“Spring Night, Greenwich Village”

Martin Lewis created this shadowy etching of an ordinary Village street in 1930. According to Artnet.com:

“At the time Lewis made Spring Night, Greenwich Village he lived at 111 Bedford Street (which may be the street depicted in the print), in the Village, and was immersed in the intellectual and artistic life of the neighborhood.”

“His exhibit at Kennedy Galleries in 1929 had been a great success, and he discontinued the commercial art work he had been doing.

“But of course the Great Depression changed everything; Lewis and his wife gave up their house in the Village and moved to Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

“He set up a short-lived printmaking school in the Village in 1934 (with Armin Landeck and the printmaker George Miller), and moved back to the Village in 1936.”

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14 Responses to ““Spring Night, Greenwich Village””

  1. Peter Bennett Says:

    Too wide a sidewalk for Bedford, and there were fewer storefronts on Bedford than there are now. My guess is it’s Hudson street, the nearest commercial street to 111 Bedford. I have a couple of photos of Hudson in the forties and it has the same feel to them as this illustration.

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    He has those incredibly nice drawings you have had before, of women walking, their skirts going back and forth from the wind or their flirty charm while they’d pass us by. I imagine their shy faces, their eyes down-turned as they’d hurry through the streets. NY must have been very solitary but lovely back then.

  3. Sean Says:

    Sidewalks on Bedford Street are very narrow. The sidewalk in this picture is not.

    It seems more like the sidewalks of one of the avenues.

  4. esquared Says:

    “…was immersed in the intellectual and artistic life of the neighborhood”

    nowadays, greenwich village is immersed in the cupcakes and marc jacobs life of the scary sadshaws.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    Good call about Hudson Street. This could be right around where WXOU is.

    I love the cracked sidewalk and the kids running in the gutter. When was the last time you saw kids running around a West Village street? I mean kid kids, not twentysomethings.

  6. Peter Bennett Says:

    Growing up in the Village, we used to run around a lot, although much of the time it was to escape the street gangs of kids that went to the local Parochial schools, Our Lady of Pompeii and St Anthony’s. The Village used to be a rough area, especially the area west of Hudson. I remember seeing gang tags of the Hudson Dusters around Bank street when I was a kid in the sixties. The original Hudson Dusters were a really tough gang around a 100 years ago, someone tried to resurrect them in the sixties, thankfully without much luck.

    • mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

      Like on the Lower East Side it was the Untouchables or the Dragons, two Spanish gangs that controlled the tough streets, not to mention the Italian gangs of Mott Street and ruled their territory, working their way onto the Mafia. ‘Goodfellas’ I have seen but nothing the Spanish gangs of the time.

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    Funny you mention Our Lady of Pompeii and St Anthony’s. I have a friend who went to Little Red Schoolhouse in the early 1980s. She told me that at the end of the school day, when Little Red dismissed their students, the tough kids, boys and girls, from the Catholic schools descended on them and physically attacked them. She said they’d hide sharpened pencils in their fists and then poke the Little Red kids in the face! I think Little Red administrators started letting their kids out early, so they had time to run home without getting poked.

  8. Peter Bennett Says:

    I went to Little Red too, as well as their affiliate HS, Elizabeth Irwin. I went there in the sixties when the problems with Pompeii started, I see it became a not so great tradition into the eighties. It was pretty awful. I had a chance to meet some of these guys in later life and even became friends with a guy name Frankie Four Fingers. A lot of them came from abusive households and were the kids of the local wiseguys (or wiseguy wannabes) who hung out in the “social” clubs along Sullivan and Thompson streets. Our school was composed of Blacks, Jews and long hairs, in their eyes, all groups ripe for a beating. The problem was it was never a fair fight, they would always outnumber us two or three to one, so we always got our asses kicked or ran away.

  9. Lisa Says:

    Yes, looks like East side of Hudson between Morton & Grove– even the “TO LET” signs in the empty storefronts look familiar.


  10. Greg C Says:

    An interesting site that you might like.

  11. Keith Sheridan Says:

    Please credit your image sources.

  12. The mysterious woman on the “little penthouse” of a 1930s tenement roof | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] drypoint prints, allowing him to depict nuanced moments on the streets of the 1920s and 1930s city: kids at play under the glow of shop lights, young women on the town illuminated by street lamps, and New Yorkers going about their lives […]

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