Photos by Dylan Chandler
The area south of Union Square, where Greenwich Village meets the East Village, is a unique and dramatic confluence of history and heterodoxy; commerce and culture; art, architecture, and activism. It’s where great leaps forward in social movements, literature, music, and industry took place, in buildings displaying a smorgasbord of 19th- and early 20th-century styles. The course of the African-American and LGBTQ+ civil rights, women’s suffrage, and labor movements changed here; the “New York School” of artists, which shifted the center of the art world from Paris to New York, was concentrated here; and countless publishers, including trailblazers who altered the course of literary and legal history, were found in the buildings still standing on these blocks today.
But unlike much of its surroundings, this area is almost entirely lacking in landmark and zoning protections, and thus its history and great historic buildings are being lost every day. While this area has changed dramatically over the decades, that typically involved adaptive reuse: factories and schools became residences; houses and firehouses became theaters; printing houses and recording studios became classrooms and laboratories. But in recent years that virtuous cycle has been broken, and buildings that housed great artists, civil rights leaders, and radical thinkers have been threatened, altered, or destroyed.
This project seeks to highlight the incredible concentration of New York and American history found in these blocks of Greenwich Village and the East Village below Union Square, and call for their preservation through landmark and/or zoning protections.
You can help by sending a letter to city officials calling for the enactment of such protections HERE and by supporting Village Preservation HERE. You can find out more about the campaign to protect this area HERE.
These photos showcasing this remarkable area were taken by renowned photographer Dylan Chandler. This project was commissioned by the Preservation League of NYS in partnership with Village Preservation thanks to a Regrowth and Capacity grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Through that grant, the League is using artistic interventions to draw attention to its 2022-2023 Seven to Save endangered historic sites across the state.
Dylan Chandler is an architectural photographer, specializing in interiors and in situ documentary. His book Bricks and Brownstone (Rizzoli, 2019) is the third edition of the foundational architectural text on New York City’s row houses, originally published in 1972. His clients include West Elm, Crosby Studios, Nour El Nil, Obeetee, Linda Yowell, Virginia Tupker Interiors, Wayfair, Pottery Barn, Cuningham, and West Chin Architects. His work has appeared in several photography books published and various publications including The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Harper’s Bazaar, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Better Homes and Gardens. Dylan was born and raised in Manhattan where he still works and resides.