Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
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Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
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Aug 2, 2021

In This Issue

David Rothenberg: Greenwich Village Civil Rights Pioneer – Program 9/18, New Oral History, Civil Rights Map

2015 Village Award-recipient David Rothenberg is one of many Villagers & East Villagers who have made a difference.  A former Broadway producer, David also ran for the New York City Council in 1985, nearly becoming the first openly-gay person elected to public office in New York.  An early AIDS activist, David is perhaps best known for an Off-Broadway production which turned into a lifetime, life-changing commitment to social justice. 

In 1967, Rothenberg produced Fortune and Men’s Eyes at the Actor’s Playhouse on Seventh Avenue South,  a groundbreaking play about prisoners and the brutal and unjust treatment they often receive.  This lead to his founding of the Fortune Society, a social-service agency dedicated to helping prisoners and former prisoners “thrive as positive, contributing members of society.”  More than fifty years later, the Fortune Society is one of the most respected and impactful non-profits in New York, helping thousands of prisoners and former prisoners each year, and transforming lives. 

GVSHP has just released an oral history with David, where he recounts more than a half-century of life in Greenwich Village, the transformative civil rights and social justice movements and moments that touched him, from rooting on Jackie Robinson as a young man to his own run for public office, and of course his life’s work in both the theater and the prison reform movement.  Read or listen to it here. Check out all  of GVSHP’s oral histories here, conducted over the last twenty years with preservation pioneers and local luminaries, from Jane Jacobs to Marlis Momber. 

And join us on Monday, September 18th for a special program with David where he will discuss his life’s work, its impact, and those who have impacted him.  Click here for more information, and here to reserve a seat. 

Finally, David has been added to GVSHP’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Mapsee it here.  The map contains more than one hundred entries in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, where significant events took place or people lived who played key roles in the civil rights and social justice movements which permeate our neighborhoods.  Entries go back as far as the 17th century, and include places and people like David still with us today – view them all here.

Continuing Ed for Real Estate Professionals

There are several spots available in GVSHP's Acclaimed 22.5 Hour Continuing Ed Class: The Architectural and Cultural Heritage of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and Lower East Side.

Learn about historic preservation, the NYC Landmark Law, and practical tips for brokers; the influence of Classical architecture on the stylistic development of townhouses, apartment buildings, and tenements; the evolution of regulatory reforms and zoning laws that shaped urban design and building types in the context of socio-economic, cultural, and political forces; and the realities of working with the Department of Buildings (DOB) and other NYC regulatory bodies today.

Fall 2017: 22.5 Hours - Wednesdays, October 4, 11, 18 includes required 3 hours of fair housing instruction and 1 hour of agency law.- Click here to register.

Classes take place in the garden conference room of the historic Neighborhood Preservation Center, conveniently located at 232 East 11th Street bewteen 2nd & 3rd Avenues, and combine classroom instruction and walking tours of the Village neighborhoods including visits to the Merchant’s House Museum and the Eldridge Street Synagogue. 

Election Results

Carlina Rivera is the announced winner in the Democratic primary for the open District 2 City Council race, while the race between incumbent Margaret Chin and challenger Christopher Marte appears to to be too close to call in the 1st City Council district. GVSHP had distributed the responses to our candidate’s questionnaire of these and all candidates in those primaries to nearly 20,000 people by email, highlighting the positions they have taken and commitments they have made regarding preservation and development issues.   

We are pleased to report that District 2 Democratic Primary winner Carlina Rivera stated her clear support for GVSHP’s proposed zoning protections for the University Place, Broadway, 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors, and has pledged to condition City Council approval for the Mayor’s nearby proposed 14th Street ‘Tech Hub’ upon his providing such protections for the surrounding community -- a position we have long advocated.   

Apparently GVSHP’s candidate questionnaire also created some waves in that race, with certain candidates’ responses regarding the future of the former PS 64/Charas-El Bohio Cultural Center at 605 East 9th Street, which GVSHP has long advocated for being returned to a true community use, angering the negligent developer-owner of the building, who proceeded to try to insert himself into the race – read coverage here and here.


Business of the Month – Blaustein Paint and Hardware, 51 Greenwich Avenue

Your input is needed! Today we feature our latest Business of the Month — help us to select the next. Tell us which independent store you love in Greenwich Village, the East Village or NoHo: click here to nominate your favorite.  Want to help support small businesses?  Share this post with friends.

Sometimes you  just have to attend to the nuts and bolts of life, and the keys and locks too.  In a world and a city filled with more and more big box stores, it’s good to know that small local shops remain that still carry almost everything. Blaustein Hardware and Paint is one such place, and is our September Business of the Month. 

This special shop was on Bleecker street for 76 years.  The Blaustein family sold the shop in the 1980’s, and in 2012, as Bleecker Street was transforming into “Fashion Street,” the owners chose to stay in the neighborhood and opened on Greenwich Avenue, where the much-loved World of Video was previously located. 

Everything you need to clean, scrape, paint, shellac or glue can be found in the store.  And plenty of glue traps, lightbulbs, and maybe a new pallet of color for the apartment or house. Whether supplies for DIY jobs or projects by expert craftspeople, both longtime local residents and newcomers find a reason to stop in.  

Partner and Manager Yan Tabakhov is keenly focused on customer service;  you can even see him reply on Yelp to customer reviews.  He attributes the business’ long existence to an experience that comes with decades of managing a successful store.  They know how to order, they take care of the customer’s needs, and maybe there is a bit of luck he admitted.   

Read more here.

And here is a handy map of all of our Businesses of the Month:


(click for details) 



The GVSHP Blog

Check out the latest posts from Off the Grid, featuring news, research, milestones, opinions and historic information about Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo.

Take Action Today!

We need your help to take action in our communities! Preservation leadership is GVSHP's most important function. Visit our Advocacy page to see the full list of actions you can take today.




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