The “horse walks” hiding in Greenwich Village

Anyone who has strolled down a Greenwich Village side street has probably seen a horse walk door—an unadorned, mysterious entrance without a stoop that opens to the sidewalk.

The horse walk door is the brown one to the left at this house at 7 Leroy Street, a Federal-style beauty built in 1831.

Behind this door is the horse walk, a narrow passageway through which a homeowner’s horse was led from the street to a separate carriage house or stable behind the main house.

Of course, it’s been a good century or so since anyone has used a horse walk for their own equine. Those back carriage houses are now sought-after private residences.

Here’s a listing for the carriage house behind 7 Leroy Street—yours for $16,000 a month.

This horse walk door to the right of the main entrance is part of another lovely Federal-style house built in 1819 at 83 Sullivan Street near Spring Street.

You can just imagine a horse being led to and from the door every day to what was probably a very muddy street, so his owner can use him as transportation to get around the growing city.

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11 Responses to “The “horse walks” hiding in Greenwich Village”

  1. The Edmonton Tourist Says:

    Fascinating! Is the horse walk door still used to access the homes in the back? I want one! But I can only afford to live there for 2 days🙂

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Yes, in fact the doors have their own separate house numbers now. They are prime real estate and super expensive because of their charm and privacy.

  3. petey Says:

    i had no idea.

  4. Marco Says:

    I can maybe manage a 24 hour stay @ 16k/mo. At least I can get a decent meal in that part of town.

  5. Out Walking the Dog Says:

    I had no idea. In years past, I have visited at one of the charming Carmine Street carriage houses that are clustered behind an unprepossessing entryway. Thanks for sharing the secret.

  6. wildnewyork Says:

    I only wish I could see someone lead their horse down one!

  7. Craig Nelson Says:

    Thanks for the tip. I’m in the West Village everyday, but I’ve never noticed those doors. Tomorrow I’ll keep an eye open for them!

  8. A secret house behind an East Village tenement « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] family’s horses located behind, accessible through either a side passageway or a tunnel or ‘horsewalk‘ through the […]

  9. Carolyn Muzzey Says:

    They would leave the carriage or wagon out front?

  10. Carol Daniels Fisher Says:

    I lived at 83 Sullivan st 1942-1950 wondered what was behind the door as a child.

  11. Manhattanight Says:

    If a house has a horsewalk, then the rear building is necessarily a former stable, not a former carriage house.

    Carriages don’t fit through horsewalks. Had there actually been a carriage house at the rear, then its resident carriage obviously would have traveled to and from the carriage house by some alternate route (such as through a back alley, or through neighboring lots which may now have newer buildings). Had such a route existed, then the house would not have even needed a horsewalk simply because the horses would have taken the same route to the carriage house as the carriage.

    An examination of the the facade of the rear building is also often telling. Is there a double-wide carriage door? Or has the brickwork be redone to remove a carriage door? Does the building even have interior space for a carriage? If the answers are no, no and no, then you’re looking at a former stable.

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