A painter captures the last years of these East Village tenements

A New Yorker since his birth in 1928, Arthur Morris Cohen studied at Cooper Union from 1948 to 1950, according to askart.com. So he knew the neighborhood when he decided to paint what looks like the southeast or southwest tenement corner at Third Avenue and 9th Street in 1961.

Cohen’s version of the corner would be similar to what it probably actually looked like in the early 1960s. The East Village was not even the East Village yet; it would be a few years before the tenement neighborhood was rebranded from the Lower East Side, which was on the decline economically.

1941 tax photo of 111-113 East Ninth Street

None of these walkups exist today. In fact, all four corners at Third and Ninth are occupied by postwar buildings. On the southwest corner is a 1960s-era white brick apartment building called the St. Mark, which likely took the place of these low rises in 1965, when the building was completed. Or maybe the row stood where a huge NYU dorm has been since the 1980s, with Stuyvesant Place running alongside it.

This 1941 tax photo from the NYC Department of Records and Information Services at the southwest corner gives some idea of what Cohen painted.

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8 Responses to “A painter captures the last years of these East Village tenements”

  1. Mykola Mick Dementiuk Says:

    You have a typo, 1848?

  2. Jeff Greenberg Says:

    My guess is that row is where Kamenstein’s Hardware stood in the 60’s and 70’s. Would make sense because Cooper Union (the hall where Lincoln spoke) would be diagonally across Third Ave. FYI Alan Ginsberg lived just down the block on Stuyvesant near where the NYU building stands. I’d always see him getting into his VW bug. He and his father gave a joint poetry reading at St Marks Church at Second and Tenth.

  3. jeffreybernard1234verizonnet Says:

    If askart.com claims that Mr. Cohen was born in 1848, I will not bother them asking any questions. Jeff

  4. velovixen Says:

    I like to see paintings of what New York was, not only to see buildings that no longer exist, but also to get a sense of how various places in the city felt.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I do as well, and my favorite paintings, which I like to post here, are the ones that give me a feel for a long-ago New York.

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