The Most Picturesque Sites in The Village

Every year millions of tourists make their way to New York City. While many of them may bypass the Village to flock to Times Square or the Statue of Liberty for a photo, there are many spots here that have gained popularity as a top spot to Instagram.

Many of the popular spots draw tourists with their pleasing aesthetics.  But often these traveling shutterbugs know little about the vast amount of history behind the sites.  So for our many visitors, today we provide some history of some of the spots they use as backdrop for their social media feeds.

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Frances Perkins: From Greenwich Village to the White House

This is one in a series of posts marking the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District in 2019. Check out our year-long activities and celebrations at gvshp.org/GVHD50

In 1909, Frances Perkins was living in Greenwich Village and pursuing a master’s degree in political science at Columbia University. She was, in her own words, “a late bloomer,” nearly thirty years old, deeply invested in her studies, and delighted to be at the center of the artistic, intellectual and bohemian world. It was here in the Village that she cultivated many of the relationships that would define her landmark career, culminating in her appointment as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. The first woman assigned to a cabinet position, she spent her life fighting to enact social welfare laws under the New Deal, eliminate child labor, establish a minimum wage, and promote the Social Security and Fair Labor Standards Acts.

Francis Perkins, 1936. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Historic Image Archive Mysteries Solved: Downtown Street Art of the 1980s/’Shadowman’ Edition

There are so many gems in our vast 2,100+ image Historic Image Archive, sometimes it even takes us a while to realize what we have and identify some of our images.  A recent example is our discovery that several images in our archive contained the work of a great 1980s street art star — one of many mysteries we have been able to solve in our Historic Image Archive.  The images are from a fantastic group of photos taken by East Village resident Carole Teller (check out some of the great mentions the collection received in Gothamist, Curbed, Time Out, and Untapped Cities!). From the 1960s through the 1990s, Carole roamed downtown neighborhoods and captured the daily goings-on of New York streets during a particularly heady time in our city and neighborhoods’ history.

Some of those images show “Shadowmen,” which could be found on walls throughout Downtown neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and the East Village in the 1980s. The man behind these enigmatic silhouettes was Richard Hambleton, a peer of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring who garnered extensive media coverage with his graffiti art at the time, but who has since been largely forgotten.

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Ghost figure graffiti, likely one of artist Richard Hambleton’s “Shadowman” figures (location unknown)

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Why Isn’t This Landmarked?: the Joseph J. Little Building on 28 East 14th 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.
Where do the piano industry and radical workers’ rights movements intersect? The gorgeous historic cast-iron building at 28 East 14th Street is one such place. Prior to the Civil War, Union Square was a place of elegant brick and brownstone mansions. Once the Civil War was over, however, commerce and manufacturing came to Union Square, and this marvelous cast-iron building drew tenants who were artists and manufacturers, drawn by the ample light provided by the unusually large north-facing windows overlooking Union Square. The history and architectural details abound, so today, we take a closer look at 28 East 14th Street, and ask: why isn’t this landmarked?

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Why Isn’t This Landmarked?: 808 Broadway, “The Renwick’

This post is 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 striking loft building at 806-808 Broadway/104-106 Fourth Avenue, which runs the entire block from Broadway to Fourth Avenue behind Grace Church at 11th Street, was designed in 1887 by James Renwick (architect of the adjacent landmarked church forty years earlier) and the partners in historic  successor firm –James Lawrence Aspinwall and William Hamilton Russell, Renwick’s grand-nephew. Though a utilitarian structure housing offices, storage, and manufacturing, Renwick and partners designed it with vivid Gothic detail to serve as an appropriate backdrop to Grace Church, a New York City and National Historic Landmark.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Fight to Save Our Neighborhood South of Union Square: From Bowlmor Demolition to the ‘Zero-Help’ Hotel Special Permit

On Saturday, November 14th, 2015, a crowd of over 150 people gathered across from the Bowlmor Lanes building at 110 University Place, which was in the process of being demolished and replaced with a nearly 300-foot tall tower stocked with luxury condominiums. The group, led by Village Preservation, then-City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, then-Community Board #2 Chair Tobi Bergman, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and actor and long-time Villager Edward Norton, had one aim in mind: curb the wave of luxury, hotel, and dorm development targeting the area and save the University Place and Broadway corridors which lie outside of the protections of the Greenwich Village Historic District. In the years since, the threats to this part of our neighborhood have intensified, and recent plans by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Carlina Rivera to address the community’s concerns with a hotel special permit continue to offer zero help.

Rally on 11/14/2015. Photo courtesy of Village Preservation.

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Beyond the Village and Back: NY Foundling Hospital

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 New York Foundling is one of New York City’s oldest and largest child welfare agencies. Founded in 1869 to save the lives of babies being abandoned on the streets of New York, the Foundling currently serves over 30,000 people each year in New York City, Rockland County, and Puerto Rico. Its comprehensive community programs serve vulnerable children and families with foster care, adoption, education, mental health, and many other community-based services. While the world has changed a bit since 1869, The New York Foundling continues to share its founders’ belief that no one should ever be abandoned, and that all children deserve the right to grow up in loving and stable environments.

The New York Foundling Hospital in 1880.

They also built and operated one of the most remarkable buildings in New York — a first-of-its-kind full block complex bounded by Lexington and Third Avenues, 68th and 69th Streets, which formed a striking landmark on the Upper East Side when opened in 1873.  But before we get to that, let’s take a look at New York Foundling’s much more modest beginnings, and what happened to that once prominent landmark.

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Savannah Club: Greenwich Village’s Burlesque Club of A Very Different Era

Inside Greenwich Village’s Savannah Club, once located at 68 West 3rd Street (just east of LaGuardia Place), there was glamour and glitter, trumpets blaring and jazz blazing, movie stars throwing back shots, and New York’s best chorus girls tapping and dancing the night away.  While jazz or burlesque clubs were nothing new or unique in Greenwich Village, this cabaret-style burlesque show was for much of its existence in the 1950s through 1963 the only all-black performance venue south of Harlem.

Owner Joe Schiavone pictured with a few of Savannah Club’s dancers.

The club’s mixture of a rocking jazz band, sex, comedy, and song and dance attracted some of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time, and some of the best performers whose options were otherwise in some cases quite limited.

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Business of the Month: Videogamesnewyork, 202 East 6th Street

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.

The advent of the video game ushered in a new era not only of entertainment but of technological innovation and even art.  Many gadgets and devices may be designed for planned obsolescence, but there is a culture of gaming that seeks out not just the latest arrival but retro and nostalgic systems of yore.  It is challenging for a store of any kind to stay current on everything in their field, let alone maintain stock and inventory on what was popular in prior years. But one shop has all your gaming needs covered from any decade from the 1970s to the present, and that is the East Village’s own Videogamesnewyork at 202 East 6th Street, our November 2019 Business of the Month.

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A Treasure Trove of Preservation History!

Village Preservation has so many online resources available about the history of our area. But did you know that we now also have an incredible archive available online of the history of preservation efforts in our neighborhoods? This archive contains materials from organizations and individuals involved in historic preservation efforts, particularly those connected to Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo from the 1960s through the 1980s.

A 1972 invitation by The West Village Committee Inc. for a reception in honor of Jane Jacobs

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