View Full Version : Greenwich Village

July 8th, 2004, 02:59 PM
Less homogeneous than the West Village. Therefore more varied.
Jefferson Market, then Courthouse, now Library. Iconic symbol, like Greenwich Village’s Eiffel Tower. The other major symbol, as in Paris, is an arch.
Positively Fourth Street. Power broker with earring, or Mr. Clean.
Greenwich Village ideal. If you are a successful music producer or you own an advertising agency, you can afford it. Otherwise, it might inspire you to such success.
Street grid pre-dates Commissioners’ Plan (1811), yields medieval townscape.
Gated community: MacDougal Alley.
George Segal
Washington Mews and Fifth Avenue.
Cabs of two cities.
A little grit just east of Broadway

Central Greenwich Village bounded by Broadway, Houston, Seventh Avenue and 14th Street:

In the center, Washington Square, part plaza and part park:
Rome and Ravenna, two by Stanford White: Washington Arch and Judson Memorial Church.

The other square is completely different in character, more like Times Square:

Sheridan Square
Big buildings came in Twenties, after avenues were rammed through Village. Sometimes only single-story buildings make sense on resultant tiny and irregular lots. Large apartment building at far right is recent.
The result is sometimes ragtag townscape that seems diminutive on the wide avenues; here a tenement finds itself suddenly backed up to an avenue of single-story storefronts, plus a big Colonial-revival pile from the Twenties.
Cantilevered corner with eclectic detail and rainbow flag.
Getting ready for the gay parade
Miraculous survivor, left: a Federal-period hospital.
Two Federal-era town houses. The one on the right has cross-dressed in Second Empire clothing, including a mansard and filigree.

Both squares are named for generals.

Civil War Hero
Doughboy with puffed chest, Abingdon Square.
Garibaldi in Washington Square Park. The father of Italy.
The Father of his Country.

Washington Square
A noble work.
Henry James’ Washington Square. Greek Revival, 1836-39. In this serene English-style terrace lived at various times Richard Morris Hunt, John Dos Passos, Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, the mayor, and Henry James himself.
NYU Ionic. The nearest house’s portal now a window.
An unusually large town house in a rusticated Federal style: Ledoux with a mincing touch. The folks match the house
Why people hate modern architecture. The comically misplaced Ionic portal was thrown in to placate the NIMBYs, as were those “decorative” balcony rails. How about that relationship to the street?
Two eras, two approaches to residential. Hard to believe they got away with this. Today they wouldn’t; NIMBYs are good for something.
Garibaldi again; kids in the playground.

Flora and Fauna of Washington Square
A half-dozen things are eating this tree. Arthur Rackham would be gratified.
Boss pigeon.
Santo Domingo.
Herd of tourists. All the way from Salt Lake City?
Chic chick.
Ruler of the roost.
End of Fifth Avenue.

Between the Squares
Federal doorway: elegant and ancient.
Eighth at MacDougal

West Village Edge
New Deal

More on West Village: http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=3255


1. mews (used with a sing. or pl. verb) a. A group of buildings originally containing private stables, often converted into residential apartments. b. A small street, alley, or courtyard on which such buildings stand.
2. A secret place; a hideaway.

My friend William has a good position and lives in the Drawing Room of a fine five-story Victorian row house in London’s Knightsbridge. This room is about 18 by 30 feet and has a thirteen foot ceiling. He sleeps, cooks, studies and lives in this one room among genteel antique furnishings chosen to harmonize with the architectural features of the room. Only the bathroom is tucked into a little closet.

Since William is single and intends to remain so, the lack of floor space doesn’t bother him, and he loves the aristocratic pretensions of his great room with its ornate plaster work and moldings, its brobdignagian windows and its fine hardwood floor. The room is full of light on the gloomiest London day.

The house still belongs to the family that built it, but the owners long ago subdivided the house into one-room units like William’s, and moved into the stables.

The house enjoys a garden in back, and beyond that is the carriage house, which fronts on a little street lined on both sides with carriage houses. Here, where their forebears’ ostlers dwelt among the horses, today the trust-fund crowd disports among the Lamborghinis.

London abounds with these quaint, tiny lanes, tucked away as you would expect of servants quarters and stables. They are among the most desirable of living places among the well-heeled, for they provide exclusivity and privacy with outdoor living in the city’s heart.

MacDougal Alley and Washington Mews are two examples in Greenwich Village, and there are several in Brooklyn Heights.

When the fine houses of Washington Square’s north front were built in the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century, the owners were able to afford carriages and horses. These they kept in the mews, whose little gardens backed up to the plots of the great houses themselves.

MacDougal Alley
The gate was installed less than a quarter-century ago. Only the auto part is locked, with keys issued to the residents. The pedestrian gate is never locked. The Alley used to go through to Fifth Avenue until the vast bulk of a Fifth Avenue apartment building turned MacDougal Alley into a cul-de-sac in the 1950’s. (The map shows it wrong). The great photographer, Andre Kertesz, lived in this leviathan structure. He often photographed both Mac Dougal Alley and Washington Square from the high-up windows of his apartment.
The view back towards MacDougal Street is dominated by the severe brick mass of a church building by the ascetic architect and mystic, Victor Christ-Janer. This building was the subject of much NIMBY agitation. Christ-Janer maintained that the building respected its context by reproducing the proportions and plainness of the mews buildings, if not their actual size.
The Alley’s rough terrain doubtless necessitates the four-wheel drive SUVs that call it home. Some carriage houses preserve their original openings, but most have been worked and reworked over the ages, leaving a richly-textured legacy of diverse bricks, jack arches and lintels.
The blank brick block near the alley’s end is the back of commercial buildings on Eighth Street.
Rooftop living. This house has lost its back yard to retail expansion on 8th Street.
More desirable houses are on the south side; they back up to Washington Square North gardens.
Neat, trim and understated: obviously an architect’s house.
A lot less neat, trim and understated. More is less. Nevertheless amusing.
A house with a side yard.
Wisteria bower.
The green doors are a sculptor’s workshop (left) and the back of an oriental restaurant (right). The proprietors park in the alley; they have keys to the gate.
Footprint of vanished carriage house is now the entrance garden of two adjacent units.
It may loom, but it’s not so bad. Who needs eternal sunshine? NIMBYs take note.
Church at other end also looms, also OK.

Washington Mews
This one goes all the way through from Fifth Avenue to University Place. On south side, most buildings are NYU academic departments and foundations.
Better paving. Has a sidewalk (hardly required).
Beam for winch still in place from workshop days. Bales of hay?
A deli much patronized by NYU students. You should see the salad bar. Bigger selection than Dean & Deluca at lower prices. Just the place to pick up a picnic lunch for Washington Square Park.
Miniature Skyscraper. Built on a house lot, this eleven story building refutes the misconception that tall buildings are inherently out of scale.

With miniature skyscrapers, the increment of development remains small. When developers assemble large lots for sprawling, large-footprint blockbusters: that’s out of scale. Or imagine those four buildings, there at the end of the street, replaced by a one-story supermarket: that would be out of scale. NIMBYs, the enemy is not height.

Ironically, zoning ordinances such as Boston’s often reward developers for assembling large parcels by allowing them a larger F.A.R. The contrary should be the case: development of small parcels such as this should be rewarded with extra height. This would partially offset the inefficiency of small-footprint tall buildings, with their elevators and two stairs.

Vancouver has realized this and encourages small-footprint high-rises as a way to preserve views. A short, sprawling building blocks more views and casts more shadow than a tall thin one.

How did they find two guys who know how to do James Dean expressions? The one on the left even looks like him.
They ain’t kidding.
Sullivan: Bayard Building

Cast iron.
Philip Johnson at NYU.
Le Corbusier at NYU! Just kidding; the architect, Paul Weiner, did work for Corbu. This is clearly a Unite d’Habitation, complete with roof sculpture. What is it doing in Greenwich Village (1956-58)? Actually, it’s not so bad and a truly startling change of pace.
Buildings in a park: that’s how Corbu imagined the city. What he was talking about was really a high-density suburb. Here the garden is built on top of the underground parking. Most people who live here don’t use cars.

The exact opposite idea three blocks away:
Washington Mews

July 8th, 2004, 03:26 PM
Wow. That is an impressive photo-essay. Many thanks.

July 8th, 2004, 04:04 PM
Fantastic job. Not sure which I like better...your GV or your WV. Excellent.

July 8th, 2004, 04:46 PM

BTW, is Gildas place considered in the Village, or SoHo?

(I was also looking for my office at Hudson/Houston, but it is blocked by one of the buildings in the foreground when you were tooling on 6th......)

July 8th, 2004, 06:24 PM
Thank you so much, such a huge installment of such great quality.

September 21st, 2006, 10:47 PM

BTW, is Gildas place considered in the Village, or SoHo?

(I was also looking for my office at Hudson/Houston, but it is blocked by one of the buildings in the foreground when you were tooling on 6th......)

Hudson Square ...

September 22nd, 2006, 05:19 AM
Thanks for the post.

September 22nd, 2006, 07:06 AM
Wow, what a fantastic thread, Ablarc.

Thank you for the enlightenment and visual feast.

September 22nd, 2006, 07:15 AM
A link to Ablarc's companion essay, "Jane Jacobs' Neighborhood," for those who may have overlooked it:


September 22nd, 2006, 10:05 AM
ablarc: THIS is what I was talking about. I´m rushing and am pretty much not around for a while, but I´m looking forward to reading through it and soaking in the pics.



September 22nd, 2006, 11:01 AM
ablarc, what a neat piece. Thanks!

September 22nd, 2006, 03:03 PM
thank you for this superb ballade in the village.

There exists in the village a superb shop of coockies (unfortunately I rapelle more address, but veiled the photograph).
They are so good Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


September 22nd, 2006, 07:25 PM
That superb shop of cookies needs a sign, Comelade.

Then I would be a customer.

Perhaps ManhattanKnight knows its name; he lives in the Village.

September 22nd, 2006, 08:04 PM
That superb shop of cookies needs a sign, Comelade.

Then I would be a customer.

Perhaps ManhattanKnight knows its name; he lives in the Village.

Glad to oblige: Milk and Cookies Bakery, 19 Commerce Street (West Village) (http://www.milkandcookiesbakery.com/).

It does have a couple of signs, actually:


September 22nd, 2006, 09:28 PM
Thank you, ManhattanKnight; knew you could be counted on.

Just off the beaten path. A second demure sign seems to have appeared since Comelade's photo. Truly a neighborhood clientele, I bet. Is that a specialized business, or what? There's no place like the Village.

September 22nd, 2006, 10:37 PM
Merci, ManhattanKnight.

I board be to make a turn on their Internet site, that gives me desire. To the next voyage I would bring back from there more, in Paris one does not find a coockies with this taste .

September 23rd, 2006, 06:16 AM
There's no place like the Village.

You are so right.
Thank you for this wonderful post.

362 days and counting!!

September 29th, 2006, 04:53 PM
Great pics! I found this awesome pic on ronsaari.com. That site has some of the greatest NYC pics I've ever seen.:eek:



October 19th, 2006, 09:08 PM
My Manhattan

West 12th Street, by the Numbers

Nevia No at Yuno’s Farm stand at Abingdon Square.

Published: October 20, 2006

HAVING lived on West 12th Street for the last 50 of my 61 years in Greenwich Village, I am still beguiled by its many diversions. I regularly walk its length from the Hudson River to Fifth Avenue, recalling a rich trove of history, public and private, and admiring the ever-changing light that dabbles cobblestones and gilds beautiful old streets and houses, and I frequent several of its appealing restaurants and places for assorted intellectual pursuits.

Proud of living here, I cherish unexpected corroboration from people I admire, none more so than E. B. White, who wrote in his poem “Village Revisited (A cheerful lament in which truth, pain and beauty are prominently mentioned, and in that order): “In the days of my youth, in the days of my youth,/ I lay in West Twelfth Street, writhing with Truth.“

Even a negative comment can be reassuring. Knowing M. F. K. Fisher had lived in New York, I asked her why she had never written about it, and exactly where she lived. “West 12th Street,“ she said. “ I hated it.“

Like many devoted Villagers, I shudder at unharmonious modernizations and bless the landmark preservation laws that created the Greenwich Village Historic District in 1969. For the provenance of buildings, I rely on the A.I.A. Guide to New York City and a beat-up copy of an out-of-print paperback, “Gaylord’s Guides — The Only Complete Guide to Greenwich Village, by R. Bruce, published in 1984 with references to almost all of my favorite nooks and crannies.

Walking east from the sunny Hudson River Park, with its foot and bike paths, gardens and benches, you follow the street’s chronological development, although in reverse order of address numbers, which begin at Fifth Avenue.

The oldest stretch of West 12th Street is in many ways the saddest, paved with cobblestones and contentions. Being west of Washington Street, it is outside the protected boundaries of the historic district. The sturdy building and iconic chimney stack of Superior Inks, a relic of the far West Village’s industrial waterfront days, is doomed. See it while you can — demolition is under way.

The most inviting shop on the whole length of West 12th Street is the DVF Studio, No. 385, a boutique with Diane Von Furstenberg’s colorfully breezy clothes. About 40 years ago it was a stable for the New York Police Department horses; the liquid clip-clips of hooves against cobblestones were heard daily. Until early next year it will remain Ms. Von Furstenberg’s office, pied-à-terre and shop. Sold in 2004 for $23 million, it is probably set for larger development.

With the elevated railway long gone from this part of Washington Street, both of its corners on 12th Street offer solid sustenance. One of the best recent additions to the Village is Barbuto (the name means “bearded“ in Italian), as is the chef-owner, Jonathan Waxman, who brought his California-Italian culinary creations here four years ago, just below Industria SuperStudios. His moist and golden wood-oven-roasted chicken, crisp salt codfish cakes and rustic pastas keep this hectic setting jammed, especially when weather permits doors to open, creating an outdoor cafe.

Tortilla Flats, across the street, has not really been about the edible but lackluster Tex-Mex food since it opened 24 years ago. But the surprisingly good, sloshy quesadillas are foils for the bracing margaritas and sangrias. The real attraction is the nightly New Year’s Eve party in the frantic bar-dining room, where Christmas lights and confetti fringe flicker from the ceiling.

Rows of early- and late-19th-century houses, many with florid ironwork, line both sides of the street. At No. 353, Béyül Asian Antiques & Decorative Arts, in what was originally a tackle and sailmaker shop, sells dramatic Chinese furniture and irresistible old stacked baskets and red lacquer boxes.

At the corner of Greenwich Street, drop into Jarnac, run by the chef Maryann Terillo and her partner, Tony Powe. This is the sort of spot you dream of finding in the Village: small, intimate, with soft, rosy lighting, hospitable service and hearty food with French-Italian overtones. Among other delicious dishes, the celebrated cassoulet has rejoined the menu, and in midwinter, so will choucroute. Save room for a luscious dessert, like the incomparable bread pudding.

Along the south side of this short block, the Village Nursing Home on the Hudson Street corner is a substantial building in the 20th-century Neo-Federal style. Residents are often seated outside, where they can exchange a few words with passers-by. Marion Tanner, the inspiration for Auntie Mame, was among the more notable residents; her nephew, the playwright Edward Everett Tanner III, wrote about her under the pen name Patrick Dennis.

As an example of Village townhouses with nine lives, look for Nos. 319 to 325, dating from around 1841. All have been pristinely restored in the last 10 years, with typical low stoops and French parlor windows.

The Abingdon Square centerpiece is a little triangular park with decorative plantings. Part of the 300-acre estate bought in 1740 by Sir Peter Warren of the British navy, it was a gift to his daughter Charlotte when she married the Earl of Abingdon. Bordering on the north at 299 West 12th Street, and on the east, 302, are two luxury apartment houses by the famed developers Bing & Bing, almost as prestigious today as when they opened in the early 1930’s.

The square is at its most festive on Saturdays, when the park is rimmed by vendors of a mini-greenmarket. Shiny white canopies protect stalls filled with brilliant fruits and vegetables, like icily crisp Japanese and Korean cucumbers. They also offer sea-bright fresh fish and crimson cooked lobsters, turkey sausages and smoked meat. Most stands stay open until Christmas, and a few remain all winter.

A victim of pre-landmark renovations, this tiny stretch is an architectural mess but boasts a few attractions. Although the entrance to the Ink Pad is on Eighth Avenue, the window on 12th Street provides a sample view of thousands of rubber stamps, creatively ready-made or custom designed. Real old-timers may recall the now-closed Beatrice Inn, No. 285, its name still on the building, which was combined from two in 1928, both with inexplicably fanciful Roman tile cornices. A bright new spot is the yellow-fronted Smorgas Chef. One of a small chain, it is a friendly, sparkling cafe where the best choices are Scandinavian dishes like the herrings, and Swedish meatballs with whipped potatoes and ruby lingonberries.

On the southwest corner is Cafe Cluny, opening on Monday. Because one of the partners is Lynn Wagenknecht, operator of the justly popular Odeon and Café Luxembourg, locals anticipate pleasantly casual French-American bistro food, hoping that extensive traffic will not mar this fragile corner .

Scenes for the new ABC drama “Six Degrees“ have been shot on the block between Fourth Street and Greenwich Avenue, to the delight of some residents and the annoyance of others. Number 241 is the fictional home of the series heroine, Laura Morgan, played by Hope Davis. The neighborly Cubbyhole, on the northeast corner of 12th and 4th Streets, is a gay and lesbian bar with colorful flowers painted on the window, suggesting a cutesy tearoom.

Note the two small 1841 Greek Revival townhouses, Nos. 264-266, and the grander, later homes, 268-274, with well-tended window-box gardens. Incredibly, at the corner, an Equinox fitness club has replaced the Greenwich Theater, a much-loved movie house, a sign to the nonathletic that the end of the good life was not far off.

Stay straight on 12th Street and avoid veering onto Greenwich Avenue (not to be confused with Greenwich Street), or you’ll miss the Village Den, No. 225, a favorite coffee shop. Order any of the well-prepared breakfast dishes or just a cup of coffee so you can study the high-kitsch acrylic mural “Leo and Friends,“ painted by Greg Constantine in 1999. It’s “The Last Supper,“ New York style; try to identify the celebrity disciples. Leonardo has the place of honor, despite connections to the city that must have been tenuous at best.

A few steps east is the gleaming monumental building completed in 1964 as headquarters for the National Maritime Union of America, A.F.L.-C.I.O. Now essentially an outpatient clinic for St. Vincent’s Hospital, its flat top and abstract portholes suggest a huge ship aground on concrete. I doubt that I’ll ever pass this corner without experiencing a flashback to the blazing hot morning of Sept. 11, 2001. A stunned crowd looked south toward the smoking towers of Windows on the World, while across the cordoned-off avenue, doctors and nurses lined up gurneys outside of St. Vincent’s, waiting for victims, almost completely in vain.

The stretch between the Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue seems more devoted to the flesh than to the spirit. The overwhelming presence is St. Vincent’s, where Dylan Thomas died in 1953. Its long string of undistinguished buildings faces No. 167, the James Beard House, run by the foundation that honors this culinary master.

Handsome stonework marks the low apartment complex, from Nos. 137 to 151. Lavishly carved Gothic doors and high stoops lend grandeur to Nos. 133 and 135, and No. 117, built in 1846, was considered this block’s best-preserved example of the Greek Revival to Italianate style in Gaylord’s guide.

The next block is a cultural strip with many fine examples of Italianate and Greek Revival townhouses, richly ornamental ironwork, shade trees and wide, leafy front gardens. Fortify yourself for its high-minded attractions at Joe Jr.’s, a pocket-size favorite on the southeast corner of 12th Street and Avenue of the Americas, where the coffee-shop menu has lured celebrities as disparate as Isaac Mizrahi and Dan Rather.

Attractions on the south side demand closer attention, so walk there and look north to some of the Village’s most historic architectural landmarks. Pass the two charming early-19th-century townhouses, Nos. 78 and 80, and you are at the New School. Known as the New School for Social Research when it began in 1919, it had as its stated purpose “continuing education of the educated“; it did not grant degrees until 1948.

During the 1930’s the school was a haven for liberal European intellectuals, mostly Jews fleeing Germany. The main building, designed by Joseph Urban and completed in 1930, is prized for its restrained horizontal lines, which respect the small scale of surrounding buildings. The swerving, curving lobby is pure Art Deco, as is the ovaloid, arched John L. Tishman Auditorium, said to be the model for Radio City Music Hall. .

Among other works of avant-garde art here is the powerful four-wall fresco by the Mexican painter José Clement Orozco, done between 1930 and 1931. Lining a meeting hall, it is a vibrant, earth-toned tribute to the workers of the world, but is in need of repair and rarely open. I never pass the handsome black-and-white building without recalling the magical uplift of night courses I took there between 1948 and 1951, when I was awed by lecturers like the literary scholar Elbert Lenrow and Sidney Hook, the polemicist and philosophical pragmatist.

Considering the school’s socialist roots, you might have expected its founding fathers to have spun in their graves when Newt Gingrich and Senator John McCain recently addressed students. “On the contrary,“ said Bob Kerrey, the New School’s president for the past six years. “They would have been upset by the opposition to those speakers. They believed all opinions should be heard.“ With typical New York provincialism, he added that because he lives on 11th Street, he knows little about 12th Street. “Except, when I stand on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 12th, I know I’m not in Nebraska anymore.“

Handsome apartment houses on the north side include No. 59, designed by Emory Roth and built in 1931 by Bing & Bing; Butterfield House at 37, built in 1962 and one of the Village’s most coveted residences; and the Ardea at 31-33, a fortress dating from 1895-1901, by John B. Snook & Sons. At No. 45, note the angular protrusion on the right edge of the house. It is a remnant of the original wall, slanted to afford a view of the Minetta Brook, long since covered over. No. 35 looks as if it were cut in half because in 1893 it was, and 19 is an elegant 19th-century townhouse, formerly the home of Meryl Streep.

Thirty is the address of one of the city’s most idiosyncratic bookstores, S. F. Vanni. Hours posted on the door of this 65-year-old establishment are not always observed, and, given the general air of déshabillé, it looks closed even when it’s open. But it houses myriad Italian-language books, from arcane encylopedias to popular novels, cookbooks and dictionaries.

A few doors east at No. 24, New York University’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò sponsors Italian-based cultural events like concerts, art exhibitions, films and lectures, many in the suave downstairs auditorium of this mid-19th-century mansion.

If my education was enriched at the New School, that of my son and now my granddaughter began at the nursery school in the Church House, No. 12, of the First Presbyterian Church. Designed by Edgar Tafel and built in 1960 of chocolate-brown brick with Gothic Revival quatrefoils, it harmonizes with the ashlar stone of the stately 19th-century church. Its liberal pastor from 1918 to 1924 was the Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick, who in 1922 delivered his controversial sermon with the still-open question, “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?“

Step through the gate at the Church House entrance and enjoy the urban Eden of a garden. The formidable limestone building on the north corner, built in 1925, has for many years been home to Forbes magazine. Entered at 62 Fifth Avenue and charging no admission, the Forbes Galleries are filled with collections of model boats, antique toy soldiers and, until Dec. 30, a glorious array of French period jewelry. The high spots for me are the enameled Art Nouveau pieces by Lalique and Georges Fouquet.

West 12th Street becomes East 12th Street just across Fifth Avenue — another walk for another time.

Mimi Sheraton is a former food critic of The Times. Her latest book is a memoir, “Eating My Words.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

October 20th, 2006, 12:13 PM
Thanks, pianoman, for posting this loving ode to a wonderful place. I read it with great relish.

April 23rd, 2007, 10:54 PM
Such fascinating detail. What artwork on some of these buildings! Makes me think it's not NYC!! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful photo essay.

May 8th, 2007, 04:44 PM
Loveable area! :cool:

June 22nd, 2007, 01:21 AM
I'm exhausted! G'nite!

October 27th, 2007, 10:47 AM

The Benniest
December 29th, 2007, 01:00 AM
Greenwich Village always seemed like a cool place to live in NY. This is a borough of the 'city', though, right? Can anyone tell me how far the village is from central Manhattan (like .. the Times Square/Broadway area of Manhattan).

December 29th, 2007, 01:44 AM
I'm not sure if you're joking, but the Village is not a "borough" of Manhattan. Manhattan is a borough of New York City, along with the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens.

Also, there is no "central Manhattan." Broadway runs the length of the borough. If you're asking how far the Village is from Midtown, pick a location in midtown and pick a location in the Village, then ask again. The travel time will vary by that.

The Benniest
December 29th, 2007, 02:03 AM
Wow, I guess that goes to show how much I know about the city = very little. And sadly, I wasn't kidding about the borough statement. :confused: Because I don't know much about NY, I'm not sure of any places in the village and Midtown. Any estimates you could take? What kind of places ARE there in midtown and the village?

Ben :)

December 29th, 2007, 02:04 AM
About 10-15 minutes in the day depending on the train, it's only around 5 subway stops from there, give or take a couple depending on exactly what part of the village.

The Benniest
December 29th, 2007, 02:04 AM
Alright. Thank you MTG :)

December 29th, 2007, 11:09 AM

December 29th, 2007, 01:30 PM
Bob, that isn't a very friendly first post.
This country is very large. People living as far from New York as forumer Benniest does shouldn't be expected to know the neighborhoods or political units of NYC. Plus he's a young guy still in school.

I don't know what this:

"Given that you Americans seem to find it impossible to leave your own country"

is about, but I can assure you that many of the people on this forum are very well seasoned travelers. There are more than 300 million Americans, so don't bother with stereotypes.

Welcome to the forum. Now lose the attitude.

December 29th, 2007, 01:37 PM
About 10-15 minutes in the day depending on the train, it's only around 5 subway stops from there, give or take a couple depending on exactly what part of the village.

10-15 minutes? I'm not going to race you from Hell's Kitchen to Alphabet City.

December 29th, 2007, 01:37 PM
I think Ben just used the wrong word, it seemed to me he was using it as an analogy. The village is to manhattan what manhattan is to the whole city. No need for insults.

December 30th, 2007, 05:54 AM
hell's kitchen to Alphabet city? hmmm...
schade, he said Times Square to the village. I can get the 1 at Times Square and be in the vill in 15 minutes easily, and so could you; like I said it's 5 stops to 14th street and 6 to Christopher on the 1 train. How far something is would usually indicate to its closest edge, in this case traditionally considered 14th. If someone asked me the distance from Europe to America, I wouldn't measure from Istanbul to LA. ;)

Times Sq- 14th, in 15 minutes is a piece of cake.

December 30th, 2007, 12:51 PM
^ 2 stops on the express. Maybe less than 10 minutes.

December 30th, 2007, 05:13 PM
I was just joshing you, MidtownGuy.

However, it is always interesting to see the way people break down travel time within the city. It takes me 20 minutes to get from my midtown office to my home in the Bronx, which is the same amount of time it would take for people to get from parts of midtown to the Village. By mental geography, on the other hand, it's a much longer distance.

December 30th, 2007, 05:43 PM
So true. It's weird really, when I lived in Fort Green it was a quick D train over the bridge to the Village and yet mentally it seemed farther.

April 22nd, 2008, 05:56 PM
This is just on the boarder, not sure what the name is, please help:)
E3rd & Lafayette


The Benniest
June 13th, 2008, 03:36 PM
Greenwich Village is one of the neighborhoods, for me, that I can look at all day long. I love it.

Thank you again ablarc. :)

August 4th, 2008, 01:24 PM
Volume 78 / Number 9 - July 30 - August 5, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

http://www.thevillager.com/villager_274/paper.gifVillager photo by Gabriel Zucker
Butcher-block paper covers the windows of the Minetta Tavern as a historically sensitive renovation goes on inside.

Hoping that Joe Gould’s haunt won’t become history

By Gabriel Zucker

Rising rents felled another fabled Village landmark in May, when the Minetta Tavern was bought by Keith McNally, the prolific restaurateur of Pastis, Balthazar and Morandi fame. Minetta Tavern, at the corner of MacDougal St. and Minetta Lane, will become McNally’s fourth restaurant when it reopens in November.

Neither the building’s landlord nor Taka Becovic, the restaurant’s former owner of 13 years, responded to The Villager’s phone calls. But rumors circulated that the rent had risen above $50,000 for the small, 71-year-old restaurant. Regulars said that they had not seen any considerable drop in business prior to the place’s closing, and speculated that, if not for the steep rent increase, Becovic would have stayed in business.

At the Minetta Tavern’s well-attended “last supper,” the bartender announced that Becovic was planning to open a new restaurant with the same staff, and had customers sign an e-mail list to stay informed.

McNally first began thinking about buying the Minetta Tavern last December. Word of his purchase spread when he applied for a liquor license transfer in March. In a move that pleased some preservationists, McNally announced at the start that he intends to preserve as much as he can of the historic eatery.

“I didn’t buy the Minetta Tavern in order to change it,” McNally wrote in an e-mail, though he noted that he would have to renovate the kitchen. “I bought it because it was — and still is — a very beautiful place.”

Minetta Tavern is renowned for its distinctive interior. Murals of Village sights and scenes cover the walls, and the wooden bar is original from 1937. McNally bought not only the restaurant but everything inside of it, down to the paper cutouts that line the bar.

“All the murals will be preserved, as will the bar and almost everything else,” McNally wrote.

In the same vein, when asked whether the restaurant had a name yet, McNally said, “Yes, it has a really good name — The Minetta Tavern.”

Construction seems to have commenced on the restaurant’s interior in recent weeks. But McNally says he is not ridding the restaurant of its lore, but rather reinstating it.

“There are…parts of the Tavern that have been ‘modernized’ over the past 25 years in a manner which I found sufficiently disturbing to make me decide to replace them with something much closer to their original state,” he explained.

Still, the MacDougal St. haunt’s six-month hiatus has some patrons wondering what’s really happening inside.

“I don’t understand why it’s taking him as long as it is to open the place back up, unless he’s going to rip it all up,” said Bob Martinez, who was a regular at Minetta Tavern the last four years. “Even if he’s going to redo the kitchen, that should only take two months. I can only think he’s not going to keep his word,” Martinez concluded.

Regardless of the interior, other local residents felt that a McNally-owned Minetta Tavern would simply be not the same.

“The places that are traditional to the area are losing their leases and going out of business,” said Doris Diether, a longtime Village resident and veteran member of Community Board 2. She pointed to the loss of Meat Market institution Florent restaurant last month as another example.

The Minetta Tavern was historically a famed spot on the beatnik and celebrity circuit. Literary luminaries Ezra Pound, E.E. Cummings and Ernest Hemingway frequented the restaurant. Joe Gould allegedly wrote parts of his infamous “Oral History of the World” at the tavern, and a portrait of him can be found on the wall. The restaurant was featured in the movies “Sleepers” and “Mickey Blue Eyes.” Rumor has it that Reader’s Digest was born in the basement.

“It was a historic restaurant and an important part of our neighborhood lore,” wrote Bradford Sussman, a 15-year resident of the block, in an e-mail. “Additionally, it served as a place of employment for generations of artists in need of day jobs while developing their crafts.”

“You just knew that there was something different about the place,” said Martinez.

More recently, Matthew Broderick and Mathew McConaughey raved about the restaurant to newspapers.

Despite cries that McNally may be renovating away the historic tavern’s authenticity, many foodies have pointed out in recent months that the restaurant had lost its touch and was offering overpriced and unsubstantial Italian fare. While the bar was often crowded, a sparsely populated dining room was not uncommon for Becovic’s Minetta Tavern, especially on weeknights.

Not surprisingly, the food at the new Minetta Tavern will be largely French, designed by Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr — chefs at Pastis and Balthazar and McNally’s “equal partners” at Minetta Tavern. Still, said Nasr, “We don’t intend to replicate what we are doing at Balthazar and Pastis.” Nasr said the atmosphere at the new restaurant would inspire a different kind of food.

“Minetta has a real timelessness about it,” wrote Nasr in an e-mail. “It is every bit a tavern and therefore masculine and bold. We want to complement that with our menus and some things in this more intimate dining room that the sheer scale of Balthazar and Pastis prohibits.

“We will focus as much as possible on what is locally grown, including the meat, fish and cheese,” he continued. “Preparations will be simple, bold and straightforward, the trademarks of solid bistro cooking.”

While the food may improve under McNally, Minetta Tavern’s fans point out that they were never focused on it.

“The food at Minetta could vary,” admitted Martinez, who claimed that while he always enjoyed his meals, some friends had been less pleased — especially when the kitchen was busy.

“It certainly wasn’t fine dining,” added Dan Lapin, a food blogger who used to frequent the restaurant. “The people were very friendly. It was a real neighborhood restaurant — there was no shtick about it.”

Lapin recalled how more than 20 years ago when, as a self-described “poor student,” he was working to pay for college, and visiting the Minetta Tavern at night.

“I was working selling Christmas trees in Chelsea, and I would head down there almost every day after work,” he said. On one of his last nights there, right around Christmas, he gave the bartender an especially generous tip — and his money was returned.

“I’ll never forget the bartender — he literally yelled at me,” laughed Lapin. “He told me I was working to go to school, and he told me to take the money back.”

Lapin’s sister Ruth, who lived across the street from the restaurant in the early 1980s, was also a regular.

“For four years, I ate there twice a week,” she said. “It was like what you imagined a classic Italian restaurant to be. I drank my first martini there with my cousin. We actually ended up drinking seven martinis each.”

Even as she lamented the Minetta Tavern’s closing, however, Lapin questioned how much really had been lost with Becovic’s departure.

“I think the neighborhood’s so lost it doesn’t even matter anymore,” she said, resigned. She now leaves in Brooklyn. “I loved that restaurant, it was sweet, it was great. But there’s not all that much charm left on MacDougal St. anymore.”


© 2008 Community Media, LLC

August 23rd, 2008, 07:15 AM

Blowin’ in the Forgotten Wind

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/08/24/nyregion/thecity/24dispatch01_600.ready.jpg Bess Greenberg/The New York Times
Le Figaro Cafe, on Bleeker Street has officially closed.

By JAKE MOONEY (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/jake_mooney/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: August 22, 2008

THE windows of Le Figaro Cafe at Bleecker and Macdougal Streets were whited over last week. Except for the workers stepping past boxes of new floor tiles and appliances, the inside was as quiet as it has been since June, when the old place closed its doors. Plans to install signs for the new tenant, a branch of the Qdoba burrito chain, were still awaiting city approval.

One recent afternoon on Bleecker, returning college students lugged bags from the Container Store into a stairway, and a display of obscene T-shirts met shoppers at a store called Modern Village. The Figaro, two doors down, might have been called Ancient Village by comparison. This holdover from the neighborhood’s beatnik and folkie days outlived the scenes that passed through it, disappeared for a while, returned for a 33-year encore and finally expired, mostly unlamented.

Alexandra McGrath, a 21-year-old student and restaurant hostess, stopped to look at a building permit posted in the window. Ms. McGrath grew up on Long Island, but from the time she was 11 or 12, her father used to take her to the Figaro on visits to the city. He had lived in Greenwich Village when he was younger, she said, and always recalled the cafe as a hip place to go.

Ms. McGrath lives in Queens and works on the Upper East Side, and until walking past, she had not realized that the place was closed.
Still, a few minutes earlier, she had consulted a tourist map of the neighborhood in her search for a friend’s apartment, and saw that the Figaro was literally on the map, marked prominently.

“So,” she said, “that means it was a big deal.”

Suze Rotolo started hanging around Washington Square Park as a Queens teenager in the late 1950s, around the time the Figaro opened and moved to the Village a few years later. She remembers the old French newspapers plastered on the walls and the management’s willingness to let patrons linger without buying much.

“Writers, poets, visual artists, actors, anybody could go and nurse a cup of coffee and not have to worry about spending too much money,” she recalled a few days ago.

Ms. Rotolo — an artist who hung around with Macdougal Street luminaries like Dave Van Ronk and Bob Dylan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/d/bob_dylan/index.html?inline=nyt-per), dated Mr. Dylan and recently wrote a memoir, “A Freewheelin’ Time,” about the era — remembered the Figaro as a place to go before or after a performance at a nearby club.

It seemed to be aiming for the mood of a Paris cafe in the 1930s, she said, and for some customers, emulating that earlier, more romantic time was part of the appeal.

The Figaro went out of business for the first time in 1969, a victim of rising rents, to be replaced by a Blimpie sandwich shop and, later, an ice cream parlor. The cafe reopened in 1975 with a new owner, Ben Fishbein, who ran it until 2004, when he sold it to the corporation that owns the space today.

Ms. Rotolo still lives in the Village, but she had not been by the cafe in a long time. “The Figaro really became, for want of a term, plastic,” she said. “You know what I mean? Some things go from wood to plastic.”

The writer André Aciman (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/andre_aciman/index.html?inline=nyt-per), who used to spend time at the Figaro in the 1970s, said he was not surprised by its quiet passing. “Nothing is mourned in New York,” he said. “We miss it as an idea, but in point of fact, if it’s gone it’s because nobody was going there.”

Over the years the Figaro had its moments. Despite what Mr. Aciman recalled as nondescript sandwiches and limited pastries, it was a good place for an afternoon glass of wine, a late-night cup of coffee and maybe an impromptu conversation with a stranger at the next table. Mr. Aciman remembered seeing Fellini’s 1963 film “8 1/2” for the first time at the now-defunct Bleecker Street Cinema, down the street, then heading to the Figaro to talk it over with friends.

“You can’t do that in a burrito place,” Mr. Aciman said. “But on the other hand, if you don’t have a movie house that will show Fellini, then the Cafe Figaro becomes sort of unnecessary, too.”


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

August 23rd, 2008, 11:44 AM
This is one to lament.

It had an inspired business model. The price of an expresso was so high for its mainstay boho clientele that they lingered for hours to get their money's worth, thus providing authentic window dressing to lure the tourists for their brief and profitable visits.

September 4th, 2008, 03:40 AM
Wonderfull pics. Thank you!
It is great to look at the pics and then cross-refrence with google streets.

September 11th, 2009, 06:22 PM
The tiniest plot of private property in New York

By wildnewyork

Or at least until the 1930s, anyway. At the corner of Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue South in the West Village, in front of the iconic Village Cigars store, lies this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mosaic embedded in the sidewalk.

http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/hessestateplaque.jpg?w=276&h=300 (http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/hessestateplaque.jpg)
Its tough-talking message:

“Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated For Public Purposes.”

What’s the backstory? In the 1910s, when the city was expanding the IRT subway line, officials tore down a nearby apartment building owned by the estate of a New Yorker named David Hess.

A small triangle of land was left over, and officials wanted the Hess family to donate it so the city could extend the sidewalk.

Nothing doing. The Hess Estate fought it out in court, won the right to preserve their little plot, and embedded the tile plaque as kind of a victory symbol. In 1938, however, they sold it to the Village Cigar owners.


Re opening this thread may give a few newcomers a chance to view ABLARC's wonderful photographic record of The VIllage.

See Post 1 of this thread. HERE (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=31407&postcount=1)

December 12th, 2009, 09:09 AM
When I was in the village, this killed me every time I stepped outside. This beautiful building on 12th Street near Broadway is a parking garage. Surprised that a developer hasn't come along and restored/converted it. I don't know any cases where a parking garage was converted into apartments though, bet there would probably be contamination issues








Another nearby, but at least the exterior is in good shape.


December 12th, 2009, 02:36 PM
That terra cotta beauty is actually at 64-66 East 11th Street (Google MAP (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=64+east+11th+street+new+york+ny&sll=40.732871,-73.992278&sspn=0.001449,0.002063&gl=us&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=64+E+11th+St,+New+York,+10003&ll=40.732495,-73.992341&spn=0.011935,0.016501&z=16&layer=c&cbll=40.732871,-73.992278&panoid=Sb1zUeO0WkTx_1s14tzvNA&cbp=12,196.37,,0,-32.92)). Seems the parking operation there has recently shut down.

This one went up in 1900 and, although the original facade is pretty much intact, it is not Landmarked (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/PropertyProfileOverviewServlet?requestid=2&bin=1009106).

A 1904 NYS Report (P. 290) (http://books.google.com/books?id=q9caAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA290&lpg=PA290&dq=%2266+east+11th%22+%22new+york%22&source=bl&ots=iFW_ykXWYt&sig=hyG8VhEu8ORuJf5M__HCTXy36_s&hl=en&ei=4uojS7DmJoqelAfD17H6CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%2266%20east%2011th%22%20%22new%20york%22&f=false) shows that 64-66 East 11th was, in 1903, a "factory" partially occupied by "Katz S.," a maker of dress skirts. Can't find any info on that company, but a book of Trademark design of the 1920s (http://books.google.com/books?id=5r_sqowwu2EC&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&dq=%22Wiener+%26+Katz%22&source=bl&ots=j2-Ph6xQah&sig=r18eEBNlwlMANUSTdun1hi9FBmo&hl=en&ei=J-4jS7njE4j8lAfci5yHCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=12&ved=0CEAQ6AEwCw#v=onepage&q=%22Wiener%20%26%20Katz%22&f=false) shows some cool period labels, including one for "Weiner & Katz" who were located across the street at 57 East 11th.

64-66 East 11th was SOLD (http://www.natefind.com/sold/66-east-11th-st-manhattan-10003/103660) in August 2006 (DEED (http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/Scripts/DocSearch.dll/Detail?Doc_ID=2006080701846001): $16.5M)

December 12th, 2009, 03:41 PM
When I was in the village, this killed me every time I stepped outside. This beautiful building on 12th Street near Broadway is a parking garage.

I recognized that building; walked by it many times and just never knew 'parking' signs meant the whole building was full of cars - I just assumed it was the ground floors or basements where the cars were parked.

Thanks, once again, for all the terrific photos and commentary. Your posts are of the sort of content I enjoy most here at WNY - as I am sure is also the case for all the other art/architecture geeks who frequent this website.

May 21st, 2012, 12:13 PM
When I was in the village, this killed me every time I stepped outside. This beautiful building on 12th Street near Broadway is a parking garage. Surprised that a developer hasn't come along and restored/converted it. I don't know any cases where a parking garage was converted into apartments though, bet there would probably be contamination issues








Glad to hear this is going to be restored.

The Real Deal

Village parking space will list for record $1M
May 21, 2012 09:00AM

Morad Fareed and 66 East 11th Street
A Greenwich Village parking spot will hit the market for $1 million, making it the most expensive space in the city. The New York Post reported a 12-foot wide by 23-foot long spot in a private garage at Morad Fareed’s forthcoming condominium development at 66 East 11th Street will be the city’s first seven-figure parking space when construction is complete in the fall and the Attorney General’s Office signs off on the conversion.

The development is a former eight-story prewar loft building that last served as a parking garage. Fareed’s Delos Living bought the property for $120 million and will convert it into six condos, including an 8,000-square-foot duplex penthouse with a 3,000-square-foot terrace that will be listed for $38.8 million.

The 15-foot high parking spot could also be duplexed if the buyer installs an elevator lift. “It’s for someone who wants complete privacy,” said Dolly Lenz, vice chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman. “You can drive in and not be seen again. It’s for the type of person who finds that attractive. It could be a celebrity or a business person who is camera shy.”

The post noted that the space costs six times the average price of a home in the U.S. [Post]

May 22nd, 2012, 12:13 AM
What a gem!

May 22nd, 2012, 12:32 AM
Don't they have to go to Landmark preservation or some similar agency. they can't change the exterior can they?

May 23rd, 2012, 04:13 AM
That building and the area nearby aren't landmarked. Amazing, eh?

May 23rd, 2012, 04:19 PM
I'd give that baby some love and cover it a nice green reflective glass.

August 15th, 2012, 12:02 AM
michael.2999.pics (http://www.flickr.com/photos/52836039@N02/7423352762/sizes/h/in/photostream/)

September 14th, 2013, 09:58 PM
Jefferson Market Library


September 15th, 2013, 01:29 PM
Magnificent. There are a few lousy 1960s brick buildings near this that I would love to see redeveloped.

October 11th, 2013, 12:28 PM
This old beauty at 64-66 East 11th Street has now had the terra cotta & brick facade completely restored and it looks magnificent. Condo conversion should be completed within a few months.

Units there are starting at $15,000,000!!!




66 E. 11th Street


When I was in the village, this killed me every time I stepped outside. This beautiful building on 12th Street near Broadway is a parking garage. Surprised that a developer hasn't come along and restored/converted it. I don't know any cases where a parking garage was converted into apartments though, bet there would probably be contamination issues








October 11th, 2013, 03:55 PM
I'm in love with it, but when will they fix that crappy street level?

October 11th, 2013, 11:30 PM
Those are all the "Before" shots. The base is still behind scaffolding & plywood, but given the way it looks up top I'd expect it to look pretty fine at street level.

October 13th, 2013, 12:31 AM
Wow! They don't make 'em like that anymore.

Can't wait to see the completed restoration.

The one next door on the right is a beauty, too.