Newly Revealed Civil Rights History Powers Push to Save 50 W. 13th St. After City Refuses to Act

Village Preservation is in a pitched campaign to save 50 West 13th Street, the 170+ year old house famous as home to the 13th Street Repertory Theatre for a half century. The majority owner is likely to demolish the house unless it is landmarked, and the City has thus far refused to do so.

But our research has uncovered an incredibly rich history attached to the house, which in the 19th century was owned by and home for decades to one of New York’s leading African American citizens, Jacob Day, who led fights for equality for African Americans, and was likely a supporter of the Underground Railroad — quite possibly assisting from this very surviving home. So few sites remain in Greenwich Village connected to the African American leaders and institutions located here in the 19th century when this neighborhood was the center of African American life in New York and home to its largest African American community.  Read our letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission with our research here, and read coverage in the New York Times here.

It’s critical that the City recognize this vital history, which will be destroyed if they continue to refuse to act.

Thanks to Borough President Gale Brewer for supporting landmark designation of 50 West 13th Street.


March 15, 2021