, Today, January 17, 2020
Streetview of 14-16 Fifth Avenue, Map data © 2020 Google; Painting of Henry Breevort via public domain, Photo of General Daniel Edgar Sickles courtesy of the Library of Congress, and photo of Celeste Holm via public domain
Madison Realty Capital filed plans last month to demolish 14-16 Fifth Avenue, a five-story apartment building constructed in 1848, and replace it with a 244-foot-tall tower. Because the building is located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, the building can only be demolished if the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission rules that the building itself is of no historic or architectural merit, and does not contribute to the character of the district (the public hearings where this would be debated and decided have not yet been scheduled). What may seem like a nondescript apartment building actually has an incredibly rich and varied history. Throughout its 170-year history, 14-16 Fifth Avenue was home to Civil War generals, Gold Rush writers, Oscar-winning actors, railroad magnates, pioneering industrialists, inventors, and politicians. What follows is just some of the history behind this easily-overlooked lower Fifth Avenue landmark.
One building, tons of history
Photo credit: Rich Caplan courtesy of Compass.
The classic Greenwich Village residence known as the Cast Iron Building at 67 East 11th Street is every bit the downtown loft its name implies. In addition, it’s a doorman building with luxury amenities. Asking $1.25 million, this dramatic pre-war duplex co-op has the 15-foot ceilings loft-lovers crave, plus private outdoor space in the form of a 100-square-foot terrace–a rare perk in a loft.
Take the tour
Photo credit: Ben Fitchett courtesy of Compass.
According to the listing for this utterly charming Greenwich Village penthouse loft at 132 West 4th Street, silent film actor John Barrymore lived here a century ago and christened it “The Alchemist’s Corner.” While the silver screen connection adds stardust to its image, a spot atop an 1839 townhouse, a massive dramatic skylight, and a rooftop garden with a heated porch and den make this $7,200 a month rental opportunity magical all on its own.
Alchemy and views, this way
As this year marks 400 years since the first African slaves were brought to America, much attention has been paid to what that means and how to remember this solemn anniversary. The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission issued a story map highlighting landmarks of the abolitionist movement in New York City. Absent from the map were a number of incredibly important sites in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and Noho, which were a hotbed of abolitionist activity through the 19th century, as well as the home of the city’s largest African American community. Ahead, learn about 14 significant sites of the anti-slavery movement.
Photo credit: Cary Horowitz for Brown Harris Stevens.
Between Russian-born billionaire Roman Abramovitch‘s three-townhouse Upper East Side combo, Sarah Jessica Parker‘s Village two-fer plans, and the many similar but less newsworthy grandiose schemes by modern-day moguls to collect and build dream castles, the mega-mansion may seem like a sign of 21st-century excess. But the practice has a long history, as evidenced by this 54.5-foot-wide Greenwich Village property at 11 West 10th Street that just hit the market for a trophy-level $50 million, which could set a townhouse record below 34th Street, according to the New York Times. Built by renowned architect Ernest Flagg in the early 1800s, the duo was combined in the early 1900s by investor Jeremiah Milbank, creating a 16,560-square-foot, L-shaped property surrounded by 5,690 square feet of private terrace. Today, it’s been renovated from stem to stern and is ready to welcome a new decade’s decadence.
Megamansion tour, this way
Developer Madison Equities filed plans on Thursday to demolish two five-story buildings at 14-16 Fifth Avenue in favor of a 21-story, 244-foot luxury apartment tower. According to The Real Deal, Madison Equities bought the property with City Urban Realty in 2015 for $27.5 million and at the time cited plans to renovate the existing apartments. The buildings currently contain 20 units of “relatively affordable housing” while the proposed new building would comprise 18 “super-luxury” units. The Gothic Revival townhouses date back to 1848 and are landmarked within the Greenwich Village Historic District so the plans can only proceed with approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
From top left: Photo of Robert Frost via Wikimedia, Photo of Emily Post via Library of Congress, Photo of Henry Miller via Wikimedia; From bottom left: Photo of James Baldwin by Allan Warren via Wikimedia, Photo of Patricia Highsmith via Wikimedia, and Photo of Margaret Mead via Smithsonian Institution Archives Wikimedia
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.
Greenwich Village, specifically the historic district at its core, has been described as many things, but “literary” may be among the most common. That’s not only because the neighborhood has an air of sophistication and drama, but because it has attracted some of the nation’s greatest writers over the last 200 plus years. Ahead, learn about just some of the cornucopia of great wordsmiths who have called the Greenwich Village Historic District home, from Thomas Paine to Lorraine Hansberry.
Images courtesy of Douglas Elliman.
This two-floor co-op at 200 West Houston Street, asking $2.695 million, may be on a busy Village thoroughfare, but its location across from the critic favorite Film Forum movie theater–and screening-room-ready lower level–might make it the perfect spot for someone who wants to immerse themselves in film. There’s room to configure the space differently (it’s currently set up as a one-bedroom), and each level has a separate entrance.
Take the tour
Photo credit: Warchol Photography, Courtesy of Compass.
Located in Noho’s nondescript-modernist Bleecker Court at 77 Bleecker Street, this unique home was designed in 2003 by architect and educator Diane Lewis for an art-world client who wanted, according to the listing, “a cross between Mies van der Rohe and Barbarella.” She definitely achieved that goal, creating a downtown apartment that’s perfect for anyone with collections to archive and display or who is seeking a sleek, pristine home that does a lot in a small space. It’s asking $1,075,000.
More views of this modern architectural wonder
Photo of Bob Dylan by Chris Hakkens on Wikimedia, Photo of Janis Joplin via Wikimedia, Photo of Buddy Holly via Wikimedia, Photo of Jimi Hendrix via Wikimedia, Photo of Lou Reed by Mick Rock on Wikimedia
For generations, Greenwich Village, and particularly the historic district which lies at its core, has attracted musicians of all stripes. They’ve been inspired by its quaint and charming streets and the lively cultural scene located in and around the neighborhood. It would be a fool’s errand to try to name every great musician who ever laid their head to rest within the Greenwich Village Historic District’s boundaries. But as we round out a year’s worth of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the district’s designation, here are just a few of the greats who at one time or another called it home, from Bob Dylan to John Lennon to Jimi Hendrix to Barbra Streisand.