Every time I pass the lilliputian walkup at 17 East 13th Street, with “Erskine Press” faded on the facade, I imagine the 1920s Greenwich Village of Edmund Wilson, Djuna Barnes, and e.e. cummings.
Constructed in 1911 (Erskine Press had been operating out of a building across the street since 1895), the little walkup has amazingly escaped the wrecking ball.
It’s an emblem of the long-gone Greenwich Village of print shops, small publishers, struggling artists and writers, and a literary culture.
I’m not sure when Erskine Press moved out. But since then, the building has changed hands over last four or five decades—getting a new paint job and undergoing minor changes yet ultimately looking very Jazz Age.
In the 1970s it was a beloved French takeout charcuterie. In the 2000s, it housed The Adore, a sweet hideaway for coffee and pastries (right).
These days it’s a cafe for croque monsieur sandwiches. And somewhere behind it is a separate space with apartment rentals, starting in the 3K range—monthly rent rates Wilson, Barnes, and cummings would never have believed.
Tags: 17 East 13th Street, Croque Monsieur, Djuna Barnes Greenwich Village, Erskine Press Greenwich Village, Greenwich Village 1910s, Greenwich Village e.e. cummings, Greenwich Village Edmund Wilson, The Adore East 3th Street