Where is the West Village’s Mixed Ale Alley?

Even Village residents walk right by without realizing it’s there.

But locked behind an old iron gate between 10 and 12 Grove Street is tiny Grove Court, six Federal-style brick houses framed by sleepy trees and gardens. 

“There’s some debate as to when the six three-story houses were built, but the best guess would put the date around 1820, when the Village was still semi-rural,” reports a 1954 New York Times article.

Other sources say the enclave dates back to the 1840s, when it was known as Pig’s Alley or Mixed Ale Alley—monikers that hint at a less-than-genteel past.

The article continues: “All in the row except number 4 seem to rest on ancient Dutch foundations and there are vestiges of Dutch ovens in them.” 

A pump in the courtyard drew water from underground Minetta Brook until the 1920s, residents told the reporter.

Threatened with destruction in the 1950s (the city considered knocking it down and putting up a playground for nearby P.S. 3), Grove Court now is an exclusive stretch of Village real estate.

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3 Responses to “Where is the West Village’s Mixed Ale Alley?”

  1. Kaz Says:

    I love these beautiful little hidden spots. To me, they are what makes the city so special and unexpected.

  2. Loretta Harney Says:

    The article forgot to mention that this is the house that inspired O. Henry to write The Last Leaf about one of the rooms on the left side of the building…read it on Google it is a very short story and lovely.

  3. 13 Quaint NYC Courtyards Hidden in Plain Sight | Untapped Cities Says:

    […] Cocks likely created the alley in 1848, with the townhouses complete by 1854 (although others have dated them to 1820), to house tradesmen and other workers in efforts to attract customers to his nearby business. It […]

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