A Murder on Broadway: Josie Mansfield and the Grand Central Hotel

As many can agree, there’s nothing like a good seedy scandal for some shock and entertainment. And with all the characters that have passed through the Village, it’s no surprise that plenty such events occurred right here. One such story involves Josie Mansfield, a little-known but thoroughly fascinating figure who rose to fame as the subject of a scandalous love triangle.

Fisk, Mansfield, and Stokes, from The Life of Col. James Fisk, Jr…, 1872, https://books.google.com

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The Origins of Greenwich Village Historic District Street Names: Part 1

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 streets, parks, and squares of the Greenwich Village Historic District are named for a unique collection of historical figures. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Greenwich Village Historic District, we have developed a guide to how these locations got their names. Today is the first of several posts in this series:


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Willem de Kooning Standing on his East 10th Street Stoop, and at the Center of the Art World

On April 5, 1959, Village Voice photographer Fred McDarrah snapped this iconic photo of Willem de Kooning on the stoop of 88 East 10th Street, his home and studio from 1952 to 1959. De Kooning lived and worked here during some of his most productive years as an artist, and when he and his contemporaries on East 10th Street were having the most profound impact upon New York City and the broader art world.

Willem de Kooning on East 10th Street stoop with novelist Noel Clad. Photo © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah

Though the Tenth Street artist enclave was but a short block between Third and Fourth Avenues, it was the heart of the New York art world during the mid-twentieth century. The abstract expressionists deliberately rejected the quaint streets of the West Village, and established their galleries and homes along the then-gritty thoroughfare of East 10th Street and its immediate surroundings. Our recently published report on this area, Finishing the Job: The Unprotected Architecture and History of Greenwich Village & the East Village below Union Square makes the irrefutable case for historic district designation for that area. However, to date, is only considering seven of the one hundred ninety-three buildings in this area we have proposed for designation.

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Merce Cunningham’s Centennial: Leaping into 100

Villager, dancer, and choreographer Merce Cunningham is an artist whose work continues to live vibrantly in 2019, which marks Cunningham’s centennial. The Merce Cunningham Centennial is celebrating a century of artistic expression through events, presentations, and discussions about Merce, dance, and his influence on culture. This Village Preservation Oral History participant will continue to be a foundational figure of the arts that have defined Greenwich Village, and more specifically the Westbeth Center for the Arts, which was also home to dancer/choreographer Martha Graham.

Merce Cunningham with Carolyn Brown at Westbeth, 1972. Photo by Wendy Perron. Source unknown. NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

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When “the Club” Ruled the Art World from East 8th Street

In the fall of 1949, a group of the most renowned artists of their time who were part of the Abstract Expressionist movement gathered together to fix up a third-floor loft at 39 East 8th Street. In the months that followed, the loft, which came to be known as “the Club,” evolved into a center of the New York art world and the lives of Village artists. For many, this was more than a meeting place to discuss intellectual and artistic ideas. The Club was a kind of “church” or “group therapy” center, a place to play music and dance, and enjoy each other’s company.

39 East 8th Street, c. 1940. Photo via Municipal Archives.

Some of those counted as among the Club’s founding members were Conrad Marca-Relli, Franz Kline, Joop Sanders, Milton Resnick, Giorgio Cavallon, Ibram Lassow, Lutz Sanders, James Brooks, Willem de Kooning, Lewin Alcopley, Philip Pavia, Frederick Kiesler, John Ferren, Jack Tworkov, Landes Lewitin, and James Rosati.

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The Delightful Dormers of 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

Walking around Greenwich Village is a treat for those who live, work, or visit here.  The unique architecture and character of the neighborhood have been preserved thanks in large part to the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District in 1969, granting landmark status to much, but not all, of the neighborhood, and to the diligent advocacy efforts of Village Preservation since 1980.  Besides the wonderful storefronts and trees now blooming in the parks and gardens, I like to look up at a distinctive architectural feature seen throughout the district that is not common in the rest of Manhattan, but which speaks to the simplicity, the charm, and the just plain old age of the building preserved and protected in the Greenwich Village Historic District.

Grove Street row of dormers.

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The Exploding Plastic Inevitable featuring the Velvet Underground

On April 1, 1966, the Velvet Underground and Nico began their residency at 19-25 St. Mark’s Place in the space that would become the Electric Circus, as part of Andy Warhol’s ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable.’  It was this month-long series of performances, attended by a who’s who of Downtown’s avant-garde and Uptown’s glitterati, which perhaps more than anything shaped the Velvet Underground’s reputation as the leading edge of the radical rethinking of cultural possibilities emerging from New York at this time.

High-angle interior view of the stage at The Dom (from ‘Polski Dom Narodowy’ or ‘Polish National Home’, 23 St. Marks Place), where the Velvet Underground performed as part of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable series of staged, multimedia events (held primarily in 1966 and 1967), New York, New York, April 1, 1966. (Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)

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Refresh Your Village Memory with Our YouTube Channel

Looking through our past programs, it’s amazing to remember the vast array of topics we’ve explored with our lecturers and guests. Presenters have educated us about the amazing architecture, colorful characters, and transformative social movements central to our neighborhoods. And, thankfully, we’ve filmed the majority of them, to enjoy again and again! Today we’re looking back at some more highlights from our YouTube collection.

Meet the creators of these wonderful works on our YouTube Channel!

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Theaters of 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

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the designation of The Greenwich Village Historic District (GVHD).  The GVHD contains a treasure-trove of history, architecture, and importantly, culture, spanning more than two hundred years.  It’s been a hot-bed for creative theatrical minds since at least the beginnings of the 20th century.  In fact, among the most important of the movements in American theater have been nurtured, and continue to be nurtured, right in the heart of the Village. It has been home, over the years, to countless playwrights, actors, directors, and theater folk of all stripes.  Here are just some of the examples:

 

True west at cl

The Cherry Lane Theatre

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Tour the Meccas of East Village Punk via Our Building Blocks Website

The East Village is generally credited with being the birthplace of punk music, which emanated from CBGB in the mid-1970s and the bands who played there, including the Ramones, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and the Dictators. The music’s roots also can be found in the neighborhood, especially from bands like the Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls, who also performed in and were deeply connected to the neighborhood. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the East Village remained an epicenter of punk music. The latest tour added to our East Village Building Blocks website includes music venues, stores, and residences associated with this punk music and its culture.

Below are a few examples of the locations on the full tour, which includes about 20 sites, and which you can access here.

2001 Joey Ramone Memorial in front of CBGB, 315 Bowery. Photo via Village Preservation Image Archive, archive.gvshp.org

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