Archive by Author

The Return of the Whitney

A NEW PRIME DESTINATION: Carrying out Gertrude Whitney’s original intention of doing justice to American artists, the spectacular new Whitney Museum opens on May 1. Visitors are encouraged to purchase advance tickets at Photo by Maggie Berkvist.

The last thing I see as I close my window shade at night is the dazzling light from the upper floors of the new Whitney Museum rising beyond the West Village rooftops. Located at the intersection of Washington and Gansevoort Streets, the Renzo Piano-designed building ascends in staggered levels nine stories above the spot where [...]

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Bring Back the Push Cart

ONLY PUSH CARTS ARE FREE OF RENT INCREASES: WestView publisher George Capsis comments on proposed law. Photo by Rinje van Brug.

“What am I going to write about?” I asked myself as I awoke still feeling the pain from the removal of a “calcified nut shell” from my lower intestines that had kept me in writhing, sleepless discomfiture on a too-small hospital bed at Lenox Hill Hospital for a week. And we were late, late, oh [...]

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Nursery School Parents Sue Church Over School Closure

CHARITY SUCCUMBS TO CASH: Catholic church school moves to close West Village nursery for 55 as it considers $20 to $30 million real estate offers. Photo by Maggie Berkvist

Forty families, most based in the Village and Chelsea, have done the unthinkable—sued the nuns who run the Montessori nursery school their kids attend. If the nuns get their way, 55 kids will be without a school, all from families with working moms who can’t afford the cost of today’s private nursery schools. And the [...]

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Greenwich Lane Accident

TOO LATE FOR THE EMERGENCY ROOM—A freak accident at the Rudin condo site takes a life steps away from a vanished St. Vincent's emergency room.

MEMENTO MORI: 10 days after a piece of fencing blew off the West 12th Street side of the Greenwich Lane condominium construction site on March 17th, killing young passerby Tram-Thuy Nguyen, these fading bouquets remained to remind us of the life that was lost. And across the street the Department of Buildings’ Stop Work order, [...]

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Serendipitous Windfall or Greed?

Photo of 99 Bank Street by Maggie Berkvist.

To the list of the inevitable—death and taxes—we might add higher rents for small West Village businesses. While the easy villain is, of course, the rapacious landlord, a recent Times article reports it is also a co-op owner of a 540 square foot studio at 99 Bank Street. The owner giggled with delight when he [...]

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A Little Closer to Heaven: Rooftops for Everyone

ROSEMARY’S ROOFTOP FARM: One of many rooftop gardens in the West Village. Photo by Heather Shimmin.

The West Village is graced with the highest density of private and semi-private rooftop gardens in New York City, and perhaps has more rooftop gardens than any neighborhood in the United States. However, looking up around the West Village, while it seems like everyone has a rooftop garden, that is not the case. Yet whether [...]

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Maggie B’s Photo of the Month

TAX TIME?: “No problem” is Jefferson’s response; he recommends a relaxed approach to the inevitable paperwork involved. Full Story

The Spirit of Selma

IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME: Red Jackman and fellow Civil Rights marchers en route from Selma to Montgomery, March 21, 1965. Photo “1776 Encore,” by Ivan Massar.

Did you know Red Jackman? A well-known Villager back in the day, he’s the tall white guy on the left in this iconic photograph from a series taken in 1965 by photojournalist Ivan Massar. Of all the images on display again during this 50th anniversary year of the March from Selma to Montgomery, on March [...]

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Tribeca’s 14th Year: It Only Gets Better

ALEX GIBNEY: Director of We Steal Secrets, The Story of WikiLeaks. Photo courtesy of HBO.

Uh oh! Tribeca Film Festival is back for year 14 with some big changes. Since a fifty percent ownership now lies in the hands of the Madison Square Garden Corporation, people were wondering how this would influence the creative vision established by the Founders: Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig M. Hatkoff. TFF is [...]

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A Life of Apartments (Part One)

As I sat in the long sunny-windowed waiting room of the Hospital for Special Surgery perched on the very edge of the swirling ice-gorged East river, I thought how my life—all in New York, I was born on 103rd street and 3rd Avenue—had been measured by the apartments our family has lived in. The very [...]

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WestView News Then and Now

THEN—1908. Looking North on Bleecker Street and Eighth Avenue in the West Village. William Howard Taft was elected president, the Chicago Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series and Penn Station was under construction, opening two years later. Photo credit: NYC Vintage Images. NOW—2015. One hundred and seven years later we can still see the same white brick house and some modified brownstones. Cars replace horse drawn carriages and trolleys in the Abingdon Square area. It remains a West Village apex, at Bleecker and Hudson Street turning into Eighth Avenue. Photo credit: Stan Fine Full Story

The Lost Cinemas of the West Village: The Sheridan Theater

THE LOEW’S SHERIDAN THEATER, 1938.Photo courtesy of EDWARD HOPPER, “THE SHERIDAN THEATRE, 1937”.Oil on canvas, 17 x 25 in.Purchase 1940 Felix Fuld Bequest Fund. Collection of the Newark Museum 40.118

The Sheridan Theater opened on September 18, 1921 and operated until 1969.It occupied the triangle of land lately used as the St. Vincent’s Hospital garden and Materials Handling Facility.Strangely, its address was 200-202 West 12th Street, but the entrance was on the northwest corner of Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue.Contrary to some accounts it was [...]

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The New Doughboys

FROM ONE BOY SCOUT TO ANOTHER: Allan Ishac (above) advises Boy Scouts to get in the business of making dough—literally.

The Girl Scout Cookie selling season has just come to an end and the guileless pixies in green smocks and berets have scored another bonanza, sweet-talking our city and the country into purchasing umpteen boxes of Hoedowns, Caramel deLites and old-fashioned Shortbreads. While this annual cookie campaign might be a proud rite of passage for [...]

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The Greatest Evil: Early History of Tenements in New York (Part Two)

STILL THOUSANDS LEFT: This Barrow Street view shows a tenement, the housing type that replaced many a townhouse, like the one shown to the right of it. Contrast the height and beefier character of the tenement. Note the typically centered entry, 4 windows across and fire escapes above. The exterior fire escapes were added to tenements as the second means of escape in case of fire that could block the open interior stairway. City laws were passed in the early 1860’s that required iron fire escapes, and a fireproof party wall between properties. Photo by Brian Pape, AIA.

Part One ( ) explained the setup of the 1811 grid and the waves of immigrants that flooded the city. Part Two addresses the fight to reform and the state of tenements today. Fight to Reform For many immigrants, life in the tenements may have been barren and difficult, but they were there out of [...]

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Why So Many Missing Dogs Lately?

HEARTBREAKING LOSS: If you lose a dog, get into action.

Because I love my dog so much, I get an empty feeling every time I see a new series of notices in our area posted by someone trying to find a missing dog. These home-printed letter-size sheets taped to traffic boxes, mailboxes, streetlights, sign posts, or any suitable surface, speak the heartbreak of loss, and [...]

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Back to the Future: Art Show at Grounded

LUCKY US: Treat yourself to some art with your coffee. Photo by Janet Capron.

If we’re honest, we have to admit that, as wonderful as our hood is, no one could accuse it anymore of being a refuge for struggling artists. Those days are long gone. I remember the last of them in the 70s: cheap apartments, tons of gin mills, quirky little shops stowed away on the backstreets [...]

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Greenwich Gets Its Groove On

INSPIRING OUR YOUNGEST MUSICIANS: Eve teaching the PS 41 Kids Groove ensemble. Photo by Judy Lawne.

Renowned vocal, instrumental and music educator, Eve Zanni will launch a new youth orchestra this spring at Greenwich House Music School, the venerable 100 year old West Village institution. The Global Groove Youth Orchestra will combine the highest level of classical music learning with the innovation of Rhythm First Jazz and World Music whole-body learning. [...]

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Science from Away: Science in Short Bursts

THE MAN ON OUR MILK CARTONS: Louis Pasteur made new discoveries when working with wine barrel crystals.

Here are two insights into Albert Einstein who was able to explain the theoretical source of what we call gravity, which he published 100 years ago. According to Einstein’s theory, the reason why stepping off a roof is dangerous has to do with a warp in space and time. One experimental result among many demonstrating [...]

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Capping Tammany Hall (Part One)

TAMMANY RENEWED: Historic Tammany Hall’s classic Federal detailing gets a visual lift with a new dome. Rendering courtesy of BKSK Architects.

Union Square contains several landmark buildings. One of these is Tammany Hall, built in 1929 on the site of the seven-story Westmoreland Hotel, across 17th Street from the twenty-story Mansard-roofed Germania Life Insurance Company. Tammany Hall, the former abode of the Boss Tweed Ring, was originally located on East 14th Street, before being replaced by [...]

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Tips to Minimize Peer Pressure

Recent research confirms that often the young will “do anything” to please peers—ignoring dire, even tragic, consequences. Previously this column has suggested alternative ways for youngsters to get used to saying no to peers—for example role-play. Practicing for specific situations such as substance abuse, inappropriate sex, and reckless driving can help children and teens to [...]

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Sing, Sing, Sing

SING OUT, LOUISE: A Mockingbird mocking the spring. Photo by Keith Michael.

It’s spring. The sky is blue blue blue. Millie and I are standing on the corner (or more precisely: standing near the corner) of Charles and Greenwich streets. At corgi-level, Millie is enamored of one lingering dinner-plate-sized gritty ice chunk that will probably have melted by the end of the afternoon. My coat is unbuttoned [...]

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The Changing Algorithm of Restaurants

ANOTHER RENVOVATION: Landbrot Bakery’s reincarnation into a new Dominique Ansel venture, coming soon to 137 Seventh Ave. Photo by John Barrera.

In the late 80’s when the Marriott Marquis first opened, I went there for drinks one night. I remember I ordered a cosmopolitan, the trendy drink at the time. What most impressed me that evening was not the beautiful new hotel or the fishbowl size martini glass my drink was served in. No, what most [...]

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Reclaimed and Repurposed

FIRST SHOWING: Marty Kornfeld in his studio with some of the works on exhibit this month at the Jefferson Market Library’s new Little Underground Gallery. Photo by Maggie Berkvist.

Greenwich Village, the very name conjures vibrant images of small eclectic galleries and venues where innovative poets, musicians, activists, writers and artists once thrived. Sadly those treasures have mostly disappeared in favor of more lucrative endeavors. But wait! Now there is the Little Underground gallery, found in the basement of the Jefferson Market library. Many [...]

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Big Ambitions and Small Plates

EL COLMADO BUTCHERY, APPROPRIATELY BRINGING MEAT TO THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT: Grilled Pork Chops with Sausage and chicken in the background. Photo by David Porat.

Hidden in the meat packing district is a small restaurant with a very ambitious mission—a whole animal butcher, a casual restaurant roasting local meat to order, and a late night tapas bar. Around the corner from The Standard and in the shadow of the new Whitney is El Colmado Butchery, Spanish for small grocery store. [...]

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His Name in Lights

THE REAL DOWNTON ABBEY ATTICUS: Two-year-old Atticus’s father bid 20,000 pounds to give his name to the famed series.

If—as we are in Britain and along with many viewers from all over the world—you are glued to the TV series Downton Abbey, you would, of course, have noted the emergence of a very sensual and divine character called Atticus Aldridge. He is the love interest in Lady Rose MacClares life. If ever a memorable [...]

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West Village Original: David Maurice Sharp

WALL STREET CHANGED THE TRAJECTORY: While studying acting and dance, David Sharp started temping with financial firms to pay the rent, learned about stocks and bonds and has just published a book of advice on investing for his fellow artists. Photo by Maggie Berkvist.

This month’s West Village Original is actor, dancer, choreographer, and financial advisor David Maurice Sharp, born in Avonmore, Pennsylvania. His book “The Thriving Artist: Saving and Investing for Performers and Artists” was just published by Focus Press. For the past seven years, he has also been giving free investing workshops at HB Studio on Bank [...]

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Jim Fouratt’s REEL DEAL: Movies That Matter

JENNI OLSON: Director of The Royal Road at Sundance Film Festival 2015. Photo by Henny Garfunkle.

April 2015 I’m writing from SXSW 2015 in Austin Texas. SXSW now includes the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music and Media Conference, SXSW Film and the SXSW Interactive Festival. Two Greenwich Village residents scored big! Recent NYU Graduate School of Film Studies Laura Terruso jumped right into filmmaking even before being degreed. On The Foxy [...]

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WestView Letter April 2015: A City of Shells: Zoning Laws Turning New York into Shell City

A City of Shells: Zoning Laws Turning New York into Shell City The New York Times has just completed an extraordinary expose of a little understood practice of parking undisclosed assets in high rise real estate, very high. The diagrams of occupied residences in white and shell apartments in gold uncannily resembled the piles of [...]

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WestView Letter April 2015: WestView Original Responds

WestView Original Responds Dear Michael, A superb piece!!! I could not be happier. Thank you, Jim Polshek

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WestView Letter April 2015: Joys of the Automat

Joys of the Automat Dear Mr. Capsis, As one of those rarest of birds, a life-long New Yorker, I want to thank you for your charming piece about the glories of the Automat, glories that have not faded from my memory, in the least, despite the many meals and many years that have passed. I [...]

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