This year marks the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District. One of the city’s oldest and largest landmark districts, it’s a treasure trove of history, culture, and architecture. Village Preservation is spending 2019 marking this anniversary with events, lectures, and new interactive online resources. This is part of a series of posts about the Greenwich Village Historic District marking its golden anniversary.
Each year, immigrant history week is celebrated in late April, commemorating the day in 1907 when more immigrants came through Ellis Island than any other day in history. More than a few of those immigrants came through Greenwich Village, which has a long and storied history of welcoming newcomers from across the city, country, and globe. Here are just a few of the sites within the Greenwich Village Historic District where landmarks of our nation’s rich and varied immigrant history can be found, from the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in the country to a hub of “Little Spain.”
Spring may have started on March 20, but it’s only now that the weather’s warming up in New York City, which means it’s time for spring cleaning. Thanks to the recent Marie Kondo mania, cleaning has transformed from a chore to a celebration, but once you’ve taken stock of your life and separated that which sparks joy from that which simply takes up space, what do you do with all that unwanted stuff? From disposing of bulk items and electronics to making donations, here’s a handy NYC spring cleaning guide.
Here are our tips
Our Renovation Diary has been following 6sqft writer Michelle Cohen as she takes on the challenge of transforming a Brooklyn townhouse in the historic Clinton Hill neighborhood into a site-sensitive modern home. She previously shared plans for the 150-year-old building and the first big steps she and her husband, a public health lawyer and antique lighting dealer, have taken to make their dream home a reality, including two years of hunting, planning the renovation, and assembling the professionals needed to make it happen (and how the homeowners made the best of all the waiting time). With Landmarks’ signoff and permits in hand, a year-long renovation began. Below, the results, with plenty of hindsight, advice, resources and construction photos on the way.
Hear from Michelle and see the transformation
Our series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to Cristiana Peña’s Prospect-Lefferts Gardens apartment. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
Cristiana Peña is one of those people who will make you feel like you’ve known her for years when you’ve only just met her–especially when you visit her at her equally warm Prospect-Lefferts Gardens home. After growing up in Rapid City, South Dakota (her father was in the Air Force) Cristiana moved to NYC for grad school in 2006 to study preservation. She quickly became a force in the field, working at Woodlawn Conservancy and Cemetery and lending her expertise and advocacy skills to countless groups across the city. Today, Cristiana also works as a social media strategist, a perfect fit for her creative and snappy personality and natural knack for striking up a conversation. So it comes as no surprise that her pre-war apartment is also full of personal stories. From a mobile that her dad got while deployed in Saudi Arabia to a lobster-shaped wine decanter she found while on a trip to Maine, nearly every eclectic find in Cristiana’s home comes with a childhood memory or a great tidbit about an antiquing outing.
Get to know Cristiana and take a tour of her home
The Titanic’s lifeboats at the White Star Lines Pier 54 in NYC after sinking, via Wiki Commons
When you hear “Titanic” you may think of icebergs, tragedy, Jack, Rose, and a two-hour fight between life and death in the North Atlantic some 375 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. You may not necessarily think of New York City. But the ship, which left Southampton, England on April 10, 1912, was bound for New York and due at Pier 59 on April 17th. After sinking during the early hours of April 15th, the Titanic would never dock in New York, but survivors of the tragedy sailed into the city aboard the Carpathia on April 20th and disembarked at Pier 54. Ultimately, New York’s connection to that fateful voyage goes well beyond its waterfront. In fact, you’ll find sites associated with the Titanic and its passengers throughout the city.
10 NYC sites associated with the Titanic
This post is part of a series by the Historic Districts Council, exploring the groups selected for their Six to Celebrate program, New York’s only targeted citywide list of preservation priorities.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first historic district designated by New York City in the Bronx. Mott Haven was designated in 1969 by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for its architecture “representative of the best of the second half of the nineteenth century.” Landmarks later designated the Mott Haven East Historic District and the Bertine Block Historic District, also in the neighborhood, in 1994. Designated the same year as the Greenwich Village Historic District, the Mott Haven Historic Districts Association is working to bring this historic neighborhood to the same level of local and national prominence as its Manhattan sibling.
In honor of the 50th anniversary, the Association uncovered the story behind 10 historic sites in Mott Haven–from the ironworking factory that lent its name to the neighborhood to two incredibly intact stretches of rowhouses to an early piano factory.
Jake Dobkin was born in Park Slope 42 years ago, and over those years he’s never left New York City for longer than 10 weeks. In 2003, he co-founded the website Gothamist with Jen Chung, which emerged as a popular culture and entertainment blog about all things New York. In the summer of 2013, Dobkin decided to channel his native knowledge and newsroom snark with the column Ask a Native New Yorker. The first installment addressed a question to make any New Yorker shudder, “Is It Normal For Roaches To Crawl Through My Hair At Night?” Since then, he’s tackled everything from amusing annoyances of city life to more serious issues like homelessness, gentrification, and who deserves a seat on the subway.
Dobkin ultimately adapted “Ask A Native New Yorker” into a book, which was just released a few weeks ago. Titled Ask A Native New Yorker: Hard-Earned Advice on Surviving and Thriving in the Big City, it contains answers to 48 new questions on New Yorker’s minds including if public transit will be messed up forever and why we complain so much. 6sqft spoke with Dobkin on why he started writing the column, how it’s changed over the years, and what’s ahead with a new book and Gothamist under the new ownership of WNYC. He also shares the best place to find a peaceful spot in the middle of the city.
The Wonder Wheel with no cars installed; photos © James and Karla Murray
Honoring a 60-year tradition of opening on Palm Sunday, Coney Island Amusement Park will be back in business this Sunday, April 14th. One of the many activities will be the annual blessing of the rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel. The 150-foot-tall, 100-year-old structure is one of the most iconic pieces remaining at Coney Island. But there’s a lot that goes into this seasonal opening than even the most well-versed New Yorker may not know. Each winter, the 200-ton ride is repainted, and all of its 24 cars are removed. But come spring, second-generation co-owner Steve Vourderis goes through the process of precisely reinstalling and aligning the cars. We were lucky enough to visit Steve and his brother Dennis on a recent frigid Sunday to watch the magic happen.
Go behind-the-scenes at the Wonder Wheel
Photo via Wiki Commons
Now that Hudson Yards has finally moved from construction site to New York City’s newest neighborhood, it may appear to be a made-in-New York City development. In actual fact, Hudson Yards took its blueprint from a similar neighborhood in Tokyo known as Roppongi Hills, which broke ground in the 1990s and officially opened in 2003. While there are a few notable differences—you won’t find any rice paddies on the roofs of Hudson Yards’ new buildings, for one—the similarities are striking. But in many respects, this is no surprise—New York- and London-based architectural firm, KPF, played a hand in the design of both developments.
Comparing Roppongi Hills and Hudson Yards
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District. One of the city’s oldest and largest landmark districts, it’s a treasure trove of rich history, pioneering culture, and charming architecture. Village Preservation will be spending 2019 marking this anniversary with events, lectures, and new interactive online resources, including a celebration and district-wide weekend-long “Open House” starting on Saturday, April 13 in Washington Square. Check here for updates and more details. This is part of a series of posts about the Greenwich Village Historic District marking its golden anniversary.
Few places on Earth have attracted more or a broader array of activists and agitators for social change than Greenwich Village. And much of that activity took place right in the heart of the neighborhood in the Greenwich Village Historic District, where that rich history has been preserved through landmark designation for the past half-century. Here are just a few of the many who lived within its bounds and toiled to make the world a better or more just place.
See the full list