately-detailed Renaissance Revival style office building constructed in 1907-1908 by the architecture firm of Buchman and Fox, has been a striking presence at the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street for well over a century. The stunning architecture would be enough to warrant landmark designation of the 17-story office, store, and loft building, which has housed law firms, clothing and jewelry shops, magazine and real estate offices, a school, and civic organizations over it’s more than one hundred ten year history. But beginning in 1973, the top floor was also home to the National Gay Task Force, the country’s first national LGBT rights organization, during its early period when it made groundbreaking advances — the first in fact ever made — for LGBT rights on the federal level. 

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Why Isn’t This Landmarked: 49 East 10th, Home of Jackson Pollock

Part of our blog series Why Isn’t This Landmarked?, where we look at buildings in our area we’re fighting to protect that are worthy of landmark designation, but somehow aren’t landmarked.

Jackson Pollock lived a relatively short, but extremely productive artistic life.  It is not a surprise that most of his prolific years were spent in the Village, influenced by the intensity, expanse, and rhythm of the city.

One of his lesser-known homes, when he himself was a still-unkown painter just starting out, was 49 East 10th Street.

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The Fight to Recognize LGBT Civil Rights History in Our Neighborhoods

On January 16th, 2013, Village Preservation sent a letter to the  New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) requesting that it landmark key sites of significance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history we had identified. At this time, no buildings in the city were explicitly recognized or protected by the LPC primarily for their connection to major LGBT figures or struggles for LGBT civil rights. Village Preservation argued that this was all the more troubling for Greenwich Village and its surrounding neighborhoods, which house, and have been transformed by, some of the most important LGBT landmarks in the world.

Sip-In at Julius’ Bar, 1966. Photo courtesy of the Estate of Fred McDarrah.

Soon after, we expanded the push to include other sites. We’re proud to say we’ve made remarkable progress since that letter, and that this was not the first time we secured groundbreaking recognition of LGBT civil rights history.  But we’ve also suffered some bitter losses along the way, and confronted some disturbing failures on the part of the LPC, and other city officials, to recognize the value of LGBT historic landmarks. Here’s the rundown:

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Celebrating Bagels in the Village

January 15th is National Bagel Day. Bagels are a huge part of many New Yorkers’ daily lives. However, many know little about the history of the bagel. To celebrate, we thought we would give you a brief history of bagels in New York to showcase how bagels took over and became a New York staple.

The Village also happens to have some of New York’s top-rated Bagel shops.  Read on to learn about New York’s finest and where you can get a bagel to celebrate.

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Beyond the Village and Back: Edgar Allan Poe Cottage in the Bronx

In our series Beyond the Village and Back, we take a look at some great landmarks throughout New York City outside of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, celebrate their special histories, and reveal their (sometimes hidden) connections to the Village.

Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston all host memorials, museums, or plaques that mark Edgar Allan Poe. The prolific, macabre, and often down-on-his-luck poet spent his life wandering these cities. He was looking for stories, affordable housing, and paid writing work. New York City, however, is the place where Poe spent much of his time and wrote some of his best-known works. Poe’s cottage in the Bronk is located on Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse. The cottage part of the Historic House Trust and listed on National Register of Historic Places, a New York City landmark, and is located in what’s been named Poe Park. Before we shed light upon the site and its connections to the Village, however, we start our story in Boston. 

Edgar Allan Poe’s cottage in the Bronx

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Mostly Good News on Chain Stores in Our Neighborhoods

The twelfth annual ranking of national retailers in New York City by the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) just came out, and it reveals a 3.7 percent decrease in chain stores citywide over the past year, marking the largest year-over-year drop in national retail locations since they began their annual analysis of the city’s chain retailers more than a decade ago.  You can see the full report here.

The report breaks out chain stores by zip codes, which is useful but also has its limitations, given the lack of correspondence between zip code and neighborhood boundaries.  Even so, there is mostly good news for the zip codes that overlap with Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo.  Four of our five zip codes saw a decrease in chain stores, and only one saw an increase.

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Business of the Month: Mamoun’s Falafel, 119 MacDougal Street

Your input is needed! Today we feature our latest Business of the Month — help us to select the next. Tell us which independent store you love in Greenwich Village, the East Village, or NoHo: click here to nominate your favorite. Want to help support small businesses? Share this post with friends.

The quest for an affordable and fulfilling bite to eat in New York City has sparked thousands of “Best of” lists over the years.  There is one place that has topped many such lists for almost fifty years. Located in a bustling stretch of the South Village Historic District, one modest 200 sq. foot shop has been serving healthy, affordable and satiating food since long before it was de riguer. Mamoun’s Falafel at 119 MacDougal Street is our January 2020 Business of the Month.

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