Posts Tagged ‘NYU’

When NYU was (mostly) in the Bronx

March 3, 2010

New York University isn’t exactly popular among East and West Villagers—mainly due to its obnoxiously large dorms and obnoxiously loud students.

In fact, most residents probably wouldn’t mind if the school relocated to an outer borough.

That’s exactly what NYU did in 1894, when overcrowding at its Washington Square digs compelled the school to find a spacious campus.

Its new home was just over the Harlem River in the Bronx. The neighborhood, renamed University Heights, housed most academic programs and operations—including the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, pictured below—for decades.

So what brought the school back downtown? Financial problems. In 1973, NYU sold its Bronx campus to CUNY, which established Bronx Community College there.

And NYU embarked on a plan to establish itself as a world-class institution in the Village once again.

Polly’s MacDougal Street hangout

June 23, 2008

Looks like a jolly crowd inside Polly’s restaurant, at 137 MacDougal Street, around 1915. Polly Holladay was an anarchist who opened her eatery when Greenwich Village hit its bohemian heights in the teens.

The place was an instant hit. The artistically minded and politically active—such as Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, and Emma Goldman—were regulars. Polly’s moved around the block in 1919, closing for good not long after, about the time when the Village’s bohemian rep made it a favorite for tourists.

The building that housed Polly’s has attracted a lot of attention lately. New York University, which owns 133-139 MacDougal, wants to demolish most of it and put a new structure inside the old facade.

That’s not sitting well with local activists, who note that such a historic building—it formed the epicenter of an artistic movement that included Eugene O’Neill’s Provincetown Playhouse, the Liberal Club, and the Heterodoxy Club (a feminist group)—should be preserved.