Greenwich Village

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This page is about Greenwich Village in New York City. For other uses see Greenwich (disambiguation)

Greenwich Village (IPA pronunciation: [ˌgrɛnɪtʃ 'vɪlɪdʒ]), also called simply the Village, is a largely residential area on the west side of downtown (southern) Manhattan in New York City named after Greenwich, London


[edit] Location

The neighborhood is roughly 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 to the south, and Chelsea to the north. The East Village, which was formerly known as the Bowery or north Lower East Side, is occasionally referred to as part of Greenwich Village, but is more properly considered its own neighborhood.

Greenwich Village was better known as Washington Square in the 19th century.[citation needed]

[edit] Layout

Image:West 4th and West 12th Intersection.JPG
The intersection of West 4th and West 12th Streets in Greenwich Village (W. 12th St., which runs east-west, runs left-right in this picture)
Image:West 12th and West 4th Intersection Sign.JPG
Another photo of the intersection

As Greenwich Village was once a rural hamlet, entirely separate from New York, its street layout does not coincide with most of Manhattan's more formal grid plan (based on the Commissioners' Plan of 1811). Greenwich Village was allowed to keep its street pattern when the plan was implemented, which has resulted in a neighborhood whose streets are dramatically different, in layout, from the ordered structure of other parts of town. Many of the neighborhood's streets are narrow and some curve at odd angles. Additionally, unlike most of Manhattan, streets in the Village typically are named rather than numbered. While there are some numbered streets in the Village, 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.

Image:Greenwich Village map circa 1860 - Project Gutenberg eText 16907.jpg
Map of old Greenwich Village. A section of Bernard Ratzer's map of New York and its suburbs, made circa 1766 for Henry Moore, Royal Governor of New York, when Greenwich was more than two miles from the city.

[edit] History

Greenwich Village is located on what was once marshland. In the 16th century Native Americans referred to it as Sapokanikan ("tobacco field"). The land was cleared and turned into pasture by Dutch settlers in the 1630s who named their settlement Noortwyck. The English conquered the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam in 1664 and Greenwich Village developed as a hamlet separate from the larger (and fast-growing) Manhattan. It officially became a village in 1712 and is first referred to as Grin'wich in 1713 Common Council records. In 1822, a yellow fever epidemic in New York encouraged residents to flee to the healthier air of Greenwich Village, and afterwards many stayed.

Greenwich Village is generally known as an important landmark on the map of 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.

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, as well as greats on the order of 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").

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) moved to Greenwich Village, in many ways creating the East-Coast predecessor to the Haight-Ashbury 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, and William S. Burroughs, and Dylan Thomas, who collapsed while drinking at the White Horse Tavern on November 9, 1953.

Greenwich Village played a major role in the development of the folk music scene of the 1960s. Three of the four members of The Mamas and the Papas met there. Village resident Bob Dylan was one of the foremost popular songwriters in the country, and often developments in New York City would influence the simultaneously occurring folk rock movement in San Francisco, 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 Peter, Paul, and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez, and Phil Ochs. 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.

In recent days, the Village has maintained its role as a center for movements which 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.

See also Category:Greenwich Village scene

[edit] Present day

Image:Jefferson market.jpg
Jefferson Market Library, once a prison, now serves as a branch of the New York Public Library.
Image:Greenwich Village.jpg
Greenwich Village

Currently, artists and local historians bemoan 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 Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Long Island City, and New Jersey. 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. Indeed, its cultural uniqueness and apartness are felt so strongly, and so many of its residents' lives are so locally focused, that it is sometimes said thereabouts that "upstate" New York is anywhere north of 14th Street.

Greenwich Village is now home to many celebrities, including actress Uma Thurman and Barbara Pierce Bush, the daughter of U.S. President George W. Bush, who both live on West Ninth Street.[1]

Greenwich Village includes the primary campus for New York University (NYU), The New School, and Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Cooper Union is located in neighboring East Village.

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 4th Street subway station at 6th Avenue that serves the A-B-C-D-E-F-V trains, 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 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 Vanguard hosts some of the biggest names in jazz on a regular basis. 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, a mile-long ad hoc pageant of masqueraders, mummers, drag queens, exhibitionists, drunkards, druggies, puppets and pets that draws an audience of two million from throughout the region, the largest Halloween event in the country. The delighted and high-spirited throngs include everyone from the smallest children dressed in the simplest homemade or store-bought costumes on up to adults bedecked in the most elaborate and ingenious guises and disguises that professional and amateur costume designers and makeup artists can conceive and create with a year's notice.

Several publications have offices in the Village, most notably the newsweekly The Village Voice.

Sullivan St. was home to Genovese Family godfather Vincent Gigante. A lifelong resident, shortly before his death in federal prison he told a fellow inmate 'Greenwich Village is the greatest place in the U.S.'[citation needed]

[edit] In fiction

New Netherland series
The Patroon System

Colen Donck (Yonkers, New York)

Directors-General of New Netherland:

Cornelius Jacobsen Mey (1620-1625)
Willem Verhulst (1625-26)
Peter Minuit (1626-33)
Wouter van Twiller (1633-38)
Willem Kieft (1638-47)
Peter Stuyvesant (1647-64)

Influential people

Adriaen van der Donck
Kiliaen van Rensselaer
Brant van Slichtenhorst
Cornelis van Tienhoven

The 19942004 NBC sitcom Friends is set in the Village, though it was filmed and produced in Burbank, California. The exterior shot of Monica's apartment building is actually located at Grove Street and Bedford Street in the West Village. (At one point, Phoebe Buffay stated that Central Park was "right by [her] house," which led to confusion amongst fans as to where she lived, seeing as how the park is not particularly close to the Village.)

For most of its run in the mid-1980s, the title characters on the CBS sitcom Kate & Allie shared a brownstone in Greenwich Village.

The Marvel Comics character Doctor Strange hails from Greenwich Village.

The movie 13 Going on 30, which involves a girl who wishes to be older on her birthday, includes a scene where the main character wishes to find a boy from her past. When asking her secretary where the boy currently lives, she replies "The Village" which confuses the main character (still stuck in her 30-year-old body), and the secretary clarifies by saying "...Greenwich...Village."

Kinky Friedman resided in the Village, both in his novels and in real life.

RUEHL no. 925 based its store theme on a German Leatherman who created his workshop in Greenwich Village at address #925. The store's story of course, is fiction.

The village was also used in the short story Last Leaf by O. Henry.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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Greenwich Village

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