The Downtown Gallery and the Woman Behind the American Art Market

In 1926, Edith Gregor Halpert was twenty six years old. She had, up until the year before, served as one of two female business executives in New York City. But in 1925, she had left the elite position behind, her sights shifting to a new goal. A lover of modern art who did not think she had the talent to succeed as an artist herself, Halpert wanted to open a gallery. And so, right in the middle of the burgeoning center of the art world, Edith Gregor Halpert opened the first commercial art space in Greenwich Village, becoming the first woman in New York City to start such a business.

Edith Gregor Halpert, ca. 1930. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Gallery records, Archives of American Art.

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Twelve Essential Reads About Greenwich Village and the East Village

Looking for a great read about Greenwich Village or the East Village? Check out this list of always essential classics, and scroll to the bottom for a list of websites of local independent bookstores where you may be able to order these or other fine reading material.

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES by Jane Jacobs.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Modern Library) by Jane Jacobs - Hardcover - 1993-02-09 - from Ergodebooks and Biblio.com

Perhaps the most influential book ever written on city planning and historic preservation. The author’s assault on the reigning orthodoxies is expressed through a lovingly detailed portrait of life on Hudson Street in the Village.

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Billie Holiday: Jazz Legend & Greenwich Village Icon

Billie Holiday is considered one of the preeminent jazz vocalists of all time. She sold out concerts at Carnegie Hall, starred in hit movies, and gave voice to the African American civil rights movement at a critical time in its development.

Holiday had a phenomenal run as an entertainer before her death in 1959. While she is in many ways most closely associated with Harlem, where she was discovered, it was in Greenwich Village that in many ways her career was launched and gained newfound prominence.

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Why Isn’t This Landmarked: Former McCreery’s Dry Goods Store, 801 Broadway/67 East 11th Street

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.

The area south of Union Square is rich in architectural and social history which needs and deserves historic district (landmark) protections, which we have been fighting for but the City has resisted granting. In the case of the former McCreery’s Dry Goods Store at 801-807 Broadway — one of the most important buildings of 19th century New York, which gained a new lease on life a hundred years later that made it one of the most consequential buildings in 20th century New York —  we have been fighting for its designation for many years.

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Off Broadway Theater Update Part 2

The theaters in our neighborhoods have long been the critical launching pads for playwrights, directors, actors, and theatrical artists of all stripes.  As the Broadway lights were dimmed, for the time being, on March 12, 2020, Off Broadway Theaters struggled to make sense of what would be the best course of action for them as well.  Each of our theatrical neighbors have had different responses, according to their schedules and their resources. One thing that unites them, and has always united them, is their ingenuity and nimble natures.

Greenwich House Theater

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Our Epic Greenwich Village and East Village Watch-List 

It’s time to dive into our beloved neighborhoods of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo as they’re seen through the movie camera lens. Presented in no apparent order, this list is full of Village locations, Villagers behind and in front of the camera, romance, action, drama, intrigue, and all the things to keep us occupied when we’re looking for something to watch.

Enjoy, and make sure to tell us what your favorites are!

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Why Isn’t It Landmarked?: 813 Broadway

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.

The area south of Union Square is full of buildings rich in architectural and social history which need and deserve historic district (landmark) protections.  We have been fighting for such measures, but the City has thus far refused to grant them. One easily-overlooked example of that rich history deserving recognition is 813 Broadway, located just south of 12th Street, a building which has strong ties to both the Civil War and the Roosevelt family.

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Explore Village History with#NewYorkFromHome

With the city slowing down and most New Yorkers at home, our partners at Urban Archive are promoting NYC’s rich cultural gems online. Village Preservation has twenty tours and stories on Urban Archive. We have assembled a select group of four collections for you to explore today, but you can explore all twenty here.

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Dr. Rebecca Cole, African-American Female Medical Pioneer Who Changed Lives On Bleecker Street

The history of medical and public health advancements have played a key role in our neighborhoods’ stories. While the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in America is fairly well known, having launched the very first hospital run by and for women right here in our neighborhood, she had an array of women supporters that made that hospital operate.  One such remarkable woman was Rebecca Cole. Born in Philadelphia on March 16, 1848, Cole spent much of her life outside New York making critical advances in public health and social justice.  But a critical stage in the development of her career came here on Bleecker Street.

According to Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library “This is most likely a sketch of Rebecca Cole, the only known image of her. This image was part of a sketch of a medical lecture that appeared on April 16, 1870 in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.” Source: Library of Congress

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Beyond the Village and Back: Harlem’s St. James Presbyterian Church

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.

The St. James Presbyterian Church at 409 West 141st Street, on the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue, stands on the incline of a hill looking eastward over Harlem. The commanding, 1904 neo-Gothic structure boasts an ornate bell tower, visible from the nearby St. Nicholas Park and the City College of New York. While the striking building has graced this location for well over a century, the church’s history actually extends much further back, descending from the Shiloh Presbyterian Church. Shiloh was a leader in the abolitionist movement and a part of the Underground Railroad. For decades, it was led by a series of radical black ministers, including one Greenwich Villager who led the church’s response to the deadly Draft Riots of 1863, and who preached from the pulpit right here on Sixth Avenue in our neighborhood.

St. James Presbyterian Church, 2016. Photo courtesy of Google.

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