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


Best wishes for a happy new year from everyone at GVSHP. 

To inspire you on this first day of a new year full of possibilities and promise, we thought we’d share with you a list of just a few of our favorite “firsts” connected to Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo: 


The first woman candidate for President, Julia Ward Howe, who lived on Bond Street


The first Rocky Horror Picture Show Midnight Showing, at the Waverly Theater


Jane Jacobs:  her first book, the Death of Life of Great American Cities, and her leading the first defeat of Robert Moses and of an “urban renewal” plan, all while living in the Village, and the first (and only) development she had a hand in designing, West Village Houses

The first public meeting of the NAACP, at Cooper Union


The first African-American Studies and the first Women’s Studies classes ever taught, at The New School


The Founder of the first Birth Control Clinic, Margaret Sanger, who lived in Greenwich Village


The “Father of the American Revolution,” Thomas Paine, who lived and died in Greenwich Village

The first streetcar, the first ‘El,’ and the inventor of the first steam locomotive,  Peter Cooper


Westbeth – the first large-scale adaptive re-use of an industrial building for residential purposes, the first federally-subsidized housing for artists, and as Bell Labs, the place where the first LP-record and phonograph, television, “talkie” (movie with synchronized sound), color TV, lasers, satellite communications, the transistor and microwave radio were invented.


The first African-American Catholic church in the north, St. Benedict the Moor

The first contemporary public art piece in New York, Astor Place’s ‘The Alamo,’ aka ‘The Cube


The first performances by Bob Dylan (Gerde’s Folk City) and Jimi Hendrix (Café Wha?)

The first racially integrated nightclub, Café Society, where Billie Holiday first performed ‘Strange Fruit’

The first African-American woman playwright to have her work produced on Broadway, Lorraine Hansberry

The first ‘progressive’ school, Little Red Schoolhouse

New York’s first community garden, the Liz Christie Community Garden

The first museum dedicated to contemporary American artists, the Whitney (original and current home)

The founding of the Hare Krishna religion, and the founding of the New York Young Lords, both in Tompkins Square Park

New York’s first house of worship, St. Mark’s in the Bowery Church, fronted by New York’s first street, Stuyvesant Street

New York’s oldest Catholic Church building, St. Joseph’s Church


The first Italian-American Church, St. Anthony of Padua

The first federally subsidized low-income housing, the East Village’s First Houses

The first LGBT everything – Stonewall, the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement, and the first city, state, and federally-recognized LGBT landmark; the first gay bookstore, the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore; the first school for LGBT youth, the Harvey Milk High School; and many more

The city’s first historic sites considered for landmark status – the Merchant’s House, the Stuyvesant-Fish House, Colonnade Row, the Salmagundi Club, and the former Astor Library (now the Public Theater)

The birthplace of modern American Theater, the Provincetown Playhouse

The birthplace of punk, CBGBs

The first rock musical, Hair, performed and produced at the Public Theater

The “first concept album,” the Beatles’ Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which owes a great debt to Greenwich Village







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.

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