the 17th Century, the South Village belonged to a single property
owner, Wouter Van Twiller, who was appointed by the Dutch
West India Co. in 1633 as Director General of the colony.
took this whole area as his personal farm. Van Twiller's successor,
William Kleft, granted ownership to a Symon Congo, making
Mr. Congo one of the first black landowners in the new colonies.
Ironically, two hundred years later in the mid-19th Century
this area around Bleeker, Sullivan and MacDougal was known
as "Little Africa" because by 1865, one quarter
of New York City's black population lived there. The first
African American newspaper and the first African American
Theatre, "The African Grove" was located here on
most famous resident of this area was George Washington who,
in 1776 set up his headquarters
in the mansion known as Richmond Hill. This site between Charlton
and King Street west to Vandam, was also used by John Adams,
when he was Vice President. Later, Aaron Burr used Richmond
Hill for his social gatherings where Jefferson, Madison and
Talleyrand would congregate. Finally, in 1817 John Jacob Astor
purchased it and subdivided it into smaller lots. Authors
Edna St. Vincent Millay (25 Charlton Street in 1918) and James
Agee (17 King Street in 1951) lived here.
area continually attracted rebels from George Washington to
John Reed and his buddies at the Liberal Club, also known
as Polly'sRestaurant, at 137 MacDougal Street. This group
Theodore Dreiser, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, Lincoln
Steffens, Max Eastman and others. Eugene O'Neill was there
but preferred The Golden Swan, known as the Hell Hole and
based his play "The Iceman Cometh" on his friends
at this Village hangout. Later this group of writers, artists
and intellectuals formed the Provincetown Playhouse to showcase
their work. The most famous Greenwich Village restauranteur
of the 20th Century was Romany-Marie.
Her restaurant at 133 Washington Place was frequented by all
of the Village's most illustrious characters. Buckminster
Fuller decorated the restaurant in payment for his daily lunch.
Marilyn Weigner Associates has one of the last surviving portraits
of Romany in their Greenwich Village collection.
This neighborhood has always been known for its eclectic mix
cafes, bars, theatres restaurants and jazz clubs. Bob Dylan
showcased his talents on Bleeker Street, as did many of his
folk singing generation. Many of these clubs still remain,
including the Bottom Line, the Village Vanguard and the Blue
Note; but lost is the Village Gate and many others.
this neighborhood is still a vibrant mix of café's,
clubs and restaurants, making this truly the heart of Greenwich