On Halloween Saturday, at 10 minutes to two, nineteen New Yorkers — mostly 40-something film buffs — met under the Washington Square Arch and a cerulean sky. We maneuvered around the miniature “Elsas,” “Minions” and assorted ghouls, waiting in anticipation for our walking tour of Greenwich Village with Timothy “Speed” Levitch, the former Gray Line guide who achieved cult status after appearing in the documentary, The Cruise.
Set back from the street and tucked away behind a fence on 11 East 11th Street in Greenwich Village lies a little synagogue that has recently sparked a discussion about constitutional issues. As reported by Gothamist, the Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue recently submitted a proposal to renovate their 1921 landmarked building for religious purposes, causing a debate over whether or not the right to worship exempts certain buildings from New York City laws protecting historic landmarks. The vote held on Thursday, October 22nd by the Landmarks & Public Aesthetics Committee 1 concluded that it does not. (more…)
Fans of the historic Greenwich Village speakeasy Chumley’s have been anxiously awaiting its return following a wall collapse in 2007. Reconstructing the facade took about five years. Its reopening was once predicted to be in 2016 and it appears Chumley’s is on its last barrier return, needing a liquor license approval from Manhattan Community Board 2. Anyone who has attended a meeting of Community Board 2 will understand the challenge – meetings can go upwards of five hours, and the battles are often over liquor licenses for the neighborhoods that include Greenwich Village, Soho, and Chinatown. The residents here simply don’t want more noise. With the upcoming vote, New York resident Monroe Smith has started a petition on Change.org: “Last Call to Save Chumley’s at 86 Bedford Street.” Signatures are being collected to show support for its return.
Fans of OldNYC will be excited to see another historical photo mapping tool. The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation (GVSHP) has released its historic photo archive. Though it currently only has 300 images (vs. the 21,000 in OldNYC, the images here range from 19th century drawings to images of lost buildings, to places preserved thanks to the New York City Landmarks law, and more will be added. The photos reflect specifically “the history of the people and built environment of Greenwich Village and surrounding areas,” writes GVSHP.
We’ve embedded the map above (click on the icons to see the images), but you can also browse and search on the GVSHP website.
The first big, important news to impart is that there is an alternative Oktobefest in Germany that few people know about. Called Oide Wiesn (old Oktoberfest) and in its fourth year, the festival was founded precisely to combat the overwhelming tourist experience at the tents. Though slightly more expensive, it’s a throw-back to the Oktoberfest of old, with rides and replica tents in the traditional style.
In New York City, we’ve asked beer enthusiast and Untapped Cities contributor Luke Kingma to put together his list of best spots to celebrate Oktoberfest in the spirit of the original.
Releasing on October 7th (but already available for pre-order on Amazon) will be the new guidebook, New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants written by Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young and the site’s contributing editor Laura Itzkowitz. As an update to our popular NYC Bars guide on Untapped Cities, below is our guide for 2015 with descriptions excerpted from the upcoming book.
Upon reviewing the 2015 list, you may wonder where some of the classic hidden bars – Please Don’t Tell, Little Branch, The Back Room, Apotheke – just to name a few. As they have been featured in our previous hidden bars list or our underground bars list, we have aimed for a wider range of experiences on this curation.