While many are aware of the Whitney Museum’s modest origins as a studio club of artist and collector Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, fewer know that only a few feet away from … Continued
Category: Beyond the Village and Back
The African American literary critic and professor Henry Louis Gates once stated that the Harlem Renaissance was “surely as gay as it was Black, not that it was exclusively either … Continued
The Smithsonian Institution is a treasured facet of American culture, founded by the U.S. government on August 10, 1846 “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The Smithsonian is the … Continued
You Are Here: Lawrence Henderson Guides Village Preservation through Historic NYC Black Heritage Sites
Author and NYC tour guide, Lawrence Henderson, is sharing his research and walking tours with Village Preservation in February 2023 as we celebrate Black History Month. First, Village Preservation participants were treated to a free opportunity to experience the first hour of Lawrence’s “You Are Here: African American Walking Tour of NYC.” Lawrence offers a unique three-part, 3 hour, downtown walking tour to New Yorkers and visitors alike. The tour is based on Lawrence’s book You Are Here – A Geographical History of Enslaved and Free Africans in Manhattan: 1613 – 1865. He will be updating a new edition of this book, which we hope to celebrate when it relaunches with a future book talk.
In the late 19th century, very few libraries in New York City were devoted to offering collections of popular and serious reading to the general public, and especially to the … Continued
Village Preservation presents programs that offer insight into the rich history of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. Sometimes that history provides keen insight into the issues of today. … Continued
Over 35 cemeteries are located throughout Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, though most have since been covered over and are no longer apparent. Each tells an important story … Continued
New York City is fortunate to have a plethora of historic and often socially active religious institutions throughout the five boroughs. While most exist beyond the bounds of Greenwich Village, … Continued
Three Takeaways from Escape from New York: The 1822 Yellow Fever Outbreak and the Creation of Greenwich Village
us through our history with insights that help us understand our own times as much as we begin to understand the past. We hope you check out James and Michelle’s work and continue to come along such journeys through Village Preservation’s programming.
After the Supreme Court Decision DOBBS v.JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION overturning Roe v. Wade was released on Friday, June 24, people took to the streets. It was no surprise that people hoping to make their voices heard looked to our neighborhoods as a gathering place. Two of the many protests and rallies that took place in New York City were held in Washington Square Park and Union Square. These protests were organized by intersectional advocacy groups across Labor, Defund the Police, Housing, Immigration, and LGBTQIA+ movements.
Standing on one of the highest points in Manhattan, the Morris-Jumel Mansion has been part of the northern Manhattan landscape for more than 250 years. Surrounded by Roger Morris Park on Edgecombe Avenue, the structure is the oldest home in Manhattan and a beloved museum in Washington Heights …
Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo are not known for having the large structures that can be found in Midtown (and thanks to last week’s rejection of a plan … Continued
This is the latest installment in our Gilded Village blog series. The Gilded Age was a time of contradictions and change: extreme wealth and desperate poverty; political stability and corruption; … Continued
The Gilded Age in New York City, from roughly the end of the Civil War to 1900, is a cacophony of contradictions. On the surface, the era was defined by … Continued
Irish Catholic immigrants to New York were one of the earliest and largest major immigrant groups to our city, outside of the Protestant immigrants from the United Kingdom who were … Continued
Think of some of the most iconic sites in our great city, and what comes to mind? The Statue of Liberty. The Empire State Building. The Chrysler Building. The Queensboro … Continued
On the corner of East 79th Street and 5th Avenue stands a 19th-century chateau that wouldn’t be out of place in the Loire Valley, yet seems just as comfortable on the Upper East Side. It’s been home to the Ukrainian Institute of America for nearly seven decades, but thanks to its previous inhabitants, this historic structure also holds an interesting connection with the early days of Greenwich Village and New York City.
The Juilliard School is one of the world’s most respected schools for the performing arts. Ensconced in its Lincoln Center home for more than 50 years, the school can boast an impressive list of alumni among actors, musicians, playwrights, and dancers: William Hurt, Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, Adam Driver, Tim Blake Nelson, and Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams (roommates in the 1970s), to name a few. And even though Juilliard is best known as an Upper West Side school, its origins in Greenwich Village in the early 20th century tie it in with an even older and more historic local institution.
Sitting in Bryant Park behind the New York Public Library’s main branch, tourists and admittedly a few native New Yorkers often marvel at the clear sight they have of the Empire State Building, a rare perspective for midtown Manhattan. Perhaps even rarer is that, within that same view, the iconic tower has some competition in the standout building department from a mere 23-story landmark resplendent in black and gold, one that has a unique connection to Greenwich Village in the last century.
When Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum of American Art opened in September 1966, New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable noted that the inverted ziggurat-like Brutalist structure had quickly become “the most disliked building in New York.”
Commanding the northern side of West 36th Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway is what seems to be an imposing house of worship built by ancient Romans.
Beyond the Village and Back: New York Public Library Main Branch, Steven A. Schwartzman Building, Fifth Avenue
Since 1911, the majestic main branch of the New York Public Library has been watching over Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, welcoming researchers, scholars, students, and tourists into its hallowed halls by the millions every year.
Federal Hall at 26 Wall Street is one of New York City’s — and the nation’s — most historic locations. Known as the “Birthplace of American Government,” it’s the site where George Washington took the oath of office as our first President. It was also the site of the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices.
Along with the houses on Washington Square North, Chelsea’s ‘Cushman Row’ at 408-418 West 20th Street is frequently noted as the finest row of Greek Revival residences in New York City.
For more than 70 years, The Brotherhood Synagogue, located at 28 Gramercy Park South, has sought to meet the spiritual and cultural needs of its members in a welcoming, progressive community, while working to make religious brotherhood a living reality.
The impressive Aguilar Branch of the New York Public Library, originally known as the Aguilar Free Circulating Library, stands at 110th Street in East Harlem, between Lexington and Third Avenues.
The A.T. Stewart Store, now better known as the Sun Building, was built in 1845-46 by New York architects Joseph Trench and John B. Snook for the prosperous and pioneering merchant Alexander Turney Stewart (October 12, 1803 – April 10, 1876). This magnificent Italian Renaissance “Marble Palace” at 280 Broadway, designated an NYC individual landmark on October 7, 1986, is one of Manhattan’s most significant 19th century structures.
Beyond the Village and Back: Bowne House in Flushing, Queens — Birthplace of Religious Freedom in America
One of New York’s most historic but least known landmarks is the Bowne House, built ca. 1661 at 37-01 Bowne Street in Flushing, Queens. The two-and-a-half story wood house is the oldest building in the Borough of Queens and one of the oldest in New York City.
In 2007 the Chrysler Building was ranked ninth on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. Built in 1928-30 and designed by William Van Allen, it is a beacon in our rapidly changing New York City skyline, and in many ways the embodiment of the Art Deco style and the Roaring 20s’ exuberant building boom before the Depression.
Located on the north shore of Staten Island not far from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal lies an oasis like none other in New York, recognized by local, state, and federal government for its extraordinary architectural and cultural significance.
The St. James Presbyterian Church at 409 West 141st Street, on the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue, stands on the incline of a hill looking eastward over Harlem. The commanding, 1904 neo-Gothic structure boasts an ornate bell tower, visible from the nearby St. Nicholas Park and the City College of New York.
The Abyssinian Baptist Church at 136-142 West 138th Street is the home of the second oldest African-American congregation in Manhattan, and has long been a center of civil rights and social justice activism.
While the New York Public Library’s founding dates back to 1895 and has deep roots in our neighborhood, the NYPL is neither the oldest library in New York nor the only one with roots in Greenwich Village.
The Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at 140-148 West 137th Street is the sixth home of New York City’s very first black church, and the founding church of the A.M.E. Zion Conference of churches.
The New-York Historical Society was established as New York’s first museum in 1804, a mere 15 years after George Washington’s inauguration. Its present home on Central Park West was built between 1902 and 1908 and designed by the architectural firm of York and Sawyer
Today we’re looking at two great New York City landmarks: 1083 Fifth Avenue, a beautiful Second Empire–style mansion located in the Expanded Carnegie Hill Historic District. and Our Lady of Lourdes Church, a Venetian Gothic–style Catholic Church located in West Harlem at 463 W 142nd Street that today serves a primarily immigrant congregation, and when designated was called “one of the oddest buildings in New York.”
Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston all host memorials, museums, or plaques that mark Edgar Allan Poe. The prolific, macabre, and often down-on-his-luck poet spent his life wandering these cities. New York City, however, is the place where Poe spent much of his time and wrote some of his best-known works.
The Essex Market opened on January 9, 1940 as part of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s “war on pushcarts.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the great landmarks, and great institutions, of New York City, the nation, and the world. With more than 2 million objects in its collection, it is by far the largest museum in both New York and the country.
Beyond the Village and Back: The Children’s Aid Society’s Fourteenth Ward Industrial School on Mott Street
Walking through the neighborhood now often referred to as NoLIta (north of Little Italy), one can’t help but be struck by a four-story building on Mott Street which seems much more impressive than its modest height would imply. The stepped roof and carved foliate detail above and below the windows give the impression of a grand private residence, or at least the headquarters of some noble institution.
Tucked into the Meredith Jacobson Marciano New York in the 1970s to 9-11 collection of our Historic Image Archive is an image of the United Palace Theatre at 4140 Broadway at 175th Street in Washington Heights. With its close-up and upward-facing viewpoint, the image captures the intricacy and nobility of the building’s design.
The Queensboro Bridge, built in 1909, was the first bridge linking Queens to Manhattan. Directly connecting Midtown Manhattan to booming Long Island City and used by millions of commuters each year, this amazing and still free bridge is also an architectural and engineering marvel.
The New York Foundling is one of New York City’s oldest and largest child welfare agencies. Founded in 1869 to save the lives of babies being abandoned on the streets of New York, the Foundling currently serves over 30,000 people each year in New York City, Rockland County, and Puerto Rico.
Congregation Shearith Israel, now located at 2 West 70th Street, takes pride in being the very first Jewish congregation in North America, where something like half the world’s Jewish population now lives.
The Weeksville Heritage Center, which includes the landmarked Hunterfly Road Houses in Brooklyn, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $200,000 needed to meet operating costs. Thankfully, they met their goal.
On May 1, 1931, the Empire State Building opened on 34th Street and 5th Avenue. At 102 stories and 1,250 feet, it was the world’s tallest building from 1931 until 1973. While it is no longer the tallest building in the world or even New York, it nevertheless remains a symbol of the city and one of the world’s most iconic structures.
In 2001, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated 130 West 30th Street as a Landmark. Designed by the preeminent architect Cass Gilbert in 1927–28, the building was built to accommodate offices, showrooms and manufacturing space for the fur industry.
The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum at 2 East 91st Street is a renowned museum and institution, the only of its kind in the United States, born of a long history and connection between philanthropy and industry.
With its parallel octagonal towers rising above the beach, the sprawling Art Deco bathhouse complex at Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways has, since opening in 1932, served as a monument to Art Deco design, grand public works, and popular beach-time fun.
On an average day in New York City, you might catch sight of the Statue of Liberty on the subway, meandering down the High Line, or maybe if you are somewhere along the Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn waterfront.
Today we are going to take a look at Temple Emanu-El located at 65th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. It is New York’s largest synagogue, and by reputation is the largest Reform synagogue in the world. But this very uptown institution actually has some very downtown roots, which may surprise you.
For our first post in this series, we would like to highlight a pair of important and often overlooked landmarks. The Gould Memorial Library and Begrisch Hall are both located in a dramatic hilltop setting on the campus of Bronx Community College in the University Heights section of the Bronx.