The most charming building on East 13th Street

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.


Erskinepress2008Constructed 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.

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12 Responses to “The most charming building on East 13th Street”

  1. wack60585 Says:

    Reblogged this on wack60585.

  2. Gee Says:

    For along time it was abandoned. It has only had this cafe operating for about 5 years or so.

  3. Robert Romagnoli Says:

    I seem to remember, about 30-40 years ago, this was still a print/copy shop.

  4. Bruce Bethany Says:

    The Trois Petit Cochons charcuterie occupied the building in 1977 when we opened our new restaurant directly across 13th St. We
    named our resto Cafe Loup which,. btw, was moved to105 West
    13th St. in 1989, and it’s still going strong after 39 years of huffing and puffing,

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I know Cafe Loup; you guys survived all those years with road construction obstructing the sidewalk right in front of your door! I hope you don’t have to go through that again.

  6. Bruce Bethany Says:

    The “road construction” was in fact a 3 to 4 year project to reconstruct the subway station directly below us. It was a classic
    case of bleeding the city’s coffers by Mafia-run companies who are
    very adept at stalling. Surviving that outrage was very difficult,
    but we’re still here. Our landlord helped by giving us a break
    on the rent, a not so small miracle.

  7. JLB Says:

    The Adore had a large single picture window on the second floor that beautifully framed the street, it was a charming place. I can’t believe Croque ripped out that window and replaced it with those tacky three ones, unconscionable. I could never go back.

  8. Bruce Bethany Says:

    If JLB went to Adore for the view, he’s unaware how drab and tacky that strip of 13th Sy. is.

    • JLB Says:

      That window had wonderful southern light and a beautiful tree in front of it. Granted, it wasn’t a view of historical brownstones but that view was perfectly framed through a large single picture window. The Adore also had the best cafe au lait and toasted baguettes with home-made jam and butter. Croque destroyed what was one of the most charming spaces in the Village, unconscionable.

  9. J Says:

    From 1977 – 1980, I was a law student in the Cardozo School of Law around the corner on 5th Avenue from this building. Once in a while, if I could afford it, I would go to the Trois Petit Cochons and buy a small slice of whatever pate was featured that day. I would bring it into the law library and had a small, elegant dinner in an otherwise long, unbroken night of studying. Another time, one of my professors invited me out to lunch. I really enjoyed reading this post. She brought me to Cafe Loup. It was wonderful and nothing I could afford by myself as a student. I am thrilled to know it is still going strong–quite an achievement in NYC!

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