Beyond the Village and Back: Essex Market

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 Essex Market opened on January, 9th, 1940 as part of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s “war on pushcarts.” According to the NY Times, a crowd of 3,500 residents gathered for the grand opening, listening to a speech by Laguardia in which he noted  “the city was not going to spend thousands of dollars [on new public markets] and allow pushcarts on the streets.” He was accompanied by the NY Parks Department Band as the “century-old era of East Side Pushcart Markets gave its last gasp.”

Essex Market Ca 1940s. Image Via NYPL

The construction of the Essex Market was part of a much broader program by Mayor LaGuardia that transformed New York City with a series of public markets, some of which survive today, some of which are long gone, some of which are experiencing a revival.  The Essex Market, while one of the most venerable, was by no means the first or the oldest, but it is one of the most beloved.

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Movie Theaters of the East Village: Loew’s Avenue B

“This is the most pretentious of the houses on our string, because my better judgment was over-balanced by my sentimentalism and my longing to do something better here than I ever did before”

                                                                  -Marcus Loew

You’d never know by looking at it now, but the intersection of East 5th St. and Avenue B in the East Village was once one of the most exciting corners in New York City show business.  It may have been demolished in 1968, but the Loew’s Avenue B Theater provided the surrounding East Village community with cinematic entertainment for more than 40 years.

Loew’s Avenue B facade.

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The Duplex: NYC’s Longest Running Cabaret Bar

The Duplex is the superstar of Seventh Avenue South and Christopher Street, with its name shining bright for all to see. A broad variety of shows takes place here, from campy drag acts to piano balladeers to intimate performances by some of Broadway’s brightest stars.  Many famous artists have found a home at the Duplex’s Upstairs cabaret space, which has hosted a plethora of performers as well.

Established in 1951, this year marks the 69th anniversary of the legendary establishment and West Village gem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Isn’t This Landmarked?: 30 East 14th Street Artists’ Loft

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.

Around the end of 1940, twenty-five-year-old artist Virginia Admiral (February 4, 1915 – July 27, 2000) moved into a loft apartment that rented for $30 a month overlooking Union Square at 30 East 14th Street. Admiral was a young, talented woman hoping to learn the art of painting at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, just blocks away from her new home. She lived here first with friends and eventually with her sweetheart and husband Robert De Niro Sr. (and perhaps, for a short time, with their infant, the great movie actor Robert De Niro Jr.).

30 East 14th Street today

Admiral was just one of an almost-unrivaled list of artists who called 30 East 14th Street home in the 20th century. This stretch of 14th Street and the neighborhood immediately to the south played a formative role in making New York a center of political, industrial, and housing innovation. A hub of the publishing industry and a site of radical and progressive political activity, it also housed some of the great artists of the 19th and 20th centuries who drew the center of first the American and ultimately the global art world below Fourteenth Street. But amidst increasing development threats to this area south of Union Square, the city has failed to establish appropriate protections for – or even acknowledge the historic importance of – this and other nearby structures.

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Looking Back On Our Civil Rights and Social Justice Map

Village Preservation’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Map was launched on January 3, 2017. This online resource, which marks sites in our neighborhoods significant to the history of various civil rights and social justice movements, includes over 200 locations. We’re proud that the map has been viewed by over 100,000 people in its three short years of life, with its praises sung in BrickUnderground, Curbed, 6sqft, Viewing NYC, and The Architect’s Newspaper, among many others. History is never finite; sites and stories in our neighborhoods continue to surface with connections to civil rights movements for African-Americans, LGBTQ+ people, women, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, Jews, immigrants, and workers. This living map expands to hold them all.

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Beyond the Village and Back: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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 Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the great landmarks, and the great institutions, of New York City, the nation, and the world. With more than two million objects in its collection, it is by far the largest museum in both New York and the country. Covering what would be several city blocks, stretching nearly a quarter mile long, and housing over 2,000,000 square feet of space, it’s roughly the size of the Empire State Building (itself the subject of a Beyond the Village and Back for its own surprising connection to Greenwich Village). Designated a landmark by the City of New York on both its interior and exterior, the Met is a must-see for any visitor to the city and a staple for any New Yorker with even the slightest interest in art or culture. Its grand Beaux Arts facade, fronted by a sprawling staircase and graceful fountains facing Fifth Avenue, are among the most iconic images of New York, and form the anchor of the Upper East Side’s elegant “Museum Mile.”

Few know, however, that the ultimate uptown institution once had a much more downtown address, and owes its very existence to one prominent Greenwich Villager, and the form by which we know it to another.

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Welcome Aboard, Louisa Winchell

Today we welcome aboard Louisa Winchell as our Research and Preservation Associate. Louisa has been working with Village Preservation as a Research and Preservation Intern since August 2018, and in her new position will continue to undertake research, writing, and mapping projects to support Village Preservation’s advocacy initiatives related to expanding landmark and zoning protections, fighting inappropriate development, supporting small and independently-owned businesses, and promoting cultural and artistic life and institutions.

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Most Popular Posts of 2019

2019 has been a huge year for Village Preservation. We celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Greenwich Village Historic District, fought increasing pressure on Greenwich Village and the East Village below Union Square to become an extension of “Silicon Alley” and “Midtown South”, served thousands of students and adults with our free public programs, testified at countless Community Board, Landmarks Preservation Committee, and City Hall hearings, and rebranded as “Village Preservation.” The staff spends a lot of time researching and writing our blog and there’s a friendly competition among us to claim the title of most popular. With 248 posts in 2019, it’s quite an accomplishment to write one of the top five:

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Beyond the Village and Back: The Children’s Aid Society’s Fourteenth Ward Industrial School on Mott Street

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.

Walking through the neighborhood now often referred to as NoLIta (north of Little Italy), one can’t help but be struck by a four-story building on Mott Street which seems much more impressive than its modest height would imply.  The stepped roof and carved foliate detail above and below the windows give the impression of a grand private residence, or at least the headquarters of some noble institution. But as most New Yorkers know, this is an old immigrant quarter, and the carving above the entrance which says “Fourteenth Ward Industrial School” gives away the building’s much less ostentatious origins. Nevertheless, this is one of the great landmarks of New York City, and one which bears a much greater connection to neighboring Greenwich Village and the East Village than the few blocks separating them would suggest.

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Celeste Holm: Greenwich Villager On The Small Screen, And In Real Life

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 Academy Award-winning actress and singer Celeste Holm is known for many roles over the course of her seven-decade stage and screen career.  But the one which first shot her to fame, helping to transform the American musical and launching the careers of one of the greatest song-writing duos in American history, she undertook while living in a modest ground floor apartment in a building with an incredibly rich and distinguished past in Greenwich Village. A decade later she starred in a groundbreaking TV show about a 30-something journalism professor who comes to New York to tackle the role of daily newspaper reporter, befriending ex-cons and dating her boss’ son along the way — pretty racy fare for 1950s TV! — while living in Greenwich Village (the show was also an early effort by two soon-to-be-titans of American television).  Beyond these career tent poles, Holm made a name for herself in multiple media, leaving a legacy that owes more than a little to the neighborhood she called home on the small screen and in real life.

Celeste Holm as Ado Annie in Rogers and Hammerstein’s groundbreaking Oklahoma!

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