Jay DiLorenzo (center), President of the Preservation League of NY State with Andrew Berman (left), GVSHP’s Executive Director, in front of the demolished 1861 row house at 178 Bleecker St. Courtesy of the GVSHP blog
On Columbus Day, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation launched its “Save the South Village” video campaign, an effort to preserve the South Village as a historical landmark.
The South Village is known for its rich history, as a place built on Italian-American foundations and a neighborhood serving as home to iconic artists such as Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, and Jimi Hendrix. It is considered the birthplace of modern American theater with the Provincetown Playhouse and is the place of St. Anthony of Padua Church, America’s oldest Italian-American Church.
Because of the South Village’s colorful and significant history, the neighborhood is eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places. However, since it is not an official landmark yet, it’s still a place threatened by developers, NYU, and rezoning proposals for Hudson Square. GVSHP worries that the historic character of the South Village is at risk of further deterioration. So much so that the South Village was named one of the seven most significant endangered historic sites in New York State.
GVSHP, along with other New Yorkers, recognizes all that the South Village has to offer New York City. The “Save the South Village” video campaign has asked some of these New Yorkers, from celebrities and community leaders to South Village business owners and long-time residents, to talk about what the South Village means to them, and to urge Mayor Bloomberg and Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Tierney to finally make the South Village an official landmark.
The campaign started off with a message from actor John Leguizamo, who recalls how the South Village’s artistic history inspired his career.
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