1991 was a memorable year. The Cold War ended as the Soviet Union collapsed. The Gulf War was waged. We watched Murphy Brown and slow danced to Bryan Adams. And the Giants won the Superbowl! But perhaps most notably, on June 10, 1991, Village Preservation held its first Annual Village Awards!
Since 1991, we have held the Awards each year to honor the invaluable people, businesses, and organizations that make a special contribution to our neighborhoods at our Annual Meeting and Village Awards.
In the winter of 1991, an Awards Committee was formed. Led by Board Vice-President James Stewart Polshek of Village Preservation (formerly known as the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation), it included board members Richard Barnett, Penelope Bareau, Julie Rinaldini, and Judith Stonehill, as well as former Executive Director Regina Kellerman, Municipal Arts Society President Kent Barwick, and author Calvin Trillin.
The first Village Awards were held at NYU’s Casa Italiana at 24 West 12th Street, a landmarked building formerly the home of General Winfield Scott. The first awardees were Paul Egita, a superintendent on West 12th Street for almost 50 years, First Presbyterian Church for its restoration, Florent Morellet and Restaurant Florent, the Jefferson Market Garden, the Mercer-Houston Dog Run Association, and Three Lives & Company Bookstore.
Our 1991 newsletter providing details about the first awards, and many more dating back to our earlier years, can be read on our website. It’s a fascinating snapshot of Village history! In the 1991 issues, we announced our “new” elementary school program, now in its 32nd year, recapped our large Greenwich Village Waterfront exhibit, welcomed Margaret (Pi) Gardiner to the board of directors, and welcomed future Board President Art Levin as a first-time member of the organization. You can also explore more Village and preservation history in our Preservation History Archive.