Varick Street between West Houston and Clarkson Streets comes across as a sleepy little stretch of the city in this 1921 photo.
A row of early 19th century Federal-style houses cover the entire west side of the block. And a corner cigar store and carpenter/cabinet maker are the only businesses—aside from the horse-drawn ice cream delivery wagon.
Notice the horsecar tracks? “[They’re] those of the Sixth Avenue Ferry line, which ran from the Desbrosses Street Ferry via Varick and Carmine Streets to Sixth Avenue,” states the wonderful New York Then and Now, which published the photo.
“On the extreme left is the entrance to the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue line subway, opened beneath Varick Street on July 1, 1918.”
The street didn’t look like this for much longer. In 1924 the 10 houses were demolished, a 12-story light-industry loft structure put in its place, as seen in the 1974 photo above, also from New York Then and Now.
The loft building casts a dark shadow over the block to this day (at right). It’s part of the no man’s land south of the West Village but a little too West for Soho that I believe is called Hudson Square.
Tags: building Seventh Avenue South, city street photos, Clarkson Street, Federal Style houses NYC, Hudson Square history, New York in the 1920s, New York in the 1970s, New York street, New York Street photos, New York then and now, Varick Street, vintage New York photos, West Village street photos