Borough and State: Manhattan, New York
Listed:1969, expanded in 2006
Type of district: National Register historic district, local historic district
Main Streets: 7th Avenue and Greenwich Avenue
For most of the 20th century, artists, writers, progressive thinkers and counter-culture bohemians have been associated with the enclave known as Greenwich Village, but that reputation masks the deeper history that dates back several centuries. That history is evident walking through the Village, where multiple architectural styles are woven throughout the landscape and irregular, curvaceous streets still exist despite the traditional grid system that took over much of the rest of the city. The Village began as farmland, then was a district of weekend homes for Manhattan’s well-to-do in colonial times, evolving into a refuge away from the epidemics of the city’s center in the early 19th century. In the latter part of that century it became a bustling center for Italian, Irish, German and other immigrants.
With that influx of middle class residents came row houses, tenement houses, stores, restaurants, churches, jazz clubs, and a host of other structures that added to the architectural mix. The architectural variety blends well with the neighborhood’s eclectic nature, with major styles side by side on many streets. The simplicity of the post-Revolutionary Federal period, the broad, flat surfaces of Greek Revival, the rounded arches of Italianate, and the brick and terra cotta ornaments that comprise Queen Anne style all come together harmoniously.