Saturday, April 17, 2021

A literary tour of Greenwich Village’s past, epidemic present


When my boyfriend and I moved from our pocket-sized Greenwich Village apartment last October, our cat, Evita Carroll, made a sound that I’ll never forget. After all the furniture and four-year-olds were slammed into a truck parked illegally at the corner of Biliker and Thompson, I let him out – and he said that. It was a bizarre cry, a new-bodied eulogy for a place he had once recognized and which now emptied in front of him.

It didn’t take long for Avita Carroll to settle into our new location, overlooking Broadway. But I could not get past how. When the cold and New York City had a bitter holiday season devoid of its traditions, tourists and daily rhythms, I was looking out of the window on an unfamiliar pavement in a city plagued by an unfamiliar global epidemic. Our cat’s cry was the voice I could make – and I knew well that I was one of the very lucky people.

So that’s what I did when Kovid-19 first started desolating the city a year ago: I read. If the present was unprecedented, I wanted to stare at myself in the past – especially in the history of my beloved neighborhood, where the construction of our pre-century building and the largely intact blocks surrounding it resemble already unearthly moments. Were. , And some worse, this one. Why do these eyewitnesses not know?

John strasbaugh The village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Roses, A History of Greenwich Village ”(624 pp., Acco, $ 29.99). Was the first thing i ever did No On a streaming service. Last March, as the clock ticked with orders to stay home, I turned to Straussboff’s Encyclopedia 2013, which tells of people and places that a patriotic country survived in an urban country in the 17th century Was named shorthand until the 20th for a certain type of artistic, political and sexual energy. Strasbaugh explained how and why it sets up the city’s grid due to uneven, sometimes slanted roads Commissioner’s plan of 1811, But also socially, centuries later.

It is easy to get lost in the village, but in the context of Strasbaugh I find myself subconsciously tracing the same twisted paths all informed by tantalizing images of a neighborhood seen in previous centuries, as it is still closed is. Right here, in an undivided image, the Washington Arch is devoid of its famous twin statues of George Washington, but passing under horse drawn wagons (it is now thankfully closed to traffic). And there, in an early 20th-century photograph, the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, mockingly small 75, stands in front of Bedford Street, cited as “the narrowest house in New York” and certainly in part. As I watched while picking up a post-jog croissant on the road.

But there were other houses that stopped me in their tracks as well: rows of them, in leafy streets west of Sixth Avenue. Certainly, his uniqueness was always attractive, but his shifting architectural style was now something of an obsession, such as my other, pre-pandemic past has become. Brix and Brown: The New York Row House (352 pp., Rizzoli, $ 85), Jonathan D. The 2019 reunion of the 1972 original text by Charles Lockwood and Patrick W. Sisscon with Taylor offers the vocabulary I have longed for. Dylan Chandler’s photographs take readers on a visual journey from early-federal-style homes in revolutionary era New York through the mid-19th century Greek Revival period (exemplified by the stunning row of houses north of Washington Square Park). ), With a craze for brownstones that coincided with the Italian style (typed as a brick-front at 290 West 4th Street, another favorite on my daily route) and beyond. There are interiors too, such as elegant, lighthearted fantasies such as 37 West 11th Street, that if I stood on my toes, I could only catch a glimpse of the guilty.

George Chauncy, who lived close to home in every sense “GAY NEW YORK: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940,” (Illustrated. 512 pp., Basic Books, paper, $ 22.99), First published in 1994 And updated to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in 2019. Chauncy’s book is a memorable examination of New York City’s nascent queer communities being forged from the late 1800s to World War II. But broadly, I was more interested in doing a little scam around the literal corner of our old apartment at 157 Billerkar Street. Currently, home to the popular gastropub with an outdoor dining set, there was once a barbery bar named Sliding, which counts as a chuni, a clientele popularly catered to, and Often derogatory, known as “fairies” in the 1890s. This is the closest I can get until I am ready to step foot inside a crowded cue bar until further notice.

And then we left. I had grown to use the almost frighteningly quiet and interrupted inner dorms we encountered on Thompson Street, the thundering and trembling of the now-vacant Crosstown buses on Broadway. I missed the scale of the city below Washington Square and resented the buildings that blocked the already limited afternoon light. And so I decided to learn about them – if only they should be able to judge them more smugly.

Of writer William Hennessy Walking Bradway: Thirteen Meals of Architecture and History (illustrated, 224 pp., The Monakeli Press, paper, $ 25). The 2020 release could not have happened at a better time: after all, walking the city’s longest road is as good as any Kovid-era cabin fever. But it was too cold to venture externally, and moreover, the hawking, full-block terra-cotta building visible from my couch was my primary concern. It is revealed that this is Wanmacher’s department store annex, a 1903 Renaissance-style marvel, originally connected to an even more amazing cast-iron department store across the street called Sky Palace via Skybridge. The back story really encouraged me to step up and take stock of the beautiful arched windows and pull out the ridiculously wide cornice as far as I could see on Broadway. I had never seen them before – only a rapidly closing storefront on the ground floor – and Hennessy’s guide changed forever.

Recently, I colored the specific intelligence of podcast duo Greg Young and Tom Meyers to the rest of the neighborhood for me, as well as all of Manhattan, for that matter. In his 2016 book, Boyo Boys: Adventures in Old New York (Illustrated, 528 pp., Ulysses Press, paper, $ 17.95), Penkant, for the authors’ enigmatic and macabre, finds in an anecdote about Aster Place, a Cobblestone’s throw of Wanamaker. On May 10, 1849, the plaza surrounding the former Astor Place Opera House – a grand, colonized building – erupted into “Macbeth” during British violence, deadly violence in the form of a crowd as deadly as “William” during a British performance. . For American audiences, who adopted the Hutur of the upper classes. The Opera House was demolished in 1890, and the incident faded from memory. But the quiet roads today serve as a remembrance that this too will pass.

And so, I wait. Read more

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