Allen Ginsberg’s East Village Haunts

We recently came across a video on YouTube of what looks almost like silent home movies of beat writers Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and several others gathering at an East Village bar, the Harmony Bar & Restaurant. This rare footage was shot in 1959 on 16mm film, and the others identified in the footage include Lucien Carr, his wife, and their three children, as well as artist Mary Frank and her children. It’s a fascinating watch — view it here.

Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in the 1959 film seen on YouTube, “Beats in NYC (1959) – Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac & Friends”

Inspired by this recent find, we thought we’d take a closer look at this and a couple of other favotire hangouts in the East Village of Ginsberg’s, each one of which was very different, but nonetheless drew him and other writers, artists and poets.

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A Building Blocks Tour of East Village Landmarks

We have just added a new tour to our wildly popular East Village Building Blocks, our online tool which provides invaluable information about over 2,200 properties in the East Village. This tour takes you through the thirty individual New York City landmarks in the East Village  — one of the highest concentrations in New York City.  These include a public housing project, a medical dispensary, a horse auction mart, a bathhouse, a baked goods factory, a German shooting range, several churches, two libraries, and two cemeteries. They range from grand Beaux Arts buildings to modest or vernacular structures. The oldest one dates to 1799, while the youngest dates to 1935, and they include among the very first designated landmarks in New York City, as well as ones designated as recently as 2014.

Stuyvesant-Fish House at 21 Stuyvesant Street was one of the first fifteen New York City landmarks designated in 1965

You can view the tour in its entirety HERE, but here are just a few of the highlights:

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Hans Hofmann and 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

Hans Hofmann, born on March 21, 1880, was one of the foremost figures of postwar American art. Known for his energetic, color-infused work, and renowned as a visionary teacher for many other artists—first in his native Germany, then in New York and Provincetown—Hofmann played a pivotal role in the development of Abstract Expressionism.  Much of this was done while he lived and worked in the Village, particularly within the Greenwich Village Historic District (GVHD).

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Hans Hoffman

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Great Writers and the Greenwich Village Historic District

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

The Greenwich Village Historic District has been home, over the years, to countless writers, authors, poets and other literati. Known as an area for artists, the writers who worked in the Greenwich Village Historic District held salons and other gatherings of their peers in the neighborhood, making the area famous no only for the writers who lived there, but for their communities which produced whole literary movements beyond the individual works each writer produced. Hop in for a west-to-east tour of sites of the GVHD literati, from Mark Twain to Lorraine Hansberry.

Village Preservation’s celebratory map of the Greenwich Village Historic District, created especially for our celebration by the artist Barbara Macfarlane, represented by the Rebecca Hossack Gallery

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Exploring East Village Music Meccas with Building Blocks

This is part of a series of curated tours to help the public explore the buildings and history shared on our recently-launched East Village Building Blocks site — see it here.

From 19th-century concert halls to punk palaces of the 1970s, many influential music scenes got their start or found a home among the East Village’s legendary music venues. The East Village attracted countless creatives – performers, writers, artists, and thinkers – intermingling and inspiring radical new ideas. Today we’re looking at a few spots from our East Village Music Venues Tour on Building Blocks, reminding us how many unforgettable musicians made their mark on these humble streets.

East Village Music Venues Tour on Building Blocks.

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Remembering a Big Day for East Village Landmarking

On March 18, 2008, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved the designation of four East Village landmarks, and they were as varied as the East Village itself. They were the Webster Hall and Annex at 119-125 East 11th Street, the Children’s Aid Society Elizabeth Home For Girls at 307 East 12th Street, the (Former) Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Anshe Ungarn at 242 East 7th Street, and the Free Public Baths of the City of New York at 538 East 11th Street. In addition to being landmarked on the same day, all these buildings were built between 1886 and  1908 to serve primarily poor and immigrant populations, and were all built on land that was once a part of Peter Stuyvesant’s farm,

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The Ides of March

Every month has an “Ides,” but only the month of March is known for it.  The Romans did not number days of a month from the first to the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar.

Coin issued by Brutus in 42 B.C. A cap of freedom in the middle flanked by two daggers

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Chaim Gross on LaGuardia Place, and “The Family” on Bleecker

When the days are finally seeming longer than they used to be, the beautiful details of the Village begin to reveal themselves in new ways. Today, I’m thinking about public art, and a special spot in the Greenwich Village Historic District. Bleecker Street Park is a place to chat on the phone, eat a cupcake from Magnolia, or listen to children playing, all under the watchful eyes of Chaim Gross’s lyrical sculpture “The Family.” Chaim Gross was born on March 17, 1904 in Ukraine, and landed in New York as an art student and a Jewish refugee of WWI in 1921. Through his art and his foundation – the wonderful Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation – he remains here with us.

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Architect George Frederick Pelham and the Greenwich Village Historic District

One of New York City’s most prolific architects before and after the turn of the 20th century was George Frederick Pelham. He designed a variety of types of buildings, including institutional, commercial and especially residential buildings all around the city, employing numerous architectural styles. Many of his buildings are located in various New York City historic districts, including the Greenwich Village Historic District, which boasts 22 of his buildings within its borders. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District this year, we’re looking at some of the buildings by Pelham.

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Peter Stuyvesant’s Bouweries and their Legacy Today

On March 12, 1651, Peter Stuyvesant, Director General of the Dutch West India Company, purchased Bouwerie (Dutch for ‘farm’) #1 and part of Bouwerie #2 in what is today’s East Village and surrounding neighborhoods. While it only remained farmland for a fraction of its existence, the land between present-day 5th and 20th Streets, from Fourth Avenue to the East River, would nevertheless remain in the Stuyvesant family for many generations. Though the land eventually traded hands to new owners, the Stuyvesant family imprint can still be seen on the area today in a number of ways.

Stuyvesant Fish House at 21 Stuyvesant Street

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