Posts Tagged ‘Private alleys in New York City’

Strange Days in Sniffen Court

January 7, 2010

Tucked away on quiet 36th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue lies Sniffen Court—one of the city’s sweetest private alleys. Ten two-story former carriage houses, built in the 1860s, now serve as private residences (one houses a theater) that collectively look like a toy village.

Unlike other alleys, like Patchin Place in the West Village, a locked gate prevents curious passersby from strolling in and time-traveling back to Civil War–era New York City. 

But it didn’t prevent The Doors from shooting the Strange Days album cover there in 1967. Inspired by the 1954 Fellini film La Strada, the photographer recruited carnival performers and average joes (reportedly one was a cabbie paid $5 for his time) to pose for the iconic photo.

Here’s the cover shot. Compare it to Sniffen Court today; this landmarked mews has barely changed in 30 years.

The back cover photo shows the left side of Sniffen Court. The white horse and rider reliefs on each side of the back wall still exist: