← Back

A History of the East Village and its Architecture

Village Preservation’s East Village Building Blocks, our web-based tool which provides information on each property in the East Village, has been wildly popular since its release just over a month ago. Equally popular has been the accompanying, in-depth report on the East Village by architectural historian Francis Morrone entitled, “A History of the East Village and its Architecture” and you can see it online here or order a hard copy here.

This 246-page report documents the East Village’s history from Dutch settlement in the 17th century, to its development in the 19th century as a prosperous merchant burg and then immigrant gateway, to its evolution in the 20th century as an epicenter of abandonment and blight to a mecca for cultural innovation and rebirth, and its struggle in the 21st century to maintain its identity in the face of renewed popularity and success. This vivid, illustrated report was funded by a grant from Preserve New York, a grant program of the Preservation League of NY State and the NY State Council on the Arts.

Francis Morrone giving a tour of our neighborhood as part of GVSHP’s Brokers Partnership program

The author, Frances Morrone, is an architectural historian, writer, lecturer and tour guide who writes extensively on architectural history and decoration. His publications include The New York Public Library: The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (2011); architectural history guidebooks to Brooklyn, Philadelphia and New York City; Ten Architectural Walks in Manhattan with Matthew A. Postal (2009) and, The New York Urban Landscape Guide (2012). Highly regarded for his walking tours, he was named in one of the 13 best tour guides in the world (one of 2 in the United States) by Travel + Leisure magazine. His membership on a number of advisory boards includes the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, Brooklyn Historical Society and the Municipal Art Society. He is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from American Friends of the Georgian Group and the Excellence in Teaching and Longer Service Recognition Awards from NY University.

The first chapter in the East Village Report provides an overview of the development of the area and the architecture which reflects that development. Subsequent chapters go into more detail on the different building types which make up the East Village including Row Houses, Tenements, Institutional Buildings, Commercial and Industrial Buildings, Houses of Worship, Buildings for Art and Artists, Public Schools and Public Housing. Here is a sampling:

44 Stuyvesant Street, a Federal row house built for Nicholas William Stuyvesant c. 1795 and the oldest existing house in the area.
215 East 10th Street, an Old Law tenement built in 1891 and designed by Charles Rentz who also designed Webster Hall.
The Free Public Baths at 538 East 11th Street was built in 1904-05 and designed by Arnold W. Brunner in the Beaux-Arts style.
The former Wheatsworth Bakery at 444 East 10th Street. Designed by J. Edwin Hopkins and built in 1927-28, the seven-story reinforced-concrete factory has terra-cotta ornamentation in the Viennese Secession style. At this factory, Wheatsworth produced its eponymous crackers, as well as MilkBone dog biscuits.
The First Ukrainian Assembly of God has, since 1937, occupied this building at 53-61 Cooper Square. It was built in 1867 in the Italianate/French Second Empire style, designed by Carl Pfeiffer and originally housed the Metropolitan Savings Bank.
32 Second Avenue was built in 1917-19 and designed by Alfred Hopkins in the Renaissance Revival style. Originally, it served as a courthouse and in 1979, the Anthology Film Archives bought the building and continues to occupy it to this day.
P.S. 105 at 271 East 4th Street was designed by C.B.J Snyder and built in 1897. Snyder was the New York City Superintendent of School Buildings from 1891 to 1922 and was responsible for the designs of 11 of the East Village’s public schools.
130 East 3rd Street was built in 1935 and part of the First Houses public housing project purported to be the first public housing units constructed in the United States

Related Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *