Posts Tagged ‘Greenwich Village 1930s’

An incredible map of 1930s Greenwich Village

May 12, 2014

Greenwich Village Stories is a lovely new book from the folks at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

It’s filled with reminiscences from dozens of former and current residents—from artists to activists to politicians—who give their take on the beauty and spirit of the neighborhood.

Tonysargmap1934

It’s an evocative read that also captures how much the Village has changed over the years. Driving that point home is a wonderful map of Greenwich Village circa 1934 by puppeteer and illustrator Tony Sarg that has been reproduced in the book.

While the street grid is the same, the landmarks Sarg depicts with such affection don’t always exist anymore. Jefferson Market prison, the Washington Square Bookshop, the Village Barn, Luchow’s, and Wanamaker’s department store are all long gone.

Various hotels marked on the map are now apartment houses: the Albert, the Brevoort, the Lafayette. New York University, interestingly, barely gets a mention—the main campus in the 1930s was in the Bronx.

Where in the city is this row of brick buildings?

January 9, 2013

When Washington Square North resident Edward Hopper finished this strangely haunting painting of simple low-rise buildings in 1930, it was recorded in his ledger as “Seventh Avenue Shops.”

Hopperearlysundaymorning

But could this really be on Seventh Avenue? Not according to a 2007 report from the Greenwich Village Historical Society, which explains that the distinctive cornices, barber shop pole, fire hydrant, and morning shadows place the inspiration not on Seventh Avenue but at 231-235 Bleecker Street, just west of Carmine Street.

BleeckerstreetnymagazineAdding to the mystery is that Hopper later changed the name of the painting to “Early Sunday Morning,” which it’s still known by today.

[Photo comparison published in New York magazine, courtesy of the Whitney Museum of Art, John Carbonella]

Many of Hopper’s other works—deceptively simple, solitary, often people-free city corners and streets—have been traced to specific locations that still stand.

Maybe Hopper did draw his inspiration from this slice of Bleecker Street, or perhaps it’s a composite of details from several buildings.

Jeremiah at Vanishing New York has an intriguing take on the “Early Sunday Morning,” as well as a fascinating look at where Hopper’s “Nighthawks” might have been.


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