Washington Mews on a cloudy day. Greenwich Village, New York City.
There are streets that I revisit with regularity. These streets seem to call me back again and again. Tucked away and nearly hidden, they are treasure chests that open to reveal a wealth of warm, new feelings with every passing season. I used to come to this particular street quite a bit but it wasn’t until a year or so ago that I learned about its history.
The street sits on land that in the 18th century was part of a large farm that contained private stables used by the families of men such as nineteenth century architect Richard Morris Hunt, John Taylor Johnston who was the founding president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art , and Pierre Lorillard who was a prominent American tobacco manufacturer.
In the first half of the 20th century, a community of about 200 painters and sculptors flourished on this particular street and another adjoining street in the area. In 1903, a reporter for the New York Tribune wrote: “One finds a strange mixture of bales of hay and enormous blocks of marble, boxes of plaster and barrels of oats littering the roadways. Truckmen in greasy jumpers touch elbows now and then with the sculptors in their clay spattered working garb.”
One of the more prominent artists who had a studio on this beautiful street was Edward Hopper. Edward Hopper lived close to Washington Mews at 3 Washington Square starting in December 1913 until his death in 1967.
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