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Great Album Covers, Preserved Forever

They may not necessarily be a basis for landmark designation, but it’s always nice when the setting for a great album cover gets landmark protections, ensuring that it lives on for future generations to appreciate.

The Village and East Village have inspired and launched the career of many musicians over the years.  So it’s no surprise that some noteworthy records of the last half century also carried depictions of the same streets and neighborhoods from which these artists emerged on their covers.

As we approach the end of the Bloomberg Administration, Village Preservation has been taking a look back at all the sites we have been able to help protect through landmark and zoning protections over the last ten years in our report “Ten Years — A Thousand Buildings Landmarked — One Hundred Blocks Rezoned.”  Turns out, more than a few of those sites have been the setting for some great album covers:

Jones Street in 1963 (l.), and today.

The cover of 1963’s “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was shot on one-block-long Jones Street, which was included in the South Village Extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District, designated in 2010.

Neil Young on MacDougal Street in 1970 (l.); the site today.

The cover for Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush” (1970) was shot in front of NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall Law School, located on Washington Square South.  Part of Village Preservation’s proposed South Village Historic District, it was originally carved out of the city’s proposed South Village Historic District.  However, Village Preservation fought to have it added back in, and it was included in the calendared district heard in June.  The City is committed to voting upon landmark designation of this district before year’s end.

Fred Neil stood in the middle of this intersection in 1965 for his album cover (l.); the same location today.

Fred Neil’s “Bleecker & MacDougal” was shot in front of the San Remo Cafe, located on the northwest corner of that intersection, which is also included in the proposed South Village Historic District to be voted upon by the city before the end of the year.

The New York Dolls exploded onto the scene with their debut album, released in 1973 (l.); the same site today.

The back of the New York Dolls’ first album was shot on front of Gem Spa, located on the southwest corner of St. Mark’s Place and 2nd Avenue, in the East Village Historic District, designated 2012.

See more of the great buildings, sites, and locations preserved through landmark designations over the last ten years in Village Preservation’s report “Ten Years — A Thousand Buildings Landmarked — One Hundred Blocks Rezoned.

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