The Flatiron Building is one of the city’s most iconic and beloved landmarks. Since 1902 it’s been a symbol of New York, though ironically its acute angle formed by the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue makes it an unusual sight in our otherwise orthogonal city on a grid. But while the Flatiron Building may be the most famous product of quirky street angles, it’s far from the only one. In fact, the “off-the-grid” streets of Greenwich Village and the East Village contain scores of them, most of which pre-date the 23rd Street landmark.
Lorraine Hansberry at her typewriter in her Greenwich Village apartment in 1960. Photo by David Attie courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute.
Lorraine Hansberry, the trailblazing playwright, activist, and Nina Simone song inspiration was perhaps most closely associated with Chicago. But in fact she lived, went to school, and spent much of her life in Greenwich Village, even writing her best known play “A Raisin in the Sun” while living on Bleecker Street. And shortly a historic plaque will mark the site of her home on Waverly Place.
Stonewall Inn, photo via Wikimedia
LGBT activists will unveil a rainbow flag outside the historic gay bar Stonewall Inn on Wednesday, marking the 30th anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The Greenwich Village bar at 53 Christopher Street is often credited with launching the gay rights movement after multiple violent police raids in the summer of 1969. President Barack Obama designated Stonewall as a national monument last year, the first National Park Service unit dedicated to the gay rights movement (h/t DNA info). Stonewall’s rainbow flag will be the first permanent LGBT pride flag in New York City.
Ann Dexter-Jones, British-born socialite, jewelry designer, mom to the Ronson clan, and once-again wife of Foreigner’s Mick Jones (the pair married 32 years ago, divorced in 2007 and recently remarried) just put her chic three-bedroom Village co-op on the market (h/t New York Post). The 2,075-square-foot home at 42 West 9th Street in the coveted “Gold Coast” neighborhood off lower Fifth Avenue, asking $4.995 million, has a townhouse vibe and plenty of character. Four wood-burning fireplaces, 11-foot ceilings, and pre-war details can be found throughout, in a building with more amenities than a townhouse.
Caffe Reggio, via Prayitno/Flickr
Many think of Little Italy’s Mulberry Street or the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue as the centers of Italian-American life and culture in New York. But some of the most historically significant sites relating to the Italian-American experience in New York can be found in the Greenwich Village blocks known as the South Village–from the first church in America built specifically for an Italian-American congregation to the cafe where cappuccino was first introduced to the country, to the birthplace of Fiorello LaGuardia, NYC’s first Italian-American mayor.
There’s no shortage of sites in the Village and East Village where great makers of popular music lived or performed. Less well known, however, are the multitude of sites that were the backdrop for iconic album covers, sometimes sources of inspiration for the artists or just familiar stomping grounds. Today, many are hiding in plain sight, waiting to perform an encore for any passersby discerning enough to notice. Ahead, we round up some of the most notable examples, from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” to the Ramones’ self-titled debut album.
It’s like musical chairs for Alec Baldwin and his apartments at the Devonshire House. He bought the Greenwich Village building’s penthouse for $11.7 million in October 2011; in June 2012, his wife Hilaria bought the unit next door in her name; and the following year, they scooped up an eighth-floor unit for $2.25 million. Two years ago, however, Baldwin sold this last apartment at a loss for $2.1 million, and this past May, he also unloaded the Eldorado apartment he shared in the ’90s with ex-wife Kim Bassinger, both transactions leading many to believe the Emmy-winning Trump portrayer would be departing NYC. But Mansion Global now reports that he’s bought another Devonshire unit for $1.3 million. It’s on the same floor as his other two units, so it’s likely that he’ll combine the three into one massive spread.
Ai Weiwei’s installation will be underneath the Washington Square Arch beginning this October, rendering via Ai Weiwei and Public Art Fund
An art installation from internationally acclaimed artist-activist, Ai Weiwei, will be displayed at the same time as the Christmas tree underneath the Washington Square Arch this year, displacing the tree, which has been a holiday tradition since 1924. The exhibit serves as one part of the famed Chinese artist’s larger project, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” which will feature ten large fence-themed works and more than 90 smaller installations across the five boroughs. As Bedford + Bowery learned, the plan is moving forward, despite objections from the Washington Square Association, who sought an appeal to have the project withdrawn because it will disrupt the usual holiday celebration, the second oldest tree lighting ceremony in New York City.
827-831 Broadway today via Wiki Commons (L); Willem de Kooning in his Fourth Avenue studio, April 1946. Harry Bowden, photographer. Harry Bowden papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.Via The Willem de Kooning Foundation. (R)
Underneath the lyrical and much-admired sherbet-colored facades of the twin lofts at 827-831 Broadway lies a New York tale like no other. Incorporating snuff, sewing machines, and cigar store Indians; Abstract Expressionists; and the “antique dealer to the stars,” it also involves real estate and big money, and the very real threat of the wrecking ball. Ahead, explore the one-of-a-kind past of these buildings, which most notably served as the home to world-famous artist Willem de Kooning, and learn about the fight to preserve them not only for their architectural merit but unique cultural history.
The kitchen may be in the cellar, but this 2,400-square-foot townhouse at 154 West 11th Street in the lovely western reaches of Greenwich Village keeps every inch of interior space clean, bright and airy. At 20 feet wide with three (legit) floors, it’s understandable why so much thought was put into making sure space was used wisely. Built in 1845 and surrounded by its historic brethren in the Greenwich Village Historic District, the three-bedroom home has been lovingly restored and made ready for modern family life from to its walnut-stained oak floors and four wood-burning fireplaces to its charming garden.