This is one in a series of posts marking the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District. Click here to check out our year-long activities and celebrations.
On April 29th, 2019, we launched our new interactive map, Greenwich Village Historic District, 1969-2019: Photos and Tours, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Greenwich Village Historic District. In the months since we have been expanding the map, adding both new tours and new entries to previously existing tours. Now, beyond depicting images of every one of the over 2,200 buildings in the Greenwich Village Historic District as they looked in 1969 and today, we have included over 800 sites that appear on various tours exploring the architecture, history, and culture of New York City’s largest historic district.
One particular set of recent additions appears on our “Daytonian in Manhattan” tour, a tour of sites in the Greenwich Village Historic District from the blog ‘Daytonian in Manhattan’ by author and historian Tom Miller. The Daytonian blog provides thoroughly-researched and in-depth accounts of the histories of buildings and monuments throughout Manhattan (just go to www.gvshp.org/GVHD50tour and click on the links for this and other tours). Here are some of the highlights of the new additions:
A Remarkably Re-Built Corner at 61 Grove Street
In 1890 brothers John and Philip Goerlitz contracted architect Franklin Baylies to design an apartment house on Grove Street in Greenwich Village between Bleecker and West 4th Streets.
This distinctive, block-long building has two entrances — one at 61 Grove Street, the other at 76 Christopher Street. The top floor is busy with terra cotta, carved portrait keystones, and a tin cornice. The Grove Street side is red brick, while the Christopher Street side is beige brick, creating a striking color difference between the two parts of the same building.
In 1913, the city undertook the extension of Seventh Avenue south from 11th Street to Varick Street, which is now known as Seventh Avenue South. The project necessitated clipping a corner of the building at 61 Grove Street, and in 1914 architects Wortmann & Braun were hired to adjust the building to its new Avenue. Amazingly, carved elements from the building’s facade were saved during demolition and reused. The alteration left a seam, but was otherwise so well done that the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report for the 1969 Greenwich Village Historic District mistakenly stated: “The building was specifically designed for an oddly shaped corner lot.”
The Daniel Hoagland Carpenter House – 39 Bethune Street
In 1846 a three-story brick-faced house was erected at No. 39 Bethune Street. The Greek Revival style residence also has a horsewalk (learn much more about horsewalks and the history of horses in the Village here) which led to a second rear structure, the picture frame factory of John Sigler.
Located in the westernmost reaches of the Greenwich Village Historic District (just shy of the Washington Street boundary), the house itself has seen a number of residents, and various incarnations, over its nearly two centuries — first as a one-family residence, and then as a packing box factory. In 1886, the building was renovated into a tenement residence, with separate apartments. Later, in 1987, another renovation turned the building into a single-family home again. And all the while, the facade and the building itself survived even as the use and interior changed significantly.
It also bears mention that the namesake of Bethune Street was a Greenwich Village heroine in her own right. Joanna Graham Bethune, was, with her husband, deeply involved in charitable work. She founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children, the Infant School Society and the Society for the Promotion of Industry Among the Poor. Bethune Street exists because she donated the land for the street to the city, and now is also home to the famed Westbeth Arts building, which also has a past as a factory, as it now is a residence, like 39 Bethune Street with its dramatic and varied history.
Max Siegel’s Art Deco 90 Seventh Avenue So. and 307 Bleecker Street
This Art Deco building is quite beautiful and is a welcome addition to our GVHD50 map. Located on what used to be called Herring Street on its Bleecker Street side, this building was also shaped by the creation of Seventh Avenue South, which intersects with Bleecker Street at an angle. But unlike 61 Grove Street, this was not a case of reconstructive surgery meant to hide the scars of the slicing of Seventh Avenue South through the area; 90 Seventh Avenue South/307 Bleecker Street post-dates the creation of Seventh Avenue South, and thus was always intended to fit its unusually-shaped lot.
During the Great Depression, the Allenad Realty Corporation purchased almost the entire triangle where Grove Street, Bleecker Street, and Seventh Avenue South meet. Max Siegal was hired to create two matching facades for this angled, L-shaped building. These matching Art Deco facades feature lines, floral elements, and geometric elements in contrasting colored brick and cast concrete, instead of the more expensive terra cotta often found on Art Deco buildings (it was the Depression, after all).
The ground floor still contains storefronts and used to be the home of the famous Pink Tea Cup, where Jimi Hendrix worked as a dishwasher. In the upper levels, offices were built on the second floor, and apartments on the third floor. A year later, the architect Siegel was back to convert the second floor to a “dancing and meeting room and cabaret,” which hosted musicians, poets, and later a Democratic Party club. Today, the second and third floors are a sprawling duplex apartment, holding a raucous history from its previous tenants, while the facade remains a 1930s Art Deco beauty.
The Greenwich Village Historic District Tour Map, and the Daytonian
These are just some of the recent additions to our Greenwich Village Historic District 50th Anniversary Map’s Daytonian Tour, and just some of the overall recent additions to the map. Its development is an ongoing labor of love, and these storied, historic buildings are now in the company of nearly a thousand other entries. Explore the rest of the “Daytonian in Manhattan” tour for all of the spots located in the Greenwich Village Historic District written about by expert researcher and architectural historian Tom Miller in his blog Daytonian in Manhattan (Tom hails from Dayton, Ohio originally).
Visit the map here.
Our current tours include:
- Immigration Landmarks
- Course of History Changed
- Transformative Women
- Most Charming Spots
- Social Change Champions
- Artists’ Homes
- Homes and Haunts of Great Writers
- Houses with Dormers
- Buildings Designed by George Frederick Pelham
- Street Name Origins
- Edward Hopper’s Greenwich Village
- Mid-Century Modern
- Music Venues
- African-American History
- LGBTQ Sites
- Pineapples, Pinecones, and Acorns of the Village
- Musicians’ Homes
- Movie and TV Show Locations
- Wood Frame Houses
- Buildings Designed by Emery Roth (& Sons)
- Little Flatirons of the Village
- Homes of Preservationists
- Daytonian in Manhattan