Greenwich Village – Let’s start with the Jefferson Market area

 A very good place to visit during a tour of Greenwich Village is the Jefferson Market Library. It is hard not to notice and  it’s on a most peculiar piece of land. 6th Avenue on one side, Christopher Street on another, Greenwich Avenue on another side and 10th Street covers the remaining two sides.

Greenwich Village

The building has had a fascinating prior life. It was formerly a courthouse, with a prison next door ( it is a garden today. Every last inch of the unusual shaped lot was used to its maximum. Only the court house remains and in 1967, the building was reopened as a New York Public Library branch.

Notable names that were locked up in the old courthouse jail cells next door, also known as the Women’s House of Detention, included Mae West, Angela Davis, and Andrea Dworkin, Holly Woodlawn (before it was discovered she was really a man).

It had a civil court on the second floor, now the Adult Reading Room, and a police court, now the first-floor Children’s Room.

 The façade is opulently ornamented, especially the Sixth Avenue side Carved details encrust the entrance and accumulate under the beautiful stained-glass windows and elsewhere around the building. The water fountain is decorated with reliefs depicting a weary traveller and a life-giving pelican.  There is also a state seal in the main gable and a frieze representing the trial from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice that hangs over the window above the main entrance.

The surrounding Area

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. Contrary to what you might read elsewhere, Marlon Brando did not live in Patchin Place; but his sister did, and put him up in 1943 when his career was starting.

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. A side note: Patchin Place is gated but open to the public. Milligan Place is gated and locked. 

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.

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.

The graveyard is all that remains of the Second Cemetery of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue of the Congregation Shearith Israel. What makes the little graveyard on West 11th Street so special: it is 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.

We will end this walk on West 10th Street at #14, where Mark Twain lived.

As I begin researching Greenwich Village and its history, I am learning that this was home to many immigrants. I will update this post as I find new information.

Post first written in May 2016 updated September 2020
Thom

NYC – World Science Festival – Washington Square Park – Astor Square

Often, I have been asked, what is there to do in the city that’s free?  This blog will be mostly pictures showing what one Sunday afternoon can be like.

Photographic samples follow –  It all happened in four square blocks.

The World Science Festival

This event was held on the NYU Campus and was the Ultimate Science Street Fair. It was truly a family event. There were many exhibits that were hands-on and had plenty of volunteers to assist. (And it as free.)

Washington Square Park

In the spring or a summer day, and you’ll find some of what makes NYC a great place to live–families and couples lingering, dozens of (impressive!) musicians claiming a bench or corner of the park to earn a few bucks, artists making or offering things of beauty, chalk and sand artists, comedians, jugglers and people looking for a challenge at the chess board. Public bathrooms.

 

The marble Washington Arch was built between the years 1890 and 1892 to replace a wooden arch erected in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of Washington’s inauguration.

Walking from Astor Square to Washington Park

Part of the walk between St Mark’s and Washington Square Park. This place is great to take a stroll around if you’re in the area. This is called Greenwich village:which some call a artsy fartsy, creative area.

NYC–14th Street and Union Sq.

Map picture

14th Street is a busy shopping street, especially during the weekends and holidays. It stretches from the East River to the Hudson River.The original Macy’s Department Store was located just west of 5th Avenue. During the 1820’s this area was called “Fashion Row”as there were many wholesale and dry-goods stores.

Today the street has a store or eatery for almost every taste known to mankind. The eastern end has the famous Alphabet City and the western end the High Line and plunk-in-the middle is Union Square.

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Art shows, Sidewalk presentations, Protestors, Occupy Wall street, Green Markets, Holiday bazars, name only a few of the highlights of any given day. Lately, people are enjoying the area between ninth Avenue and the Hudson River. The High Line is of high interest and the square around 9th Avenue has many eating establishments with outside seating.

The following are some pictures  taken along 14th Street and Union Square.

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Extra Thoughts

(The following are my own observations and given freely hoping that you enjoy your walk)

FOOD – There are numerous places along the street for food such as street vendors, pizza parlors, coffee shops and a wide variety of ethnic cuisines. The areas closest to the High Line have very popular and trendy restaurants. Many have high prices as well!

Just off 8th Avenue (on Greenwich Ave) is a very small English restaurant called Tea & Sympathy. http://www.teaandsympathynewyork.com/restaurant.php. Expect to wait for a table.

Closer to Union Square are two eating places that are quite nice. Both are located on Irving Place. Pete’s Tavern is an old famous watering hole with great burgers and delicious beer.   http://www.petestavern.com/ Feel like eating in a rustic farm-like atmosphere then cross the street to the Friend of a Farmer. Sit upstairs, by the window, and watch the people on the street. http://friendofafarmerny.com/

 

BATHROOMS – These may be few and far between.

Here are a few I know of:

 

McDonalds,

Starbucks

Barnes & Noble

NYU buildings (look for flags)

New School (5th Ave 14th)

Apple Store (9th)

Union Square (I suggest you do not go in alone)

 

 

Police Stations are always a good bet. Hotels often have a restroom off the lobby – walk boldly as if you knew where you were going.

NYC – Saturday Afternoon -Free

The first weekend in October has started off real well. Saturday, spent the after noon at the 8th Annual Art in Odd Places Festival held this year on 14th Street. This organization places varied art works within non-traditional public spaces.

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“Let Them Ear Lobster”, was an art performance peace which featured an empress dressed in full royal gown, enjoying a freshly cooked lobster as she walks through Union Square. The artist is Virginia Dan.

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2012_10_06_14th st (36)

I Paint You and You Paint Me”, placed an artist at one easel and “you” at another. Each had thirty-minutes to make portraits of each other. “You” get to keep the portrait the artist created.

“Reciprocal Ladder”. A large circular latter was rolled along the sidewalk the length and back of 14th street.

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There were many activities during the day and evening. In fact, the event last all weekend. This is another example of a NYC Free Event. It made for a wonderful afternoon out in sunny New York City.

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