A counterculture icon perhaps best remembered for his poem Howl, Allen Ginsberg was one of the original members of the Beat Generation. He lived in this 2nd street apartment between 1958 and 1961, during which time he composed the poem Kaddish, an elegy for his mother, and edited fellow Beat poet William S. Burrough’s classic work Naked Lunch.It is said that he also spent time here planning the “Psychedelic Revolution” with former Harvard professor and LSD proponent Timothy Leary.
Today, a plaque from the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center commemorates him: "Allen Ginsberg 1926-1997 - internationally acclaimed poet and member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters lived here from August 1958 - March 1961. His single poem, Howl, (1956) helped launch the Beat Generation. Kaddish (1961) A Mournful Elegy for his mother, Naomi, was written in apartment #16."
Not to be confused with New York Marble Cemetery just around the corner, this burial ground features custom gravestones and is the resting place of many prominent New Yorkers. Among them are James Lenox, founder of the New York Public Library, Stephen Allen, both governor and mayor of New York, the Kip family of Kips Bay; and several members of the Roosevelt family, including James Henry Roosevelt, founder of Roosevelt Hospital. Interestingly, we learned that President James Monroe was one of the first to be laid to rest here in 1831, but his body was later moved to Richmond, Virginia. New York City Marble Cemetery was designated as a landmark in the late 1960's. (The office is located at 72 East 1st Street)
Renowned architect Josiah Cady designed this 1867 building. Among his other Manhattan achievements are the American Museum of Natural History and the original Metropolitan Opera House. The Orthodox Church settled in this building in 1943, which is now the seat of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America.
A plaque placed at No. 50 commemorates the anarchist, Justus H. Schwab, who lived upstairs above the saloon he opened in the later part of the 1800′s and ran until his death in 1900. One of his obituaries reads: “Even this once so knotty figure has the axe of the All-conqueror felled. Flown is the thunder voice of former days, quenched is the fire in the imperial eye. With muffled step, Death stole into the well-known homestead at 50 East First Street - Justus H. Schwab at 6: 10 o’clock last night, and at the age of fifty-three, breathed his last. ” This lively saloon attracted the likes of Emma Goldman and many other radicals of the time.
There are both residents and businesses at this historic address marked by a plaque that reads "Minthorne House 1868. " According to a conversation with a gentleman who lives here, this entire area was once farmland belonging to the Minthorne family. Apparently, the building was the very first constructed on the plot although none of the Minthornes actually lived at this address. After contacting author and historian, Oliver Popenoe, we also learned that No. 72 1st Street "survived the 1811 grid that cut up Minthorne farm. " The farm once ran "west to east from the Bowery to what is now Orchard Street and south to north from present day First Street to Fifth Street... When the Minthorne farm was later divided up among nine heirs a tiny parcel was left over on First Street just east of the Bowery, " known as Extra Place. A highly developed, ever-changing part of Manhattan, it is amazing to think that the streets of the East Village were once vast farmland. In addition to the plaque that we discovered on 1st Street, we also found this one on a brick home between Second and Third Avenues that reads: Established 1831Constructed 1842
When we crossed over the threshold of the Most Holy Redeemer Church we were instantly captivated by this hall of old-world splendor and beauty. The church abounds with marble, grandiose murals and intricate stained glass windows. As we visited during the holiday season, the already magnificent surroundings were draped with holly and ornamented pine trees. Founded in 1844 by the German-speaking Redemptorists, the actual building was completed in 1851 and became known as the "German Cathedral of the Lower East Side. " In 1914, according to one source, it became the first church in the world to implement an electric bell ringing system. No matter what your faith, take the time to step inside this truly awe-inspiring Cathedral of the East Village, and on your way out, look up and take note of the massive clock tower.
Had we not been personally escorted through the unmarked double doors that lead to Kenkeleba Gallery, Manhattan Sideways might not ever have known it was here. The only sign on the building reads Henington Hall, etched into the stone facade along with the year it was built, 1908. According to Joe Overstreet, in the 70’s the building was condemned until he and his wife, Corinne Jennings, were able to strike a deal with the city in 1978. Although 2nd Street was teeming with drug activity back then, the arrangement proved worthwhile for Overstreet, as it gave him, his wife, three children and the emerging Kenkeleba House a home in an area that eventually cleaned up its act and became one of the most important neighborhoods for the arts in New York City. Since its founding, Kenkeleba House has flown under the radar as a not-for-profit gallery space and artist workspace. Joe and Corinne were only interested in promoting new ideas, emerging artists, experimental work, and solo shows for those deserving of the recognition. They preferred to showcase artists whose works were not typically featured in commercial galleries, focusing primarily on African American art. Joe and Corinne’s vision of Kenkeleba House - as a space for artists to grow, to showcase African American that oftentimes would have been lost, and teaching African American history through gallery shows - was only possible due to their extensive background in art as well as their immense individual efforts. Corinne was born into a family of artists in an isolated part of Rhode Island, and until she was about twelve or thirteen, she thought “that’s what everyone did- I thought people made things. ” Her father, a talented printmaker who studied under Hale Woodruff, is widely known for his black and white wood engravings and costume jewelry. The Wilmer Jennings Gallery - across the street on 2nd Street - is named for him. Jennings’ mother was a Yale graduate and painter. Corinne came to New York in the 1960’s, originally wanting to be a scenic designer. Even though she was qualified, she was turned away by the head of the scenic designer’s union with the explanation that they did not want any women or black people. She instead started to do art projects, and eventually decided to “tackle some of issues that prevented African American artists from fully developing. ”Corinne and Joe spent a lot of time speaking with artists from different parts of West Africa and the Caribbean, eventually coming upon the realization that “they needed to find a different way for people to develop, for people to have space to work, [and] to find alternative educational routes for people. ” In 1978, Joe and Corinne purchased an abandoned building on second street, fixed it up, and opened up their first art exhibition in 1980. From then on, they began amassing their extensive and remarkable collection. The exhibits on display in this gallery recognize the rarely explored contributions that people of African descent have made to the art world. It is here, hanging on the walls and filed away in the deepest recesses of their private collection, we were showed a portrait of Dr. John DeGrasse painted by a largely forgotten African-American artist by the name of Edward Mitchell Banister (1828-1901). Banister won a national award for his most famous painting, “Under the Oaks. ” The magnificent framed picture of Dr. DeGrasse is easily worth more money than we could count, but the history lesson we received from Joe was priceless. Dr. DeGrasse was a native New Yorker and also one of the first African-Americans to receive a medical degree. He gained acceptance to the Boston Medical Society in 1854, making him the first African-American to belong to a medical association in that state. And to boot, he was also the first African-American medical officer in the U. S. Army serving as Assistant Surgeon in the Civil War. In addition, Manhattan Sideways viewed works dating back to 1773, by the late Hale Woodruff, an African-American abstract painter who lived in New York City from 1943 until his death in 1980. In addition to being an artist who aspired to express his heritage, Woodruff was also an art educator and member of the faculty at New York University. “We are African-American, so that is what we do, ” said Corinne, “but we are also interested in artists from the Lower East Side. ” Corinne’s personal art collection reflects much of her parent’s amazing work, as well as that of other African-American artists, both well-known and yet undiscovered. Kenkeleba Gallery aims to teach the younger generations about African-American history. “Every nationality walks by here on a daily basis, but they have no idea who we are as a people. ” Joe and Corinne were well aware of the contribution African-Americans have made to the arts that began right here in this community. Their private collection is made up of over 30, 000 paintings, artifacts, art books and jazz records that tell the rich history of African-Americans in this country.
The space is fabulous at Billy Reid, furnished with vintage southern pieces and housed in an amazing Bond Street building. Billy began his fashion business in Alabama and opened up his inviting menswear enclave here in 2008. Soft flannel shirts, great suede boots, woven skinny ties, colorful bow ties, well-made blazers, beautiful striped shirts and more…I love everything about this boutique, and each time I stop by, I am inspired to make over the men in my family. Billy designs much of the clothing in the store (minus the Levi jeans). He has gorgeous fabrics to choose from for suits and sport jackets. And there is a tasteful selection for women, too.