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2020 Village Preservation Public Programs Roundup

Despite all the challenges of the year, Village Preservation proudly hosted 76 programs (most of which were virtual), reaching over 9,000 people in 2020. How does one choose favorites? It’s nearly impossible, especially given that each program represents, at minimum, someone’s research, passion, skill, life’s work, book, or all of the above. So, in wrap-up to the year, here are some lists of and links to our 2020 programs by category:

If you missed these events, cozy up and enjoy the videos!   

The crisp, iconic photography of Berenice Abbot

Top attended: 

  1. Berenice Abbott’s Lost City: Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday
    The iconic photographer continues to inspire and delight with her incredible life and photos (video) (event description)
  2. Illuminating Forgotten Histories: New York City’s Early Black Communities
    From the Village Minettas to Seneca Village, now-invisible Black Histories in New York were illuminated in this special panel at the Schomburg Center (video) (event description)
  3. Book Talk: Stanford White in Detail
    Focusing on White’s iconic designs and builds, no one could resist the decorative facades and interiors! (video) (event description)
  4. Book Talk: Keith Haring, Drawing on Walls
    With a Brooklyn-based artist and a Berlin-based author, this children’s book drew delight in its creative retelling of Haring’s life and iconic artworks (video) (event description)
  5. The Ultimate Ghost Tour: East Village to Greenwich Village
    This spooky tour of the haunted sites of our neighborhood fell on a full moon — not a coincidence! (video) (event description)

Tour Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo (from east to west): 

CBGB after the death of Joey Ramone. From Meredith Marciano Collection, archive.gvshp.org.
  1. The Jewish Lower East Side and Yiddish Rialto
    Dr. Elissa Sampson and Jack Lebewhol kibbitzed us through the Jewish Lower East Side in this humor-and-detail-filled survey (video) (event description)
  2. An Historic Stroll Down the Fourth Arts Block
    Village Preservation’s Sarah Bean Apmann takes a virtual walk down East 4th Street exploring the architecture and adaptive reuse in this center of creativity (video) (event description)
  3. Capturing Downtown and Beyond: the Photography of Meredith Marciano
    A longtime East Villager and skilled photographer, Marciano’s East Village is full of color and grit (video) (event description)
  4. Virtual Tour of the Merchant’s House Museum with Anthony Bellov
    This special virtual tour took us from the entryway’s symmetry all the way up to the inaccessible-in-person attic of the incredible Merchant’s House (video) (event description)
  5. NoHo’s History and Architecture
    Take a virtual stroll around NoHo’s streetscapes, delving into the architecture and stories that define the neighborhood (video) (event description)
  6. Shaping Washington Square Park, Past and Present
    A broad historical survey of each renovation of Washington Square Park, touching on personal stories, politics, and the saga of moving a fountain (video) (event description)
  7. Berenice Abbott’s Lost City: Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday
    The iconic photographer continues to inspire and delight with her incredible life and photos (video) (event description)
  8. Photographer Shelley Seccombe and the Decline and Rebirth of the Hudson River Waterfront
    Westbeth resident and photographer Shelley Seccombe took us through 40+ years of the Hudson River waterfront (video) (event description)

Books to Read: 

  1. Power at the Roots: Community Gardens, Gentrification, and the Puerto Ricans of the Lower East Side
    Go deep into the history, community, and cultures of the Loisaida gardens (video) (event description)
  2. The North Atlantic Cities and the Row House as Fulcrum
    From the Village to London to Baltimore and beyond, The North Atlantic Cities and their Row Houses show how architecture ties communities and cities together (video) (event description)
  3. “The Road to Peace and Freedom”: The International Workers Order and its Civil Rights and Social Justice Work
    Founded South of Union Square, the IWO was groundbreaking and community building (video) (event description)
  4. The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, and Cinema below 14th Street
    Founded South of Union Square, the Film Review Board was an arbiter of culture and what stories could be told on camera — her book is Monitoring the Movies (video) (event description)
  5. Clayton Patterson: Godfather of the Lower East Side
    This wild, wonderful graphic biography and oral history book gets into the LES of the 70s through today (video) (event description)
  6. Look for Me in the Whirlwind
    This inspiring collection chronicles the NYC chapter of the Black Panthers, which was founded in the East Village (video) (event description)
  7. Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum
    Edward O’Donnell’s talk on the anniversary of the General Slocum disaster goes into the communities, the loss, the politics, the memories, and more (video) (event description)
  8. Walking Broadway
    One of the oldest, longest roads in New York, the culture and architecture of Broadway made for a delightful meander (video) (event description)
  9. Keith Haring, Drawing on Walls
    With a Brooklyn-based artist and a Berlin-based author, this children’s book drew delight in its creative retelling of Haring’s life and iconic artworks (video) (event description)
  10. Bricks and Brownstone: The New York Row House
    The gorgeous reprinting of this acclaimed in-depth look at the Row House, and the interiors of New York’s brownstones (video) (event description)

2020-Specific:

  1. Epidemic Moments in Village History
    Unfortunately, learning from past epidemics and how they were survived in the Village is all too relevant this year, presented to us by medical-history experts from Harvard and Yale (video) (event description)
  2. A Greenwich Village Centennial: 100 Years of the ACLU
    This incredible milestone of an organization founded South of Union Square illuminates political and cultural histories with a national reach (video) (event description)
  3. A Small Business Roundtable: Support, Promote, Protect
    In an unprecedented time for small businesses, six owners illuminated their work, struggles, and community support (video) (event description)
  4. Reflecting on 40 Years of Village Preservation: an Evening with Executive Director Andrew Berman
    Celebrating our birthday gave us the opportunity to explore the work we’ve done over the past four decades — here’s to 40 more! (video) (event description)
  5. The Art of Community: a #Westbeth50 Oral History Conversation with Ralph Lee, George Cominskie, and Christina Maile
    Three long-time Westbeth residents reflected on the history, art, community, culture, and future of the unparalleled Westbeth, which turned 50 this year! (video) (event description)

Women and Women’s Suffrage-centennial focused:

  1. Sister Doctors: Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell
    The Blackwell sisters changed medicine, broke glass ceilings, and served women’s health in the Village — keep an eye out for a follow-up in 2021! (video) (event description)
  2. Virtual Plaque Unveiling: The Home of Jane Jacobs, 555 Hudson Street
    This iconic Villager and Preservationist wrote, lived, and changed her community while living in this house (video) (event description)
  3. Women’s Equality Day in the Village at the Vanguard
    Celebrating this special day and the suffrage centennial, we learned about the Village women who changed the face of voting and politics in the progressive era (video) (event description)
  4. Willa Cather’s Greenwich Village
    Francis Morrone’s talk covers Cather’s writing and life in the Village, as well as what the Village looked like when she lived there  (video) (event description)
  5. Sylvia: a 19th Century Life Unveiled
    When Stacy found a trunk discarded on NoHo’s Crosby Street, what she found within — Sylvia — changed her life, and illuminated Sylvia’s (video) (event description)
  6. Berenice Abbott’s Lost City: Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday
    The iconic photographer continues to inspire and delight with her incredible life and photos (video) (event description)
  7. Penny Arcade Herself, Celebrating her Village Preservation Oral History
    The Downtown performance queen gave us a downtown performance full of memories (video) (event description)

Miscellaneous Faves: 

The Women’s House of Detention
  1. The House of D
    Our most international event of the year, centered on a long-reviled, now-gone Greenwich Village landmark. This was also one of our most moving events — this little-discussed historic building is a center of women’s, LGBTQ, and carceral history (video) (event description)
  2. Khalil Gibran: Child of the Cedars and Son of Greenwich Village
    In this fascinating talk, Iman R. Abdulfattah took us from Lebanon to the Lebanese community of the Village, through the literary journey of one of our favorite poets (video) (event description)
  3. Embodying Sanctuary: Faith, Activism, and Creativity at Judson Memorial Church
    An inspiring and art-filled night celebrating the community, justice, and religious work of Judson Memorial Church (video) (event description)
  4. Treasures of Off-Off-Broadway: A Virtual Tour of the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club Archive
    Dive deep into Ellen Stewart’s storied, wild, multilingual La MaMa Experimental Theatre through the lens of its archive (video) (event description)

We are endlessly grateful to all our brilliant speakers and community partners for their collaboration and brilliance, and to our wonderful community for joining us at our events! We’re looking forward to 2021 and all that it will bring! 

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