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".
St. Luke’s in the Fields is an Episcopal church named in honor of the evangelical physician saint. As outbreaks of yellow fever were commonplace at the time of its founding in the 1820s the name was appropriate.
The church property occupies an entire block between Hudson Street on the east and Greenwich Street on the west, Christopher Street to the north and Barrow Street to the south.
Its enchanting, walled garden, with its abundance of well-tended greenery and well-placed benches, is worthy of your visit. Try to see it in the spring when its many trees are in full-flower. The autumn is equally nice when the leaves turn color.
“Founded in 1832, Jefferson Market was one of the principal food markets of the city and was readily recognizable by its wooden fire-lookout tower.”
From “New York’s Greenwich Village” 1968, by Edmund T. Delaney
Here are some of the better-known trials that took place at the Jefferson Market Courthouse, now the Jefferson Market Library.
In 1906, a sensational trial focused national attention on the courthouse. Harry K. Thaw (1871-1947), heir to a coal and railroad fortune, was tried for the murder of one of America’s foremost architects, Stanford White (1853–1906).
This crime of passion was committed by Thaw because of White’s affair with the actress and artist’s model, Evelyn Nesbit before her marriage to Thaw. This trial became known as the Girl in the Red Velvet Swing case because during the course of testimony it was revealed that a red velvet swing had been installed in White’s apartment for Evelyn’s use. Thaw was found to be insane and was sent to an asylum until his release in 1915.
In 1896, Stephen Crane, author of “The Red Badge of Courage,” testified in the courthouse on behalf of a woman he felt was unjustly arrested for prostitution. Crane testified that he was “studying human nature” in New York’s Tenderloin when the alleged solicitation occurred.
In 1909, the near-by Triangle Shirtwaist Company, was picketed by its young female employees for the tough labor practices such as low wages, long hours, and unfair rules, including losing half a day’s pay for taking more time for a toilet break than the floor supervisor felt was necessary. Dozens of striking workers were arrested and taken to Jefferson Market Courthouse, where they were tried in Night Court with the prostitutes.
In 1927, Mae West was tried here on charges of “corrupting the morals of youth” following a police raid of her Broadway play “Sex.” West was fined $500; she also spent one day next door in the Women’s House of Detention (a beautiful garden now occupies this spot) and nine days at the workhouse on Welfare Island, now Roosevelt Island.
The month of June of every year ' The Gay: Lesbian & People Of Transgender Persuasion' celebrate their cultural identities and sexual preferences in 'Pride awareness.'
These celebrations culminate in a parade ending on Christopher Street, Greenwich Village, Manhattan. NY. on the last Sunday of the month of June.
This is attended by thousands of participants and on-lookers alike, in support of this political/social statement!
Lockwood De Forest, a founding members of the Associated Artists, the decorative arts atelier he co-founded with Louis Comfort Tiffany and Candace Wheeler in 1879, designed the well-preserved façade, with elaborate wood detailing, at Seven East Tenth Street.
Inspired by his wedding trip to India, De Forest decorated the facade, particularly around the building’s main entry and the projecting oriel on the second floor, with low relief, teak carvings produced in an Ahmedabad factory. Widely admired for its decoration and furnishings, in 1900 a writer for ‘House Beautiful’ called it the “most beautiful Indian House in America.”
Purchased by New York University in the early 1990s, the building is currently used by the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life.
Greenwich village is lovely. Tranquility away from the honking horns of midtown although only a hop skip and jump away!
This is a lovely place to wander around, taking in the atmosphere, grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat and pretending you are a local :-)
I think if i was going to live in New York (and I was obviously very rich!) I would choose to live here in a loft apartment - to me this is what I think of when I think of New York.
Some of the places to eat are lovely, and there are some lovely and unusual shops in the area. The pace of life is much slower here than other parts of the city and I really enjoyed my time wandering around here.
Grace Church, designed in the Neo-Gothic style by 23-year-old James Renwick, Jr. in 1843, sits on land purchased from Henry Brevoort. The church is a National Historic Landmark.
Consecrated in 1846, construction crews for this Episcopal church included inmates from the State Prison, who cut the stone.
Grace Church is well known for its musical programs which include regular organ recitals of music by classical composers.
Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor, the Mrs. Astor, worshiped here in the last quarter of the 19th century.
One of New York's oldest churches, Saint Mark's-in-the-Bowery was built in 1799 as a replacement to an older chapel dating from 1660. The original church was built by Petrus Stuyvesant, the Governor of New Amsterdam (NYC under the Dutch), as a family chapel, on land he had acquired from the Dutch West India Company. The land was intended to be used as a "bowery", i.e. a farm, hence the name of the church. It now finds itself in the middle of the East Village in New York, not too far from Saint Mark's Place, a street notorious for its many punks who are attracted to the body piercing and tattoo artists (see attached photo). Also nearby is Stuyvesant Street, which is known for its beautiful 19th century historic townhouses. Saint Mark's-in-the-Bowery is an Episcopal church.
Although this striking row of Corinthian columns seems as old as the remains of the Temple of Hadrian in Rome, it dates only from 1833. Still, for New York City, it is considered as ancient, but perhaps not as valuable, for they seem neglected and in ruins. Known as Colonnade Row, and previously LaGrange Terrace, these columns belong to four townhouses, which are all that remain from a row of nine identical houses that once lined Lafayette Street. They were designed in a Classical Revival style as luxurious residences. Notable individuals, including Charles Dickens, are known to have stayed in them. Unfortunately, five of the nine townhouses were destroyed for newer construction. Luckily, these four remain and are currently used by different business, but are in desperate need of restoration.
Voted in the 1880s as the fourth most beautiful building in America, the Jefferson Market Library is certainly a looker. The Gothic castle-like edifice was built in 1877 as the Third Judicial District Courthouse, but quickly became known as the Jefferson Market Courthouse, after a neighbouring market. The fairy tale castle design is the work of two architects, Frederick Clarke Withers and Calvert Vaux. The latter is better known for designing the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an older wing of the Museum of Natural History, both in New York City. The building narrowly escaped demolition in the late 1960s and was subsequently renovated for use as a branch of the New York Public Library, which continues to occupy the building to this day.
The latest addition to New York's list of trendy hotels, the Standard opened its doors in the Meatpacking District in 2009. Its ultra modern design is said to have been inspired by Le Corbusier and is built on stilts over the High Line. The area immediately surrounding the hotel, called the Meatpacking District, has become in recent years New York's trendiest shopping, restaurant and club district. The hotel is built such that all of the rooms enjoy views over the Hudson River, and rumour has it, so that everyone outside would enjoy the views into the rooms! It is said that the hotel has been the scandalised by certain exhibitionists who in the evening appear to leave the curtains drawn, lights on and allow the outside world to see them in their acts! If that's not your flavour, then try going to the attractive Standard Grill on the ground floor for lunch or dinner, outdoors too weather permitting.
New York's newest architectural intrigue, the new Cooper Union building, was completed in July 2009. It is a new annex to the establishment of higher education, officially called "The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art." The striking new building was designed by the architect, Thom Mayne, who is known for designing ultra modern buildings all over the United States, such as the Federal Building in San Francisco. Other than being extremely unconventional, the building's design is very "green" and energy efficient. Naturally, Thom Mayne's design in New York was met with some criticism, but with much applause by many others. Personally, I have grown to like his building, particularly the way he has challenged the perpendicular lines of the city. The original Cooper Union building, diagonally across from the new one is also an architectural landmark. It was built overlooking Astor Place in the 19th century using New York's brownstone in an Italianate architectural style (see attached photos).