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MacDougal, Sullivan, & Thompson

south village
Corner of Bleecker and MacDougal Streets (photo by Bob Estermera)

No, it’s not the name of a law firm. It’s the names of 3 of my favorite streets in the recently-designated South Village Historic District.

For many years I lived in the South Village, and often when I gave people directions, I would find myself saying, “Stay on Bleecker, cross 6th Avenue, then you’ll cross 3 alphabetical streets: MacDougal, Sullivan, and Thompson…”

But by simply crossing these 3 streets you are doing yourself a disservice. Explore them instead!

Named for generals who served under George Washington in the American War for Independence — Alexander McDougall, John Sullivan, and William Thompson — these are some of the most quintessentially Greenwich Village streets you’ll find.

MacDougal Street

Some of my favorite places on MacDougal Street are: Caffé Dante, Falafel King, Mamoun’s, Minetta Tavern, Café Wha? Caffe Reggio, and the Passannante Ballfield on the corner of Houston Street. Part of MacDougal Street was lost when Sixth Avenue was extended in the early 1920’s. But the original address of the Butterick Building, which stands at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Spring Street, was MacDougal Street. When it was built in 1903 it was the largest building around, and it can be seen in this John Sloan painting, near the top center. And at 92 MacDougal, near Bleecker Street, you’ll find a bronze plaque commemorating the location of the legendary San Remo Café, which was installed by GVSHP and the Two Boots Foundation.

John Sloan 1922
John Sloan. The City from Greenwich Village. 1922.
Sullivan Street


Sullivan and Thompson Streets are more residential than commercial, but are still worth a stroll, for the visual feast of all that architecture we fought so hard to save! But there are also some places I like, including Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company, Peanut Butter & Co., Florencia 13, and Once Upon a Tart, all on Sullivan Street.

On Thompson Street you can find the famous chess shops near West 3rd Street, some nice clothing stores, and, at the corner of Houston Street 2012 Village Award winner Arturo’s . Whenever I have company from out of town, I take them to Arturo’s. Live jazz, great pizza – but don’t take my word for it. Go find out for yourself!

Arturo’s, on the corner of Houston and Thompson Streets

2 responses to “MacDougal, Sullivan, & Thompson

  1. Back in the 1970s, I lived on Thompson Street near Spring – the other side of Houston Street from the new district, but more or less part of the same neighborhood. I first discovered Caffe Dante in 1975 – it’s doubled in size (and in the process lost a wonderful, huge, colorized panorama photo of Florence that took up almost an entire wall), and the cappuccino and cannoli that once cost $1.25 (that’s the total cost, including tax and tip) is now more like $10, but it’s hardly changed otherwise. Mamoun’s Felafel was another hangout in the mid-70s – also little changed in the intervening 40 years. Cafe Reggio was there too, but I was loyal to Dante, mostly from nostalgia for Florence. Nice to know that the district now has some protection – and we won’t easily suffer another loss like the Provincetown Playhouse….

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