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Thread: Jane Jacobs' Neighborhood

  1. #16


    Ha I wish! Maybe one day! Also, If I gave the impression that I live in one of the Meier buildings I apologize. I mostly just admire them from the outside like most others. I was/am tempted at to move close to the Hudson but I am not sure I want to average up my $ cost of real estate by 2x or 3x.

  2. #17


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Hefty price tags exist for good reason—the West Village is one of the only true "neighborhoods" left in Manhattan. Mostly void of skyscrapers and Duane Reades, the pace is slow here. The dominant noise after 11 p.m. is nothing more than a soothing breeze through the trees. And in the morning: birds chirping. [--Village Voice]
    So that's what a neighborhood is!


  3. #18

  4. #19


    Thank you so much for those wonderful pictures ablarc

  5. #20


    April 7, 2007

    A Wall Collapse at Chumley’s Brings Forth a Cascade of Memories

    John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times
    The side door at Chumley’s. The bar’s facade on Bedford Street was damaged when a wall collapsed.


    Ken Baron, a marketing consultant, remembers leading his sister-in-law and a co-worker — two Texans in New York for a conference — through Greenwich Village last fall. He showed them a landmark here and a famous address there.

    The last stop was on Bedford Street, at a place with no sign. A onetime speakeasy, he said. A dark, cozy, beery place that was a footnote to literary history, he said. A hangout for luminaries like F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck and Norman Mailer, he said. It is called Chumley’s, he said.

    “A dinner at Bouley or fifth-row-center seats would not have impressed them more,” he said.

    But on Thursday, the bar with no sign became the bar with no chimney when part of a wall collapsed. And yesterday, people who had discovered Chumley’s reminisced about a storied bar that will reopen in a month or two, according to a real estate broker who said he represents the owners.

    Chumley’s is a relic of the Roaring Twenties, but the memories are being shared the 21st-century way, over the Internet. Yesterday, after reports of the wall collapse, more than 30 people posted anecdotes about Chumley’s on, some wondering about its future.

    The broker representing the owners, Bill Butler, said the taps would be flowing and the burgers sizzling in 30 to 60 days. He said that renovation work had been going on outside the restaurant when the accident happened.

    And for-sale signs with a $3.75 million price tag for the property that houses Chumley’s and three rental apartments went up a couple of months ago. A listing on the Web site, for the Manhattan real estate company Massey Knakal, said that the bar’s lease runs through 2086.

    “The property does have potential structural issues,” the listing warned, “as the facade is in disrepair.”

    It was not always that way. Chumley’s began as the domain of Lee Chumley, who favored loud ties and a hard-to-miss floppy hat. Speakeasy owner during Prohibition was the last of his many occupations. When he died in April 1935, 16 months after Prohibition ended, The New York Times said he had been a laborer, stage-coach driver, artist, waiter, newspaper cartoonist and editorial writer.

    His widow, Henrietta, reigned over Chumley’s for the next quarter-century, as the Village changed around Chumley’s. In 1954, in an article in The New York Times Magazine with the headline, “The Village: Bohemia Gone Bourgeois,” William Barrett of The Partisan Review complained that a “collegiate tone has taken over whole bars in the Village that used once to be the haunts of honest-to-God derelicts.”

    Chumley’s, he said, had been “submerged by the collegiate tide years ago.”

    In the 1960s it was, said Robert Gately, who ran a bar at the 1964 World’s Fair, “a great memorable hangout never to be forgotten by those who loved lonely seedy bars where solitary men with notebooks seemed always huddled in a corner writing.”

    A few years later, when his wife signed on as a cocktail waitress at the Village Gate and he worked at Maxwell’s Plum, Chumley’s was the place they went for a nightcap.

    “I remember we took Nina Simone there one night while she was playing the Gate, and she loved the place,” Mr. Gately wrote in an e-mail message. “Being buddies with the bartender always got you an overpour and him a good tip.”

    Andrew Deutsch did not go in much, but knew what was going on there. He leased an apartment above Chumley’s when he moved to New York in 1977, just out of law school. The rent, he said yesterday, was “at least $500, but it was eye-popping at the time.”

    “What was memorable was the scene that played out several times a week in the courtyard of the apartment,” where there were several doors but only one that led to Chumley’s, he said. “The dialogue was always the same, although the inebriation of the actors varied.”

    Mr. Deutsch said the routine went like this:

    “They told me there’s a bar here,” the first voice said.

    “Are you kidding, there’s no bar here,” the second voice said.

    That was followed by the sound of a locked door being pulled vigorously and a voice saying, “I guess it must be someplace else.” Then, the sound of departing footsteps.

    But plenty of people figured out which door was the right door, Jeff Lewonczyk among them. Last year he wrote “The Folly Ball,” a play that takes place at Chumley’s in 1933. As it happens, his play is to be performed at another bar, Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction in the East Village.

    Mr. Lewonczyk had never been to Chumley’s until he decided to write “The Folly Ball.”

    He had never been to London, either.

    He went there soon after he started writing the play and struck up a conversation with one of the Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London who are known as Beefeaters.

    “The first words out of his mouth upon finding out that I lived in New York were, ‘Oh, have you been to Chumley’s?’ ”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  6. #21


    West Village

    In a Swollen Park, Not a Swing to Spare

    Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times

    Published: March 30, 2008

    THE little blond boy in the camouflage jacket looked longingly at the swings. He was fifth in line, behind a girl in a pink headband and another in Converse sneakers, all of them fidgeting. It looked as if it was going to be a long afternoon.

    The wait was at the Bleecker Playground, on half an acre at Hudson Street in the West Village, of which Adrian Benepe, city parks commissioner, says, “There’s no playground in the city more crowded than Bleecker.”
    Local parents heartily agree.

    “I sense frustration among the moms, especially in the summer,” Birgitte Jensen said as she helped her 5-year-old daughter, Amelie, down the spiral slide. “The lines for the swings get really long.”

    On a sunny day, as many as a hundred children can be found competing for space in the sand pit and on the swings, the slide and the monkey bars.

    For many families, the state of local playgrounds is a critical measure of a neighborhood’s attractiveness. And although an explosion in the number of toddlers throughout the city has affected playgrounds in every borough, in a neighborhood like the West Village, home to a growing number of families, the situation is acute.

    Community leaders have long wanted to create more open space in the West Village, which has only five acres of open space, excluding Hudson River Park, in a neighborhood of 35,000 people. One site that members of Community Board 2 have in mind is a half-acre on Hudson Street between Houston and Clarkson Streets. The city bought the property more than a decade ago in connection with the construction of a new water tunnel, with an agreement that the site would become parkland when the tunnel was finished.

    Construction on the site is scheduled to last until 2013. But Tobi Bergman, chairman of the community board’s parks and recreation committee, said it was not too early to start planning for a park on the land.

    “There are a lot more kids around and a huge amount of need,” Mr. Bergman said. “They should advise us when it’s going to be ready so we can more aggressively look for funding for it.”

    Mr. Benepe has promised to support the project. “This is a neighborhood that was developed without thinking about parkland, and it’s growing very fast, with many more people having families there,” he said. “Even this relatively small site is crucial for the West Village.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times.

  7. #22


    So glad to post this article.

    Or, bump up the thread, as Fabrizio put it in August 2005. Because, as he said back then, "I would have missed these beautiful photographs".

    He was refering of course the the set of photo's posted on this thread by ablarc in June 2004.

    Hurry back ablarc, you are missed.

  8. #23


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Hugo Boss suits, Equinox gym bags, and $9 glasses of wine. This is not the West Village you've read about, or perhaps remember. The Dylan Thomases have been replaced by Arthur Andersons.
    Now that the Arthur Andersons are on the unemployment line, what has changed about this neighborhood?

    ManhattanKnight, don't you live in or near here? Tell us what you see.

  9. #24
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Where is ManhattanKnight?

  10. #25


    I love these "bumps". Ablarc, thanks to you, I'm going to bed an hour later than planned. But well worth the loss of sleep.

    I doubt the charm of the Village was affected in any way during the Great Depression and I doubt it will be affected at all during the current bad economic times. Except maybe less tourists in the White Horse (but more locals drowning their sorrows). If not ManhattanKnight, someone here should be able to give a locals report.

    Thanks again Ablarc

  11. #26
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Pols, protest, stuck string; Jacobs would have loved it

    At the “Jane Jacobs Way” dedication, from left, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Landmarks Commission Chairperson Robert Tierney (hidden behind Nadler), C.B. 2 Chairperson Jo Hamilton, Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilmember Alan Gerson, activist Doris Diether, state Senator Tom Duane, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and former C.B. 2 Chairperson Brad Hoylman.

    By Albert Amateau

    Jane Jacobs, gone from Greenwich Village these 40 years and gone from this life three years ago, was celebrated anew on Monday morning when a crowd of West Village neighbors and public officials gathered in front of the White Horse Tavern to unveil a commemorative street sign, “Jane Jacobs Way.”

    A few people from Brooklyn added to the throng to protest the proposed Coney Island renewal plan; a former East Village woman came to denounce Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

    Jane Jacobs, the foe of urban renewal and champion of neighborhoods and street life, would have loved it. She lived on the block at 555 Hudson St. with her family when she led the fight against Robert Moses’ 1962 proposal for a Lower Manhattan Expressway through the Village.

    Doris Diether, the longest serving community board member (since 1964) in the city and a close ally of Jacobs in the battles to preserve Greenwich Village, was the guest of honor. Indeed, City Councilmember Alan Gerson referred to Diether as “Doris Jacobs” at one point. Quinn presented her with a replica of the “Jane Jacobs Way” street sign, and Diether was so moved that she was barely able to hold back the tears at the conclusion of her remarks.

    The unveiling of the street sign on the southwest corner of Hudson and W. 11th Sts. didn’t go all that smoothly, either. The string separated from the sleeve covering the sign before it was completely unveiled, and for a while only “Jane” was visible. Tobi Bergman, a Community Board 2 member, borrowed a stepladder from the White Horse and completed the unveiling.

    Jo Hamilton, newly elected chairperson of Community Board 2, was master of ceremonies, and recalled how Jacobs transformed thinking about urban life with her first book, “The Death and Life of Great Ameri-can Cities.” But she said the Village mostly claimed Jacobs as a friend who cared about her neighborhood.

    Congressmember Jerrold Nadler paid tribute to Jacobs’s vision of a city that lives because of its diversity.

    Protesters wearing Jane Jacobs-style glasses, wigs and clothes decried the Coney Island redevelopment plan, which they charge will shrink the existing entertainment area. Said Angie Pontani, a.k.a. Miss Cyclone, right, “It’s such a special place — you have to preserve it. The biggest threat is high-rise towers on Surf Ave.”

    Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said that in the current irresponsible rush to development, “we must think of Jane Jacobs and figure out how to build for the future and preserve our wonderful neighborhoods.”

    State Senator Tom Duane recalled reading Jane Jacobs’s books as a college student and being struck by the need to preserve neighborhoods and at the same time keep them dynamic.

    Assemblymember Deborah Glick said Jacobs “came from a generation that refused to roll over — refused to accede to overdevelopment.”

    Robert Tierney, head of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, said, “Preservation doesn’t come easy — it requires work and courage.” Tierney added that he was thrilled to be honoring Jane Jacobs in her own neighborhood where she was receiving the recognition she deserves.

    Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said later that he was not at the street-renaming ceremony because the organizers had not informed him in time, even though the society had proposed the renaming in 2006 shortly after Jacobs’s death.

    “We’re glad that Jane Jacobs has finally received this long-overdue recognition of her immeasurable contribution to our neighborhood. An early member of the board of advisors of G.V.S.H.P., she continues to inspire our work every day,” Berman said later.

    Before her death, Jacobs contributed an oral history to G.V.S.H.P., which is available on the society’s Web site, .

    Jacobs, who came to New York in 1934 as Jane Butzner just out of high school from Scranton, Pa., to live with her sister in Brooklyn, soon discovered Greenwich Village, where low-rise buildings allowed people to see the sky and where pedestrians were not dominated by cars. She soon began writing articles for magazines, and in 1944 married the architect Robert Hyde Jacobs.

    She left for Canada with her family in 1968 and went to Toronto to avoid having her sons drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. Jacobs was as much of an activist against destructive development in Toronto as she was in New York.

  12. #27
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    More Jane Jacobs, Less Marc Jacobs: My new mantra

    By Kate Walter

    I dread to think what the commercial streets of the West Village will look like at the end of this new decade. Three years ago I wrote in this column about the designer takeover of the north end of Bleecker St. I railed against Marc Jacobs and his three or four stores, how he opened the floodgates, turning this stretch into a high-end shopping mall for tourists, driving out veteran shops.

    It was ironic to recently reread my earlier piece (from Feb. 21, 2007) where I noted my relief that the Biography Bookshop was still in business.

    Obviously, I spoke too soon since they are leaving their location of 20 years and moving south on Bleecker St. at the beginning of 2010. Guess who is taking over their space?

    As if six stores on Bleecker St. isn’t bad enough, Jacobs bought a new $10 million town house across the street from me on Bethune St. Isn’t there any escape from this tattooed gym bunny? Actually, it might be great fun to spy on Marc and Lorenzo, but I’m sure their yearlong interior renovation will include fabulous window treatments.

    While the uber-gentrification continues on Bleecker St., one block over on Hudson St., storefronts keep emptying out as lease after lease expires and a new generation squabbles over the former Gottlieb real estate empire (more than 150 buildings.) Every block on Hudson from W. 10th to Bank Sts. has at least two empty storefronts. Some have been dark for months, even years.

    It is hard to imagine restaurants filling in those spaces — many were eateries — unless their entrees are expensive. For sure, it won’t be neighborhood bistros or cheap pizza places. I find it depressing to walk along our main business corridor and speculate how this stretch will evolve over the next 10 years.

    I never thought I’d see Baby Buddha going out of business. Its location on Washington and Bethune Sts. was off the beaten track. But its days are numbered. I don’t even like Chinese food, but this news was disturbing, a harbinger of the new decade. Locals were so upset that petitions sprung up, indicating to the real estate company that the undersigned would not patronize whoever opens up there. I even signed one, although I realize it was silly to agree to boycott an unknown entity. I heard people even plan to demonstrate.

    Can’t say I was surprised that the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop had to shutter its door. The independents can’t compete against the chains and the Net.

    But that closing party was a sad night. Owner Kim Brinster kept stepping out onto Christopher St. to cry. And while it’s true we no longer need a gay and lesbian store to buy queer books, those employees knew their stock. I can’t go onto Amazon and get a personal recommendation for a juicy lesbian beach book.

    Oscar Wilde was the oldest gay bookstore in the country and a tourist attraction.

    Just recently, as I walked past the former location, I saw two gay men with a guidebook checking the address and looking for the missing store. “It closed,” I told them.

    As for other gay institutions, Rubyfruit on Hudson St. shut down and reopened after major renovations. Sporting a new high-tech design, the place was renamed Real Friends. I’m glad it is still a women’s space, but I liked the old name better. Of course, young dykes who grew up watching “The L Word” might not even know of Rita Mae Brown’s classic coming-out novel “Rubyfruit Jungle.”

    I realize that change is inevitable, but this is not the classic gentrification story where a scruffy nabe gets a facelift. This was already a quaint historic district with cute shops before it became an upscale shopping area.

    The designers drawn to this neighborhood’s charm have ruined it for those of us who live here — and now, God help us, they plan to live here too. On my block, no less!

    But as much as I despise Jacobs and his ilk, the culprits are the building owners in cahoots with greedy real estate companies who refuse to offer the existing commercial tenants an affordable rent increase. And the real victims are the businesses, especially those who cannot relocate here. My life will go on without Baby Buddha, but what happens to the nice family who ran that business for over a decade?

    There is no solution other than commercial rent control and I doubt that will ever happen. Some of my nabes scoffed at the boycott petition, but I suspect there will be a de facto boycott of many of the new businesses. Will it matter? Will this never end?

    Ironically, some first-wave designer shops are moving; I gather they were priced out.

    I keep thinking of that great sign I saw on someone’s window: “More Jane Jacobs. Less Marc Jacobs.” That will be my mantra for the next decade. I want to put that on a banner and drape it from my building. I may be powerless to stop this over-the-top gentrification, but at least I have an opportunity to hang out my in-your-face version of the unwelcome wagon.

  13. #28


    The author offers no solutions.... I'm wondering if there are any. This is all so completely out-of-sinc with what the Village was even up until the 1990's.

  14. #29


    It's a dynamic universe. Things change.

    Before you know it, something will cause a new wave of change.

    I'm still trying to get over the closing of Cafe Figaro ... and it's been years.

  15. #30


    At least there's Brooklyn.

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