Find out the history of every building in the East Village with GVSHP’s new research tool

Posted On Mon, January 7, 2019 By

Posted On Mon, January 7, 2019 By In East Village, History, maps

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has released a new way to find out about the East Village, one of New York City’s most interesting and historically layered neighborhoods. East Village Building Blocks is an online tool you can use to find out the history of each one of the neighborhood’s 2,200 buildings.

East Village Building Blocks, GVHPS, Greenwich Village Historic Preservation Society, east village, history

The ten-year-long project is derived from primary source research on each site to determine the date of construction, original architect, original use, alterations over time and any significant figures, events, businesses, or institutions that inhabit existing building or prior ones. You can search by address, location, architect, building type or style or by significant figures, cultural groups or types of activities associated with the building.

East Village Building Blocks, GVHPS, Greenwich Village Historic Preservation Society, east village, history

You’ll find current and historic photos and historic documents establishing dates of construction, owners, architects, uses, and alterations. Among the colorful neighborhood’s many types of buildings are houses of worship, theaters, schools, libraries, the country’s first public housing development–and one of the largest collections of intact tenements from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries.

While most were built for people of modest means by relative unknowns, some architects as prestigious as James Renwick, John B. Snook, CBJ Snyder, McKim, Mead & White, Napoleon LeBrun and Ralph Walker contributed to the area’s streetscapes. Building owners have been an unusually diverse crew, from Stuyvesants and Astors to Andy Warhol and the Catholic Worker.

East Village Building Blocks, GVHPS, Greenwich Village Historic Preservation Society, east village, history

East Village Building Blocks, GVHPS, Greenwich Village Historic Preservation Society, east village, history

The release of this new resource accompanies the organization’s release of a report by noted architectural historian Francis Morrone titled, “A History of the East Village and Its Architecture.” The report documents the neighborhood’s path from 17th century Dutch settlement to prosperous merchant burg in the 19th century to immigrant gateway through its 20th century explosion from an epicenter of abandonment and blight to a massive mecca of cultural innovation, rebirth–and gentrification. The report ends with an emphasis on the neighborhood maintaining its identity in the face of popularity and financial success in the 21st century

Both the report and the new tool are part of an effort by GVSHP to raise awareness and appreciation of the neighborhood’s rich history and to advocate for its preservation. In the report, which is funded by a grant from Preserve New York, a grant program of the Preservation League of NY State and the NY State Council on the Arts, the author reminds us that “Few places in New York City, indeed in America, are as rich in history as the East Village.”

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