This past Wednesday marks six years since the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II (click HERE for the designation report),which was Phase I of GVSHP’s proposed South Village Historic District from 2006. This 235-building, 12 block designation was at the time the largest expansion of landmark protections in Greenwich Village since 1969.
The Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II is located along the southwest boundary of the Greenwich Village Historic District, primarily between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. It includes row houses, tenements, stables and public and institutional structures that illustrate the development of the area. The district retained its colonial street pattern even after the adoption of the Manhattan grid plan in 1811. The oldest buildings within the district are modest examples of two-an-a-half and three story Federal and Greek Revival row houses dating from the 1810’s to the 1850’s when this area was a desirable residential area. Before and after the Civil War, tenements were built to house the incoming immigrant population and there are excellent examples of pre-law, old-law and new law configurations designed in the Italianate, neo-Grec, Queen Anne Romanesque and Renaissance Revival Styles. From the Civil War to the turn of the century, thousands of European immigrants settled in Greenwich Village’s southern section. The dominant Irish, German, and later Italian immigrant groups created working-class communities centered around social institutions. Institutional and religious structures also have a strong presence in the historic district and larger commercial buildings as well, particularly along the Avenues and at major intersections.
The designation of this district was the first victory in creating landmark protections for the South Village and GVSHP continued to fight for the same for the rest of the proposed South Village. On April 10, 2011, GVSHP held a rally in front of the Children’s Aid Society on Sullivan Street calling upon the City to landmark the remaining two-thirds of the proposed South Village Historic District as soon as possible. We continued the pressure by seeking New York State “Seven to Save” designation for the South Village. On March 21, 2012, Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of the State of New York announced the inclusion of the South Village on the League’s annual “Seven to Save” list, which highlights endangered historic places throughout the state. To further increase the pressure, we also pursued listing for the entire South Village on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, which was finalized in December of 2013 (click HERE for the designation report). We then made a great leap forward when in December 2013 the LPC finally designated the South Village Historic District (map), a two hundred forty-building, thirteen-block section of Greenwich Village south of Washington Square Park, and the second phase of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s (GVSHP) proposed South Village Historic District.
GVSHP has continued to push the City to designate the final third of the South Village in order to provide the same landmarks protections the area to the north now enjoys. Additionally, GVSHP has proposed the rezoning of the South Village to the City as was done in the East Village in order to protect the neighborhood from out of scale development.