An architectural tour about what is not there? Eric Ferrara of the East Village History Project/East Village Visitors Center (and a criminal historian!), in conjunction with the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation (GVSHP), unveils layers of history beginning at the exact location in Astor Place where three indian tribes converged for a thousand years, to the evolution of the mafia, and the roots of movements as disparate as anarchism, abortion, white supremacy and prohibition. Find the place where Leon Trotsky, Frank Sinatra and Madonna all stepped foot – the latter two served by the same man who worked at the bar for 80 years, stand on the location of the first mafia hit in history, and sit on the stoop of the building featured in album covers and video by Led Zepellin and the Rolling Stones. Ferrara’s primary message: the tension between gentrification and architectural heterogeneity, progress and preservation, and the waves of exodus and immigration, will exist in perpetuity. And for the inquisitive, perhaps history is never truly lost?
The East Village Visitors Center gives daily tours, covering Alphabet City, Five Points, Chinatown, the Bowery and more. And information on mosaic artist, Jim Power, who happened to be hanging out at the intersection of St. Mark’s and Avenue A as the tour ended – you’ve seen his work on lampposts and more.
St. Mark’s Place is on 8th Street between 3rd Avenue and Avenue A. To get there, take the No. 6 Subway to Astor Place, R/W to 8th Street, or the 4/5/6/N/Q/R/W/L to 14th Street Union Square.
All Photos by Michelle Young