New York Songlines: Sullivan Street

John Sullivan was a Revolutionary War general, noted for his attacks on noncombatants in a post-Independence war against the indigenous population of New York State.

East:

Washington Square Park

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. The Marquis de Lafayette is said to have witnessed the festive hanging of 20 highwaymen here in 1824.

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, community organizing shut cars out of the park. The present landscaping of the park dates to 1971.




In the southwest corner of the park the chess players can be found who were featured in Searching for Bobby Fischer.


W <===         WASHINGTON SQUARE SOUTH         ===> E

West:

Vanderbilt Law School

NYU's law school, built 1951, destroyed a number of historic buildings, including houses lived in by John Reed and Eugene O'Neill.






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Corner: NYU's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. Designed 1972 by Philip Johnson. The entrance hall is a reproduction of the interior of a 1797 merchant's house in Damascus.








W <===         WEST 3RD STREET         ===> E

West:

240: Peanut Butter & Co., restaurant specializing in peanut butter sandwiches. Has 21 varieties of the spread for sale.

214: Lionís Den, music venue; the likes of Ben Fold and Dashboard Confessional have played here. Upstairs is Razor & Tie, a record label that distributes Laurie Berkner, Yerba Buena and Dar Williams.

208: Triangle Civic Improvement Association, Mafia social club where Vincent Gigante and his associates played pinochle.








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241: Shade; candle-lit date spot

237: Was Googies, a neighborhood institution since Prohibition ended--if not before. Replaced by The Pinch, described by a reader as "one of those would-be Irish bars that have sprouted everywhere, as if the NYU student population were longing for a bit of County Kerry with flat-screen televisions thrown in."

235: Second Coming Records

227: Ciao Bella mini-chain has New York's best ice cream, says Time Out.

225: Home of Vincent "Chin" Gigante, mob boss who tried to escape prosecution by pretending to be insane, wandering around the neighborhood in a bathrobe and mumbling to himself. He was eventually sent to prison anyway.

209: Greenwich Village Childrenís Aid Society


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

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Sullivan Street Playhouse

181: The Fantasticks, the world's longest-running musical, played here from May 3, 1960 until January 13, 2002, for a total of 17,162 performances. I was able to see the actress who starred in my high school production, Kate Suber, play here in 1990. The theater has since been torn down.

In 1935, this was the address of John and Alan Lomax, father-and-son musicologists who gave Leadbelly a place to sleep here after he got out of prison in Louisiana.

LaGuardia birthplace

177: Future mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was born here December 11, 1882; he lived here until he was three. The building collapsed in 1987 while being renovated, killing a 13-month-old baby.

169: The Sullivan Diner is in this 1895 building; Was NL, Manhattan's only Dutch restaurant. The XR bar is on the Houston side.


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

West:

156 (corner): Joe's Dairy, an old-time Italian cheese shop noted for its mozzarella










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East:

St Anthony of Padua

155 (corner): Catholic church built c. 1888.

149: Pepe Rosso, tiny Italian that launched several spin-off Pepes

137: Jean Claude, noted French bistro. Also the address of Purl, high-end yarn store.

135: Once Upon a Tart, bakery that has its own cookbook.

131 (corner): The Cub Room, New American


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

West:

Corner: St Anthony's Convent




116: This 1832 Federal-style house (with two floors added in 1872) is an official landmark, mainly because of the unusual doorway.


Corner (203 Spring): Expensive lounge called 203 Spring--aka Spring Street Social Club. This was Nick & Eddie's Restaurant and Bar, a neighborhood hot spot that began during Prohibition and made it into the 1990s; it was famous enough to have inspired a namesake in Minnesota. Later the space was Scully on Spring.

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East:

119: Blue Ribbon Sushi; according to Zagat's, this tiny place has the best food in SoHo--and some of the best sushi in town.

107: Red Bench, dark bar

105: Melampo Imported Foods is now Alidoro, but it's still famed for its Italian sandwiches.

97: Blue Ribbon; not to be confused with the sushi place, but this eclectic restaurant is almost equally acclaimed--and just as packed and expensive.

195 (corner): Mezzogiorno, Italian opened in 1987. The name means "Midday" or "South," and it's what Italians call the southern part of their country--though the menu here is Florentine.


W <===         SPRING STREET         ===> E

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Corner (200 Spring): Savore; untrendy Tuscan

85: This landmarked Federal-style house dates to 1819; noted for its leaded transom.

83: Another landmark, similar to its neighbor.

73: Grandaisy, formerly Sullivan Street Bakery--noted pizza bakery




N <===         6TH AVENUE/BROOME STREET         ===> E


W <===         BROOME STREET/6TH AVENUE         ===> S



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

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

Sullivan Street posts on the Manhattan Street Project, a photoblog