In the summer of 1949 E.B. White wrote:
“In Greenwich Village the light is thinning: big apartments have come in, bordering the Square, and the bars are mirrored and chromed. But there is still in the Village the lingering traces of poesy..”
White was, like every observer of Manhattan before him, lamenting the pace of change with its attendant cultural decay and vacuum of bricks and cash. He was recalling the spirit of true Bohemia that set the artistic tone of Greenwich Village.
Yet, unbeknownst to White, a mere decade or two later ‘the Village’ as it was simply known, would rise from the ashes and emerge with a richer heritage of art and ‘poesy’. Peter Hamill in his book “Downtown” recalls an evening stroll west along Ninth Street towards a Village in the early 60’s. Greenwich Village was then populated with “artists in paint-spattered jeans”, “bearded poets”, “transvestites”, “sailors” and was “…a sensual festival of unlimited possibility...”
Waverly Place (formerly known as “Factory Street”) was renamed in 1832 to commemorate Sir Walter Scott’s novel “Waverley”. It is an apt demonstration of the artistic and literary pulse of old that beats through GREENWICH VILLAGE. It will survive all developments – commercial or otherwise. Her light shall never thin.