South Village Historic District
The streets of the South Village Historic District are lined with a rich array of buildings of architectural, historical, and cultural significance. The district is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under criterion A as a reflection of the broad patterns of our history. The district exemplifies the residential development and redevelopment of neighborhoods in New York City as they evolved to accommodate different groups of people. The row houses, tenements, industrial lofts, churches, and other buildings in the area reflect the changing character of life in New York over a period of almost one hundred and fifty years. In the South Village, initial development took the form of single-family row houses for affluent households. Later, the district became significant as a center for working-class immigrants, including those from Germany, Ireland, France, and, especially, from Italy, as well as African-Americans. The immigrant face of the community is also evident in the religious structures within the district, notably two Roman Catholic churches that were built to minister to the area''s growing Italian community. The housing stock shifted to reflect these changes, with row houses expanded and converted into multiple dwellings but, primarily, with the construction of custom-built tenements, housing many families. The buildings in the district provide a history of the evolution of tenement design. The South Village also attracted bohemian artists and writers, especially in the early decades of the twentieth century, and the architecture also reflects this development, with buildings converted into artist's studios or faux studios or into complexes for those with an artistic bent. The character of commerce also changed to reflect the changing nature of the population. The row houses did not have stores, but stores were added to many of the surviving examples as the population shifted. The tenements were almost always built with ground-floor stores, with commercial operations catering to immigrant needs. In the early twentieth century, stores and restaurants opened that reflected the bohemian population's requirements. This development continued into the post-World War II era, as stores and entertainment venues opened to cater to the beat crowd, the gay and lesbian community, folk music culture, and other social developments.
Posted to the NRHP 2-24-2014