New York Songlines: Minetta Street






Minetta Street's charming bend results from its originally following the course of Minetta Brook. The name of the waterway was originally Mannette, an Algonquin word translated as "Devil," but presumably related to Manitou, or "Spirit." The Dutch reinterpreted the name as Mintje Kill, which roughly translates as "Little Teeny Stream." As is the way with Manhattan's streams, it's long since been paved over, but legend has it you can still hear it gurgling on a quiet night-- and still find it flooding local basements.

The path that followed the stream was originally known as the Negroes' Causeway, serving an area where "partially freed" slaves were allowed to own land. The area was later known as Little Africa, home to many of New York City's emancipated blacks. In 1896, Stephen Crane wrote that Minetta Lane and Street had until recently been "two of the most enthusiastically murderous thoroughfares in the city." Today they are a surprising oasis of quiet in one of the noisier sections of the Village.









<===         MINETTA LANE         ===>

West:

minetta lane @ minetta st. by llahbocaj, on Flickr

Corner (25 Minetta Lane): A five-story building from 1940 that destroyed a charming 1924 redevelopment by Vincent Pepe.


Minetta St. by uriba, on Flickr














nice-red-doors by dandeluca, on Flickr

12-14: A three- story building here is the only building on this side of the street that dates back before the mid-20th Century.

(290 6th Ave): A six-story building from 1941, designed by H.I. Feldman.

Minetta Triangle

Minetta Park by edenpictures, on Flickr A very nice, very little (0.075 acres) park--worth stopping in. A scrap left over from the expansion of 6th Avenue in 1925, it was given to the Parks Department in 1945. Refurbished in 1998, the images of trout recall Minetta Brook, now underground, which is the ultimate source of the park's name.

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East:

minetta-lane by dandeluca, on Flickr

Corner (5 Minetta Lane): A four-story building put up by builder David Louderback in 1840. A short wall protects a few square feet of front yard. Vincent Pepe bought and two adjacent houses in 1924 and turned them into studio apartments with a common rear garden. Pepe committed suicide in 1935 after being accused the year before of ripping off an investor. Atomische  Tom Giebel, on Flickr

19: Dates back to the 1840s; has a sweet little courtyard.

17: Three stories also put up in 1840 by builder David Louderback, then redeveloped into studio apartments by Vincent Pepe. There's a modern glass-and-steel rear facade. The Fat Black Pussycat by Simon Clayson, on Flickr

11-13: Was the Fat Black Pussycat, where Bob Dylan wrote "Blowing in the Wind"; its faded sign is still visible. Now the restaurant Pepito's, whose main entrance is 103 Macdougal. Minetta Lane by ianqui, on Flickr

9: Minetta Street Suites, a tiny hotel at the bend of Minetta Street.

5-7: Used in the movie Serpico as the apartment of the whistle-blowing cop. No. 7 is the building in the rear of the lot, built 1905.

Corner (203 Bleecker): Corporate clothing outlet.


<===           BLEECKER STREET           ===>









Is your favorite Minetta Street spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

"Streetscapes: Minetta Lane and Minetta Street," by Christopher Gray

Minetta Street, Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation

New York City Walk: Minetta Street

The Alleys of Greenwich Village at Forgotten New York.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.