A Village painter’s dynamic 1930s street scene

You can practically feel the energy and vitality in painter Alfred S. Mira’s depiction of the daily rhythms of a New York street.

Shops are open, trucks make deliveries, a couple crosses the street, a mother pushes a baby carriage, a father walks with his daughter while a woman walks her dog, and presumably the next day and every day after that, this corner hummed with the same life and dynamism.

But what colorful tenement corner are we on in the the New York of the 1930s or 1940s? (The date of the painting isn’t clear.)

Born in Italy, Mira called Greenwich Village home and tended to paint gritty to enchanting street scenes from his neighborhood.

Though this painting is titled “Greenwich Village New York” by Questroyal Fine Art LLC, a 1943 Los Angeles Times article covering an exhibit of Mira’s in LA printed the painting and called it “Greenwich Ave. and 11th Street.”

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20 Responses to “A Village painter’s dynamic 1930s street scene”

  1. Debbie Binner Says:

    What absolutely beautiful paintings

  2. Richard C. Says:

    Can’t read any street names on the light poles, and there are none on the sides of the buildings, but a pretty good check can be made using Google maps and the address given in the ’43 description of the work.

  3. snufflegrinbooks Says:

    Thanks for this. The woman with the baby carriage seems to be missing from the B&W reproduction – I wonder if he added it after the show, and then changed the title ???

  4. Mykole Mick Dementiuk Says:

    The steeple in the upper right hand corner would be Jefferson Library I assume…

  5. Joel Jason Says:

    It’s the corner of Seventh Avenue south and Bleecker Street. The steeple is from the church on Carmine Street. I lived in the neighborhood for many years.

  6. James Wolf Says:

    https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x89c25996eca3cc89%3A0x9fc513f0c1f9096a!2m22!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m16!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!2m2!1m1!1e5!2m2!1m1!1e4!2m2!1m1!1e6!3m1!7e115!4shttps%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipNbYl139VHYvQf2yLA8zLbEG2IfQMC5OvZiJiYI%3Dw98-h160-k-no!5sjefferson%20library%20nyc%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipNbYl139VHYvQf2yLA8zLbEG2IfQMC5OvZiJiYI&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiyq5_bz7LkAhWChOAKHZUTB0QQoiowEnoECAsQBg

    This image definitively matches Steeple to Jefferson library…

  7. James Josh Wolf Jr Says:

    This link definitively matches Steeple to Jefferson library…

    https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x89c25996eca3cc89%3A0x9fc513f0c1f9096a!2m22!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m16!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!2m2!1m1!1e5!2m2!1m1!1e4!2m2!1m1!1e6!3m1!7e115!4shttps%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipNbYl139VHYvQf2yLA8zLbEG2IfQMC5OvZiJiYI%3Dw98-h160-k-no!5sjefferson%20library%20nyc%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipNbYl139VHYvQf2yLA8zLbEG2IfQMC5OvZiJiYI&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiyq5_bz7LkAhWChOAKHZUTB0QQoiowEnoECAsQBg

  8. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Seventh Avenue and Bleecker is what it looks like to me, with some artistic liberties….

  9. Kiko Says:

    Greenwich Avenue and 11th Street? Elephant and Castle restaurant on the corner

  10. Jo Says:

    yes, I concur that it must be Greenwich Ave & 11th St & Steeple in background is Jefferson Mkt. It really takes me back to my years ‘hanging out’ there with gay friends in the 60’s. And further back to my birth at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Ptg. looks like it was painted on location, not from a photo or memory.

  11. Alma Carey Says:

    I think it’s closer to the early 1940’s, not the 1930’s. Love it.

  12. Bob Says:

    70-74 Greenwich Avenue c. 1940 Tax Photo

    http://nycma.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/detail/NYCMA~5~5~206996~496948?sort=borough%2Cblock%2Clot%2Czip_code&qvq=q:70%20Greenwich%20avenue;sort:borough%2Cblock%2Clot%2Czip_code;lc:NYCMA~5~5&mi=3&trs=10

  13. Bob Says:

    58 Greenwich Ave (to the right of 64):

    http://nycma.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/detail/NYCMA~5~5~206990~496954?sort=borough%2Cblock%2Clot%2Czip_code&qvq=q:70%20Greenwich%20avenue;sort:borough%2Cblock%2Clot%2Czip_code;lc:NYCMA~5~5&mi=1&trs=10

  14. Bob Says:

    1930 view (similar angle) and 1938 view (slightly rotated), both by Percy Loomis Sperr:

    https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-3e0d-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

    “Manhattan: Greenwich Avenue – 11th Street (West)”

  15. Bob Says:

    I think the white color of the storefront sign on the leftmost building (70-74) puts this painting closer to 1930 than 1940, but the traffic signal was there in the 1938 photo but not the 1930 photo, so it definitely puts the date later than the year 1930.

  16. Bob Says:

    Re: Questroyal

    Neat historical overlay video here:

    “February 23, 2017 ·

    “Today’s #ThrowbackThursday features Alfred S. Mira’s ‘Greenwich Village, New York,’ which depicts the corner of Seventh Avenue South and Greenwich Avenue. The steeple of the old Jefferson Market Courthouse, which is now the Jefferson Market Branch, NYPL The New York Public Library, is visible in the upper right of the composition. A recent photograph of this west side intersection reveals how the city scene has changed since the 20th century.”

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