Archiving is one of the many ways that Village Preservation ensures the preservation of our neighborhoods. By keeping records and files of images, stories, and the processes of preservation since neighborhood residents first came together to advocate for their neighborhoods, we keep Village histories alive. We have always made these archives accessible for anyone who would want to study them, learn from past preservation efforts, or listen to the recorded stories of artists, preservationists, business owners, and more.
Our new website, VillagePreservation.org, has all the information and resources you’d expect, while being simpler, clearer, and easier to use, allowing you to get the latest news, do in-depth research, find out about events and programs, and easily support our work or get more involved. Whether you want a quick bit of information or want to spend hours exploring neighborhood history and preservation efforts, VillagePreservation.org is the place to be!
The Archive section in particular demonstrates how easy it is to meet Village history past and present.
Starting at our homepage at villagepreservation.org, we’re going into the Resources section, and within that, the “Archives” list.
The Historic Image Archive
This highly trafficked section is so beloved we gave it a whole button at the top of our website, but it’s also nestled in here with the other archives. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what does that say about an archive of more than 2300 images? Have you lost hours perusing the image archive as we all have here at Village Preservation? Each image illuminates the history of the people and built environment of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, and New York City in general. It has been assembled over the years through generous donations and consists of several dozen different collections.
There are three ways to peruse the Historic Image Archive — by collection, by image, and by map.
The map view is interactive, so as you zoom in closer to the spot you’re looking for, the images reveal themselves in more detail. What looks like “58” initially, when you zoom in becomes a multitude of smaller numbers, which eventually become individual, mapped images.
We also have a helpful keyword search field. We recommend being as general as possible in that search. For example, a search for the word “arch” will yield all our photos of the Washington Square Arch, which you can find here.
Also, if you love the photos as much as we do, you may want to order a print of your favorite photo, or perhaps you’ve got a collection of amazing snapshots in a closet somewhere?
Oral Histories Archive
Village Preservation’s Oral History Archive includes interviews with some of the great artists, activists, business owners, community leaders, and preservation pioneers of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. It captures and preserves their first-person perspective on the important histories they witnessed or of which they were a part.
Groundbreakers like Jane Jacobs, Merce Cunningham, David Amram, and dozens more can be found here. Each oral history has a short audio clip, as well as full-interview-length audio, so you can listen while you’re jogging or washing dishes. If you’d like to read along or pull out quotes for your research (or blog posts!), there’s a transcript for each.
You can scroll through our Oral Histories at random through the “older posts” or “newer posts” at the bottom of the main archive page. Or, if you’re looking for a topic of interest, the archive is also organized by categories, listed and linked:
Click on the categories, and you’ll find what you’re interested in. Many of our subjects are cross-listed; for example, Andrew & Romana Raffetto, owners of Raffetto’s Fresh Pasta can be found under “local business,” “immigration,” “South Village,” and “Greenwich Village.”
Preservation History Archive
This archive contains printed materials from organizations and individuals involved in historic preservation efforts, particularly those connected to Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. This extensive collection goes deep into the stories, movements, documents, newsletters, and more related to the preservation of our neighborhoods.
Taking a deep dive into these archives yields amazing finds, from the strange and delightful doodles that graced the West Village Committee’s newsletters from 1961-1969 to the mundane-seeming correspondences that eventually led to the extraordinary birth of the Greenwich Village Historic District in the Otis Pratt Pearsall collection, which chronicles correspondence and other information from 1965-68 about Greenwich Village prior to the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District in 1969.
Each element of the Preservation History Archive is linked at the top of the page, to make navigation easier. Click, for example, on the Otis Pratt Pearsall Collection, and the page will magically scroll to the collection. From there, you can learn about the collection, and click on the “View PDF” button to read the archive. For your convenience, our accordions open out and provide the contents of the archives. Clicking on the “+” sign opens them out, so if you’re looking for something in particular, you’ll be able to navigate to that page of the archive.
We hope that you enjoy exploring the streamlined new archive pages on VillagePreservation.org, and look forward to learning, remembering, listening, and archiving together!