New York Songlines: Macdougal Street

Macdougal Street is named for Alexander McDougall (whose father, oddly enough, spelled his name MacDougal). Born in the Hebrides, McDougall started out as a British privateer before becoming a New York merchant. A founder of the Sons of Liberty, he spent time in jail in 1770 for writing an anti-British pamphlet. He was a major general in the Revolutionary War, represented New York in the Continental Congress and was the first president of the Bank of New York.
W 8th | Waverly (Washington Square) | Washington Pl
| W 4th (Provincetown Playhouse) | W 3rd | Bleecker | Houston | Prince







W <===       WEST 8TH STREET       ===> E

West:

Corner (38 W 8th): Cassioppia, piercing parlor, sibling to Andromeda on St. Marks Place. (In Greek myth, Cassiopeia was the mother of Andromeda.)

179: Splendid Cleaners is in a building that also fronts on 8th Street, as 40 W. 8th. That address was where Village character Romany Marie moved her tearoom in 1929; Buckminster Fuller, a regular, designed the decor for her. Later it was Don Julio's, a Latin dance club, then Bon Soir, a cabaret where Barbra Streisand and Woody Allen performed as unknowns. After that it was Le Jardin, an elite gay club, followed by a bar called W. 8th. After a $2 million makeover, it's now a house music club.

177: Manhattan Theatre Source, resources for stage productions. Dog Wash in basement.

175: Monk Thrift Shop

171: Tenth Church of Christ Scientist was built in 1890 as a Romanesque factory building designed by Renwick, Aspinwall and Russell. In 1921 it was acquired by the Christian Scientists and in 1966 the church gave it its current virtually windowless Modernist facade. May be restored to its original state--I'm not sure that's a great idea.

Washington Square Hotel

Washington Square Hotel in the Village by jwowens, on Flickr

103 (corner): Opened in 1902 as the Hotel Earle; it was originally just the westernmost section, and expanded in two stages to the corner. Ernest Hemingway stayed here in 1914, just before going to Europe for the Great War; Dylan Thomas stayed here in 1950 after being evicted from the Beekman. Bob Dylan stayed here in 1961 when he arrived from Minneapolis at the age of 20. NYC - Greenwich Village: Washington Square Hotel by wallyg, on Flickr Other guests have included Joan Baez, Bo Diddley, Bill Cosby, Barbra Streisand, Patricia Highsmith and the B-52s. The Earle became pretty grungy, but it's now a nice, affordable hotel with a great location. Includes the North Square Restaurant, aka C3 (for 103), where Norah Jones was a waitress who used to sing at Sunday brunches.

M
A
C
D
O
U
G
A
L

S
T
R
E
E
T

East:

Corner (32 W 8th): Versailles clothing was 8th Street Bookshop, classic Beat bookstore; Bob Dylan was introduced to Allen Ginsberg here in 1964.

176: Hong Wah Laundromat was the Jumble Shop, Prohibition-era tearoom; later Shakespeare's.



































MACDOUGAL ALLEY

MacDougal Alley pt. 1 by dailymatador, on Flickr Created 1833 as stables for the houses on Washington Square North; Jackson Pollock stayed in No. 9 in 1949-50. 10-10 1/2 was playwrights salon in 1960s; 15 1/2-17 1/2 were the first site of the Whitney Museum. In front of No. 15 is one of New York's last gaslights.

Corner (27 Washington Square North): This building has been the home of Matthew Broderick and Uta Hagen.


W <===       WAVERLY PL / WASHINGTON SQ N       ===> E

West:

29 (corner): Eleanor Roosevelt took an apartment here in 1942; it was her main residence from FDR's death in 1945 until 1949.
























32 (corner): Here were the first offices of America, the Jesuit weekly founded in 1909.


S <=== WASHINGTON PL

I Lived Here Once by gisele13, on Flickr

33 (corner): NYU's Hayden Hall, built in 1957 as a resident for law students, incorporates the Holley Chambers Hotel, formerly at No. 36, where you could spend the night for $2.50 in 1939. (''HC'' can still be seen over the door.) Theodore Roosevelt is claimed as a former guest here, but the building dates back only to 1929, when it was built as the Knott Apartment Hotel. Hayden was the dorm of Julie Diaco--known to the tabloids as the "NYU Pot Princess."






37 (corner): Notable terra cotta on this 1928 building.

W
A
S
H
I
N
G
T
O
N

S
Q
U
A
R
E

W
E
S
T

East:

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park by kalyan3, on Flickr

Originally a marsh surrounding Minetta Brook, in the early years of New York this area was used as a graveyard for slaves and yellow fever victims, a dueling ground and a place of execution. Near the northwest corner can be found the Hanging Tree, perhaps the oldest tree in Manhattan. It's apparently not true that the Marquis de Lafayette on his 1824 visit to New York witnessed the festive hanging of 20 highwaymen here, but Rose Butler was hanged here in 1820, the last person in New York State to be executed for arson. Washington Square by D3 San Francisco, on Flickr

In 1826 this area was designated the Washington Military Parade Grounds, which soon was transformed into a public park. Washington Square was at one point the center of New York society, later becoming the unofficial quadrangle of NYU. In 1961 it was the site of protests over a police crackdown on folksinging, and in 1963, local activists kicked cars out of the park.

In the 1980s, the park was Manhattan's main open-air marijuana market. Guitar legend David Lee Roth was busted trying to score pot here in 1993.

Holley Statue

NYC - Greenwich Village: Washington Square Park - Alexander Lyman Holley bust by wallyg, on Flickr

This bust, by John Quincy Adams Ward, is of Alexander Lyman Holley, an engineer who brought the Bessemer steel process to the United States, thus enabling the American Industrial Revolution. The memorial was dedicated in 1890, eight years after Holley's death.

The park is currently undergoing a controversial renovation that will, among other things, center the park's fountain and place a fence around the perimeter. The Parks Department rammed the plan through despite widespread community opposition. Chess at Washington Square Park / 20090818.SD850IS.2592 / SML by See-ming Lee ??? SML, on Flickr

In the southwest corner of the park the chess players can be found who were featured in Searching for Bobby Fischer. Playing them for money is a bad idea.


W <===         W 4TH ST / WASHINGTON SQ W         ===> E

West:

137: NYU School of Law Lawyering Program is on the site of Polly's Restaurant, run by Evanston-born anarchist Paula Holladay. Upstairs was home to the Liberal Club (1913-19), whose membership seems to have been a who's who of radical writers and intellectuals: Emma Goldman, Max Eastman, Margaret Sanger, Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson and Theodore Dreiser have all been claimed as members. Also the meetingplace of Heterodoxy, which Mabel Dodge described as a club for "unorthodox women, women who did things and did them openly." Earlier, the building was the home of Nathaniel Currier (partner of Ives).

135: NYU tried to force six elderly tenants out of this building in 2007.

Provincetown Playhouse

The Provincetown Playhouse by Seth W., on Flickr

133: Pioneering off-Broadway theater that featured the talents of Eugene O'Neill, Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, Djuna Barnes, Paul Robeson, Tallulah Bankhead, etc. Bette Davis made her stage debut here. Now does children's theater.

131: This building was not, as legend has it, built for Aaron Burr, but was, like 127 and 129, built about 1829 in the Federal style. NYC - Greenwich Village: 129 MacDougal Street by wallyg, on Flickr

129: Tea Spot, formerly La Lanterna di Vittorio, NYU hangout with nice garden. In the basement is The Bar Next Door, an intimate jazz room. Was Eve's Hangout (1925-26), tearoom and speakeasy run by Eve Addams, "Queen of the Third Sex"; "Men Admitted But Not Welcome" was the sign. Closed by police; Addams was convicted of obscenity and deported for writing a story collection called Lesbian Love.

Note pineapples on railing--an old symbol of hospitality.

127: Macdougal Copy Center New York Neon by M.V. Jantzen, on Flickr

125 (corner): Groove, "The Home of Rhythm & Blues and Funk"

M
A
C
D
O
U
G
A
L

S
T
R
E
E
T

East:

NYC - Greenwich Village: NYU - Arthur T Vanderbilt Hall by wallyg, on Flickr

Block (40 Washington Square South): NYU School of Law's Vanderbilt Hall (1951). Rico Fonseca, "The Artist of Greenwich Village NYC," can often be found here with his psychedelic works.

Eugene O'Neill had a room in a boarding house formerly on the corner here (at No. 38 Washington Square South) in 1916, when he was having an affair with Louise Bryant--Mrs. John Reed.














146: Replaced a building that housed The Calypso, a Caribbean restaurant (noted for its curry) where author James Baldwin worked as a waiter. His friends would often drop by to see him--like Paul Robeson, Marlon Brando, Eartha Kitt and Henry Miller.

144: Another building replaced by the law school was used by Anais Nin as a print shop-- she self-published her first three books here.














138: Was the address of The Bat, an Italian restaurant noted in the 1939 WPA Guide.














W <===                 WEST THIRD STREET                 ===> E

The block from 3rd Street to Bleecker was known as the Auction Block because of its heavy gay cruising.

West:

All the lonely people by Mark Wieczorek, on Flickr

Corner: Ben's Pizzeria, opened 1966




Cafe Reggio

tables by roboppy, on Flickr

121: Authentically charming since 1927. Featured in Godfather II, Serpico, Next Stop Greenwich Village, and the original Shaft. JFK gave a speech out front in 1959.

119: Mamoun's Falafel, opened in 1971, is said to be the first (of many) falafel joint in town. The Olive Tree by rpongsaj, on Flickr

117: Olive Tree Cafe, launched 1969, Mediterranean joint where you can write on the tables with chalk. Used to be the Cock and Bull; before that it was Swing Rendezvous, a 1940s lesbian bar. The basement was The Underground in 1967, noted for its psychedelic light screen. Now The Comedy Cellar, which boasts talent like Colin Quinn, Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart.

Cafe Wha?

081102cafe_wha by alanconnor, on Flickr

115 (corner): A long-running Greenwich Village club where Bob Dylan had his first NYC gig, and Jimi Hendrix gained fame. Peter, Paul & Mary, Kool and the Gang and Bruce Springsteen are also claimed as former performers, along with comedians Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby.

W <=== MINETTA LANE

See a 360 degree panorama of this corner.

Minetta Tavern

Minetta Tavern by MugurM, on Flickr

113: An Italian restaurant founded in 1937, it was a meeting place for Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings, Ernest Hemingway, etc. Joe Gould worked on his Oral History of the World here; murals depict Village history. Until 1929 was The Black Rabbit, a speakeasy run by Eve Adams before Eve's Hangout; Eugene O'Neill and Max Bodenheim were customers. Reader's Digest was founded in the basement in 1923. Minetta's Last Weekend by x-eyedblonde, on Flickr

The restaurant appears in the movie Jimmy Blue Eyes as La Trattoria, a mob-run joint--which is not so far-fetched, given that the owner was busted for running an Ecstasy ring in 2000. In 2008, it was acquired by restauranteur Keith McNally, who planned to switch the menu from Italian to French.

109: Off the Wagon Bar & Grill, formerly The Derby Washington Square Park & Greenwich Village, NYC by nydiscovery, on Flickr

107: Village Ma Thai was Rienzi's coffeehouse, a James Dean hangout. "If a couple meets at Rienzi's they break up at Figaro's and vice versa"-- New York Unexpurgated.

103: Panchitos, Mexican Omarís old place by superfamous, on Flickr

99: Hummus Place; Kati Roll Company, Indian street food. Before that the Samurai Bar, aka The Smallest Bar in New York, was here.

97: Monte's Trattoria, old-school Italian founded 1918 as Razzazco. Run by the brother of the chef at Villa Mosconi.

95: Tenement from 1888 has a sushi joint, Whatever Tattoo II on the ground floor.

Site of the San Remo

93 (corner): Last I checked, it was the Butterfly Grill, though it was easier to find the painted-over old name, Carpo's Cafe.

But it's most notable as the former site of the San Remo, the famous bohemian hangout of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Miles Davis, Jackson Pollock, W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, James Baldwin, William Styron, James Agee, Frank O'Hara, Village character Maxwell Bodenheim, photographer Weegee, etc. IMGP1762 by dweller88, on Flickr

Gore Vidal once picked up Jack Kerouac here. It lost popularity because the bartenders beat up the customers once too often.

The setting of the beat novel Go, it also appears as The Masque in Kerouac's The Subterraneans. Dawn Powell in The Golden Spur cited it as one of the four bars that defined the boundaries of the real New York.

M
A
C
D
O
U
G
A
L

S
T
R
E
E
T

East:

NYC - Greenwich Village: D'Agostino Hall by wallyg, on Flickr

Corner (110 W. 3rd): NYU law school's D'Agostino Hall (1986). "A fine work," says the AIA Guide.














130-132 MacDougal Street by Flatbush Gardener, on Flickr

130-132: Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women in this 1852 house.









128: Whatever Body Piercing Tattoo. What would Louisa May think?

126: Silver World; Ali Baba Kabab House

124: Meskerem, tasty Ethiopian-- "You can even eat the dishes!" MacDougal Street Ale House - New York, NY by jenniferrt66, on Flickr

122: Macdougal Ale House is in a Romanesque tenement.




120: C'est Magnifique antiques and custom jewelry

118: Mexican Village MacDougal St (1) by biketrouble, on Flickr

116: Below Frequency ("body piercing/ watches") and Spring Gallery (Chinese gifts) is the storied space of Alibi. It was previously the Wreck Room and before that Scrap Bar, a punkish bar with post-industrial decor. In the 1970s, it had been El Cafe, a lesbian bar. West Village Remembered by Image Zen, on Flickr In the 1950s it was the Gas Light Cafe, the "quintessential Beat hangout"; it launched the Village poetry-reading craze with readings by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, LeRoi Jones et al.; Bob Dylan played here and stayed in a room upstairs. Don Draper checked out the Beatniks here with his bohemian girlfriend in the first season of Mad Men. Before all that it was Louis' Luncheon, hangout for writers, Ziegfield Follies chorus girls, gays and lesbians.




081102esperanto_cafe01 by alanconnor, on Flickr

114: Esperanto Cafť ("always open") was the Kettle of Fish (now on Christopher Street), hangout of Village characters like Joe Gould and photographer Weegee. Bob Dylan had a fight here with Andy Warhol over Edie Sedgwick; Dylan also had his only meeting with Jimi Hendrix here, when the two were both too stoned to do anything more than laugh.

112: Just Do It

110: Nails by Barneys; Cover Up boutique. In 1957, this was Izzy Young's Folklore Center, center of the folk explosion.

108: New Souvenir Cottage

106: Baraka Sterling Silver Jewelry; Excellent Photo the spot by jericho1ne, on Flickr

104: Yatagan Kabab House is recommended by the Voice's Robert Sietsema as a cheap, friendly meat fix. Silver Express shares the address.


102: Slane, Irish bar/restaurant, was Brazil Grill






Ciao! Vineria con Cucina

Welcome to Greenwich Village by M.V. Jantzen, on Flickr

100 (corner): Replaced Cafe Borgia when its owners retired after 60 years. In a beaux arts tenement that went up in 1904.


W <===         BLEECKER STREET         ===> E

West:

Caffe del Marre

MacDougal St south of Bleecker by Moon Boots, on Flickr

Corner (89 Macdougal): Formerly Mac Dougal's Cafe, before that a funeral parlor.



interior by roboppy, on Flickr

87: Focacceria, sandwich place

85: CamaJe, French-American bistro that offers hands-on cooking classes in the kitchen.



Caffe Dante by Moon Boots, on Flickr

79-81: Caffe Dante, with trattoria and gelateria. Established 1915.

77: New York Rifle Club, an Italian shooting society better known as Tiro a Segno, or "Hit the Target." Members have included Fiorella Laguardia, Enrico Caruso and Garibaldi.

69: Villa Mosconi, Northern Italian bought in 1976 by the same family that owns Monte's. Before that it was the Mona Lisa, another Italian that opened in the 1940s.

William F. Passannante Playground

Named for a speaker pro tem of the New York State Assembly, a lifelong Villager and a champion of the neighborhood.

M
A
C
D
O
U
G
A
L

S
T
R
E
E
T

East:

Site of Le Figaro Cafe

Corner (184-186 Bleecker): A cafe that opened in 1957, providing a haunt for the likes of Kerouac, Lenny Bruce and Bob Dylan. Aside from the period between 1969-75, when a Blimpie's outlet was here (and The Hep Bagel), it lasted until 2008. Al Pacino reminisces with Penelope Ann Miller here in Carlito's Way.

Macdougal-Sullivan Gardens

blaue tuer by loop_oh, on Flickr

74-96: These 1844 buildings, which had become slums by the early 20th Century, were renovated in 1921 by William Sloane Coffin Sr.'s Hearth and Home Corporation. A private garden is in the center of the development.




NYC - Greenwich Village: 92-94 MacDougal Street by wallyg, on Flickr No. 92-94 was owned by Bob Dylan in 1966-68.








72: Chez Jacqueline, nice French place

Corner (146 W. Houston): Nellie's, a tony lounge; formerly Aggie's, a pleasant breakfast spot


W <===         WEST HOUSTON STREET         ===> E

West :

51 macdougal by mileena, on Flickr

51 (corner): Something Special, a coffeeshop and mail drop used by numerous nearby notables, including Patti Smith, the Beastie Boys, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker (who also used to work here). The building to the north, demolished for the widening of Houston Street, is said to have housed a bar that was part of Joseph Kennedy's rumrunning business.


W <===         KING ST

M
A
C
D
O
U
G
A
L

S
T

East:

MacDougal by baileymarkham, on Flickr

60: St. Anthony School, K-8 Catholic school established in 1872 in an old factory building. St. Anthony's, the associated church, is the oldest existing Italian Catholic parish in the U.S.

58: Salt, restaurant

56: 12 Chairs, cafe featuring tasty "Soviet food" (according the Voice)

54: Rosenberg Jewelry store was blown up in the movie Men in Black.




38: Provence, noted for its Bastille Day celebrations

34 (corner): Address of Katina Films, distributor of anti-Muslim documentaries.


W <===         PRINCE STREET         ===> E

Father Fagan Park

2charlton_sixthave_assmb1 by Rob Johnston, on Flickr This small triangular park used to be a section of Macdougal connecting Prince and Spring, closed off when Sixth Avenue was extended through the South Village. It's named for Father Richard Fagan, a 27-year-old priest at St. Anthony's Church who in 1938 twice returned to a burning rectory to help his colleagues escape; he died of his injuries five days later.








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

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

Share