Greenwich Village, Storied Home of Bohemia and Gay History


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The New York Times | Arts

The fountainhead of American bohemia, Greenwich Village has always departed from the straight and narrow. Its entanglements of winding streets, defying the city grid, include remnants of cow paths and property lines from when the area was a sprawl of Dutch, then English, farms.

The Village as a historically gay neighborhood has long been a source of local pride, but it seemed mostly unremarkable to me and to my childhood friends who were native Villagers because it was simply another fact of daily life. Long before our time, MacDougal Street had been an early hub for L.G.B.T.Q. clubs and tearooms like the Black Rabbit. By the 1970s, the neighborhood’s gay epicenter had shifted toward Christopher Street, the oldest street in the Village, its irregular route tracing the border of what had been the British admiral Peter Warren’s Colonial-era estate.

Not long ago I asked Andrew Dolkart, an architectural historian at Columbia University, to construct an L.G.B.T.Q. tour of the Village. Dolkart is a co-founder of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project and a co-author of the nomination for Stonewall to the National Register of Historic Places. What follows is an edited excerpt of our conversation, which appears in my new book, “The Intimate City: Walking New York.” The book grew out of walks I organized across the city with various architects, historians and others during the early months of Covid-19, a Read more – The New York Times | Arts

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