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Edward Hopper’s Greenwich Village Historic District

Here at Village Preservation, we celebrate April as “Greenwich Village Historic District Month,” since it was on April 29, 1969 that the district was landmarked, culminating a years-long battle to achieve this milestone. Join us as we celebrate the wonders and the history of what is one of New York’s oldest, largest, and most treasured historic districts.

Edward Hopper, one of America’s most renowned realist painters, lived and worked for 53 years at 3 Washington Square North. This is but one of many sites in the Village intimately connected to Edward Hopper and his paintings. Hopper died in 1967 in this studio home two years before the Greenwich Village Historic District was designated. Four sites Hopper featured in his paintings were within what would decades later become the Greenwich Village Historic District. Three remain standing while one was demolished.

The images below are featured on our Greenwich Village Historic District: Then & Now Photos and Tours map.

“The Sheridan Theatre” (1937), 2 Seventh Avenue

From September 18, 1921 when it opened as a Roxy, until 1969, the Loew’s Sheridan Theater movie palace stood on the triangular plot of land bounded by 12th Street, 7th Avenue, and Greenwich Avenue. When opened, the New York Times reported that it would be the first theater south of 42nd Street to show only moving pictures, which at that time were still all silent films. Hopper was an avid moviegoer and he painted in darkness in his studio to capture the dimness effect.

The Loew’s Sheridan Theater (top), St. Vincent’s facilities buildings (middle), St. Vincent’s Park and the NYC AIDS Memorial (bottom).

Like so many of the movie palaces of the era, it was torn down. St. Vincent’s Hospital bought the plot and demolished the theater. While the intention was to build a nurses’ residence, the lot remained vacant until the hospital later built a vehicle maintenance facility and equipment storage center. When St. Vincent’s closed its doors in 2010, these facilities were demolished to make way for St. Vincent’s Memorial Park and the New York City AIDS Memorial, which now stand in their place.

Edward Hopper Studio and “Roofs, Washington Square” (1926), 3 Washington Square North

Hopper lived and painted at 3 Washington Square North from 1913 until his death in 1967, and the studio itself remains intact. While the building facade was not painted by Hopper, his 1926 painting Roofs, Washington Square, captures the unique perspective of the houses of Washington Square North as they can only be seen by a resident.

3 Washington Square North is the taller building (third from the right)

“Nighthawks” (1942), 70 Greenwich Avenue

One of Hopper most well known painting is Nighthawks. However, while Hopper may have been inspired by 70 Greenwich Avenue for Nighthawks, no diner ever stood in that triangular piece of land just to the south. There were one story triangular diners nearby at this time at 173 Seventh Avenue South and at 1-5 Greenwich Avenue. These were likely the inspirations for the diner while it’s often supposed that the buildings in the background behind the diner include 70 Greenwich Avenue, located at the southeast corner of the intersection with 11th Street.

64-74 Greenwich Avenue (R-L; 70 Greenwich Avenue is the building farthest to the left).

“Drug Store” (1927), 154 West 10th Street

While Hopper never revealed what building inspired this painting, considerable evidence points to 154 West 10th Street/184 Waverly Place as the most likely. Not only the building but the slender cast-iron column raised above the ground, still remain. The space is now occupied by one of the Village’s most treasured independently-owned bookstores, Three Lives.

Read more about the Greenwich Village Historic District maps and tours here.

Read more about Edward Hopper’s connections to Greenwich Village here.

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