South Village

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File:200-202 Bleecker St.jpg
200-202 Bleecker Street in the South Village

The South Village is a largely residential area in the middle of Lower Manhattan in New York City, directly below Washington Square Park. Known for its immigrant heritage and Bohemian history, the South Village overlaps areas of Greenwich Village and SoHo. The architecture of the South Village is primarily tenement-style apartment buildings, indicative of the area's history as an enclave for Italian-American immigrants and working-class residents of New York.



The South Village is a neighborhood in New York City roughly bounded by West 4th Street and Washington Square Park on the north, Seventh Avenue and Varick Street on the west, Canal Street on the south, and West Broadway and LaGuardia Place on the east. Over the past decade, however, Hudson Square has become an increasingly popular term for the area west of Sixth Avenue between Houston and Canal Streets.


Originally home to a merchant class in the early 19th century, by the late 19th century the area was dominated by immigrants, largely from Italy. The Italian immigrants built their own distinct parishes, to distinguish them not only from their Protestant neighbors on the north side of Washington Square Park (in Greenwich Village), but their Irish neighbors in the South Village. By the late 19th century, Italians outnumbered the Irish in the area, but were not preeminent in the local church hierarchy, especially the parish of St. Patrick’s, which covered this area. In response, the Italian-American communities of the South Village built Our Lady of Pompeii and St. Anthony of Padua, which remain the area’s defining religious edifices, and their impressive buildings continue to dominate the local skyline as they would in any Italian hill town. The tenements surrounding them preserve and tell a remarkable story of immigrant struggle, survival, and success.

By the 1920s, however, as the Village had fallen out of fashion with New York’s patricians, artists, bohemians, and radical thinkers began to populate the area, and the institutions which served them, such as jazz clubs and speakeasies became commonplace throughout the area. By the 1950s and 60s, many of these had become coffeehouses and folk clubs for hippies, beatniks, and artists. These South Village establishments were frequented by some of the most significant players in these cultural movements, including Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, James Agee, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sam Shepard and Jackson Pollock.


File:South Village Historic Districts - color.jpg
Historic districts proposed and created in the South Village

Proposed South Village Historic District

In 2003, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) started work on a proposal for a South Village Historic District[1] which would include the area east of Seventh Avenue South, north of Watts Street, west of LaGuardia Place and south of Washington Square South. GVSHP lauded the area's rich immigrant history, cohesive character and architectural significance[2] and submitted the proposal to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in December 2006.[3] In 2008, the LPC agreed to consider the proposal, specifically the section west of 6th Avenue, or 1/3 of GVSHP’s proposed South Village Historic District. As time passed and the LPC continued to consider the area west of 6th Avenue, local residents and preservationists became increasingly worried about the threat to buildings in the area from development.[4]

"Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II"

In May 2009, the LPC scheduled a community meeting to discuss the area.[5] At the meeting, the LPC unveiled the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II, which would cover the area between Seventh Avenue South and Sixth Avenue of the proposed South Village Historic District. While preservationists were pleased that the LPC was finally moving on landmarking the area, many expressed dismay that the renaming of the district failed to acknowledge the area’s unique history as separate from the original Greenwich Village Historic District.[6] The Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II was calendared by the LPC in June 2009.

Sites and attractions

Subway service

See also


  1. The New York Times. "Neighborhood Report: Greenwich Village; The Counterculture Had a Home, And Now It Could Become Official". 
  2. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "South Village Presentation". 
  3. The Villager. "New push to create South Village historic area". 
  4. AMNY. "South Village preservation wait a costly one". 
  5. The New York Times (2009-05-12). "After 2 Years, a Meeting on Village Landmarks". Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  6. The Villager. "Editorial: On notification and designation". 

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