Romany Marie, Bohemian Cafe proprietor

Marie Marchand (May 17, 1885—February 20, 1961), known as Romany Marie, was a Greenwich Village restaurateur who played a key role in bohemianism from the early 1900s (decade) through the late 1950s in Manhattan. She arrived in New York City in 1901 from Romania. Her cafés were considered among the most interesting in New York’s Bohemia and had an extensive following. More salons than taverns, they were places for the interchange and pollination of ideas and compared to the cafes of Paris.   Marie’s “centers” for her “circle of thinking people” began in 1912 in a three-room apartment on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village and later in a rented house in The Bronx, before opening… Read More

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David Hess, owner of smallest private property in NYC

David Hess was a landlord who owned The Vorhiss, a 5 story apartment building at Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue in the early 1900s. In 1910, the city was widening Seventh Avenue and putting in the 1 and 9 subway lines and a subway station at that corner. The city used eminent domain to seize the property. Upon examination, the Hess family discovered that the city survey had missed a small corner of the plot and they set up a notice of possession. The plaque is an isosceles triangle, with a 25 1⁄2-inch (65 cm) base and 27 1⁄2-inch (70 cm) legs (sides). The city asked the… Read More

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Samuel Cocks, grocer, builder of Grove Court

One of my favorite places to show visitors to NYC is tiny beautiful Grove Court. First laid out in 1848, Grove Court is set off of Grove Street between Bedford and Hudson Streets in the West Village.  It is entered through an iron gate and its garden is decorated for every season. In 1848, the merchant Samuel Stryker, who had been leasing the land from Trinity Church, sold to Samuel Cocks the backyards of numbers 6 and 8 Grove Street along with all of number 10. Cocks was a partner in the law firm of Cocks & Brown, located nearby at… Read More

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Lucy Sprague Mitchell, educator, advocate for children’s education

Lucy Sprague Mitchell (1878–1967) was an American educator and the founder of Bank Street College of Education. A Radcliffe graduate, Mitchell was the first dean of women at the University of California at Berkeley, where she lectured in the English Department and promoted educational and career opportunities for women students from 1903–1912.  In 1916, influenced by the work of John Dewey, Mitchell founded the Bureau of Educational Experiments (BEE) in New York City to study and develop optimal learning environments for children. Mitchell sought to create a group of thinkers from different fields to study child development and to advocate… Read More

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