4. In 1970, a Townhouse Exploded in Greenwich Village

Anyone who has passed by 18 West 11th Street has probably wondered about the unique construction of the building. The strangely angled building is the result of the Weathermen Townhouse Explosion that took place on March 6, 1970. The individuals responsible were part of the Weather Underground Organization, also known the Weathermen. They were a radical left militant group that started in Michigan, and their ultimate goal was to overthrow the U.S. government. Weathermen members were assembling nail bombs in the basement of the building to set off at a dance at the Fort Dix, New Jersey army base, when a bomb accidentally exploded and killed two members of the group. Dustin Hoffman and his wife were living in the house next to 18th West 11th Street at the time of the explosion.

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2 Responses
  1. Kiwiwrwriter Reply

    I remember the Women’s House of Detention, from growing up in the Village…the women inside would yell down to their pals on the street, often in colorful metaphors, which shocked parents with little kids.

    The townhouse that blew up in 1971 was on the next block down from my grade school, PS 41. On the day that happened, we were sitting in second grade, doing a lesson, when we heard a “boom” that shook the building. Smoke came slowly down 11th Street, darkening it, and soon we heard zillions of sirens racing to the scene of the crime. When my mother picked me up, the whole area was cordoned off by cops.

    A few days later, a police detective came into our class, dressed in a trenchcoat, wearing a Gene Hackman porkpie hat, which he removed, to ask us if we had seen a naked woman running down 11th Street after the blast. She was sought in connection with the incident. Us being wise-ass second-graders growing up in the Village, we had a lot of answers. Mrs. Blume was shocked by our response.

    The detective thanked us for our time and stumped out of the class, muttering about “freaking smart-ass kids.”

    The good old days.

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