Photo Credit: Fine Art America
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 to many original residents, as well as others who arrived between 1970 and 2007 when the community closed its waitlist. In the process, the complex has evolved from a freewheeling haven for hippie artists to a somewhat calmer complex where the average age of residents is now well over 60. CityRealty.com talked to the George Cominskie, the President of the Westbeth Artist Residents Council, about the community’s history, the decision to close the waitlist for units, and the future of artist housing in New York City.