New York Songlines: Cornelia Street

Cornelia Street by jeepeenyc, on Flickr

The street is named for Cornelia Herring, granddaughter of Robert Herring, through whose farm the street was originally cut. The Herring Farm--originally Harinck, and also spelled Haring--was an important piece of Greenwich Village real estate that included Washington Square and stretched to the east beyond Broadway. A Cornelia Haring, likely the same person, married the prominent lawyer Samuel Jones, for whom Great Jones Street is named--not to be confused with Jones Street, Cornelia Street's neighbor, which is named for another Jones married to Cornelia's sister. OK, go ahead and be confused.

<===                         BLEECKER STREET                         ===>


sushi mambo by mackarus, on Flickr

Corner (255 Bleecker): Sushi Mambo was Leather Master.

32: Fretted Instruments School of Guitar and Banjo

30: Little Havana Restaurant

28: Palma, Italian seafood, was formerly Andalousia; much earlier was Mona's Royal Roost, Beat-era gay bar.

26: Feldman L A Stained Glass Creations & Designs home restaurant by nchoz, on Flickr

20: Home Restaurant, fondue, was Sabor, Spanish. In the late 1940s there was a used bookstore here owned by literary critic Anatole Broyard, author of Kafka Was the Rage''. pearl oyster bar by nchoz, on Flickr

18: Le Gigot and Pearl Oyster Bar are two acclaimed restaurants; Tony on The Sopranos dreams of a lobster roll from Pearl when he's in a coma. At this address was the Phoenix Bookshop, 1950s Beat bookstore that published Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts.

2 (corner): that towers over and somewhat protects the block from the bustle of 6th Avenue. Le Petit Dejeuner-- "The Little Lunch," which is what the French call breakfast-- occupies the tip of this triangular building.




Corner (257 Bleecker): The acclaimed Murray's Cheese Shop was located here for many years, before it moved across Bleecker Street c. 2005.

35: Early 19th Century rowhouse, greatly altered 33 Cornelia Street by Seth W., on Flickr

33: Writer James Agee's studio, where he did his writing in the 1940s; he was writing movie reviews for both Time and The Nation.

31: Po, hard-to-get-into Italian opened in 1993 by Mario Batali, was Cafe Cino; staged plays by Sam Shepherd et al., with actors like Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel and Bernadette Peters. Considered the birthplace of Off-Off-Broadway theater.

Cornelia Street Cafe

outside the Cornelia Street Cafe by roboppy, on Flickr

29: literary coffeehouse opened in 1977. The downstairs has featured performances by Suzanne Vega, Oliver Sacks and Terry Jones, and a reading of the complete Iliad. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick had their first date here.

23: A former stable converted to a residence.

17: The Zampieri Bakery was here for decades. "Every morning the smell of fresh bread would awaken the neighborhood," says Jerry Stiller, who wooed Ann Meara on this block. A reader recalls her great-aunt being in the WACS with a Zampieri; for years her family would receive a Zampieri fruitcake for Christmas.

11: The address of The Jungle, a Prohibition-era speakeasy-- described by The New York Times as a "Greenwich Village resort."

7: A pair of 19th Century tenements merged and given an art moderne makeover in the 1930s. Poet W.H. Auden lived here from 1946-53; Tennessee Williams described Auden's fourth-floor apartment as "fantastically sordid." Auden's Age of Anxiety was published while he lived here. In the late 1950s, it was home to jazz saxophonist Bob Wilber, and was the birthplace of Scoot, the world's first motor scooter magazine.

5: Subterranean Records specializes in 1970s punk, but carries a wide range of rock, jazz and soul.

Corner (162 W 4th): Karavas Place, Greek grill since 1983; was Humpty Dumpty's. Downstairs is the K-Lounge.

<===                         WEST FOURTH STREET                         ===>

What am I missing on Cornelia Street? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell me about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

Cornelia Street posts on the Manhattan Street Project, a photoblog