Greenwich Village

Newgate Prison: Up the River

Newgate Prison

When you were “sent up the river,” this is where you came – Newgate Prison.  They took you from the courthouse down on Wall Street, put you on a boat and sailed you up the Hudson River to the Christopher Street docks.  One block North stood the prison.

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Jefferson Market Courthouse: Catcalls from the Clink

The red brick Jefferson Market Courthouse is one of the iconic buildings of Greenwich Village.  Designed in 1877 by

Calvert Vaux—the architect of Central Park—in the 1880’s it was voted the 4th most beautiful building in America by a panel of architects.  But it was a lot larger back then, filling the entire block.  Read more

Stonewall Riots: Gay Rights Movement

Greenwich Village has been a gay-friendly neighborhood for many decades.  During prohibition, Eve Addams opened a lesbian speakeasy on MacDougal Street called Eve’s Hangout.  Later, during the 1950′s, famous gay artists and writers, like Allen Ginsberg, performed at bars like the Gaslight Cafe.  And Village favorite, Marie’s Crisis Cafe, before it became a famous sing-along piano bar, served for a long time as a gay watering hole.  Nonetheless, even though gay culture thrived in Greenwich Village, much of it was forced underground.

 

In 1969, the Stonewall Inn was a popular, but still secretive, gay bar.  Everyone else was getting their civil rights, but anti-gay statutes remained in full force.  Almost all the gay bars of Greenwich Village were owned by mobsters, who treated the customers poorly.  Even worse, many gay bars had to pay off the police, who referred to the payoffs as gayola.  Nonetheless, it was quite common for cops to raid the joint, bust the drag-queens and haul them off to jail.   

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