John Barrymore’s Rooftop Lair at 132 West 4th Street

John Barrymore as Hamlet

I love I Hate Hamlet.  How could I not have known all these years that Paul Rudnick wrote the play while living at 132 West 4th Street, in the very same apartment where none other than John Barrymore lived for several years?

132-134 West 4th Street

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Remembering General Slocum, the man

Henry Warner Slocum. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

On September 24, 1827, Union General Henry Slocum was born.  Though the namesake of the steamship fire that became one of the largest losses of life in NYC history (second only to 9/11), General Slocum the man was also an important figure in his own right, having served prominent in the Civil War, and served as a congressman from New York. Read the rest of this entry »

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Villagers, (Pumpkin) Spice Up Your Life!

The fall equinox is this weekend, ushering in the start of autumn. As we all know, autumn has a flavor, and that flavor is pumpkin spice.  A mixture generally consisting of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice, in the 21st century it has made its way out of the pumpkin pie and into the coffee cup.  While the beverage has attained popularity thanks to a certain coffee conglomerate that insists on a presence everywhere, GVSHP and the Village try to avoid suckling at the corporate teat whenever possible.  Thus we’re focusing on local and small businesses where you can grab spices and coffee to brew your own version of this seasonal beverage. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Landmark Library Lives On

It might be temporarily closed for renovations, but when the Ottendorfer Branch of the New York Public Library opened in 1884 it was New York City’s first free public library, and was designated a New York City landmark on September 20, 1977.  Ottendorfer Library exterior.

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Nile Rodgers: Musical Innovator, Child of the Village

The award-winning guitarist, composer, and producer Nile Rodgers was born on September 19, 1952.  Rodgers co-founded the influential disco group Chic, produced music for artists as diverse as David Bowie, Sister Sledge, Daft Punk, Madonna, Diana Ross, and Disclosure, and played a pivotal role in the flowering and success of rap and hip hop.

Rodgers performing

Less well known about the musical innovator, however, is that he was raised in the heady ferment of bohemian Greenwich Village in the 1950s and 60s, where he was first exposed to many of the cultural and artistic influences which shaped his unique musical style.

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating Nuyorican Poets Cafe

“For the poor New York Puerto Rican, there are three survival possibilities,” the poet Miguel Algarin wrote in 1975.

“The first is to labor for money and exist in eternal debt.

“The second is to refuse to trade hours for dollars and to live by your will and ‘hustle.’

“The third possibility is to create alternative behavioral habits.”

No celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in our neighborhood would be complete without highlighting the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café on East 3rd Street.

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How well do you know the Village?

GVSHP partnered with the Village Alliance and Urban Archive to host a scavenger hunt in the Village on September 15, 2018. One team got all 30 questions right – can you match their knowledge of the Village? We’ll give you the first one free- it’s the meeting spot of the Scavenger Hunt at Washington Mews. Now you just have to figure out the other twenty-nine!

Today we give you just a few clues – download the free Urban Archive App and access all 30 clues here. The password is 123. All images below are from the GVSHP Image Archive. If you enjoy this one, try the one we did last year focusing on the East Village. This one was a bit harder, no team answered them all; twenty-six out of thirty was the highest score.

Clue #1: Rent this former carriage house for a cheap 30k per month. One parking spot included!

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NYCityMap: The Right Tool, With the Wrong Dates

New York City publishes a very useful map-based website with one very big flaw. NYCityMap offers users a tremendous amount of information on all properties in New York City. Some of the information that may be seen for each property includes zoning, owner, block and lot, lot size and lot frontage. Overlays may be added identifying landmarks, city service centers, and capital projects, to name a few.

But for all of the information that may be gained from this map, where this tool falls short is in its accuracy of identifying many of the buildings’ construction dates.

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Business of the Month — Casa Magazines, 22 Eighth Avenue

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 corner newspaper stand and candy store used to be ubiquitous.  Now with all the chain stores and the decline of print media, it’s often a challenge to even find one in some parts of the city.  That is why the sharply corned building at the corner of West 12th Street and 8th Avenue is so special.   It is the home of Casa Magazines, owned by Mohammed Ahmed, dubbed the”Last King of Print” by the New York Times. Opened in 1995, this small but vibrant news store not only features an unparalleled selection of magazines from around the world, but also has a wonderful community vibe. In this time of diminishing print, the store has remained a local fixture, and is our September Business of the Month. Read the rest of this entry »

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My Favorite Things: Village Icon Tom Fontana!

Tom Fontana in the library

“Tom Fontana does not own or use a computer.  He writes his scripts in longhand on yellow legal pads. Emails for Tom are sent to his office where a hard copy is prepared for him.”

This is a notice from Tom’s webmaster at tomfontana.com and I lead with this information because, in this day and age, I just find it so refreshing!  Tom is a writer’s writer and that he does not own or use a computer is fascinating.

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