So, I’ve had a week to shake off the jet lag and catch up on some sleep. Of course, I couldn’t have been happier to attend the CEA LineShow in NYC during CE Week (June 25-29). Typically, shows can be overwhelming and a bit crazy. But this one was small and somewhat relaxed. The attendees are mostly press who live in the area and take the short trip down to Chelsea to the Metropolitan Pavillion. And Chelsea is also where Avenue nightclub is located…and where Velodyne hosted the “Real Music Pure Sound” party.
I was fortunate enough to not only attend the show and the party, but to visit friends and family in my old stomping grounds. Although, I’m a full on California transplant who no longer owns a pair of snow boots or gloves, New York will always be my true home. It made me feel quite nostalgic and I thought this would be a great opportunity to do a mini virtual tour of some of my favorite landmarks in the West Village, where I lived on 9th Street and 6th Avenue.
I’ll start with my favorite building in the city, known now as The Jefferson Market Branch, New York Public Library. It may just seem like a pretty brick building sitting on a triangular plot formed by Greenwich Avenue and West 10th Street. But the history of this building is lengthy and rich. It actually served as the New York Women’s House of Detention, a woman’s prison, from 1932-1974. Longtime residents of the West Village will tell you that they used to hear husbands and boyfriends calling up to their wives and girlfriends in the middle of the night. That’s because its unique location gave inmates the opportunity to communicate with people walking by on the street. The New York Women’s House of Detention is believed to have been the world’s first art deco prison. It was designed by Sloan & Robertson in 1931.
This building and site is featured prominently in the 2004 film, House of D, which was David Duchovny’s feature film writing and directorial debut. Check it out.
The Jefferson Market Branch, New York Public Library is located just around the corner from my favorite park in NYC, Washington Square Park. The park itself is also rich in history and home to one of New York’s iconic structures, The Washington Square Arch. This 77 foot marble monument was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and was erected in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration.
The iconography of the Arch centers on images of war and peace. An inscription on the attic of the monument contains a quote attributed ot George Washington and reads:
“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”
There are many other notable historic structures and memorabilia, including the Hangman’s Elm, which stands in the northwest corner of the park during the time that Potter’s Field was used for public executions.
Click here to find out more about the rich history of Washington Square Park.
It only seems fitting to end this mini tour by mentioning the historic hotel me and my colleagues called home during CE Week in NYC. The reason it’s so fitting is because the Washington Square Park Hotel is located on the northwest corner of the park at 103 Waverly Place. This hotel was built in 1902 and recently celebrated its 110th year in business. This quaint and unassuming gem evokes a 1930′s Paris in one of the best locations in New York. I highly recommend a stay here, as well as a tour of the art deco building and interior.
Incidentally, Babbo is right across the street. For those unfamiliar with this restaurant, it’s one of the most famous in the city. It’s considered to be the restaurant that put its owner, Mario Batali, on the map. And for those who don’t like Italian, there’s Cafe Asean right up the road. In my opinion, the best Vietnamese food in the West Village.
I won’t subject you to any more of my indulgent nostalgia. This is the end of my love letter to NYC and the West Village. I’ll see you next year at the end of June.