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History Repeats Itself – Significant Site in South Village to be Demolished

In 2008 NYU planned to demolish the Provincetown Playhouse to make way for a new law school building. Located at 133-139 MacDougal Street the Provincetown Playhouse was an incredibly significant site in the history of American theater. The theater was a launching pad for works of Eugene O’Neill, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edward Albee, Sam Shepherd, Charles Busch, and David Mamet and many notable actors, some in their debuts, graced its stage including Bette Davis, Paul Robeson, and Claudette Colbert among others.

After GVSHP’s fierce advocacy and community outcry for the preservation of the Provincetown Playhouse NYU agreed to preserve a small portion of the building. Despite this commitment to the community, in August of 2009 NYU demolished nearly the entire building.

Provincetown Playhouse after demolition

Today, almost three years later yet another site in the South Village is threatened with demolition, 186 Spring Street, which you can read about here and here. Denied consideration as an individual landmark this building like so many others in the South Village should be protected with landmark designation.

After years of dedicated advocacy by GVSHP in 2010 the LPC designated 1/3 of what had been identified as a potential South Village historic district. Since then we have seen and continue to see historic buildings demolished and unsympathetically altered pointing to the need for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move quickly to designate the remaining 2/3 of the South Village. You can read more about the history of sites like the Provincetown Playhouse and 186 Spring Street  in this GVSHP report about the South Village.  If you want to write a letter of support for landmarking the entire South Village, you can find a sample letter here.

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