This year marks the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District on April 29, 1969. One of the city’s oldest and still largest historic districts, it’s a unique treasure trove of rich history, pioneering culture, and charming architecture. GVSHP 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 13th in Washington Square. This is the first in a series of posts about the unique qualities of the Greenwich Village Historic District marking its golden anniversary.
The Greenwich Village Historic District literally oozes with charm; so much so, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a top-10 list. But with no insult to sites not included, here is one run at the 10 most charming sites you’ll find in this extraordinarily quaint historic quarter–from good-old classics like the famous stretch of brick rowhouses on Washington Square North to more quirky findings like the “Goodnight Moon” house.
Check out the list!
Image courtesy of Urban Archive. Photo credits, clockwise from top left: 1, 2, Museum of the City of New York; 3, 4, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation; 5, Museum of Chinese in America
Technology nonprofit Urban Archive has been creating new connections
between people, places, and historical institutions for several years based on New York City’s architecture, culture, and unique stories, and they’ve just launched a new initiative. My Archive is a citywide project that tells the story of NYC through crowd-sourced histories and photographs–and it’s an opportunity for regular New Yorkers to add their own history to the map. Throughout the month of February, you can submit your own photos for a chance to have them added to a collection of personal histories captured on city streets across the five boroughs–and included in the UA app.
Find out how to submit your photos
While it’s been a snow-free winter in NYC so far, once in a while it’s nice to imagine a snowy January day in Central Park. Ephemeral New York brings us a particularly charming example of how New Yorkers found a reason to socialize even in frozen conditions two centuries ago. Sleigh carnivals turned out scores of joyriding city folk who wanted to show off their new super-light rides. James Stuart wrote in his 1833 UK travel memoir, “Three Years in North America,” that after a heavy January snow, “the New York carnival began, and the beautiful light-looking sleighs made their appearance. Even the most delicate females of New York think an evening drive, of 10 or 20 miles, even in the hardest frost, conducive to their amusement and health.”
Sleigh bells ring
The Apollo Theater c. 1946, via Library of Congress
The Apollo Theater, the legendary venue at 253 West 125th Street “where stars are born and legends are made,” opened its hallowed doors on January 26th, 1934. That year, a 17-year-old Ella Fitzgerald made her debut at Amateur Night, kicking off a tradition that has served as a launch pad for luminaries including Sarah Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and the Jackson 5. To celebrate its 85th anniversary, we’ve rounded up 10 things you might not know about this iconic Harlem institution, from its beginnings as a whites-only burlesque club to becoming the place where James Brown recorded four albums.
All this and more
Earlier this month, GVSHP launched its East Village Preservation effort, releasing its new website “East Village Building Blocks,” which contains historic information and images for every one of the neighborhood’s 2,200 buildings. Of course, any neighborhood spanning five centuries of history and nearly 100 blocks will reveal some surprises when you scratch the surface. But the East Village’s story has some unique and unexpected twists and turns which are brought to light by this new online tool. From the birthplace of the shag haircut to four former homes of Allen Ginsberg to the first federally-subsidized public housing project in America, here are just a few of those you’ll encounter.
All this and more
Jackie Robinson at bat, 1949, photo by Frank Bauman, courtesy of MCNY, LOOK Collection
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson strode onto Ebbets Field, and into history, as the first African American Major League Baseball player. During his stellar 10-year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson was the first player ever named Rookie of the Year. He became National League MVP 1949 and was named an All-Star every year from 1949-1954. After retiring from Baseball, Jackie Robinson remained a trailblazer. He became the first African American officer of a national corporation, as well as a Civil Rights leader, corresponding with politicians including Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, urging each to support true equality for all Americans.
January 31, 2019, would have been Jackie Robinson’s 100th birthday. To mark the centennial, the Museum of the City of New York and the Jackie Robinson Foundation have collaborated on a new photography exhibit “In the Dugout With Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend.” The exhibit features unpublished photos of Robinson, originally shot for Look Magazine, and memorabilia related to Robinson’s career. The exhibit will open at MCNY on the 31st to kick off the Foundation’s yearlong Jackie Robinson Centennial Celebration, which culminates in the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in Lower Manhattan in December 2019. As part of the celebration, 6sqft is exploring the history of 10 spots around town where you can walk in the footsteps of an American hero.
Photo by Tia Richards for 6sqft
The official design of the first statue of non-fictional women in Central Park was unveiled last summer. The statue, a sculpture of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, is set to be dedicated on August 18, 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote nationwide. Terrific, right? Not completely. Because, as the New York Times informs us, some women’s rights advocates feel the statue doesn’t show the whole story. One complaint: Stanton and Anthony were white. Included in the statue’s design, a list of women who aided in the cause contains a significant number of African-American women. Why weren’t any of them chosen to be the face of women’s contributions to social equality?
Gloria Steinem weighs in, this way
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta being greeted by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (left) and labor leader A. Philip Randolph (right) at the Pan American World Airways terminal, in New York City: Image: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. (1950 – 1959).
Open as of January 15, a new photography exhibit titled, “Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr.” at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center considers Reverend King as man, traveler and friend. The show offers an intimate travelogue of the civil rights leader’s visits to India, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance in Oslo, Norway, and work as a crusader for non-violent civil rights action, captured by noted photographers of the day.
Find out more
First Earth Day, April 22, 1970. View of crowds in Union Square, NYC Parks Photo Archive, Neg #53262_28. All of the photos in this post are courtesy of the Parks Department.
Maybe you’ve gathered in Union Square. Perhaps you’ve marched up Fifth Avenue to Central Park. You could have even held signs aloft in Columbus Circle, Tompkins Square, or Zuccotti Park. If you have ever been part of a protest in any park across the five boroughs, you’re in good company. New York City’s parks have a rich history of social protest that stretches back to the American Revolution.
Today, the NYC Parks Department’s Ebony Society will kick off a celebration of that history with “Power to the People,” which will feature archival photographs alongside mixed-media art on the theme of public demonstration. To celebrate the exhibit, we checked out the history behind some of the protests highlighted in the show.
Read on for the history of seven protests in NYC Parks
The area in the 1840s, via Wiki Commons
One of New York City’s most charming and distinctive corners celebrates its 50th anniversary as a landmark district this coming week. The St. Mark’s Historic District, designated January 14, 1969, contains fewer than 40 buildings on parts of just three blocks. But this extraordinary East Village enclave contains several notable superlatives, including Manhattan’s oldest house still in use as a residence, New York’s oldest site of continuous religious worship, Manhattan’s only true east-west street, the remains of the last Dutch Governor of New Netherland, and the only “triangle” of houses attributed to celebrated 19th century architect James Renwick.
More secrets of the neighborhood