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More is More: Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II

In this series, ‘More is More,’ we look at historic district extensions in our area.

The Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II was designated June 22, 2010 after a multi-year campaign led by Village Preservation.  Although this is an extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District which was designated in 1969, it was also the first phase of the South Village Historic District first proposed by GVSHP in 2006.  This 235-building, 12 block designation was at the time the largest expansion of landmark protections in Greenwich Village since 1969.

Our Lady of Pompeii Church in the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II

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.  It was an area that advocates had sought unsuccessfully to include in the Greenwich Village Historic District when it was designated in 1969.

Map of the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II

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-and-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.

269-271 Bleecker Street, two Federal style row houses built c. 1835-36 and Italianate updates from the mid-19th century. Courtesy of Google Maps

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, as do larger commercial buildings, particularly along the Avenues and at major intersections.

34-36 Carmine Street, a Romanesque Revival Old Law tenement built in 1890 and designed by John C. Burne. Courtesy of Google Maps

The designation of this district was the first victory in creating landmark protections for the South Village. GVSHP continued to fight for the same for the rest of the proposed South Village after this designation. 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 the most important 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.  

The Varitype Building at 2 Cornelia Street, built in 1907 in the Arts & Crafts style (altered) and designed by Fred Ebeling.  Courtesy of Google Maps

GVSHP continued to push the City to designate the final third of the South Village and with the designation of the Sullivan-Thompson Historic District in December of 2016, that goal was achieved.

To learn more about the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II, click HERE for the designation report.

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