Woman Crush Wednesday: The Ninth Street Five

The now infamous Ninth Street Show, a ‘coming out’ of sorts for the post-war New York avant-garde art scene, began as a whimsical idea, but ended up literally overturning the hegemony of the uptown artists and art dealers over the art world in the mid-20th century New York art scene.  The show was to become the catalyst that altered the landscape of art history, moving the western world’s cultural center away from Paris to New York.

Grace Hartigan, Cedar Bar, 1951

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One Track Mind: Drawing the New York Subway

The New York City subway system is messy, crowded, unreliable, full of musicians, and generally teeming with folks who will bowl you over if you’re not careful. It’s also full of art. Graffiti and advertisements, yes, but that’s not the kind of art we’re talking about. The stations themselves were built with art. The tiles may be crumbling, but the artisanship of the terracotta mosaics, the friezes, and the embellishments of the subway entryways, nameplates, and other details are art from another time. Philip Asforth Coppola is the champion of this art, and he’s made art out of that art since 1978, and we love it!

Drawing by Phillip Ashworth Coppola

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No One Had Ever Heard a Howl Like That Before

The Beat poets, inextricably linked with the Village and East Village, materialized in the post-WWII American of white picket fences to celebrate all things messy, countercultural, drug-addled, disenfranchised, and unstoppably vital. East Villager Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” was an anthem of this movement, with its power, breathlessness, and breadth of content. And on October 7, 1955, Ginsberg made history reading and performing “Howl” for the first time at the Six Gallery in San Francisco.

 

Ginsberg on the roof of his home in the East Village

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Lost Saints of the Village

St Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center, as seen in 1925. Photo courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

The Village is hallowed ground, and much like any sacred space, its landscape is marked by holy figures.  For our neighborhoods, these figures are the architecture, and we even have our own “saints.”  Yet, while these saints are often canonized in our memory, some of them have unfortunately left our temporal plane.  With our fighting to save some of those like the former St. Denis Hotel right now, today we look back at some of the “lost” saints of the Village, as well as discuss a few more that are currently under threat. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ithiel Town, it’s All Greek (and Gothic) to Him.

Ithiel Town, born on October 3, 1784, was an American architect of the early 19th century who was a significant figure in the Greek and Gothic Revivals in this country. He was among the first professional architects here and started the first architectural firm, later joined by Alexander Jackson Davis, another seminal figure in 19th-century American architecture.  His work was executed around the country at a time when the young nation was growing exponentially and establishing its own identity in a number of ways including, its architecture.

Ithiel Town, 1784-1844

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Trendy Nightspot is the Clue to this Historic Image Mystery, Hiding in Plain Sight

Last week we solved one of our longstanding historic photo mysteries, when Eric Robinson, the cousin of the photographer, Carole Teller, was able to identify the location of this elevated train which had been demolished almost fifty years ago. Many of the images we receive as donations to our historic image archives are unidentified in terms of location or date. With some sleuthing and sometimes some outside help, we have solved many historic photo mysteries, including identifying the location of this image (15 Carmine Street), and this image  (St. Marks Place and 2nd Avenue), and these South Street Seaport images.  However, a few mysteries linger, and some may never be solved. Eric has already solved another one, the location of the almost completely nondescript photo below of a Chinatown Storefront.

Previously unknown Chinatown storefront

When we first started trying to determine the location of this storefront, Carole Teller, the photographer, was positive it was East Broadway. But this photo displays a unique building line that just didn’t match up anywhere along East Broadway or any of its side streets. After discussing this with Carole, she thought she took the photo right where she got off the M15 bus, which now travels up Madison Street on its way through Chinatown before turning north on Pike Street. But we just couldn’t find the buildings that matched those in the photo.

This turned out to be one of those cases where the answer was right there, hiding in plain sight. On the left side of the photo is an awning upon which you can read a part of a name, “rlini”. Eric immediately thought of Forlini’s, at 93 Baxter Street. Forlini’s is an Italian restaurant that opened in 1956. It has long been popular with the nearby court system employees including judges, lawyers, reporters, and court officers but it has recently attracted a new type of clientele. In May, 2017, Vogue magazine hosted its pre-Met Gala party there. Ever since, it has transformed at night into a hip instragrammable spot for chic millennials.

L: Forlinis sign from the original image. R: Forlini’s today, same sign. image Via Google Streetview.

How did this family-style Italian restaurant become so popular with the “skateboarding and model” crowd? The NY Times article quotes 32-year-old criminal defense lawyer Jonathan Rosenberg: “I think hipsters are desperate for places no one knows about but that everyone talks about. You’re not supposed to be at Forlini’s as a millennial, so I think that’s what makes it cool for them. It becomes counterculture.” The place was so uncool, it became cool.

But back to the photo, which was taken on April 26, 1991. We first thought the storefront was at the base of 96 Baxter Street, which is a thirteen-story, 88-unit rental tower for low-income seniors called Everlasting Pines, which was just to the north of Forlini’s at the corner of Baxter and Walker Streets. However, the timeline and buildings did not match up, and we identified the storefront as 224 Canal Street, at the corner of Baxter Street.

Same view today as the original photo. Image via Google Streetview.

Thank you again to Eric and all our other readers who help solve these historic photo mysteries!

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Quiz-How well do you know the Sullivan-Thompson Historic District?

Welcome to the GVSHP Sullivan-Thompson Historic District Quiz

The Sullivan-Thompson Historic District is the Village’s most recently designated historic district and was the culmination of a fifteen-year campaign and a proposal by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation that resulted in the creation of three new historic districts. Learn more here.

There are only five questions, so begin!

1.

What is the oldest building in the district?






97 Sullivan Street






175 Spring Street






57 Sullivan Street






155 Sullivan Street






 




2. What building parcel was acquired at an auction in a blizzard?




97 Sullivan Street








175 Spring Street








57 Sullivan Street








155 Sullivan Street



3. Which building was formerly a railway substation?




155 Sullivan Street








57 Sullivan Street








97 Sullivan Street








175 Spring Street



4. Which are 2 of the 3 Beaux-Arts style tenement buildings in the district?






72 and 68 Sullivan










77 and 79 Sullivan Street










73 and 71 Sullivan Street



5.

Which building is in a style using motifs of a German brewery?





175 Spring Street








57 Sullivan Street








155 Sullivan Street










97 Sullivan Street




Optional- Share your email address. (You\'ll get the answers anyway on the next screen.)

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Only Seven Landmarks in One of New York’s Most Historically Rich Areas?

Seven late 19th and early 20th century buildings are now under consideration for landmarking by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. They are all located along Broadway south of Union Square, in an area rich in architectural and cultural significance, and also increasingly endangered.  So in looking around the area, it begs the question: why only these seven?

 

Seven buildings along Broadway at East 12th and East 13th Streets, calendared by the LPC

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A ‘Riveting’ Historic Photo Mystery Solved!

GVSHP’s historic image archive reflects an amazing cross-section of NYC history. Many of the images arrived to us unidentified in terms of location. We have solved many historic photo mysteries including identifying the location of this one at 15 Carmine Streetthis one on St. Marks Place and 2nd Avenue, and these South Street Seaport images. However, a few mysteries linger, and some may never be solved.

We have been wondering about the image below for months. We can now cross it off our list thanks to one of our readers, Eric, who happens to be a cousin of Carole Teller, the amazing artist who donated a trove of hundreds of historic photos to the GVSHP image archive.

We always thought this was somewhere in Brooklyn, but we could never pinpoint the location. Thanks to some excellent sleuthing, now we know.

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Important Rally this Saturday: 95% of Neighborhood Around Tech Hub Still Unprotected

Even though the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) just calendared, or began the formal process of consideration for, landmark designations of seven buildings in the area affected by the recent Tech Hub upzoning — 817, 826, 830, 832, 836, 840, and 841 Broadway — this is far from adequate to protect this neighborhood.  Join us at a Demonstration Saturday, Sept. 29 at Noon, at 11th & B’way (in front of the former St. Denis Hotel) to demand real protections for our neighborhood, and an end to its transformation into ‘Midtown South.’  Jeremiah Moss from Vanishing New York will be there to share some words. RSVP at the Facebook event page HERE

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