September 2023 Programs: The 2nd Birthplace of Hip-Hop Tour, Native New Yorkers Walking Tour, and More

Did you know that Village Preservation members receive advance notice of our public programs? Our tours and other programs sometimes offer limited seating or spaces. By becoming a member of Village Preservation, you can take advantage of that advanced notice, register before the general public, and support the work of the organization. Find out how to become a member here.

For videos, details, and other media from our past programs, click here.

Spotlight on the East Village: Featuring Ada Calhoun

Wednesday, September 6, 2023, 6:30pm 

In-Person with limited seating.

Pre-Registration is Required.

Location: P&T Knitwear, 180 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002 

P&T Knitwear, in conjunction with the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI), East Village Community Coalition (EVCC), and Village Preservation is pleased to welcome Ada Calhoun for a discussion of her books St. Marks is Dead and Also A Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me, along with an audience Q&A and book signing! Ada will be joined in conversation by Deborah Wye, Director of LESPI. After the talk, Ada will sign copies of her books. 

Ada Calhoun is the New York Times–bestselling author of Also a Poet —named one of the Best Books of 2022 by six outlets, including the New York Times (critic Alexandra Jacobs called it her Memoir of the Year), and NPR‘s Maureen Corrigan. Prior books include Why We Can’t Sleep, St. Marks Is Dead, and Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give.

Deborah Wye was a long-time curator at MoMA. Upon retirement she turned her attention to New York City history and architecture. In addition to the Lower East Side, she has focused on Pelham Bay Park, organizing an exhibition on its landmark Orchard Beach Pavilion for the City Island Nautical Museum. Deborah has been with LESPI since 2019.

To Be Heard in Print: Black Gay Writers in 1980s New York

Thursday, September 14, 2023 

Zoom Webinar
Pre-Registration is Required.

New York City in the 1980s witnessed the establishment of several organizations founded by and for Black gay men. Among these organizations were two writing groups, the Blackheart Collective and Other Countries, both with ties to Greenwich Village. Begun in 1980 by a group of Black gay men involved in the arts and in politics, the Blackheart Collective was followed by Other Countries, a writing workshop established in 1986. Other Countries included several men who had been associated with Blackheart. Other Countries eventually grew to include a writing workshop (which continues today), a publishing initiative, and a performance program. The work created and presented by the Black gay men in the Blackheart Collective and in Other Countries represented continuing efforts by these men to make their presence known to both the Black community and the LGBTQ community and to leave a record of their ideas and of their lives.

This event is co-sponsored by the Village Trip Festival

Kevin McGruder, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of History at Antioch College. His interest in community formation led to a career in community development, with positions that included Program Director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Director of Real Estate Development with the Abyssinian Development Corporation (Harlem), and Executive Director of Gay Men of African Descent (New York City).  Since the early 1990s he has been a member of the Other Countries, a New York City-based Black gay men’s writing collective that has published three anthologies, Other Countries: Black Gay Voices (1988), Sojourner: Black Gay Voices in the Age of AIDS (1993), and Voices Rising: Celebrating 20 years of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Writing (2007). McGruder has a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University, an M.B.A. in Real Estate Finance from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the City University of New York.  He is author of Race and Real Estate: Conflict and Cooperation in Harlem, 1890-1920 (2015) and Philip Payton: The Father of Black Harlem (2021), and editor of Home at Last: The Collected Writings of AIDS Journalist LeRoy Whitfield (2023).

The 2nd Birthplace Tour (Hip-Hop at 50 Tour)

Friday, September 22, 2023

Afternoon Tour: 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Evening Tour: 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Pre-Registration is Required.
Spaces are limited.

Meeting Place: Northwest Side of the Washington Square Arch

Did you know that the first place in NYC where all four Hip Hop elements were presented together for the first time outside of the Bronx was at a club/concert hall in the East Village? 

The 2nd Birthplace Tour (Hip-Hop at 50 Tour) is a two-hour walking tour that honors the artists and entrepreneurs, and explores spaces and sites in the Village that were pivotal in introducing Hip-Hop cultural elements (B-Boying, DJ-ing, Graffiti, Fashion and Emceeing) to the world. During a pivotal 20 year period in Hip-Hop history (1979-1999), nightlife venues, art galleries, walls and parks throughout the Village functioned as a secondary incubator and stage for B-Boys, Graffiti artists, Emcees, DJs and designers creating what we now call Hip-Hop Culture. It’s part of a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop, which began in The Bronx, but which grew and developed substantially in our neighborhoods. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Village Trip Festival

Leading the tour is Tara Crichlow, aka “big tara,” a native of the Lower East Side. As a pioneering B-girl, MC, cultural ambassador, performer, and curator, she is dedicated to accurately representing New York’s underground music and dance culture. She has been featured in books such as Vibe Hip Hop Divas, We Bgirlz, Girls Got Kicks and God Save the Queens.

Thank you to the following people & organizations for their support in developing 2nd Birthplace: 36 Chambaz of Stylz, Big Tara, Cricket, DJ Spinna, Elena Romero Eric “DEAL”Felisbret, FlashTalks, James Top, Justine Leguizamo, Keistar Productions, Kyra Gaunt, Leeanne G-Bowley, Martha Diaz, Michael Holman and Peaches Rodriguez.

Native New Yorkers Walking Tour with Evan Pritchard

Tuesday, September 19, 2023
5:00pm – 7:00pm 
Outdoor Walking Tour

Pre-Registration is Required. Spaces are limited.

Meeting Place: In front of the Old Homestead Inn and Steakhouse (at 9th and 14th Street), 56 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 

One might assume that New York’s streets are as old as Dutch settlement, but many of the thoroughfares we use today actually began long before that. Early Dutch and English immigrants adopted many pathways that were originally carved by truly native New Yorkers, and these routes were incorporated into the more formal city plan as development spread across the island. On this extended tour, Evan Pritchard, author of Native New Yorkers: The Legacy of the Algonquin People of New York, will take you on a journey through the history of New York’s streets from west to east. Starting in the Meatpacking District, you’ll traverse the island through Greenwich Village before ending at the St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery graveyard in the East Village where Peter Stuyvesant is interred. Along the way, you’ll see the streets and plazas through Native American eyes and explore how New York’s indigenous history influences our modern streetscapes and public spaces. Drawing upon archaeology, linguistics, and oral and written histories, this walk will link the legacy of the Lenape with Abraham Lincoln, modern luxury, and more.

This tour is free. Please select the $20 option if you wish to also purchase a signed copy of Evan Pritchard’s book, Native New Yorkers: The Legacy of the Algonquin People of New York. 

History In Asphalt — Why Greenwich Village Streets Have The Names And Directions They Do

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Pre-registration required. 

Location: Hudson Park Library, 
66 Leroy St, New York, NY 10014

Village streets can bring even seasoned New Yorkers to their knees. Streets bend, diagonals come out of nowhere, roads stop for no good reason, and thoroughfares change direction. Such intersections as Waverly Place & Waverly Place, and W 4th Street & W 10th Street do little to help.

There are good reasons behind the confusion, but it takes some digging to uncover them. Joyce Gold will explain how topography, natural boundaries, Indian paths, and estate ownership carved the first convoluted pattern of roads. And she will also show the strange result of the city’s insisting upon connecting areas north and south of the Village.

Joyce Gold has been leading tours of city neighborhoods for over 40 years. She has long taught New York history at New York University and the New School. A contributor to the Encyclopedia of New York, she is the author of From Windmills to the World Trade Center: A Walking Guide through Lower Manhattan History and From Trout Stream to Bohemia: A Walking Guide to Greenwich History. She holds a Masters in Metropolitan Studies from NYU.

Insider’s Tour of Jefferson Market Library and Clocktower

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 

Pre-Registration is Required.
Spaces are limited.

For Village Preservation members at the $100 level and above. 

Join us for an exclusive insider’s tour of one of New York and Greenwich Village’s great historic landmarks, Jefferson Market Library. Originally built in 1876 as a courthouse by Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux (co-designer of Central Park) in the Victorian Gothic style along with an adjacent prison and market (since demolished), Jefferson Market Library was voted one of the ten most beautiful buildings in America by an architect’s poll in the 1880s. But by the mid-20th century it was deemed outdated and unfashionable, and almost fell to the wrecking ball after it was largely abandoned by the city.

Reimagined as a public library in 1967, the landmark building has gone through many renovations and reiterations, restoring and reusing spaces previously intended for holding prisoners and hearing court cases as places for learning, gathering, and contemplation. The clocktower, once used as a fire lookout for its sweeping views and then abandoned, has been restored and the clock working again.

Longtime Jefferson Market branch librarian Frank Collerius will lead us on a tour of these remarkable spaces, their history, the changes they have undergone, and their current uses. The tour will culminate in a visit to the rarely-opened tower, where tour goers will be able to take in unrivaled views of Greenwich Village and beyond.

Capacity for the tour is limited, so we strongly encourage you to reserve your spot now while available.

August 22, 2023