Society fetes first 1/3, but wants whole cannoli
By Albert Amateau
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation last week celebrated the extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District to the south by 12 blocks and 235 buildings, including Our Lady of Pompei Church on Carmine and Bleecker Sts. and the Veritype Building on Cornelia and Bleecker Sts.
The Landmarks Preservation Commis-sion’s unanimous vote on June 22 designated the largest historic district extension in the city, but the newly protected area is only one-third of the South Village Historic District that G.V.S.H.P. proposed seven years ago.
“We’re grateful that the L.P.C. finally approved the extension but we still have to work hard to get protection for the other two-thirds of the South Village,” said Andrew Berman, G.V.S.H.P. executive director, at the June 24 celebration in the basement of St. Anthony’s Church on Sullivan St. just south of Houston St.
“The commission says they’re taking a serious look at the rest of the South Village but the real issue is how quickly they do it,” said Berman. “They have to do it before we lose more buildings,” he stressed.
Since the society first proposed the South Village district, demolitions have claimed Circle in the Square Theater on Bleecker St., Sullivan St. Playhouse, Provincetown Playhouse and Apartments on MacDougal St., Tunnel Garage on Broome and Thompson Sts. and 178 Bleecker St., Berman noted.
Most of the new extension is between W. Fourth St. on the north, W. Houston St. on the south, Seventh Ave. South to the west and Sixth Ave. to the east. A smaller part of the extension includes the buildings on the west side of Seventh Ave. South between Leroy and Clarkson Sts.
“All of the buildings in this extension represent a thriving neighborhood that reflects 200 years of development and are a critical part of the history and character of Greenwich Village,” L.P.C. Chairperson Robert Tierney said on June 22 after the designation vote.
At the celebration two days later, Berman said that about 20 blocks more in a triangle-shaped area between the east side of Sixth Ave. and the east side of LaGuardia Place/West Broadway from W. Fourth to Watts Sts. make up the rest of the district. The area was settled largely by Italian immigrants, starting in the 1880s. Berman noted that St. Anthony’s Church, where G.V.S.H.P. held its June 24 celebration, is within those unprotected blocks.
Berman paid tribute to G.V.S.H.P. members, as well as Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, and elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, state Senator Tom Duane and Councilmember Margaret Chin, for their support for the hoped-for designation of the entire South Village.