Why Isn’t This Landmarked?: 60 Fifth Avenue

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.

60 Fifth Avenue, the former Macmillan Publishing Company Building/the former Forbes Building

60 Fifth Avenue (l.) ca.1926 and 2015.

This eight-story building on the northwest corner of 12th Street and Fifth Avenue is located just outside the Greenwich Village Historic District (the house directly to the west at 11 West 12th Street, and First Presbyterian Church located just across 12th Street, are both in the district and therefore landmarked).  The building was however listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2006 based upon its significance to the history of commerce and its architecture. According to the listing, the former Macmillan Publishing Company Headquarters was built between 1923 and 1924 to be the new headquarters of the American branch of the prominent British publishing house. Macmillan grew from a small London bookstore founded in 1843 into one of England’s most important publishers. Its American branch, founded in 1869, eventually became the largest publisher in the United States. The American company hired the firm of Carrere & Hastings; Shreve Lamb & Blake to design their new headquarters building. Carrere & Hastings were nationally known for such major New York monuments as the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, while Shreve Lamb & Harmon would design the Empire State Building. 60 Fifth Avenue combined streamlined Beaux-Arts detailing with steel-cage construction to help the commercial building fit into the residential precincts of lower Fifth Avenue, winning it an award from the Fifth Avenue Association.

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2020 Village Awardee: George Cominskie

Each year, Village Preservation honors the invaluable people, businesses, and organizations that make a special contribution to our neighborhoods at our Annual Meeting and Village Awards. On June 17th, 2020 we will be celebrating nine outstanding awardees at our— RSVP here to participate virtually.

George Cominskie is a beloved longtime West Village and Westbeth community activist, having lived in the latter since 1983. George was President of the Westbeth Artist Residents Council (WARC) from 1989 to 1992, from 2002 to 2010, and again from 2012 to 2018. Working with WARC and Village Preservation, George helped lead the charge for expanded landmark protections in the Far West Village, including of Westbeth, and to stop inappropriate development in the surrounding neighborhood.  George has been a tireless advocate for the residents and artists of Westbeth, and for keeping Westbeth a an affordable and well-functioning community.  Especially as Westbeth, which opened on May 19, 1970, celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are proud to honor George as a Village Awardee this year.

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Chinese American Activists Fight for Their Rights in Our Neighborhoods

Our neighborhoods have been the home of many of history’s most important civil rights and social justice leaders, as documented in Village Preservation’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Map. Three of our lesser-known map locations, however, highlight the under-recognized stories of 19th century Chinese American immigrant-rights activists. Some of these influential individuals, families, and organizations worked to provide housing, legal, community, and religious support to Chinese Americans contending with discrimination and frequent acts of violence. Meanwhile, others protested discriminatory policies, more directly advocating for institutional change.

Village Preservation’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Map.

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Westbeth Turns 50!

Westbeth groundbreaking, 1967. Mayor Lindsay is speaking.

On May 19, 1970, a project like no other ever imagined or realized before opened its doors on the corner of West and Bethune Streets. Westbeth (a portmanteau of those street names) was the first large scale adaptive reuse of an industrial building for residential purposes, and the first subsidized housing for artists in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

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2020 Village Awardee: Ray’s Candy Store, 113 Avenue A

Each year, Village Preservation honors the invaluable people, businesses, and organizations that make a special contribution to our neighborhoods at our Annual Meeting and Village Awards. On June 17th, 2020 we will be celebrating nine outstanding awardees at our— RSVP here to participate virtually.

Have you ever meandered into the bright little shop at 113 Avenue A between St. Marks Place and 7th Street?  It might have been at 3am when you were craving fried oreo cookies? Or maybe a mid-day egg cream to bring to Tompkins Square Park? Maybe Ray was there, behind the counter, joking and telling stories, or pulling out his binders of poems and photos from the early days of the shop or his various raucous birthday parties. 

Ray, serving up a specialty cone. Image via @twobigbellies on Instagram

Ray’s Candy Store has been a staple of East Village life since 1974, and Ray Alvarez, who works every night shift at the store, is at its helm. And we at Village Preservation are thrilled to be giving Ray and his shop a Village Award for 2020. 

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Why Isn’t This Landmarked? 64-66 5th Avenue

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.

64-66 Fifth Avenue, on the west side of the street between 12th and 13th Streets, is a striking Romanesque Revival structure that was actually built in three stages – first in 1892 by architect R.H. Robertson, with additions in 1907 and 1915. This building has had several lives; first as headquarters to one of the world’s great publishing companies when it expanded to America, then housing one of the most influential movie houses in American history, and later as home to “the Picasso of Dance,” where that art form was reshaped and re-imagined for generations for come. Today we explore that history and ask “Why Isn’t This Landmarked?”

64-66 Fifth Avenue (l.) ca. 1922 and today.

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2020 Village Awardee: Idlewild Books, 170 Seventh Avenue South

Each year, Village Preservation honors the invaluable people, businesses, and organizations that make a special contribution to our neighborhoods at our Annual Meeting and Village Awards. On June 17th, 2020 we will be celebrating nine outstanding awardees at our Annual Village Awards — RSVP here to participate virtually.

Idlewild Books is an independent New York bookstore and language school with locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn which specializes in travel books and language classes. It was established in 2008 and in 2016 it moved from the Flatiron District to its present location at 170 Seventh Avenue South, at the corner of Perry Street. It quickly became a Village institution and, we are proud to say, a 2020 Village Awardee!

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Business of the Month: Newsbar Cafe, 107 University Place

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.

More than ever, the comfort and convenience of a local cafe, where you can get a newspaper, coffee and a quick snack or full meal, is of immense value, and something we’ve all been missing a bit.  Even if right now we can’t linger at a table or on a stool or strike up a conversation with someone sitting next to us, some of our dear familiar places are open for pickup or delivery service. Newsbar Cafe, located at 107 University Place between 12th and 13th Streets since 1994, is one such place, open for business and providing a much-needed service and a little bit of community at this time.

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P.S. 122: Performance Space with Lots of Fame

The East Village and Lower East Side have many superb examples of repurposing abondanded buildings into beacons of culture. P.S. 122 at 150 First Avenue is an exemplar of how historic buildings in New York can thrive with adaptive reuse.

Choreographers and performance artists on the Lower East Side and in Lower Manhattan have relied on P.S. 122 to offer a relatively informal place for artists to create their own work and see the work of others. It is still one of the few places left in Manhattan that offers affordable work spaces for New York’s artistic community.

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Historic Images and Maps Solve Mysteries of Missing Church and Street

An Instagram follower recently asked us for clarification about an image we posted from our historic image archive of the long-demolished former home Our Lady of Pompeii Church.  She wanted to know exactly where the church was located, and which streets could be seen in the image.

The former Our Lady of Pompeii Church at 210 Bleecker Street; note the streets on each of three sides of the church. Images dates to ca. 1900. From our Historic Image Archive Center for Migration Studies collection.

Sounds like a simple enough request, right?  But something about the image just didn’t line up with what we thought should be there.  To finally find the answer, we had to go down a rabbit hole of historic images and maps, which tell us a lot about how to perform historic building research, and how our neighborhoods’ streetscapes have changed over the years.

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