It is easy to maintain social distancing for the small groups of 1-2 people that I will lead through historic Greenwich Village. I recommend early morning walks through the almost deserted streets. It is a lovely time of year and the flowers are beautiful.
57 years ago in May the City said that people could not play music in Washington Square Park any more. I and many demonstrators marched. The first time the police beat people with their clubs. After several demonstrations they rescinded the order and to this day people are free to play music in Washington Square Park. This is a copy of the article in the NY Times.
The 24th of this month will mark the 100th anniversary of the declaration of “The Independent Republic of Greenwich Village”. On the evening of January 24th 1917 a group of Greenwich Villagers and the artist Marcel Duchamp ascended the stairs in the Washington arch to a room at the top where they partied before going to the roof. They decorated the edges of the roof with colored crepe paper, shot off cap guns and declared the Independent Republic of Greenwich Village.
There are two statues of Washington on either side of his arch at Washington Square Park, New York City. The one on the east side, depicting him in peace, was sculpted by Alexander Stirling Calder. His son, Alexander Calder, created the mobile. Stamford White designed the Arch. #walkingtour #sightseeing #nyctours #nysights #newyorkwalks #marcsvillagewalk #greenwichvillage #nyhistory #history
Statue of Washington in the Arch by Sherry Felix June 2014
As we wind through the heart of Greenwich Village and its most picturesque streets you will hear some intriguing stories:
Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, colectected import taxes from ships at the foot of Gannesvort street named after his maternal grandfather in the historic Meat Market.
The High Line has been resurrected as New York’s “hanging garden” and is one of the most popular places to visit in New York City. It was put into service in 1930 as an elevated freight line to transport produce, including beef and poultry for the meat market. The last load of turkeys was delivered In 1980.
The artists’ loft buildings at Westbeth where vacuum tubes and other 20th century electronics were developed.
Jane St. where the mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton was taken after his duel with Aaron Burr.
See the former rooming house where John Wilkes Booth tried to recruit another actor into his conspiracy to abduct President Lincoln.
I will tell you of poets, writers, undiscovered artists and actors, such as James Baldwin, Heim Gross, Lauren Bacall, Richie Havens, and Bob Dylan.
We pass through MacDougal Street, which is named for a pirate and later American patriot Alexander McDougal.
If you like, we may stop at one of the Village coffee shops for refreshments.
Finally, Washington Square Park where as a child I played in the fountain. At that same fountain, as a teenager, I listened to poetry recited by a giant, muscular, former world heavyweight contender known as King Brown. Where in the early 19thc the first labor protest brought out the militia and a quarter of a million marched in the 30’s against Fascism.
Two centuries of architecture. From early 19thc. federal style town houses to a glass walled building by Frank Geary.