Grove Street: The rain has been with us on and off throughout the past week, but it's not kept everyone home, especially those of us who don't mind a walk down a good atmospheric street. Grove Street is one of those charming and relatively short Greenwich Village streets that seems to have attracted an almost unfair share of history and attention. St. Luke's Place is another.
Visitors to Greenwich Village often find their way to Grove Street, following in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac, Patricia Highsmith, James Baldwin, or Hart Crane, among the writers who briefly lived there. Many of the buildings date from the mid-19th century and earlier, including the storybook Grove Court, a group of Greek Revival houses originally built for the working classes. On June 8, 1809, American Revolution hero Thomas Paine died in the farmhouse where Marie's Crisis bar is now located. Jazz greats, including Charlie Parker, played at Arthur's Tavern next door.
I never mind taking blurry pictures when it's raining. Nor do I mind photo apps with unresolved multiple exposures, especially on streets with literary ghosts. Isn't it nice how overcast skies make the colors come alive?
W. 12th Street: The center and northern sections of the Village, especially the blocks between 5th and 6th Avenues north of the park (Washington Square Park), were traditionally wealthier and more formal-looking areas than those along the off-grid winding streets of what's now known as the West Village. Streets like W. 10th, W. 11th, and W. 12th feature many beautiful rows of Italianate style row houses, so faithful to the style that the area is reminiscent of the wealthiest towns of northern Italy. Take these houses at Nos. 34-44 on W. 12th Street, which according to the plaque on No. 44, were designed and built in 1860 "and were the last word in elegance." The facade of these houses look nicely textured when it's raining, and the flowers in the window boxes perk up.
Some see the world through rose-colored camera app filters.
Chelsea: Most of us don't hang out on Grove or W. 12th. More typically we're taking the subway to a major intersection, such as W. 23rd St. and 8th Ave., and then making our way to a specific destination. There are many charming blocks in Chelsea, too, just like in the Village. On this recent day, I was more intent on making a curtain time than strolling the more scenic streets. I did have time to take a few pedestrian pictures. The rain had stopped for a few minutes.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple, May 2011.
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