New York Songlines: Waverly Place

with Washington Square North

Bank St | W 11th St | Perry St | 7th Ave S | Charles St | W 10 St | Christopher St | Grove St | Gay St | 6th Ave | Macdougal St | 5th Ave | University Pl | Greene St | Mercer St | Broadway

Waverly Place by Rafael CH, on Flickr

Waverley is the name of a novel by Sir Walter Scott; the street was renamed (and misspelled) in 1833, a year after Scott's death, at the demand of the writer's many Village admirers. Formerly the street was named, in various sections, Catherine Street, Eliza Street, Factory Street and 6th Street.

The musical Wonderful Town calls Waverly "a bit of Paree in Greenwich Village." More recently, the street has been made famous by the Disney TV show The Wizards of Waverly Place.




9 Bank: Longtime home of James Laughlin, modernist publisher whose New Directions imprint featured writers like Dos Passos, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, etc.

1-7 Bank: Crime novelist Patricia Highsmith lived in this building in 1938-39. It replaced No. 5, where novelist Willa Cather lived from 1913-27, writing My Antonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady, etc.


W <===           BANK STREET           ===> E

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The Waverly Inn

NY paparazzi at the waverly inn - great food by schatz, on Flickr

Corner (16 Bank): The building dates to 1845; the restaurant has been around since 1920--Jackie Gleason used to be a regular. But when Vanity Fair publisher Graydon Carter bought it in 2006, it suddenly became the place of the moment where the city's media elite would squeeze in to be seen. They charge $85 for mac & cheese (with truffles!) here.

244: A three-story building from 1900.

Corner (217 W 11th): A six-story building from 1916.

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Corner (8 Bank): This brownstone and its neighbors to the east were built in the 1860s by Joseph Haight Jr., a grocer and Greenwich Village developer.





















W <===           WEST 11TH STREET           ===> E

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St. John's-in-the-Village Church

1974, 11th St by CORNERSTONES of NY, on Flickr

224 (corner): Grecian details in a 1974 postmodern church pay tribute to the Greek Revival predecessor destroyed by a fire. Houses Rattlestick, an off-Broadway theater that aims to "present diverse and challenging plays that otherwise might not be produced."

222 (corner): Taim Falafel & Smoothie Bar. ("Taim" is Hebrew for "tasty.")


S <===         PERRY ST

Point (22 Perry St): A 1985 condo building with a conical turret on the tip of its three-sided plot-- described as attempt to do something interesting on a prominent, triangular site within an official landmarks historic district and its burden of regulations and reviews."












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Corner (214 W 11th): A three-story 1899 building.

227: This apartment building has been home to, among others, poet W.S. Merwin, writer/director Rebecca Miller and director Mira Nair.

The Village Vanguard

Uri Caine @ Village Vanguard by mava, on Flickr

Corner (174 7th Ave S): Opened in 1935 by Max Gordon, this is one of the world's most important jazz clubs--a venue for greats like Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus. Live albums have been recorded here by John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon et al.

In its early days, when it was booking non-jazz acts, it helped launch the careers of Harry Belafonte, Leadbelly, Benny Bailey - Village Vanguard by Tom Marcello, on Flickr Eartha Kitt and many others. In 1938, Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Judy Holliday worked here together as The Revuers, with Leonard Bernstein on piano--hence the Vanguard's appearance as the "Village Vortex" in Comden, Green and Bernstein's musical Wonderful Town.

Rivoli Pizza is on the ground floor.


S <===           7TH AVENUE SOUTH           ===> N
                                        PERRY STREET           ===> E

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McCarthy Square

Honors Private Bernard Joseph McCarthy, who died at Guadalcanal--believed to be the first Villager to die in World War II. The flagpole is from the World's Fair in Queens.




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Block (15 Charles St) 15 (corner): Village Towers, 18-story building that replaced 13 Charles, a brownstone that novelist Richard Wright bought in 1947 shortly before moving to France.






W <===           CHARLES STREET           ===> E

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Julius'

Julius's Bar at night by hoggardb, on Flickr

159 (corner): Originally a speakeasy where Fats Waller sometimes played -- check out the peephole in the side door. Later became a low-key gay bar -- the oldest in the Village -- where people like Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Rudolf Nureyev hung out. Edward Albee met a young man here, an archaeologist married to the daughter of his college's president, who inspired Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

In 1966, three members of the Mattachine Society held a "sip-in" here, declaring themselves to be gay before ordering a drink. The bar's refusal to serve them led to the overturn of laws forbidding serving homosexuals. Three years later, patrons here are said to have sympathized with police during Stonewall riots.

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193: Home to anthropologist Margaret Mead (1955-66).






















W <===           WEST 10TH STREET           ===> E

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Three Lives & Co.

Three Lives Books by timstock_nyc, on Flickr

154 (corner): Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Cunningham called it "one of the greatest bookstores on the face of the Earth." Appears on the cover of Jonathan Franzen's How To Be Alone. Named for Gertrude Stein's book; formerly Djuna Books, for Djuna Barnes. In 1972, Stimulated Man, a gay porn store, was here.

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W <===                 CHRISTOPHER STREET                 ===> E

W <===           GROVE STREET                                                          

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Northern Dispensary

NYC - West Village: Northern Dispensary by wallyg, on Flickr

165 (block): This landmark was built as a clinic for the poor in 1831, with a third floor added in 1854. It's one of those Village paradoxes--it's a triangular building with two streets (Grove and Christopher) on one side, and one street (Waverly) on the other two sides.

The dispensary's best-known patient was Edgar Allen Poe, treated for a head cold in 1837--don't laugh; they could be fatal in those days. In 1960 it became a dental clinic, which in 1986 refused to treat a patient who was HIV-positive. He sued and bankrupted the clinic. The building is now, since 1997, the Hostel for the Disabled.


WAVERLY PLACE

160-162: This was the residence of Carmine "The Cigar" Galante, the much-feared boss of the Bonano crime family, until he was murdered by fellow mobsters in 1979.

158: Actress Judy Holliday moved here in 1948, when she was starring on Broadway in Born Yesterday, and stayed until 1952.

148: Mary Cantwell, author of Manhattan, When I Was Young, lived here when she first came to New York in 1953. 136 waverly place by kelly.frombrc, on Flickr

136 (corner): The Waverly, a 16-story co-op built in 1928.

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Corner (27 Christopher): Houses the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault and the Fontana Center for Child Protection.

153: Housing for writers

149: Was Gus' Place, neighborhood Greek





GAY ST        ===> N

Portraits of Ecco Caffe @ Joe, 141 Waverly by ahemler, on Flickr

141 (corner): The espresso bar Joe has New York's best coffee, says Time Out-- plus Daniel Day-Lewis is said to be a regular.

139: A 25-year-old Edna St. Vincent Millay lived here in 1917-18, the first of four Village residences. "She lived in that gay poverty which is traditional of the Village," wrote Floyd Dell, who directed her then at the Provincetown Playhouse.

137: Edgar Allan Poe briefly lived in this building with his child bride, Virginia.

Waverly Restaurant

Waverly Restaurant by roboppy, on Flickr

Corner (385 6th Ave): A classic, timeless diner--when I first ate there in 1985 it already seemed like a time capsule.

Establishing shots in The Wizards of Waverly Place suggest that this is the location of the Waverly Sub Station, and the Russos' apartment upstairs from it.


S <===           6TH AVENUE           ===> N

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Corner (360-374 6th Ave): "A brilliantly conceived, designed, detailed and executed Post Modern apartment house" (AIA Guide) built 1986. Waverly Place by biketrouble, on Flickr

120: Hoaxster Joey Skaggs convinced news media in 1976 that this building was to be the site of a Celebrity Sperm Bank auction.

118: Max Eastman lived here from 1909 until 1911, the year before he became the editor of The Masses. He moved back to the same apartment in 1916.

116: On this site was the house of Anne Charlotte Lynch, who hosted famous literary salons that attracted the likes of William Cullen Bryant, Horace Greeley, Margaret Fuller, Fitz-Greene Halleck, Herman Melville, Bayard Taylor. Poe supposedly debuted "The Raven" here.

112: Painter Everett Shinn, part of the "Ashcan School," lived and worked here in 1911; his Waverly Place Players, an amateur satirical troupe, performed in a theater he installed in this building. Babbo by roboppy, on Flickr

110: Babbo, Italian owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali. Was The Coach House, a Southern restaurant that claimed the Roosevelts as customers. The building was originally a carriage house for Daniel's Department Store, and later Wanamaker's.

108: The address of journalist Richard Harding Davis, whose dispatches for the Hearst newspapers helped start the Spanish-American War.




104: On the TV show Mad Men, Don Draper gets an apartment here after he splits up with his wife.

102: Was the address of the Island Mission for Cheering the Lives of the Poor and Sick, founded 1887.

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

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time temp tans by dacran, on Flickr

Corner (378 6th Ave): A two-story building from 1942.






115: Was Bamboo Forest, 1930s Chinese

113: The Church of Our Lady of Pompeii originally opened in a storefront at this address in 1894. Its first focus was helping Italian immigrants exploited by the padroni who financed their trip over.

111: This was Jane Fonda's and Robert Redford's apartment in Barefoot in the Park.

107: This building has been the site of several of Joey Skaggs' most famous pranks, including Walk Right! (1984), the Fat Squad (1986), Comacocoon (1990) and Sexonix (1993).

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 for a week in 1918, 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.


S <===   WASHINGTON SQ W / MACDOUGAL ST         ===> N

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Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park in the Rain by j_bary, 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. it's a metaphor for life by cjkershner, on Flickr

Near the northwest corner can be found the Hanging Elm, 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. In 1826 Return to Washington Square Park, Aug 2009 - 37 by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr it 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--as depicted in Henry James' novel Washington Square--later becoming the unofficial quadrangle of NYU. In 1961 it was the site of protests over a police crackdown on folksinging, and in 1963, a plan to extend Fifth Avenue through the park was defeated. The park was relandscaped in 1971 and again -- with great controversy -- starting in 2007, at which time the fountain was aligned with Fifth Avenue. Washington Square Park, April 2009 by jebb, on Flickr

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.

This is the park where Jane Fonda wanted to be Barefoot in the Park; it's also where the skateboarders beat up a passer-by in Kids. (The real-life skate kids are harmless.)









Washington Square Arch

Washington Square Park - 01 by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr

Designed by Stanford White, it was put up in 1892 to replace a temporary plaster arch erected in 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Washington's inauguration.

The northern leg of the arch has a sculptural group by Alexander Stirling Calder depicting President Washington flanked by Wisdom and Justice; the southern leg presents General Washington accompanied by Fame and Valor, by Hermon Atkins NYC - Greenwich Village - Washington Square Park - Washington Square Arch by wallyg, on Flickr MacNeil. The sculptures have been plagued by acid rain.

Members of the bohemian Liberal Club, including artists Marcel Duchamp and John Sloan, climbed on top of the arch in 1917 to proclaim the Independent Republic of Greenwich Village. Buster Washington Square Park by kalyan3, on Flickr Keaton drove a horse-drawn trolley through the arch in the silent film Speedy; Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal (looking awfully old for college kids) decide to just be friends here in When Harry Met Sally.

I once had a date where we ended up under the arch to get out of the rain, where we kissed until a pot dealer urged me to take her home.

See a 360 Degree Panorama of Washington Square.

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Richmond Hill Apartments

27-28 (corner): This 1898 building is named for George Washington's SoHo mansion; residents have included actor James Broderick, his son Matthew Broderick and acting teacher Uta Hagen.



















21: Used as the house in the Jennifer Jason Leigh film version of Washington Square.

20: Built in 1829, this oldest surviving building on the block was remodeled by Henry J. Hardenbergh in 1880, who widened it and added a fourth story. It now houses Center on the Square, an activity center for seniors run by The Caring Community.

18: From 1835-47, here was the home of Elizabeth Walsh, novelist Henry James' maternal grandmother. The house was the inspiration for the one Catherine Sloper inherits in James' Washington Square. Along with the neighboring house to the east, it was demolished in 1947, and replaced (together with the rest of the block to Fifth Avenue) with a low-rise wing of Two Fifth Avenue in 1952--limited in height on the southern end to placate angry preservationists.

17: The brownstone that used to be here was built in 1852 and torn down in 1847. It was home to William Rhinelander Stewart, who helped finance the Washington Square Arch.

16: A brownstone was built here in 1852 for George Pixton Rogers, a real estate developer who at the time owned much of the block. He lived here until his death in 1870. This building and the two buildings to the east became the Rhinelander Apartments, which had become run down by the time they were demolished.

15: Was the address of shipping magnate Gardiner Howland.

14 (corner): Mary Rogers Rhinelander, sister of George P. Rogers, built a Greek Revival house here in 1839 with her husband William. The couple and then their daughters lived in the house until 1914.


5TH AVENUE         ===> N

NYC - Greenwich Village: 7-13 Washington Square North by wallyg, on Flickr

7-13 (corner): Originally separate townhouses, built in 1836 by Sailors Snug Harbor, these have been combined into one apartment building with an entrance on Fifth Avenue. No. 12 was from 1879-1905 the home of Edward Cooper, son of Peter Cooper and mayor of NYC (1878-80). No. 11 was the home of department store owner John Wanamaker; it's also Will Smith's address in I Am Legend. Edith Wharton lived briefly at No. 7, when she was 20 years old. Washington Square North by Mister-E, on Flickr

3: The Studio Building, now the NYU School of Social Work, was the home of several artists, including Edward Hopper, who lived here from 1913 until his death in 1967. Critic Edmund Wilson lived here 1921-23. John Dos Passos lived in a Snow, Washington Square, New York, December 20, 2009 by Walking Off the Big Apple's photostream, on Flickr back apartment in 1922, where he began mapping out Manhattan Transfer. e.e. cummings' first wife, Elaine Orr, lived here before and during their marriage; "Those of us who weren't in love with Cummings were in love with Elaine," wrote Dos Passos.

2: Architect Richard Morris Hunt, who designed Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, lived here from 1887-95.

1 (corner): Novelists Henry James, William Dean Howells and Edith Wharton are all said to have lived and worked here at some point. (I suspect none of them actually did.)


S <===   WASHINGTON SQ E / UNIVERSITY PL       ===> N

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NYU Main Building

Corner (100 Washington Sq E): Also known as Hemmerdinger Hall. Built in 1895, the first seven floors originally housed the American Bank Note Co.

The building replaced NYU's Old Main, a gothic tower completed in 1835; the use of prison labor from Sing-Sing sparked the Stonecutter's Riot in 1834, the first labor riot in NYC. In the old building, Samuel Colt developed the revolver and Samuel Morse invented the telegraph; John William Draper in 1840 took one of the first photographs of a person on the roof. Walt Whitman taught poetry here, Winslow Homer painted here, and architects Alexander Jackson Davis and Richard Morris Hunt had offices here.

Despite this incredible history, NYU tore down the building because it decided it could make more money with a new building whose lower floors could be commercially rented. Waverly Building by edenpictures, on Flickr

24 (corner): NYU's Waverly Building

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Corner (1 University): Clifford Odets moved to a sparsely furnished room in this building in 1935, just before the opening of his first play, Awake and Sing!. He stayed here even though the play was a success, explaining: "All I wanted was two clean rooms to live in, a phonograph, some records, and to buy things for a girl. Nothing more I wanted." Notables who have lived here more recently include Ricky Lake, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Calista Flockhart.

Poet Elinor Wylie moved to a previous building at this address after her divorce in 1922. (The current building was completed in 1930.) Critic Edmund Wilson moved here in 1923 (from No. 3 Washington Square) after marrying actress Mary Blair. British occultist Aleister Crowley lived here in 1918.

The White Turkey Town House, a restaurant, used to be on the ground floor. "They used to give out molded-wax white turkeys at the end of the meal that, if you could bear to crack off the wax, had solid chocolate insides," a reader recalls. More recently there was Posman Books, which I miss. Cafe University is here now.




25 (corner): NYU's Rufus Smith Hall


S <===   GREENE STREET       ===> N

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Random NYU Building by TrevinC, on Flickr

Corner (246 Greene): NYU's Kimball Hall (1890) has a lively series of arches on its facade.

18: The Torch Club is an NYU dining facility, opened 1999. This address was once the home of architect George P. Post, who designed the New York Stock Exchange.







12: NYU's Waverly Center

10 (corner): Cafe Pane e Cioccolato ("Bread and Chocolate")

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21 (corner): Murphy and Gonzalez, Mexican/Southwestern, replaced Caliente Cab Co.--said to be a big improvement. my kinda place by somethingstartedcrazy, on Flickr

17: Apple Restaurant & Bar seves Vietnamese and vegan food in a vast dining room.

11 (corner): Pizza Mercato, which claims to be the choice of Italian diplomats. josiewoods by anaxolotl, on Flickr Below is the pub Josie Wood's, an NYU hangout. Formerly Boo Radley's, noted for crayon drawings by patrons.


S <===   MERCER STREET       ===> N

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Tisch School of the Arts

NYU's Tisch School of the Arts by atp_tyreseus, on Flickr

Block (715 Broadway): NYU school named for media mogul Laurence Tisch. Arguably the country's top film school; among its alums are directors Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, Joel Coen, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee and George C. Wolfe; actors Alec Baldwin, Billy Crystal, John Leguisamo and Adam Sandler; and playwright Tony Kushner.

Built on site of the New York Hotel (1844-95), which was believed to be a hotbed of Confederate spies during the Civil War. It introduced room service and the ala carte menu. Bookseller August Brentano got his start with a newsstand here in 1853.

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Corner (729 Broadway): Delion Deli & Grocery. Sculptor Ana Mendieta landed on the roof of this business on September 8, 1985, when she plunged to her death from the adjacent apartment tower during an argument with her husband and fellow artist Carl Andre; Andre was tried for murder and acquitted.


S <===                   BROADWAY                   ===> N












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

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