Jefferson Market Library – details that tell a story

Elaborate buildings’ details are often more than mere decorations–they convey meaning and tell a story. One of the most beautiful structures in New York’s architectural landscape is the spectacular Jefferson Market Library. Built a part of a multifunctional complex that included a jail, a market, and a fire tower, it used to house a courthouse….

Hess Triangle — the smallest piece of private property in New York City

The tiny triangle in front of Village Cigars on Seventh Ave proudly displaying the words “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated For Public Purposes” can easily be overlooked. Despite its small size, however, the triangle has a large story. In order to lay down new subway lines and extend 7th Ave…

Grove Court—the Setting of O.Henry‘s Story

Grove Court was the setting of O. Henry‘s “The Last Leaf,” which tells the story of a sick woman who—looking from her sick bed at a vine through her window—convinces herself that she’ll die when the last leaf falls. But thanks to the power of art, she never sees the last leaf fall. A frustrated,…

Northern Dispensary—an Empty Building at the Heart of the West Village

Reflecting Greenwich Village’s highly irregular street patterns, one side of the triangular Northern Dispensary faces two streets (Christopher and Grove), while the other two sides form the corner of Waverly Place and . . . Waverly Place! And this is not even the strangest thing about the building. The peculiar structure stands empty in one…

Hangman’s Elm—the Oldest Living Tree in Manhattan

The sprawling English elm, which has been standing at the northwest corner of Washington Square Park for the last 300 years, is the oldest living tree in Manhattan. It was planted in 1679, a mere 15 years after the English took over the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam and renamed it New York. The tree’s…

12 Gay Street: Where the Ghosts still come to Party

This quiet house on Gay Street, built in 1827, was once a bustling speakeasy and the home of a mayor’s mistress. Thanks to its name, this charming little street happens to be one of the city’s most photographed.  Alas, it was called “Gay Street” long before the word “gay” developed its present meaning. The street…

House of Death

This serene-looking brownstone, built in the 1850s, witnessed 22 deaths. Their spirits never left . . . This dignified yet unremarkable house that stands on one of the Greenwich Village’s loveliest blocks, has earned a reputation as one of the most haunted places in the city. Built in the 1850s as a single family house,…

75½ Bedford Street: A Tiny House with a Huge History

This tiny, 9 1/2-foot-wide house used to be a carriage entranceway for the neighboring house, but in 1873 was turned into a small home—the narrowest in the city! From then on, it was owned by various tradespeople, functioning at different times as a cobbler’s shop and even as a candy factory. But its life as a…

Washington Square Arch – a Triumphal Arch and a Small Revolution

Triumphal Arch was built to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States. Location: Washington Square South @ 5th Ave Opened: 1892 Architect: Stanford White Sculptors: Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Alexander Stirling Calder Style: Beaux-Arts Built to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the nation’s first President,…

Jefferson Market Library

The striking High Victorian Gothic building doesn’t just look beautiful… it’s certifiably beautiful. In 1885 Jefferson Market was voted as one of the 10 most beautiful buildings in the United States by a national poll of architects! Location: 425 6th Ave Built: 1873-77 Architects: Frederick Clarke Withers and Calvert Vaux Originally known as the Jefferson Market Courthouse,…

The Garret

The Garret 296 Bleecker St Skylighted secret bar atop a burger joint. With couches, books, artwork and a fireplace, the Garret feels like a sunny living room. If you come when it’s not busy, you can bring your burgers up and wash ’em down with one of 14 tap beers or with a cocktail prepared…

Little Branch

Little Branch 22 7th Ave South A speakeasy, hidden in the basement of a nondescript building in the West Village. Little Branch is one of the early pioneers of the speakeasy scene. This underground space is small, dimly lit, intimate, and often features live jazz. It’s the place for serious cocktail connoisseurs. After all, Little Branch…