Gertrude Drick, poet

On January 23, 1917, a group of artists, led by Gertrude Drick, snuck into the Washington Arch in Washington Square Park, climbed the spiral staircase that leads to its roof, and had a drunken picnic there; they also tied paper lanterns and balloons to the arch, and recited poetry. They declared Greenwich Village “The Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square”. Drick was an artist and poet. She had come to Greenwich Village from Texas to study under painter John Sloan. She had gained notoriety in the Village under the self-imposed nickname ‘Woe’, so that when asked her name she would respond ‘Woe… Read More

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Marion Tanner, the inspiration for Auntie Mame

Marion Tanner (1891-1985), self-described as ”the ultimate Greenwich Village eccentric” and the apparent model for the madcap fictional character Auntie Mame. Known as one of Greenwich Village’s most colorful inhabitants, Miss Tanner, in 1927, bought a red brick house at 72 Bank Street, and for many years it was a haven and salon for struggling artists, writers, freethinkers, radicals and a wide spectrum of what Miss Tanner sometimes called ”Bohemian types.” Miss Tanner devoted much of her life to caring for children from broken homes, and, although she had none of her own, she always had homeless children living with… Read More

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Which Italian caffe made the first cappucino in NYC?

The Caffé Reggio, at 119 Macdougal Street in Greenwich Village, has been around since 1927. It still looks pretty much as it did when it opened and it is a must in that neighborhood – authentically Italian. They claim to have been the first to serve the first cappuccino in New York. It’s original owner, Domenico Parisi, has on display a beautiful espresso machine from 1902. The Ferrara Caffé, dating back to 1892, in Little Italy, claims they were the first ones to make the first cappuccino in New York City. Both caffés serve great cappuccinos and pastries. Try both… Read More

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Jefferson Market Library: a library inside a landmark building

When local residents of Greenwich Village head to their local library, they see more than just books and periodicals. That is because the Jefferson Market Library is an architectural gem steeped with history. The Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library is located at 425 Sixth Avenue at the corner of 10th Street. The building was originally built as the Third Judicial Courthouse from 1874-1877 and was designed by architects Frederick Clarke Withers and Calvert Vaux (who also was involved in designing Central Park). When it was completed the second floor (now the adult reading room) was a civil… Read More

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