Posts Tagged ‘Peter Warren’

The grand country mansion on Bleecker Street

June 13, 2013

PeterwarrenheadshotBy the 1740s, Irish-born royal British navy officer Peter Warren (left) had amassed enough wealth to build himself an impressive estate in rural Greenwich Village.

So he bought 300 acres and commissioned a palatial home called The Manse—”a fine home to which he and his family could escape during the heat and stink of summer in the crowded city,” wrote John Strausbaugh in his wonderful new book, The Village.

“The house stood about 300 yards back from the river, on ground which fell away on a gentle slope towards the waterside,” wrote Thomas Janvier, by way of Anna Alice Chapin’s book Greenwich Village.

Peterwarrenhouse1“The main entrance was from the east; and at the rear—on the level of the drawing-room and a dozen feet or so above the sloping hillside—was a broad veranda commanding the view westward toward the Jersey Highlands and southward down the bay to the Staten Island Hills.”

The actual location of the Manse was between today’s Bleecker, West Fourth, Charles and Perry Streets. This was prime real estate then and now.

The Warrens didn’t stay in the house for long. After they left New York, it changed hands and was purchased in 1819 by a New Yorker named Abraham Van Nest.

Incredibly, the Manse stood until 1865—after which the land it occupied was finally developed, the last piece of Greenwich Village to be urbanized.

Peterwarrenhouse

Peter Warren’s home is gone. But his presence lives on in the names of his sons-in-law, who inherited his property. One was the earl of Abingdon, the namesake of Abingdon Square.

[Second and third illustrations: NYPL Digital Collection]

Two ways of looking at Abingdon Square

November 7, 2008

Originally part of the estate of Peter Warren in the 1700s, the West Village’s Abingdon Square—really a triangle—was named after the Fourth Duke of Abingdon, who married Warren’s daughter. The land was kind of a wedding present to the couple; it was made into a public park in 1831.

At the time, mansions lined the park. According to a 1921 New York Times article, one of those old mansions was still standing on the corner of Bleecker and Bank Streets.

This photo depicts Abingdon Square around 1900:

abingdonsquare1900

The park doesn’t look much different in this 2008 photo. Some of the buildings surrounding it have changed; there’s a Bing and Bing pre-war apartment house facing the park on West 12th Street, plus another big pre-war building looming nearby on Jane Street.

abingdonsquare2008

What hasn’t changed is the structure at the left on Hudson Street. Today it’s the Village Nursing Home.