“Whenever I leave Manhattan, I get the bends!”
— Ed Koch (1924-2013, mayor of the City of New York 1978-1989)
Fourth Street, although a numbered street, does not fall into Manhattan’s rigid street grid of 1811 at its western end. This makes for unusual intersections.
Beginning as East Fourth Street at Avenue D in the East Village, it travels west to Broadway, where it becomes West Fourth Street. The street then turns north at Sixth Avenue, officially known as Avenue of the Americas.
From Seventh to Eighth Avenues is where the unusual intersections can be found. West Fourth Street crosses West 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Streets in Greenwich Village. In this section of its travels, the street narrows, with a parking lane on the west side of the street and a single lane of traffic. Roughly a three-block portion of West Fourth on the southern side of Washington Square Park is called Washington Square South.
At only 9.6 feet wide and three short floors, the old and very historic red-brick building at 75 1/2 Bedford Street in the West Village is worth a special detour when visiting and walking about the neighborhood more so if you happen to be a literary buff. This svelte and compact tenement which by the way continues to be actively lived-in to this day was the home of the bohemian poet Edna St. Vincent Millay from 1923 to 1924 with her husband Eugen Jan Boissevain.
The building which was constructed in 1873 during a smallpox epidemic and built in the carriage style is so thin and narrow and wedged in between two apartment buildings that it is so easy to miss it as one ambles through this part of the Village where the neighborhood itself is one of the city's most charming areas populated mostly by old turn-of-the-century apartment buildings, equally narrow-hugging winding streets, very little vehicular traffic, a worklng theatre (The Cherry Lane) and haven to petite cafes as well as quaint neighborhood family-type restaurants.
Millay supposedly wrote "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver" here for which she earned the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. She became so famous for her romantic poetry fever pitched during the 30's and 40's and is enshrined in many a poetry-loving hearts and minds with her ever-memorable line "My candle's burning at both ends, it will not last the night. But oh my foes, and ah my friends, it sheds a lovely light."
It's good to remember that in this narrowest house three other famous persons have also lived here at some point later in the more recent past: the anthropologist Margaret Mead and actors John Barrymore and Cary Grant.
75 1/2 Bedford Street is off Seventh Avenue between Commerce and Moore Streets. As of this writing, the current tenant of the house has barred any tour of the house.
“Heaven have mercy on us all - Presbyterians and Pagans alike - for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.”
— Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Located at the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and West 12th Street, First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York dates to 1716. Called “The Church of the Patriots” during the American Ware for Independence, The Old First began its service to the community on Wall Street.
In the 1840s the congregation moved to its present location and the Neo-Gothic building was dedicated in 1848. Joseph C. Wells, one of the founders of the American Institute of Architects, based his design for the new building on the Church of St. Saviour at Bath, England, and the crenellated central entrance tower on the Magdalen Tower at Oxford. The Tower is made of brownstone.
With a congregation of 900 members, services are held every Sunday at 11:00 AM. Musical concerts are held regularly, especially at Christmas and Easter. These are fine opportunities to see the lovely interior. There are few other chances because The Old First is opened only for Sunday services.
“Abingdon Square has been so long crowned with fine trees that a winding walkway ending in a little plaza, and bordered by a few shrubs and little bedding was all that could be satisfactorily done; shrubs and flowers would not thrive in such deep shade.”
— NYC Parks Superintendent Samuel Parsons Jr. wrote in 1892
The Abingdon Square Park, once part of a 300-acre estate bought by the Royal Naval officer Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Warren in 1740, was named for Warren’s daughter, Charlotte, Countess of Abingdon, who lived here during the 18th century. She married Willoughby Bertie, the fourth Earl of Abingdon in 1768; the land was a wedding gift from her father.
Measuring .222 acres, Abingdon Square is a trapezoidal-shaped plot of land bordered by Eight Avenue and Bank Street, Hudson Street, and West 12th Street (once called Troy Street). It has been a public park since 1836.
In 1921, 20,000 on-lookers gathered at the park to see New York Governor Alfred E. Smith unveil the Abingdon Square Memorial, also known as the Abingdon Doughboy (see photos #1, #2, and #3). This sculpture, designed by Philip Martiny (1858–1927), honors the memory of local men who gave their lives in the First World War. Standing on a gray granite pedestal, this dramatic bronze shows a foot soldier holding an American flag that engulfs him. This is one of my favorite works of public art in the city; its movement can be felt and the doughboy’s cry can be heard. The Jefferson Democratic Club made a gift of the monument; the organization’s headquarters stood across from the park on the site of today’s Emory Roth-designed co-op apartment house at 299 West 12th Street.
This monument was conserved in 1993. And the entire park was beautifully redesigned in the early years of the 21st century, featuring park benches, drinking fountains, flowering trees, and flowers, that Superintendent Parsons asserted would not thrive!
When ambling about the West Village this is an ideal spot to take a break and enjoy the world passing by. You can buy juice and a pastry or fruit from a vendor in the Saturday Farmers Market held here during the spring, summer and fall. The market rings the park’s perimeter, selling fresh fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods and flowers.
This has everything and a nice area in New York to visit and walk around and check all the shops, caffe bars, or meet all the happy new york live and take in the wonderful feeling, and experience the real New York, on a more personal way.
also guideade tours that you can do, a good tip.
Otherwise, that slowly, I think you should not be afraid to ask New York live on plattser and take your time and do not rush, take a detour from all the usual tourist spots, visit the more anonymous set limits and you will have memories for life it promises I encourage you
If you would like to explore Greenwich Village while eating your way through, take a food tour with Foods of NY Tours. These guys have been giving food tours since 1999 and really know their stuff. $47 gets you a 3 hours tour with all of the food tastings included!
Hardly noticed and definitely under-appreciated, the stunning Bayard-Condict Building is tucked away in a quiet street just north of Houston St (NoHo). The building was completed in 1899 as private offices for a certain Silas Alden Condict, and was designed by the Chicago architect, Louis Sullivan, in a flamboyant blend of Renaissance, Romanesque, and Neoclassical styles. It is said that the architect was against placing the graceful angel statues at the top of the building, but agreed at the insistence of Mr Condict, the owner. The building's façade is said to emphasise its height and is adorned by some of the richest decorations in any building in New York City. Since 1976, the building has been listed as a historic landmark and in recent years underwent a restoration project. The column capitals on the ground floor windows had been destroyed, except one, which was used as a model to replicate the others. This is one of my favourite pre-war buildings in New York City.
Christopher Park, in Greenwich Village, was once part of a tobacco farm owned by Wouter Van Twiller in the 1630s. Skinner Road was laid out separating the Twiller farm from two others. It was later renamed Christopher Street, to honor Charles Christopher Amos, an heir of a trustee to one of the other farms.
In 1835 a destructive fire blazed through this densely populated area. In order to provide much-needed open space the City granted the request of local citizens to condemn the buildings on a triangular block where Christopher, Grove, and West 4th Streets intersected. Christopher Park was created from the City’s action on April 5, 1837.
Directly across the street from the park on June 27, 1969, following a police raid, a riot took place on Christopher Street at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar. For several days, in what came to be known as the Stonewall Rebellion, thousands of protesters took to the streets rallying against police harassment of gays and their Constructional right to peaceful assembly. Christopher Park became a symbol of the gay rights movement. In 1999 the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park, and the surrounding neighborhood were placed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and added to the National Register.
Two sculptures are located within the Park.
“Gay Liberation Monument” (see photos #2 & #3) by George Segal (1924–2000) honors the gay rights movement and the events at the Stonewall Inn.
In the late 1970s Peter Putnam (1927-1987), a patron of the arts from Louisiana, commissioned “Gay Liberation Monument,” with the stipulation that the work “had to be loving and caring, and show the affection that is the hallmark of gay people . . . and it had to have equal representation of men and women.”
Because of a public outcry over the work and renovations to the park, the white-finished bronze sculptural grouping was not unveiled until June 23, 1992.
The other sculpture (see photos #4 & #5) in the park is that of an over-life-sized figure of the Civil War general, Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888). The bronze, by Joseph P. Pollia (1893-1954), was dedicated in 1936, the 72nd anniversary of General Sheridan’s victory at the battle of Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley. Because of the presence of General Sheridan’s bronze likeness, Christopher Park is often mistaken for nearby Sheridan Square Park, named for the general in 1896.
In this impressive work of art a fierce-looking General Sheridan stands in full-army regalia, booted and spurred with a sword at his side. The Conway green granite pedestal bears the inscription in praise of Sheridan that is attributed to General Ulysses S. Grant, “He belongs to the first rank of soldiers, not only of our country, but of the world.”
Anymore I spend less & less time running around to the NYC well-known "sights"
and instead I enjoy spending most of my quality time walking Manhattan neighborhoods.
One of my favorite places for strolling in the late afternoon or early evening is the area around Commerce Street in the Village.
It's beautiful, quiet, and though gentrified
(like imo most of Manhattan)
still has (to me) a really good feel to it. You can tell the neighbors really love their little piece of the village.
One of my favorite spots is the quiet corner / alcove next to the Cherry Lane Theater.
Sadly one of my favorite Village Bars, the Blue Mill Tavern is closed for now
(? wha' happened ?) but there is still a little bench between the tavern and the theater where you can park, relax and people-watch.
Some really fun little places to eat & drink close by too -
Moustache on Bedford, White Horse Tavern & others on Hudson
A really peaceful neighborhood to walk or just cool out & pass the time.
... maybe I'll bump into you there someday ...
Hats off to the Bedford-Barrow-Commerce Block Association
Here's a MAP if you're not familiar with the area.
I had so much enjoyed walking around Greenwich Village on my first trip to NYC that I decided to go back and see if I might be able to find a few more sites with an interesting literary connection. The first place we located was the Minetta Tavern at 113 MacDougal St. (Photo 1). Minetta Tavern dates back to 1937, and for a while it became a favorite with local and visiting authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings and Eugene O'Neill. Just down the street at 130-132 MacDougal St. (Photo 2) you'll find a house that used to belong to Louisa May Alcott's uncle. She lived there for a while, and it is believed that she wrote the children's classic "Little Women" while she was staying at her uncle's. Another famous story was written at 11 Commerce St. (Photo 3), the house where Washington Irving's family lived in the early 19th century. It is believed that Irving wrote "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" while he was living there, a story that would greatly contribute to his international fame. At 14 West 10th St. (Photo 4), there is a small plaque that reads: In this house once lived Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) author of the beloved American classic "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer". Twain lived in New York City for about 10 years at the beginning of the 20th century, spending most of those years in Greenwich Village. Finally, just a few steps away from the Jefferson Market Library, you'll find a small alley called Patchin Place. There's is a gate but it's never locked so you can walk in to take a look at No. 4 Patchin Place (Photo 5), the house American poet e.e. cummings lived in for about 40 years. Again, there is a plaque that reads: "The poet and painter, who made art of commas and parentheses, lived here for the last forty years of his life. He characterized himself as "an author of pictures, a draughtsman of words".
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