Greenwich Village, The Village

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Greenwich Village, the Village, Houston Street to West 14th Street andBroadway to the Hudson River.
What provided the initial attractive character of the community eventually contributed to its socio-cultural and commercialization of Greenwich Village in New York often called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families. Greenwich Village, however, was known in the late 19th to mid 20th centuries as the bohemian capital and the East Coast birthplace of the Beat movement.

The name of the village is Anglicized from the Dutch name Groenwijck, meaning "Green District", into its near homonym Greenwich, a borough of London.

Greenwich Village Location:
The neighborhood is bounded by Broadway on the east, the Hudson River on the west, Houston Street on the south, and 14th Street on the north. The neighborhoods surrounding it are the East Village to the east, SoHo and Hudson Square to the south, and Chelsea to the north. The East Village was formerly considered part of the Lower East Side and never associated with Greenwich Village. The West Village is the area of Greenwich Village west of 7th Avenue, though realtors claim the dividing line is farther east at 6th Avenue. The neighborhood is located in New York's 8th congressional district, New York's 25th State Senate district, New York's 66th State Assembly district, and New York City Council's 3rd district.
Into the early 20th century, Greenwich Village was distinguished from the upper-class neighborhood of Washington Square – based on the major landmark Washington Square Park or Empire Ward in the 19th century.
Encyclopædia Britannica's 1956 article on "New York (City)" (subheading "Greenwich Village") states that the southern border of the Village is Spring Street, reflecting an earlier understanding. The newer district of SoHo has since encroached on the Village's historic border.

Greenwich Village In media:
* Greenwich Village is a playable multiplayer map in the Freedom Fighters (2003) video game.
* Greenwich Village is the setting for the kids show Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place.
* On Sex and the City (1998-2004), exterior shots of Carrie Bradshaw's apartment building are of 66 Perry Street, even though her address is given as on the Upper East Side.
* The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984) centers on a maître d' (Mickey Rourke) in the Italian section of the Village.
* The Real World: Back to New York, the 2001 season of the MTV reality television series The Real World, was filmed in the Village.
* The Greenwich Village KFC/Taco Bell infested with rats appeared on many TV networks worldwide.
* Village Barn (1948-50), the first country music show on network television (NBC) originated from a nightclub of the same name in the basement of 52 West 8th Street.
* In Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) James Stewart's character lives in a Greenwich Village apartment.
* The ABC sitcom Barney Miller (1975-82) was set at a fictional police station in Greenwich Village.
* The cover photo for The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan of Dylan and his then-girlfriend Suze Rotolo was taken on Jones Street near West 4th Street in Greenwich Village, near their apartment.
* The NBC Sitcom The Cosby Show (1984-92) made several references to the Village during its run, and the townhouse used for exterior shots is on St. Luke's Place.
* The NBC sitcom Friends (1994-2004) is set in the Village. Central Perk was apparently on Mercer or Houston Street, down the block from the Angelika Film Center. and Phoebe lived at 5 Morton Street. The building in the exterior shot of Chandler, Joey, Rachel, and Monica's apartment building is at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets in the West Village. One of the show' working titles was Once Upon a Time in the West Village.
* In Wait Until Dark (1967), Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn) lives at 4 St. Luke's Place.
* O. Henry's short story The Last Leaf is set in Greenwich Village.
* Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976) chronicles the story of a young Jewish boy in 1953 who moves to the Village, looking to break into acting.
* In the Marvel Comics universe, Master of the Mystic Arts and Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, lives in a brownstone mansion in Greenwich Village. Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum is located at 177A Bleecker Street.
* In Wonderful Town (1953), the Sherwood sisters leave 1935 Columbus, Ohio, for Greenwich Village to pursue their dreams of becoming a writer (Ruth) and an actress (Eileen). Their apartment said to be on Christopher Street, though the actual apartment of author Ruth McKenney and her sister Eileen McKenney was on Gay Street.


Greenwich Village Grid plan:
A large section of Greenwich Village, made up of more than 50 northern and western blocks in the area up to 14th Street, is part of a Historic District established by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The Greenwich Village District's convoluted borders run no farther south than 4th Street or St. Luke's Place, and no farther east than Washington Square East or University Place. Redevelopment in that area is severely restricted, and developers must preserve the main facade and aesthetics of the buildings even during renovation.
Most parts of Greenwich Village comprise mid-rise apartments, 19th-century row houses and the occasional one-family walk-up, a sharp contrast to the hi-rise landscape in Mid- and Downtown Manhattan.
As Greenwich Village was once a rural hamlet, to the north of the earliest European settlement on Manhattan Island, its street layout is more haphazard than the grid pattern of the 19th-century grid plan (based on the Commissioners' Plan of 1811). Greenwich Village was allowed to keep its street pattern in areas west of Greenwich Lane (now Greenwich Avenue) and Sixth Avenue, which were already built up when the plan was implemented, resulting in a neighborhood whose streets are dramatically different, in layout, from the ordered structure of newer parts of town. Many of the neighborhood's streets are narrow and some curve at odd angles. In addition, unlike streets of most of Manhattan above Houston Street, streets in the Village typically are named rather than numbered. While some of the formerly named streets (including Factory, Herring and Amity Streets) are now numbered, even they do not always conform to the usual grid pattern when they enter the neighborhood. For example, West 4th Street, which runs east-west outside of the Village, turns and runs north, crossing West 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Streets.

Greenwich Village Since the 1960s
Several publications have offices in the Village, most notably the citywide newsweekly The Village Voice, and the monthly magazines Fortune and American Heritage. The National Audubon Society, having relocated its national headquarters from a mansion in Carnegie Hill to a restored and very green, former industrial building in NoHo, relocated to smaller but even greener LEED certified digs at 225 Varick Street, a short ways down Houston Street from the Film Forum.
At the current time Greenwich Village, artists and local historians mourn the fact that the bohemian days of Greenwich Village are long gone, because of the extraordinarily high housing costs in the neighborhood. The artists have fled to first to SoHo then to TriBeCa and finally Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn, Long Island City, and DUMBO. Nevertheless, residents of Greenwich Village still possess a strong community identity and are proud of their neighborhood's unique history and fame, and its well-known liberal live-and-let-live attitudes.
Greenwich Village is still home to many celebrities, including actresses/actors Julianne Moore, Uma Thurman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Leontyne Price, Amy Sedaris, and Barbara Pierce Bush, the daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush; Thurman and Bush both live on West Ninth Street. American designer Marc Jacobs as well as CNN anchor Anderson Cooper lives in the neighborhood. Alt-country/folk musician Steve Earle moved to the neighborhood in 2005, and his album Washington Square Serenade is primarily about his experiences in the Greenwich Village. The Village also serves as home to Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine as well as Calvin Trillin, a feature writer for The New Yorker magazine.
Greenwich Village includes the primary campus for New York University (NYU), The New School, and Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Parsons The New School for Design, a division of The New School, is located at 66 Fifth Avenue on 13th Street in the newly renovated, award winning design of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. The Cooper Union is also located in Greenwich Village, at Astor Place, near St. Mark's Place on the border of the East Village. Pratt Institute established its latest Manhattan campus in an adaptively reused Brunner & Tryon designed loft building on 14th Street just east of Seventh Avenue.
The historic Washington Square Park is the center and heart of the neighborhood, but the Village has several other, smaller parks: Father Fagan, Minetta Triangle, Petrosino Square, Little Red Square, and Time Landscape. There are also city playgrounds, including Desalvio, Minetta, Thompson Street, Bleecker Street, Downing Street, Mercer Street, and William Passannante Ballfield. Perhaps the most famous, though, is "The Cage", officially known as the West 4th Street Courts. Sitting on top of the West Fourth Street–Washington Square subway station at Sixth Avenue, the courts are easily accessible to basketball and American handball players from all over New York. The Cage has become one of the most important tournament sites for the city-wide "Streetball" amateur basketball tournament.
The Village also has a bustling performing arts scene. It is still home to many Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theaters; for instance, Blue Man Group has taken up residence in the Astor Place Theater. The Village Gate (until 1992), the Village Vanguard and The Blue Note are still presenting some of the biggest names in jazz on a regular basis. Other music clubs include The Bitter End, and Lion's Den. The village also has its own orchestra aptly named the Greenwich Village Orchestra. Comedy clubs dot the Village as well, including The Boston and Comedy Cellar, where many American stand-up comedians got their start.
Each year on October 31, it is home to New York's Village Halloween Parade, the largest Halloween event in the country, drawing an audience of two million from throughout the region.

Greenwich Village Education:
Greenwich Village residents are zoned to schools in the New York City Department of Education.
Residents are jointly zoned to two elementary schools: PS3 Melser Charrette School and PS41 Greenwich Village School. Residents are zoned to Baruch Middle School 104.
Residents must apply to New York City high schools.
Greenwich Village is home to New York University, which owns large sections of the area and most of the buildings around Washington Square Park. To the north is the campus of The New School, which is houses in several buildings that are considered historical landmarks because of their innovative architecture. New School's Sheila Johnson Design Center also doubles as a public art gallery. Cooper Union, one of the most selective art schools in the world, is located in the East Village.

Greenwich Village Preservation:
More recent and on-going preservation issues in the Village include: New York University's (NYU) expansion into the neighborhood; St. Vincent’s Hospital’s rebuilding plans; overdevelopment in the Far West Village; and threats to local theaters, including the Provincetown Playhouse, the Yiddish Art Theater, and the Variety Theater.
Historically, local residents and preservation groups, including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), have been concerned about development in the Village and have fought to preserve the architectural and historic integrity of the neighborhood. In the 1960s, Margot Gayle led a group of citizens to preserve the Jefferson Market Courthouse (later reused as Jefferson Market Library) while other citizen groups fought to keep traffic out of Washington Square Park and Jane Jacobs, using the Village as an example of a vibrant urban community, advocated to keep it that way.
Since then, preservation of Greenwich Village has been a part of the Village ethos. Preservation success stories abound in the neighborhood, which was landmarked in 1969 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Victories for preservationists, oftentimes spearheaded by GVSHP, include the preservation of the Greenwich Village waterfront and Meatpacking District; the inclusion of the Far West Village in the Greenwich Village Historic District; the creation of the Weehawken Street Historic District, and the downzoning of the Far West Village. Additionally, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission began the process of landmarking the South Village in June 2009.


Greenwich Village History:
In recent days, the Village has maintained its role as a center for movements that have challenged the wider American culture, for example, its role in the gay liberation movement. It contains Christopher Street and the Stonewall Inn, important landmarks, as well as the world's oldest gay and lesbian bookstore, Oscar Wilde Bookshop, founded in 1967. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center - best known as simply "The Center" - has occupied the former Food & Maritime Trades High School at 208 West 13th Street since 1984. In 2006, the Village was the scene of an assault involving seven lesbians and a straight man that sparked appreciable media attention, with strong statements both defending and attacking the parties.
The Village had a cutting-edge music scene. The Village Gate, the Village Vanguard and The Blue Note (since 1981), hosted some of the biggest names in jazz on a regular basis. Greenwich Village also played a major role in the development of the folk music scene of the 1960s. Music clubs included Gerde's Folk City, The Bitter End, Cafe Au Go Go, Cafe Wha?, The Gaslight Cafe and the Bottom Line. Three of the four members of The Mamas & the Papas met there. Guitarist and folk singer Dave Van Ronk lived there for many years. Village resident and cultural icon Bob Dylan by the mid-60s became one of the foremost popular songwriters in the world, and often developments in Greenwich Village would influence the simultaneously occurring folk rock movement in San Francisco and elsewhere, and vice versa. Dozens of other cultural and popular icons got their start in the Village's nightclub, theater, and coffeehouse scene during the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, notably besides Bob Dylan, there were Barbra Streisand, Peter, Paul, and Mary, The Lovin' Spoonful, Simon & Garfunkel, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Eric Andersen, Joan Baez, The Velvet Underground, The Kingston Trio, Richie Havens, Maria Muldaur, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Jimi Hendrix and Nina Simone among others. The Greenwich Village of the 1950s and 1960s was at the center of Jane Jacobs's book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which defended it and similar communities, while critiquing common urban renewal policies of the time.
Founded by New York based artist Mercedes Matter and her students the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture is an art school formed in the mid 1960s. The school officially opened September 23, 1964, it is still currently active and it is housed at 8 W. 8th Street, the site of the original Whitney Museum of American Art.
Greenwich Village was also home to one of the many safe houses used by the radical anti-war movement known as the Weather Underground. On March 6, 1970, however, their safehouse was destroyed when an explosive they were constructing was accidentally detonated, costing three Weathermen (Ted Gold, Terry Robbins, and Diana Oughton) their lives.
The Village again became important to the bohemian scene during the 1950s, when the Beat Generation focused their energies there. Fleeing from what they saw as oppressive social conformity, a loose collection of writers, poets, artists, and students (later known as the Beats) and the Beatniks, moved to Greenwich Village, and to North Beach in San Francisco, in many ways creating the east coast-west coast predecessor to the Haight-Ashbury-East Village hippie scene of the next decade. The Village (and surrounding New York City) would later play central roles in the writings of, among others, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Marianne Moore, Maya Angelou, Rod McKuen, and Dylan Thomas, who collapsed while drinking at the White Horse Tavern on November 5, 1953.
Off-Off-Broadway began in Greenwich Village in 1958 as a reaction to Off-Broadway, and a "complete rejection of commercial theatre". Among the first venues for what would soon be called "Off-Off-Broadway" (a term supposedly coined by critic Jerry Tallmer of the Village Voice) were coffeehouses in Greenwich Village, in particular, the Caffe Cino at 31 Cornelia Street, operated by the eccentric Joe Cino, who early on took a liking to actors and playwrights and agreed to let them stage plays there without bothering to read the plays first, or to even find out much about the content. Also integral to the rise of Off-Off-Broadway were Ellen Stewart at La MaMa, originally located at 321 E. 9th Street and Al Carmines at the Judson Poets' Theater, located at Judson Memorial Church on the south side of Washington Square Park.
In the 16th century, Native Americans referred to its farthest northwest corner, by the cove on the Hudson River at present-day Gansevoort Street, as Sapokanikan ("tobacco field"). The land was cleared and turned into pasture by Dutch and freed African settlers in the 1630s, who named their settlement Noortwyck. In the 1630s, Governor Wouter van Twiller farmed tobacco on 200 acres (0.81 km2) here at his "Farm in the Woods". The English conquered the Dutch settlement of New Netherland in 1664 and Greenwich Village developed as a hamlet separate from the larger (and fast-growing) New York City to the south.
Greenwich Village officially became a village in 1712 and is first referred to as Grin'wich in 1713 Common Council records. Sir Peter Warren began accumulating land in 1731 and built a frame house capacious enough to hold a sitting of the Assembly when smallpox rendered the city dangerous in 1739. His house, which survived until the Civil War era, overlooked the North River from a bluff; its site on the block bounded by Perry and Charles Streets, Bleecker and West 4th Streets, can still be recognized by its mid-19th century rowhouses inserted into a neighborhood still retaining many houses of the 1830-37 boom.
The oldest house remaining in Greenwich Village is the Isaacs-Hendricks House, at 77 Bedford Street (built 1799, much altered and enlarged 1836, third story 1928). In 1822, a yellow fever epidemic in New York encouraged residents to flee to the healthier air of Greenwich Village, and afterwards many stayed. The future site of Washington Square was a potter's field from 1797 to 1823 when 10 to 20,000 of New York's poor were buried here, and still remain. The handsome Greek revival rowhouses on the north side of Washington Square were built about 1832, establishing the fashion of Washington Square and lower Fifth Avenue for decades to come. Well into the 19th century, the district of Washington Square was considered separate from Greenwich Village.
Greenwich Village is generally known as an important landmark on the map of American bohemian culture. The neighborhood is known for its colorful, artistic residents and the alternative culture they propagate. Due in part to the progressive attitudes of many of its residents, the Village has traditionally been a focal point of new movements and ideas, whether political, artistic, or cultural. This tradition as an enclave of avant-garde and alternative culture was established by the beginning of the 20th century, when small presses, art galleries, and experimental theater thrived.
In 1914, in one of the many Manhattan properties Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and her husband owned, Gertrude Whitney established the Whitney Studio Club at 8 West 8th Street as a facility where young artists could exhibit their works. The place would evolve to become her greatest legacy, the Whitney Museum of American Art, on the site of today's New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. The Whitney was founded in 1931, as an answer to the then newly founded (1928) Museum of Modern Art's collection of mostly European modernism and its neglect of American Art. Gertrude Whitney decided to put the time and money into the museum after the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art turned down her offer to contribute her twenty-five-year collection of modern art works.
In 1924 the Greenwich Village Cherry Lane Theatre was established. Located at 38 Commerce Street it is New York City's oldest continuously running off-Broadway theater. A landmark in Greenwich Village’s cultural landscape, it was built as a farm silo in 1817, and also served as a tobacco warehouse and box factory before Edna St. Vincent Millay and other members of the Provincetown Players converted the structure into a theatre they christened the Cherry Lane Playhouse, which opened on March 24, 1924, with the play The Man Who Ate the Popomack. During the 1940s The Living Theatre, Theatre of the Absurd, and the Downtown Theater movement all took root there, and it developed a reputation as a place where aspiring playwrights and emerging voices could showcase their work.
In 1936, the renowned Abstract Expressionist artist and teacher Hans Hofmann moved his art school from E. 57th Street to 52 West 9th Street. In 1938, Hofmann moved again to a more permanent home at 52 West 8th Street. The school remained active until 1958 when Hofmann retired from teaching.
During the golden age of bohemianism, Greenwich Village became famous for such eccentrics as Joe Gould (profiled at length by Joseph Mitchell) and Maxwell Bodenheim, dancer Isadora Duncan, writer William Faulkner, and playwright Eugene O'Neill. Political rebellion also made its home here, whether serious (John Reed) or frivolous (Marcel Duchamp and friends set off balloons from atop Washington Square arch, proclaiming the founding of "The Independent Republic of Greenwich Village"). In Christmas 1949, The Weavers played at the Village Vanguard.