New York’s last gas lamp in a West Village alley

Is there an enclave in New York City lovelier than Patchin Place?

This one-lane stretch of circa-1850 brick walk-ups in the West Village is shaded by ailanthus trees and blocked off from traffic by a wrought-iron fence.

It’s shabby-romantic, the former home of many early 20th century writers.

But this little mews off West 10th Street and Sixth Avenue also contains an incredible 19th century old New York relic at its far end.

It’s the location of the last original gas lamp and stanchion in New York City.

The simple, elegantly designed lamp still illuminates the alley at night, and it helps light up the Christmas tree residents place in front of it every December.

Unfortunately, it’s no longer powered by gas; the lamp was wired for electricity in the 1920s.

Imagine the lovely glow it must have cast on Patchin Place until then!

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13 Responses to “New York’s last gas lamp in a West Village alley”

  1. Somebuddy Says:

    There’s a wonderful one in Park Slope that is still lit by gas. The flame is always a surprise when I walk by at night.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Really, is it an original? I’d love to know if there are more out there!

  3. ledamato Says:

    Here’s a link to an article about the gas lamps in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Several friends in the area had these back in the 1980’s. I think I remember a street lamp on 7th, maybe outside the Gaslight Pub on 7th Ave and 1st Street? Thanks for the great blog!

  4. Joe R Says:

    A gas lamp out front is not necessarily a sign of great age. I don’t know whether it was promoted by either the Brooklyn Union Gas Company (as it was then known) or a private contractor, but many of the 1920’s era houses on my parents’ East New York block started sporting gas lamps out front in the late 70’s or early 80’s. After over thirty years of weathering I’m sure that they would look quite old now.

  5. Gimelgort Says:

    In the mid ’90s, my therapist had her office on Patchin Place (no idea if she’s still there, I’m “cured” lol) and I always imagined myself going back in time as I walked through the gate. Thanks for all you do, wild!

  6. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks for reading! I lived in Patchin Place in the late 90s-early 2000s, and though the apartments were ridiculously small, I very much miss its scruffy charm.

  7. The bishop’s crook lamppost on Beekman Place | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] gas lamp at the end of West Village alley Patchin Place might be the oldest in New […]

  8. David H Lippman Says:

    The backside of the buildings on Patchin Place have their backyards facing the small playground of PS 41, which was my elementary school.

    The street was originally built, I believe,as housing for workers at the nearby Brevoort Hotel, at Broadway and 10th Street, which became, ultimately, an NYU dorm.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      PS 41: My elementary school too, for a few years anyway.

      • David H Lippman Says:

        You know who also went there? Scarlett Johansson and Robert De Niro. But Robert De Niro went to the old building on Greenwich Avenue, which was replaced by the new building in 1957. The old building site is now the playground. Scarlett attended the new school.

        Between 5th and 6th is the building that got exploded in 1970 by the terrorists, and I was in school at the time. It’s a good story, and I might have told it.

        One of my graduating classmates was Tony Orbach, Jerry Orbach’s kid. Jerry and my mother waited for us to come out of school every day. That got Mom tickets to “the Fantasticks” and a signed cast album.

  9. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I enjoyed PS 41 but the school in the mid-1970s was very different from the place it is today. Several times my lunch (brought from home) was stolen as were sweaters and jackets right out of the coat closet. I don’t recall any parents waiting outside; everyone seemed to board buses to get home. And half-day kindergarten!

    • David H Lippman Says:

      Mid-1970s? I graduated in 1973.

      My main memory are the Jewish-American princess queen bees who dictated social rules to their buddies (based on what their older sisters were doing) and logically used me as a target, because my Asperger’s made me a nutball.

      And coming back decades later when they had a flea market there to support the school (I was in the neighborhood) and being shocked at how small everything was.

      And combing back another decade later with my daughter, when she was doing a photo-assignment on family history for her college class, and showing her the building. I pointed out where they buried the Time Capsule in 1970, and wondered if they dug it up, as planned in 1980. The area had been heavily rebuilt, and they should have found it.

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