3. Westbeth Artists Community was formerly Bell Laboratories

Westbeth Artist housing in the west village

The Westbeth Artists Community is a storied complex providing living and working space for artists, though five decades ago, the building had a very different purpose. The 13-building complex was originally part of the Bell Laboratories Building at 463 West Street and was the site of major scientific breakthroughs from 1898 to 1966. Such innovations include black-and-white and color television, the phonograph record, radar, and vacuum tubes. Additionally, some research for the Manhattan Project was conducted at the site, and the first baseball game was broadcast through Bell.

After Bell Labs moved, the building was converted into the Westbeth Artists Community, creating live-work spaces for 384 artists who met certain income requirements. The building was renovated to include rehearsal studios, commercial spaces, and performance halls. Early artists who resided there included photographer Diane Arbus, artist Hans Haacke, and Vin Diesel. Cultural organizations including The New School for Drama, the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, and LAByrinth Theater Company also moved into the space.