Little Patchin Place, off West 10th Street in the Village, is one of those slightly scruffy 19th-century mews that thrill tourists and New Yorkers alike. I lived there for five years, and every day people would stand outside the front gate, peering in and soaking up the charm.
The apartments were kind of falling apart, but for the chance to live where e.e. cummings once resided? It was all okay. Below, Berenice Abbott’s 1930s Patchin Place photo.
Built around 1850 as living quarters for the Basque waiters working at the nearby Brevoort Hotel, the 3-story houses didn’t have electricity or running water until the teens, about the time the waiters moved out and artists, actors, and writers moved in.
Considering the artistic bent, it actually isn’t surprising that in 1918, residents of Patchin Place put on a play in the communal backyard behind one row of houses. According to a New York Times story, Patchinites performed Yeats’ “The King’s Threshold,” at midnight on July 1. About 300 people came to watch: