GREENWICH VILLAGE LEGENDS: Tim McDarrah: Village Romantic, Writer, Editor, and Tour Guide

By Bruce Poli

There are few people in Greenwich Village who actually embody its character. Promote it. Expand it and share the real Village history that tour guides and tourists love to stereotype with fiction (Marsha P. Johnson threw the first brick, Dylan Thomas died at the White Horse Tavern). 

There was no fake news, only passion and sincerity on Tim McDarrah’s Save the Village tours, at his Art of Our Century Gallery shows, or in the books he edited and produced. 

Tim’s father Fred was the Village Voice photographer and photo editor for half a century, and it was left to Tim to not only escape his long shadow but use it to inspire others. Fred is known for his renowned black and white images of Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, and an endless list of other Village celebrities, and of our cultural and street life. He is known as the Stonewall Rebellion photographer, having captured some of the five-day uprising that took place several buildings to the east of the Village Voice office (where the Duplex is today). More than 250,000 of Fred’s photographs, which underscore decades of Greenwich Village life, have been archived. And Tim made them work for everyone’s benefit.

A former editor of Page Six at the New York Post, Columbia University journalism graduate, and general NYC mensch, Tim’s contacts, which spanned the far-reaching tentacle of ‘50s ‘60s and ‘70s New York culture, helped him lay the groundwork for the ongoing Greenwich Village revival that this newspaper also strives for.

TIM MCDARRAH’S “Save the Village” tours were legendary. Photo courtesy of Patrick McDarrah.

Tim’s death in August, from acute leukemia at age 59, is a tragedy for us all as his warm, kind soul fades from our eyes. Yes, this romantic description says it all; and he would have continued to live out a New York romance accessible to so many who cherished his open spirit and generosity.

During the 2019 celebration of World Pride/Stonewall 50, the Museum of the City of New York showcased The Voice of the Village: Fred W. McDarrah Photographs, a testament to Tim’s father and his documentation of our cultural heritage in many well-recognized photographs. In keeping with Tim’s accomplishments, he coordinated the exhibition only to be followed by the launch of Art of Our Century Gallery at 137 West 14th Street, a celebration of that same genre in art. This is a theme we can an all appreciate as readers of WestView News.

On what he called his “endless vacation,” Tim travelled relentlessly and visited friends, holding up a force of good spirit through more than seven years with multiple myeloma and the onerous hospital visits and blood transfusions that challenged his energy and life so often.

From the great legacy of Greenwich Village, we salute one of its most ardent promoters, a talent and heir: the Voice of the Village, Tim McDarrah. We will greatly miss you. Thank you for your great contributions to our neighborhood, our city, the art and photography world, and to the spirit we call the character of the Village.

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