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Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village is a wonderful respite from the city with is magnificent arch and public spaces. But all around it, secrets abound in the history of how it came to be. Here are our top 10 favorite secrets of Washington Square Park:


Pomander Walk on the Upper West Side

Strolling through certain streets or areas of NYC, you might feel suddenly transported to an older time. From an old world fishing village in the Bronx, to back houses transformed into luxury mansions in the West Village, the following areas capture the essence of a different period of NYC. While some, like City Island Fishing Village stand as microcosms, others are literally side-by-side with modern skyscrapers.


dick grayson-batman and robin-hudson univeristy-nyc that never was-untapped cities-02Strapping young Dick Grayson sporting a Hudson sweater as he bids farewell to Bruce and Alfred. (Image from Batman #217 via iFanboy)

New York City isn’t exactly a “college town,” but for TV buffs the name Hudson University should ring a bell as the alma mater of Bill Cosby in The Cosby Show and a frequent location for murders and raunchy college parties investigated by cops on Law and Order. But if you look at a map or list of NY schools today, you won’t find Hudson at all. Filmed at many locations throughout city, Hudson University is a combination of several different buildings including schools, government buildings, and public areas. NY Times called it, “where everyone majors in murder,” but the ongoing joke dates back much further than its references on TV.  (more…)

This 17-story building on the corner of East 10th Street and Broadway is home to nearly 575 New York University freshmen. Constructed in 1929, Brittany Hall at 55 East 10th Street served as a luxury hotel long before its status as a dormitory.

NYU-Dorm-Brittany-ExteriorImage via NYU

Now, these NYU students have the benefit of high pre-war ceilings and a terrific proximity to the renowned Grace Church. This residence hall also features a penthouse suite, now a 24 hour study lounge, with bewitching views and a Prohibition-era history. (more…)

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If you’ve been following the debate over NYU’s expansion plans in Greenwich Village, you’d know that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) has been one of the vocal interest groups spearheading the legal contention against the plan. Today, GVHSP announced that a substantial victory had been made in the campaign. In an email announcement, Andrew Berman, president of GVSHP wrote, “New York State Supreme Court Justice Donna Mills has issued a decision in our lawsuit against the City’s approval of the massive NYU expansion plan, and she agreed with our central contention that the giveaway of public parkland to NYU was illegal. This is an enormous validation of our efforts and a rebuke of the NYU plan and the process by which it was approved by the City.”


Basque restaurant Txikito. Photo credit: Ryan Charles.

Basque restaurant Txikito will host Egg and Butter Road’s tapas & wine tasting event. Photo credit: Ryan Charles.

Our curated event picks for this week: New York Review of Book’s 50th anniversary celebration, Joios & Jimmy beer tasting, Chinese New Year Firecrackers.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4:  Three chefs. Six courses. One night. This is the Underground Eats SUPPER BOWL. The day after the Super Bowl, whether you are sulking over a loss or dancing with triumph, you may feel a bit lost and disheartened knowing that the final, ultimate match-up of the year is over. Until… You realize you are going to Louro for a one-night-only dining experience with an all-star trio of chefs that includes James Beard Award-winner Sean Brock, Aldea’s formidable George Mendes, and Louro’s rising star, David Santos. These superstars will combine their talents to offer an exclusive six-course tasting menu that will highlight the flavors and cooking techniques for which each of these critically-acclaimed chefs are so well-known. 6pm or 9pm at Louro, 142 West 10th Street. $150. Buy tickets here.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5: The New York Review of Books: 50 Years. Spend an evening with contributors John Banville, Mary Beard, Michael Chabon, Mark Danner, Joan Didion, Daniel Mendelsohn, Darryl Pinckney, along with Robert B. Silvers, who, with the late Barbara Epstein, was a founding editor of The New York Review of Books, in February 1963. Each guest will receive a facsimile edition of the first issue of The New York Review of Books. 7:30pm at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street. $15 for New York Review subscribers; use discount code NYRB50. $20 General Admission. $10 Students with valid ID. Buy tickets here.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6: Joios & Jimmy Beer Tasting. Guests will taste at least 6 different varietals (and eat Jimmy’s noted foods). As usual, we’ll rate the beers and debate their merits. A crew of beer experts will chime in to make the debate lively. We’ll have a competition too, with a prize for the winner of our “Name That Beer” contest. 7-9pm at Jimmy’s No. 43, 43 East 7th Street. $28. Buy tickets here.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7:  Join NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg, the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (Penguin, 2012), and Jerilyn Perine, Director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, for a discussion about the rise of single adults in New York, Paris, Tokyo, and other world metropolises– and its implications for urban life as (we think) we know it today. This is the launch event for the Penguin paperback edition of Going Solo (Jan. 2013). Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers. Reception and book signing to follow. 6:30pm at MCNY, 1220 Fifth Avenue. Reservations required. $6 Museum members; $8 seniors and students; $12 general public. Buy tickets here.

Also on Thursday: Ruins of Modernity: the failure of revolutionary architecture in the 20th century with Peter Eisenman, Reinhold Martin, Joan Oakman, Bernard Tschumi. Where does architecture stand at present, in terms of its history? Are we still — were we ever — postmodern? What social and political tasks yet remain unfulfilled, carried over from the twentieth century, in a world scattered with the ruins of modernity? Does “utopia’s ghost” (Martin), the specter of modernism, still haunt contemporary building? How can architecture be responsibly practiced today? Is revolutionary architecture even possible? 7-10pm at NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square S. FREE. RSVP on Facebook.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8: City Bakery’s 21st Annual Hot Chocolate Festival is ongoing until February 28. Regress to childhood with skillfully concocted mugs of hot chocolate courtesy of this downtown canteen. Owner-mastermind Maury Rubin will serve a different flavor of his intoxicating cocoa every day during February and today’s is Bourbon. All day at The City Bakery, 3 West 18th Street. See the calendar of flavors here.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9: Butter & Egg Road Chelsea gallery crawl and Basque tapas tasting at Txikito. We will meet at David Zwirner Gallery at 4:30pm for a behind-the-scenes tour with Mollie White, former show director of Scope Art Fair, who will lead us through two more private gallery tours in the area, before tapas and drinks at Txikito. Butter and Egg Road is a new private traveling dining club for the curious class. Bringing travelers and locals together in intimate culinary and cultural experiences in the cities we love, Butter and Egg Road inspires members to be a local anywhere. To attend you must be a member or purchase a one-time, non-member ticket in advance. No tickets will be available at the door. Sign up to be a member here.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10: Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival. Chinese New Year officially starts today, but festivities will continue into next weekend, with the Lunar New Year parade and festival. 11am at Sara Roosevelt Park (Grand & Forsythe Streets). FREE. Check out our Sunday in Chinatown column for plenty of great restaurant recommendations!