Westbeth Artists Housing

May 17, 2023

Ralph Lee, famous puppet maker and Village Halloween Parade founder, dies at 87

Ralph Lee, a legendary New York City puppet maker who helped create the Village Halloween Parade, passed away last Friday in his Manhattan home at the age of 87. As reported by the New York Times, Lee's death was confirmed by his wife Casey Compton, who stated that her husband's health had declined over the past several months. While he was also an actor, writer, producer, and director, Lee was best known for his innovative puppet and mask designs, many of which were seen in shows by the Metropolitan Opera, the NYC Opera, and a wide variety of dance troupes and theater productions, including his own Mettawee River Theatre.
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March 18, 2019

Westbeth reopens highly coveted waitlist for artist’s housing, starting at $900/month

Nearly 50 years ago, the old Bell Telephone Laboratories building at 55 Bethune Street in the Far West Village was converted to affordable live/work housing for artists, courtesy of a young, then-unknown architect named Richard Meier. Because of the building's prime Hudson River-front location, storied creative past, and collection of 384 units--most of which feature open, loft layouts and high ceilings perfect for a working artist--Westbeth Artists Housing has become one of the most coveted addresses in NYC. For the first time since 2007, the community has reopened its waitlist for working artists and their families. The annual income range starts at $69,445 for one person to $114,950 for a six-person household, and the units go from $900/month studios to $2,400/month three-bedrooms.
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October 11, 2018

Open House New York in Greenwich Village: The history of three unique sites

Among the many delights included in this weekend’s Open House New York will be three iconic Greenwich Village buildings--a Gothic Revival church with many architectural firsts, a library that was originally a courthouse which heard the "Trial of the Century," and a groundbreaking artists' housing complex that was formerly home to Bell Telephone Labs and the site where color television was invented. These extraordinary landmarks span three centuries of American history, reflecting the evolution of our city’s spiritual, artistic, industrial, scientific, and civic life.
Learn more about their unique histories
October 19, 2016

My 1,400sqft: Inside Puppet Maker Ralph Lee’s Live/Work Space in Westbeth Artists Housing

When the old Bell Telephone Laboratories building was transformed to the Westbeth affordable artists' housing in 1970, one of the original creatives to move in was Ralph Lee, a theater jack-of-all trades who is best known for his larger-than-life puppets and masks. His whimsical creations served as the props for the very first Village Halloween Parade, an event that has since grown into an annual, nationally-known event. Today, his characters from the early days of the parade adorn his eclectic live/work studio in Westbeth, where he still lives and continues to make puppets and masks for his company the Mettawee River Theatre. Ralph recently invited 6sqft into his space, where we got up close and personal with the puppets and were able to see how the magic happens.
Learn about Ralph's storied career and get a special look at his home and studio
July 27, 2016

INTERVIEW: George Cominskie on the History and Future of the Westbeth Artist Community

Westbeth Artists Housing at 55 Bethune Street in the West Village opened in 1970 to provide affordable live/work spaces for artists. A young Richard Meier took the project on as one of his first commissions, transforming the former home of Bell Laboratories into 384 units open to artists of all disciplines. Today, Westbeth remains home […]

January 22, 2016

My 1,400sqft: Painter Stephen Hall Brings Us Into His Greenwich Village Loft and Studio

Since being transformed into homes for artists in the 1970s, Westbeth Artists' Housing has hosted some of New York City's most brilliant creatives. And long-time resident and painter Stephen Hall most certainly falls into that set, helping to fill the residence's walls with thought-provoking ideas for the last 17 years. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Stephen came to New York back in 1978 and began exhibiting his work in the East Village in the early '80s. Today, his colorful pop-surrealist masterpieces can be found in collections all across the globe, with his paintings now commanding between $5,000-$20,000 a piece. He's also dreamt up art for major motion pictures, music videos and magazines. Curious to see the madness and magic behind his Stephen's off-kilter works—which he describes as "paintings [that] confront us with complex conundrums for which each of many possible solutions may very well tell us as much about ourselves as about the subject at hand"—6sqft recently paid a visit to his duplex loft, a family home that mixes mid-century modern design with pops of color and familiar but fantastical forms.
Keep reading to meet the artist, and to get a peek inside his live/work space
April 30, 2015

Art Nerd New York’s Top Event Picks for the Week, 4/30-5/6

This week, I recommend taking a magical vintage-inspired boat ride set to romantic music, or experiencing old New York with an exhibition at the historic Westbeth Artists Housing's gallery. You can also gawk at the ill-fated Edie Sedgwick's beauty as Andy Warhol's Screen Tests take over Times Square, commemorate the life of urban activist—and Robert Moses nemesis—Jane Jacobs with over 200 free walking tours, or celebrate the vigor of the city with Michael Sorgatz's paintings. Leave your comfort zone and head to New Jersey–zip into Newark for the Gateway Project's ribbon cutting and party, or spend the day taking in the 1 million square feet of art space at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City.
All the best events here