Posts Tagged ‘MacDougal Alley’

A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alley in the Village

October 18, 2010

Sharp-eyed New Yorkers know about the many courtyards and mews of Greenwich Village, such as Patchin Place, MacDougal Alley, and Charles Lane.

But most residents don’t notice Milligan Place, a triangular alley on Sixth Avenue near West 10th.

No wonder: Milligan Place has only four buildings, all on the far left. The tiny gate that leads inside is as narrow as a shop door.

It’s a lovely glimpse of the old Village, when homes were built along streets derived from cow paths and streams, not the boxy street grid.

Milligan Place is named for Daniel Milligan, whose home once stood on the site. His daughter married Aaron Patchin.

Patchin named the larger alley around the corner for himself and built the three-story homes here around 1850.

Milligan Place commands high rents now. But for most of the 20th century, it was considered a backwater.

“Down in Milligan Place, the little hole in the wall on lower Sixth Avenue, where babies yowl and black cats prowl and pigeons coo in unison with the music of the elevated, and the soul is untrammeled and free, there is a toy shop,” noted The New York Times in 1915.

[Above left photo of Milligan Place in 1936 by Berenice Abbott. Above right, Milligan Place today]

West Eighth Street and MacDougal Alley

December 7, 2009

As seen from MacDougal Street in 1942. Alfred S. Mira painted this scene of one of World War II–era Greenwich Village’s main drags. 

The shop on the right-hand corner eventually housed Eighth Street Books, one of those fabled Village bookstores in pre-Amazon, pre-Barnes & Noble days. 

And the Eighth Street Theater, which survived until the 1990s, was right around the corner.

This stretch of Eighth Street looks almost exactly the same today, except the crowds are a little sketchier. Too bad Mira didn’t reproduce the store signs and names.