Sullivan Street just South of Houston is a treasure trove of history starting with  St. Anthony of Padua  right on the corner. As their small Italian community grew in the late 1800s, the church sought to acquire the land adjacent to them.  The property was set to go up for bid and on that particular day, there was a major snowstorm and only one person showed up for the bidding.  It was the Pastor of St. Anthony’s.  The year was 1882 and he bought the property for $53,000.  The building of the new church was completed in 1888.

Hope you brought your shopping bag because you’ll soon run into the famous  Joe’s Dairy  where you can buy homemade mozzarella, and Pepe Rosso  with a great ‘to-go’ menu.

In the short distance between West Houston and Broom, you’ll appreciate how the shopkeepers have maintained the integrity of the old wood storefronts, each one with its own personality.  My favorite streetscape on that block is 137 to 135 Sullivan.  Looking like the small Village of old, this streetscape is home to Jean Claude’s French bistro, The Palmer Trading Company, and the oh so lovely Once Upon a Tart.

Inviting benches and chairs are strategically placed near the open doors of storefronts, and locals and tourists alike can be found chatting over cups of coffee and pastries.  With its tiny shops and eclectic cafes dotting Sullivan Street for the 3 blocks leading to Broom Street, it’s hard to believe that the busy and bustling Avenue of the Americas runs right along side, to the West.  When I conjure up a picture of SoHo, I think of Sullivan Street.

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The charming town of Rhinebeck is nestled near the northwest corner of Dutchess County and consists of 35 miles of meadowland, mountain views and lots of historic sites.  It’s a perfect place to view the fall foliage, and was recently voted one of the top 10 fall foliage spots in the nation.  Amongst the colorful vistas you will find victorian mansions, antique shops and estates once owned by many of history’s prominent families – and some of today’s as well.  One of the treasurers of Rhinebeck is The Beekman Arms.

Beekman Arms Inn established in 1766

Established in 1766, The Beekman Arms is the oldest operating Inn in the country.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a frequent guest and it was Roosevelt that was responsible for the WPA work done in the Rhinebeck Post Office, next door to The Beekman – with murals that recreate the towns beginnings.  Rhinebeck is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is in the center of the National Historic Landmark District. (more…)

A Walk to Washington Square Park

10/22/2012 at 12:36 pm

There’s so much to explore in and around West Houston Street with Soho to the South and the West Village to the North.  Today, let’s paint in Washington Square Park and take LaGuardia Place to get there.

The West side of the street is still filled with old world charm

One of my favorite streetscapes, painted in watercolor and gouache, is LaGuardia Place leading up to Bleecker Street, and one can’t take this trek without stopping for a little something at Pasticceria Bruno.

Looking South at the entrance to Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park, at the foot of Fifth Avenue, offers everything from chess to music of every kind, wonderful gardens and a great place to paint.

West 3rd Street

By the time you leave the Park, it will no doubt be time for dinner.   Let me suggest West 3rd Street, right off LaGuardia Place.  This colorful streetscape includes everything from your corner deli to unforgettable  Italian at Il Mulino.

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October in Greenwich Village

10/15/2012 at 4:28 pm

One of the all time major Events in our City is Halloween in Greenwich Village and a good deal of the activity takes place around 6th Avenue and West 10th Street.  So we thought we would share a few of our local images to get you in the spirit.

The beautiful streetscape on 6th Avenue between 8th & 9th Sts.

Let’s start on 8th Street and take a look at the streetscape leading to 9th Street, with its beautiful old buildings and our all time favorite pharmacy, C.O. Bigelow. Founded in 1838, it is the oldest apothecary in the U.S.  Grab a sandwich from Lenny’s and head North.

The watercolor streetscape of 6th Avenue between 9th & 10th Streets

Heading North on 6th Avenue, you will pass by the streetscape between 9th Street and 10th Street, which includes  Citarella on one end and the Joeffrey Ballet School  on the West 10th Street end.

Formerly the Jefferson Market Courthouse

Formerly the Jefferson Market Courthouse, this historic building was built between the years 1874 and 1877 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It opened its doors as a library in 1967 and it is said that a large spider can be seen moving up and down the tower during the annual Halloween Parade.  If you can find a space to sit on the steps, you’ll have one of the best seats in town for this year’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.  Hope you bought that sandwich because more then 2 million people are expected so best to get that seat on the steps now!

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Proudly overlooking the Northwest corner of Washington Square Park sits 103 Waverly Place.  It was built in 1902 as a residential hotel named the Hotel Earle, after its first owner Earle L’Amoureaux.  In the 1930s you could get a single room for as little as $2.00 a night.  Through the years many well known people can say that they’ve slept there including Ernest Hemingway, Bob Dylan and Bo Diddley.  In 1973 the hotel was sold and in 1986 it was renamed the Hotel Washington Square, also housing their wonderful North Square Restaurant.

One of my favorite streetscapes occupies the other side of the street and includes 108 and 110 Waverly Place.  Originally a carriage house for the Wanamaker Department Store family, the building that now houses Mario Batali’s restaurant Babbo was built in 1826 along with its neighbor, 108 Waverly Place.

On the other side of Sixth Avenue, corner of West 10th Street, you will find The Three Lives & Co. bookstore.  Named for Gertrude Stein’s first book (1909) about three women living in the fictional town of Bridgepoint, it occupies the street level of an 1829 townhouse.

Waverly Place from beginning to end is a Greenwich Village street not to be missed.

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Once again, as part of Open House New York, Harlem Artists open their doors to show you where they create and exhibit their work.  This year, on October 5th and 6th, there are more then 40 studios and galleries with over 90 participating artists.  Get a sneak peek of the ArtWalk map at The Casa Frela Gallery website and click on HAWT next to the Green Foot.  You can download the map or pick up a copy at any of the participating shop and restaurants listed online.

The ArtWalk covers an area from 110th Street to 126th Street.  My watercolor rendering above is of a small section known as the Mount Morris Historic District, which houses one of the original cast iron watchtowers used prior to our modern day firehouses and currently undergoing a grassroots effort by the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association  to preserve and restore this site, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Within this district is our sponsoring gallery and the organizer of this Event.

The Casa Frela Gallery is located in a renovated Stanford White brownstone located at 47 West 119th Street.  This is the starting point of the walking tour and an easy place to pick up your map for this free event.

Besides artists studios and our local galleries, there are many participating shops and restaurants who have lent their walls to this annual event.  Above is  Swing Concept Shop located on the corner of 118th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd. (7th Avenue) and below is  The Winery located at 257 West 116th Street near the Frederick Douglass Blvd. 116th Street subway station

Il Caffe Latte located on Lenox Avenue near 120th Street

AFineLyne will be exhibiting during OHNY at The Casa Frela Gallery, Ristorante Settepani, Swing Concept Shop and The Winery in Harlem (original paintings) and as always, note cards & maps at The Aloft Hotel and Harlem Flo Boutique, both on Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Follow AFineLyne on her website and on Facebook at Harlem Sketches or Greenwich Village Sketches. Head to Society6 to pick up your own Harlem Collage and some posters for your walls.