By Andrew Berman
The landmarking of most of Greenwich Village took place on April 29, 1969. In honor of its 50th anniversary, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), an organization originally founded in 1980 to protect and care for the Greenwich Village Historic District, will be holding celebrations and programs throughout the year, highlighting the incredible contributions these roughly one hundred blocks and 2,300 buildings make to the life of our city and country. We’ll also be releasing online resources which allow the public to engage with and appreciate the vast historic, cultural, and architectural treasures found within its bounds. Get a complete and updated list of activities and resources available on our website at www.gvshp.org/gvhd50. The marquee event will be our Celebration in Washington Square from noon to 3pm on Saturday, April 13, kicking of a weekend-long Greenwich Village Historic District 50th Anniversary (GVHD50) Open House Weekend. We’ll be joined by dignitaries, city leaders, and musical performers for a party in the park that will include lots of activities for kids, so bring the whole family. And throughout the weekend, GVSHP will be partnering with dozens of neighborhood theaters, small businesses, educational institutions, houses of worship, parks groups, and many others to welcome the public into the Greenwich Village Historic District and experience the rich array of architecture, culture, entertainment, worship, education, and commerce one can only experience here.
Programs from GVSHP throughout the year will focus on how the battle to get the Greenwich Village Historic District designated was won, including the role of people like Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. We’ll take a look at what fifty years of landmark designation has done, including how the neighborhood has changed, and how it has stayed the same. We’ll look at how preservation efforts in the neighborhood have expanded since 1969, and at those still needing to be done. And we’ll look at how everything from theater to politics, music to food, sex to poetry have been transformed within the bounds of the Greenwich Village Historic District, and by those who lived or honed their craft there. This will take the form of everything from lectures and panel discussions to walking tours, performances, and online resources.
When the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Greenwich Village Historic District in 1969, they said: “Of the Historic Districts in New York City which have been designated or will be designated, Greenwich Village outranks all others. This supremacy comes from the quality of its architecture, the nature of the artistic life within its boundaries, and the feeling of history that permeates its streets. Walking through The Village at any time of day or night and in almost any direction, one is struck by the fact that one is in a part of the City which is very different from any other, remarkable for its old-world charm and outstanding as a great historic area of New York. It is the summation of these qualities which make it such a memorable district, one which is not merely worthy of preservation but one which must be preserved at all costs.”We couldn’t agree more. Join us for these celebrations, to savor all this special district has to offer, and help us ensure it is preserved for another fifty years, and then some.