This is an addition to the Blog
Across the street from the Jefferson Market Library and often missed are a few places that may be of interest to you. Note: They are tucked into small places.
Standing in front of the door for the library and looking across 10th Street, there is a small, gated community that could very easily be missed by someone walking along 10th street – Patchin Place. The small stretch of brick houses were once famous for housing writers like Theodore Dreiser and E. E. Cummings.
The cul-de-sac remains almost completely unchanged, retaining its nineteenth century charm. This one-lane stretch of is shaded by trees and blocked off from traffic by a wrought-iron fence.
It’s also notable for having the last lamp-post in New York City, of which there were originally thousands. This one, in a style introduced in the 1860s, has a crossbar, which was used for propping up a ladder and has been electrified. Many believe that this is really the second to last lamppost in NYC. there is a surviving gas lamp-post at Broadway and West 211th.
It was once asked, Is there an enclave in New York City lovelier than Patchin Place?
The answer: It’s shabby-romantic.
As you walk around the corner from West 10th Street onto 6th Avenue you might not notice Milligan Place, a triangular alley. Milligan Place has only four buildings, all on the far left.
The tiny gate that leads inside is as narrow as a shop door. It’s a lovely glimpse of the old Village, when homes were built along streets derived from cow paths and streams, not the boxy street grid. Milligan Place is named for Daniel Milligan, whose home once stood on the site. His daughter married Aaron Patchin.
Milligan Place commands high rents now. But for most of the 20th century, it was considered a backwater. Today, it has a very delightful courtyard. I found this quote:
“Down in Milligan Place, the little hole in the wall on lower Sixth Avenue, where babies yowl and black cats prowl and pigeons coo in unison with the music of the elevated, and the soul is untrammeled and free.” noted The New York Times in 1915
A side note: Patchin Place is gated but open to the public. Milligan Place is gated and locked. In the photo above you can see a dog-walker. I managed to get in by staying close to him and just entering as if I belonged. I took a few photos and then went to leave but could not open the gate. Would I be locked in here for hours? Searching in vain, the dog walker pressed a button, the gate opened and out I went.
Crossing 6th Avenue onto 11th Street we come to a cemetery that is so small you may never notice it. Lined by residential buildings, it’s only natural to assume the short stretch of fencing on the south side of West 11th Street to be the courtyard entrance to an apartment, or maybe a back patio. you’ll find what has to be the smallest graveyard in Manhattan.
How small is it? Just big enough to hold about 30 graves bordering on a worn, moss-covered brick path. But perhaps even more unusual is its irregular shape: a long, thin triangle. How did this strange little graveyard come to be? The West 11th Street graveyard is all that remains of the Second Cemetery of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue of the Congregation Shearith Israel. Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation in North America was founded in 1654; the cemetery dates to 1805. What makes the little graveyard on West 11th Street so special: it is the the final gasp of existence of a West Village that is no more, a time when cow pastures were just down the street and local children would play in the streets.
A few notes; West 10th Street Mark Twain lived at #14 and #48 and #50, I found to be unusual buildings.
48: Great example of the Federal style (1829)
50: Playwright Edward Albee and Hello Dollywriter Jerry Herman lived in this converted 1869 stable.
• West 10th Street, From Fifth Avenue west is considered one of the most beautiful blocks in the city,