A neighbor was having a sale last Saturday to clear out bric-a-brac. My trusty companion and I arrived looking for the advertised guitar, which was already sold, so we left with an armful of books for $6 instead. Among the lode were two Greenwich Village Guides, published by The Villager newspaper. The years 1947 and 1959 must have been big ones for the Guide, because those are exactly the volumes that have been explored in previous blog posts here and here. They are so charming, however, that another look is warranted.
There is plenty of history in the guide, but like Drew and Dana before me, I am too captivated by the ads in the 1947 edition to have read it yet.
What is it about old ads? Their quaintness beguiles, makes us laugh, makes us sigh. They show us what’s different, and what’s stayed the same.
For example, I used to live on West 14th Street across from St. Bernard’s Church/Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Catholic church with separate English- and Spanish-speaking constituencies. The Spanish-Guadalupe contingent brings with it a lively street market of food and trinkets. Well, in the guide there is a “Directory of Public Buildings,” with a section on Churches, and I see my old neighbors here — but Guadalupe was one block east at the time, only recently to co-locate with St. Bernard’s:
There’s but a solitary ad in the guide for someone we might today call a “party planner” or “personal chef.” One can’t help but wonder if the ad was successful in generating business, as it intimidates before the phone call is even placed:
There’s only one man who can prepare you for a Tino event, though, and that surely is Daniel:
Life on West 14th Street had a lot of pluses, but living in the front of the building sure was loud, especially in the car-alarm era.
Both the 1947 and 1959 guides are here in our GVSHP library, if you ever want to come by and savor a few memories or chuckles yourself.