A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alley in the Village

Sharp-eyed New Yorkers know about the many courtyards and mews of Greenwich Village, such as Patchin Place, MacDougal Alley, and Charles Lane.

But most residents don’t notice Milligan Place, a triangular alley on Sixth Avenue near West 10th.

No wonder: Milligan Place has only four buildings, all on the far left. The tiny gate that leads inside is as narrow as a shop door.

It’s a lovely glimpse of the old Village, when homes were built along streets derived from cow paths and streams, not the boxy street grid.

Milligan Place is named for Daniel Milligan, whose home once stood on the site. His daughter married Aaron Patchin.

Patchin named the larger alley around the corner for himself and built the three-story homes here around 1850.

Milligan Place commands high rents now. But for most of the 20th century, it was considered a backwater.

“Down in Milligan Place, the little hole in the wall on lower Sixth Avenue, where babies yowl and black cats prowl and pigeons coo in unison with the music of the elevated, and the soul is untrammeled and free, there is a toy shop,” noted The New York Times in 1915.

[Above left photo of Milligan Place in 1936 by Berenice Abbott. Above right, Milligan Place today]

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5 Responses to “A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alley in the Village”

  1. Sharon Florin Says:

    I was enchanted with Milligan Place when I noticed it a few years back and so I did a small painting. Here’s the link http://sjfnewyork.blogspot.com/search?q=Milligan+Place

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    I love it, thanks for the link. At Christmas that evergreen is decorated with lights; it’s very pretty.

  3. Ruby Stack o'Lee Says:

    I’ve only been to New York City once – for a day, for work. Your blog makes me want to go again and really experience it! Thank you.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks! You need more than a day to really experience it.

  5. Blaize Says:

    Greenwich Village in the 19th century was full of people and now historical architecture. Its history in the late 18th century was the catalyst for its changes in the 19th century. Most of the commercial activity was focused near the Hudson in the late 18th century because of the fresh produce market and imports. In 1799, the oldest existing building in Greenwich Village, the Issacs-Hendricks House was built. It was restored in 1836, adding on a third floor. The Village was a safe haven during the yellow fever epidemic in New York in 1822 because the air was much cleaner in the area. This caused a large number of New Yorkers to move permanently to The Village, which brought the popularity of Washington Square and the development of the fashion industry in the area. It also caused the development of major businesses and increasing construction for housing. The area has been known since its founding for its bohemian lifestyle, artistic scenery and the culture that has developed separate from other areas of New York. The Washington Square Arch, developed in 1892, is one of the many urban and interesting creations that came out of The Village. It has a less conventional street arrangement, unlike the grid-like nature of the majority of Manhattan, it is much more haphazard. During the Gilded Age, The Village also received a lot of Irish, French, and Italian immigrants, adding to the diversity of the area. The Village was not only a bohemian, artistically urban area, but it also gave birth to many innovative political ideas.

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