Posts Tagged ‘West Village street’

New York’s last gas lamp in a West Village alley

October 29, 2012

Is there an enclave in New York City lovelier than Patchin Place?

This one-lane stretch of circa-1850 brick walk-ups in the West Village is shaded by ailanthus trees and blocked off from traffic by a wrought-iron fence.

It’s shabby-romantic, the former home of many early 20th century writers.

But this little mews off West 10th Street and Sixth Avenue also contains an incredible 19th century old New York relic at its far end.

It’s the location of the last original gas lamp and stanchion in New York City.

The simple, elegantly designed lamp still illuminates the alley at night, and it helps light up the Christmas tree residents place in front of it every December.

Unfortunately, it’s no longer powered by gas; the lamp was wired for electricity in the 1920s.

Imagine the lovely glow it must have cast on Patchin Place until then!

A 1790s Village backhouse you’ll never see again

October 15, 2012

Until 2008, 13th Street just off of Sixth Avenue was the site of a hidden gem: a Federal style backhouse reportedly dating to the 1790s.

The two-story house wasn’t visible from the street but was located behind a low-rise building housing two restaurants at 52 and 54 West 13th Street.

Then a hotel developer came and bought the low-rise building. It met the wrecking ball, and for a little while in 2009, the backhouse could be seen through a construction fence. Here’s a closeup view.

Not long after, unfortunately, the 16-story hotel slowly rose in front of it, entombing the backhouse out of sight forever.

If it’s still standing, that is. I have no idea if the hotel developer turned it into a pile of bricks, seeing no use or value in the squat, rundown building.

Or maybe the backhouse remains there, blocked off out of view of passersby, and only future guests of what will be called the Gem Hotel Union Square (above) will ever be able to see it again.


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