Tag Archives: Greenwich Village

Album: April, 2013

Highlights from photos shot in April, 2013 – but not yet added to a neighborhood or specific building gallery. Neighborhoods include Lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village, Midtown, Upper West Side – and Hoboken – Jersey City, New Jersey.

In this album:
New Jersey photos also in this album:

Jane Hotel

Jane Hotel, built in 1908 as the American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute, once hosted Titanic survivors. It was designed by William A. Boring, who was also the architect for Ellis Island’s immigration station. Restored in 2008, the Jane Hotel now hosts financial survivors – in tiny rooms with shared bath priced as low as $79 per night.

The distinctive octagonal tower originally had a beacon, to welcome sailors. The beacon is gone, but other nautical connections remain. For starters, Jane Hotel rooms are called cabins. How tiny? A “remarkably cozy” 50 square feet. Some with bunk beds. The New York Times quipped, Popeye Slept Here and Now Olive Oyl Can, Too. the developers, Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, also run the Maritime Hotel – a former sailor’s hostelry run by the National Maritime Union.

In 1931 the Home and Institute was downgraded to annex status, and in 1944 the YMCA took over the property, removing the beacon in 1946. Also in 1946, YMCA sold the building; it changed hands several more times over the years, finally becoming Riverview Hotel before MacPherson and Goode took over. (See the Corbin Plays portfolio for historic photos of the building with beacon. The PreservationNation Blog has current interior photos.)

In the 1970s and until 2005, the Jane Street Theater called this home.

The Greenwich Village waterfront now attracts joggers instead of sailors. The Jane Hotel is an architectural reminder of New York’s history as a seaport – and a haven (says the hotel) for travelers “with more dash than cash.”

Jane Hotel Vital Statistics
Jane Hotel Recommended Reading

Google Map

One Jackson Square

One Jackson Square is pretty slick – on two levels. As architecture, the building’s 11 floors of undulating ribbon windows, composed of random-width panes, are an arresting composition. As blatant modernism blessed by the NY Landmarks Preservation Commission, the building is a coup; its architects argued essentially that the building’s very quirkiness is a perfect match for a neighborhood synonymous with idiosyncrasy. Besides, the glass facades reflect the historic surroundings.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission had to approve the plans because the site is within the boundaries of the Greenwich Village Historic District. The One Jackson Square site had been a parking lot at the time that the district was designated.

The condo project faced a few design and engineering challenges: The site is an odd shape, so the curved facade masks the unusual angle formed by Greenwich Avenue with Eighth Avenue. The site also spans two building code zones, so the Eighth Avenue section rises to 11 floors, while the Greenwich Avenue section is limited to seven. One Jackson Square is also on top of subway tunnels, so piles had to be driven around the tunnels to bedrock; additionally, isolation springs and pads protect the tunnels while protecting the apartments from vibrations of passing trains. Last but not least, the free-form ribbon windows had to be assembled in small sections off-site, then connected to each other and to the concrete floor slabs.

I’m not quite sure if I should apologize or take a bow: The “Suggested Reading” section is exceptionally long, because of the variety of technical, artistic and social issues involved. The “Forgotten New York” virtual tour is for the benefit of those not familiar with the Greenwich Village context. – K.G.

One Jackson Square Vital Statistics
One Jackson Square Recommended Reading

Google Map

1 Fifth Avenue

1 Fifth Avenue, a pre-war apartment cooperative, was built as a “hotel” to justify its 27-story height. To meet zoning requirements, apartments lacked kitchens, instead had “pantries” – which tenants later converted to kitchens.

Thin vertical stripes of white and black brick on the flat facades give the illusion of projecting pillars, from a distance, emphasizing the building’s height.

1 Fifth Avenue Vital Statistics
1 Fifth Avenue Recommended Reading

Google Map

37 Washington Square West

37 Washington Square West (aka Macdougal Street), a 16-story apartment house designed by Gronenberg & Leuchtag, is notable for its rich use of terra cotta – particularly the colorful detailing in the building’s base.

The 1928 structure is now owned by New York University (NYU), and used for faculty housing.

37 Washington Square West Vital Statistics
37 Washington Square West Recommended Reading

Google Map