Starting out at 5th Avenue and heading west on 11th Street toward Greenwich Village, we can’t walk by #18 without remembering the dynamite explosion in 1970 unintentionally set off by the Weathermen and a few doors down, on the opposite side of the street is the lovely European style Larchmont Hotel. There are still small cemeteries scattered throughout our City and this part of West 11th Street houses the Second Cemetery of the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, Shearith Israel, which dates back to 1805. It is one of 3 cemeteries scattered throughout the City belonging to the synagogue. Several of the buildings along the way are part of The New School campus.
Just across the street is Gene’s Restaurant. A true blast from the past, Gene’s Restaurant was founded in 1919. It’s like walking onto a movie set with waiters in neatly pressed black suits who promptly deliver a cruditÃ© platter and bread to your table before your napkin hits your knees. They are traditional in every way and have earned a loyal local following among Greenwich Village residents. A peek inside their window makes you want to dash around the corner to Star Struck Vintage and dress up for the occasion.
Reaching the corner of West 11th Street and 6th Avenue, you can refresh with a mint lemonade at French Roast CafÃ© and delight in some local art at the Greenwich Gallery Frame Shop before crossing the street and continuing on past The Greenwich Village School. Here you will find beautiful architecture including a Greek revival townhouse at 152 West 11th Street which was built in 1836. Needless to say, the past residents of these beautiful and historic buildings are as dear to our history as the buildings themselves.
The last building in my streetscape is the back entrance to the restaurant Elephant & Castle. You are now at 7th Avenue, with a view of the Mulry Square lot on Greenwich Avenue that housed The Tiles For America Project from 9/11. It is worth mentioning that The Tiles for America are now on display at The Jefferson Market Library – so stop by and take a look.