Lots of vestiges from the years when horses powered New York still remain: stables, horse drinking fountains, and the handsome nine-story loft built in 1897 as a monument to work horses and one Greenwich Village man who shoed them.
The clues are on the facade. Below the fourth floor, fancy insignias bearing the initials “MH” appear.
Who is MH? The letters stood for Michael Hallanan, a Galway-born blacksmith who came to the Village in the 1860s to open a horseshoe shop around the corner on Barrow Street.
That earned him kudos from the newly formed Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as well as big profits, which he used to buy nearby real estate.
Nine Barrow Street was built by Hallanan—it’s hard to see, but the very top says “Hallanan Building” in green letters—and it “covers the plot where he had his original horseshoeing shop 60 years ago,” noted The New York Times in Hallanan’s 1926 obituary.
On the West 4th Street side, there’s an enormous bas relief of the horseshoe he invented, as well as its patent number.