Legendary Comedy Clubs of Greenwich Village

New York may be known for its lively comedy scene, but Greenwich Village takes the cake when it comes to producing the most renowned comedic legends. Comedy spots all over the Village helped shape the careers of comedians like Joan Rivers, Woody Allen, Dave Chapelle, and many more.

Joan Rivers in 1965. Image courtesy of Pix Inc.

To this day many successful comedians from around the world continue to test out their new material right here in the Village. Most of the clubs on the list are still around today, so you can still catch some laughs!

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Woodstock: Three Days of Peace, Music, and Greenwich Villagers

On a farm far from the city on August 15, 1969, the Woodstock music festival entered into history and helped define a generation. The “Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music” was held at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm which was actually in Bethel, New York. Woodstock marked a pivotal moment in music and countercultural history, which still resonates to this day.

Richie Havens at Woodstock in 1969.

It took a lot to make that era-defining festival happen.  And as filmmaker Laura Archibald said “And by the time we get into the late ’60s, concerts like Woodstock were being put together, and where did they go to get their talent pool? Ah, the Village!” In fact, Villagers opened, closed, lit, emceed, and provided some of the most celebrated performances of the Woodstock Festival.

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Tiro a Segno, a Fixture in the Italian South Village

Located in the heart of the South Village and the South Village Historic District is the oldest continuing South Village Italian organization, Tiro a Segno, today located at 77 MacDougal Street. It has been at this location since 1924 and has served the Italian American community since its founding on August 14, 1888. Tiro a Segno calls itself “the oldest Italian heritage organization in the United States” and today it continues its mission, devoted to the dissemination of knowledge of Italian culture.

Google Street view of 77 MacDougal Street

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Village Firehouse Architecture is HOT

The city might feel like its been on fire this record-breaking summer, but there have been times in the past when it has been. In the 1970s the Bronx was burning and Lower East Side was also suffering from fires and abandoned buildings. Before that, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire became one of the worst workplace tragedies to ever occur. In the late 19th century, the booming population of the city brought with it a great need for fire protection. During that time, some beautiful firehouses were built and served a crucial function for the city, both before and after the creation of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). 

Today we’re going to tour some of these beautiful historic buildings in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo.

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Mazel Tov! Yiddish Theater is born

On August 12th, 1882, the very first Yiddish theatrical performance in New York City was held in a building which still stands at 66 East 4th Street, between the Bowery and Second Avenue. Over the next four decades, the Yiddish theater would become a focal point and social outlet for the 3.5 million Jews that immigrated to the United States, many of whom came through and settled on the Lower East Side and what is now known as the East Village. The building which gave birth to Yiddish Theater continues to perform an important role in the cultural vitality and theater life of New York City today.

Scene from the Yiddish Theater “The Witch”, 1925 Revival. Image via The Yiddish Museum

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The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Has Strings Attached to the Village

This is one in a series of posts marking the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District.  Check out our year-long activities and celebrations at gvshp.org/GVHD50

On Thursday, November 24, 1927, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as we know it was launched. While the first Macy’s parade was held in 1924, it was not until 1927 that Villager, filmmaker, business owner, teacher, children’s book author, and “father of puppetry” Tony Sarg was commissioned to design the parade’s notorious balloons, which remain a staple of the event today, almost a century later.

Anthony Sarg (center) and fellow puppeteers prepare a parade balloon in 1929. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian.com via Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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President Announces Resignation

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, effective noon the following day. Following months of impeachment proceedings, Nixon could read the writing on the wall that his time as President would be coming to an end, one way or another.

Koch and Abzug, 1978.

There were several prominent Villagers who played key roles in the push to impeach Nixon which led to his resignation, including Bella Abzug and Ed Koch, political rivals who represented the Village in the House of Representatives at the time.

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Business of the Month: Mikey Likes It Ice Cream, 199 Avenue A

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.

You’ve got to like someone who opens up a shop in the same neighborhood they grew up in. And if you are so good at it that you get support from the New York Knicks and create custom flavors for professional athletes who seek out your down-to-earth yet artisanal and creatively-flavored ice cream, you may even possess some magic. The owner and namesake of Mikey’s Likes it Ice Cream at 199 Avenue A (12th/13th Streets) is that local entrepreneur, and his establishment is our  August Business of the Month.

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How One Building Turned Greenwich Village Into an Artists’ Mecca

This is one in a series of posts marking the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District.  Check out our year-long activities and celebrations at gvshp.org/GVHD50

Ever wonder what started Greenwich Village’s role as a mecca for artists?  A good deal of the credit can go to a single building which changed the way artists lived, worked, and interacted with one another and the world.

Bernice Abbott’s 1938 photo of the Tenth Street Studio Building. MCNY

The Tenth Street Studios building, located at 51 West 10th Street, was built in 1858.  The structure’s exclusive purpose was to house studios and living space for artists, according to several historians the very first such building ever built anywhere in the world. It was designed by Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895), the great American architect who was also the first American to attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and became the center of the New York art world for decades after it was built.

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Welcome Aboard, Dawson Knick

Today we welcome aboard Dawson Knick, who will be taking over our Program and Administrative Associate position, replacing Laura Fleischmann. We are sad to see Laura go, but we wish her the best of luck with her new adventures. Dawson’s excited to continue his work with the Village Preservation team, assisting with member services, public programs, special projects, and many things in between.


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