The Early 19th Century (1800-1849)

Research Team:

1. Jill Strykowski
2. Katie Ehrlich
3. Rachel Greer


Click to VIEW MAP pinpointing notable Greenwich Village locations active during this period.



As New York City entered the 19th century, Greenwich Village was essentially a suburb. The number of people living on the southern tip of Manhattan mushroomed as commerce flourished and wealthier residents began to seek refuge from the crowded city by moving uptown, settling a whole new area of the island. The land above Houston Street, from the Hudson River (then known as the North River) and the East River was comprised of estate farms owned by wealthy families, a vestige of the colonial period. After the Revolutionary War, well-to-do New Yorkers started buying parcels of farm land in the area that would become Washington Square Park and the West Village.1 The area became known as the Village of Greenwich. At the same time on the east side of Manhattan, Peter Stuyvesant III, descendent of the last Dutch leader of New York, was developing his family land. It was called Bowery Village.2 These two sparsely populated rural-suburban communities saw rapid expansion in the early 19th century. They would ultimately become inclusively known as “the village.”

From river to river the area was home to wealthy and notable New Yorkers, but also a large prison and burial ground. In 1797, the city bought much of the land currently occupied by Washington Square Park for a cemetery or “potter’s field.” Victims of late 18th century and early 19th century yellow fever outbreaks were buried there and criminals were hanged at the public gallows at the north end of the field.3 That same year Newgate Prison, New York State’s first penitentiary, opened on the Hudson River at today’s 10th Street. It soon became overcrowded and plagued by riots.4 Many of those who were hanged at the potter’s field were Newgate prisoners. The first decade of the potter’s field also saw duels. These early years saw a phenomenon that would repeat itself throughout New York City’s history – the wealthy lobbying against the encroachment of elements they thought would harm their neighborhood and land values.5

The bourgeoning neighborhood played a unique and interesting role in the contentious U. S. election of 1800 between President John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. From his country mansion Richmond Hill, near the intersection of Varick and Charlton streets, Aaron Burr planned the election strategy that would help him win the vice presidency. His planning and organization of New York City voter lists helped the Democratic-Republicans take the New York State Legislature, which in turns chooses the state’s electors, which then nominates the president. "[Burr’s] house was crowded with messengers and committeemen and poll watchers who ate while they mapped strategy and napped on the floors rather than go home to sleep."6 Residence in this former official vice presidential home, which also served as one of George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolution7, was coveted. Burr had secured his ownership of this historic home a few years earlier. In 1803 he actually sold his Greenwich Village land to John Jacob Astor.8

Four years after the election, Burr would secure another historic distinction. He would be ostracized as the man who killed Alexander Hamilton. The tale of the Hamilton-Burr duel is well-known. What is perhaps less known is that Hamilton died the day after the duel at the Greenwich Village home of friend William Bayard.9 The home was on his family’s estate farm, in the Bayards’ hands since one-time New York City Mayor Nicholas Bayard acquired it the colonial period. The Bayard farm generally ran from the canal downtown (later Canal Street) up to about Bleecker Street and was bisected by Broadway.10 That land, along with farms owned by the Bleecker, Herring and Dyckman families, were gradually parceled out in the early 19th century and became Greenwich Village.

The Hamilton-Burr duel was not the only one to make its mark on Greenwich Village. The potter’s field at the soon-to-be Washington Square Park saw its share of duels as well. In 1803 a newspaperman and harbormaster engaged in a politically-charged fatal confrontation on the north end of the park. Dueling continued in the square for decades before it was banned in the state.11

By 1805 the city limits extended only to Chambers Street, but downtown’s bustling Broadway was being regulated for uptown use. Plans for the street were mapped in this first decade and the road itself was gradually paved. That year Broadway was regulated up to Prince Street. Within four years, it was paved with sidewalks up to Astor Place, known then as Art Street. Grand homes soon lined the thruway, which connected the downtown city with the northern suburbs of Greenwich and Bowery Village.

While this uptown area was still considered separate from the city, several vital institutions were springing up there as New Yorkers flocked to Bowery Village and the Village of Greenwich. Urban dwellers found refuge from the periodic outbreak of disease in the fields, farms and fresh air. Merchants found refuge from the city’s taxes and set up shop. St. Mark’s in the Bowery church was established at today’s 2nd Avenue and 10th Street in 1799 and gained popularity as more moved into the area to escape yellow fever in the first years of the 19th century. In 1805, downtown pleasure garden and theater Vauxhall Gardens moved uptown to Art Street.12 The next year Greenwich Village got its first school, at the corner of Grove and Hudson streets.13 The state Legislature voted to implement free schooling the year before.14 An orphanage emerged in the area in 1807. The Greenwich Market marketplace opened the next year followed by the Greenwich Hotel, both indicative of commerce’s uptown migration.

New York City business and trade would be crippled, however, by international conflict. Tensions between the United States and England peaked in 1806 when a British warship fired at an American ship in the waters off New Jersey. It took another year of restrictive trade measures before Congress passed the Embargo Act, which prohibited all foreign trade at U.S. ports. At this time, business activity had been edging its way up both the East and Hudson rivers from downtown Manhattan. That stopped. During that time when countless were struggling, more than 1,000 were jailed for incurring debt.15 The embargo measure almost ground New York commerce to a halt until it was lifted in 1809. “In short, the scene was so gloomy and forlorn, that had it been the month of September instead of April, I should verily have thought that a malignant fever was raging in the place; so desolating were the effects of the embargo…” John Lambert, a man who published stories of his travels to the United States and Canada in the first years of the 19th century, wrote of the impact of the Embargo Act.16

Not all business-related endeavors were hindered by the Embargo Act, however. In 1807, the first commercial steamboat embarked from Greenwich Village to Albany. Skeptical New Yorkers traveled the two miles north from the city to watch Robert Fulton’s The Clermont set off from the dock at Christopher Street on August 17.17 The Clermont was the first steam-powered craft in the world to complete a significant trip. Within weeks it began making regular runs between the state’s capital and the country’s economic capital.18 Fulton and his partner Robert Livingston soon monopolized steamship travel.

As New Yorkers were leaving the comfort of their urban homes to explore the wilds of Manhattan, city officials had plans in the works to conquer the island’s landscape. During the century’s first decade city officials conceived the famous grid plan by which the city’s streets, from about East Houston to 155th street, would be governed.19 At the time East Houston was the northernmost edge of the city, but the suburban streets just beyond it had already been plotted and established. The Village of Greenwich was left alone. Bowery Village, however, was less settled and therefore more vulnerable to the imposition of the city’s grid plan. “In a remarkable assertion of public authority over large estate owners…” the authors of Gotham write, “the city decided to shut up any previously laid-out streets not retroactively accepted by the Common Council” (Burrows and Wallace, 422). This meant Bowery Village. The city superseded the village’s grid plan for its own, inserting streets like Third Avenue over the streets that pre-existing ones. Only remnants of Bowery Village’s street plan remained after the grid plan was implemented in 1811. Stuyvesant Street, which cuts diagonally between 9th and 10th streets at Third Avenue, was one.

Just a year after city officials launched their plan to take control over the northern portions of the island, the city was forced to protect it. The prospect of another war with England meant Manhattan had to be fortified. In 1812 the prospect came to fruition when the U.S. declared war on its former colonizing power over a series of international incidents. New York prepared by building forts up and down the Hudson and East rivers, strategically placed to thwart an attack from Lake Champlain upstate. Fortification north of the city was needed as well. Fort Gansevoort, which sat at the end of Gansevoort Street on the Hudson, along with others further downtown and were constructed.20 The city mobilized, but was spared. Fort Gansevoort remained for decades before it was torn down.

The first decade and a half of the 19th century was only the beginning of rapid expansion for New York City. With the grid plan of 1811, the course was set for the growth New York City would experience in the decades ahead. In 1800, the population of New York City was approximately 60,000. Within 15 years the population almost doubled,21 but it was still the early days for Greenwich Village.


Between 1815 and 1830, Greenwich Village was transformed from a suburban community where wealthy people took their families on vacation, to a thriving part of the metropolis of New York City. A variety of political, epidemiological, and cultural forces converged to create the Greenwich Village of mid-century.

Yellow Fever shaped much of the development of Greenwich Village during this time period. Medical professionals of the time did not know that Yellow Fever was spread through mosquito bites, and thought instead that its spread was related to dirty urban conditions. Thus, residents would flee the city to open spaces when an outbreak would occur. A variety of outbreaks occurred in the years following the revolution, which meant that the potter’s field on the site that is now Washington Square filled quickly with the corpses of the diseased. Due to health restrictions based on a belief that the disease could be spread from dead bodies to living people, even wealthy people had to be buried in public burial grounds during the outbreak.22

One particularly egregious outbreak occurred in 1822, just three years before the potter's field was filled in and paved over. As the outbreak took hold in lower Manhattan, residents fled northward to Greenwich Village en masse. Dr. Peter Townsend says of the migration:

On…Saturday, the 24th August, our city presented the appearance of a town besieged. From day break till night, one line of carts, containing boxes, merchandize and effects, were seen moving towards Greenwich Village and upper parts of the city…Temporary stores and office were erecting…Within a few days thereafter, the Custom House, the Post Office, the Banks, the Insurance Offices, and the printers of Newspapers located themselves in the village…and these places almost instantaneously became the seat of the immense business usually carried on, in this great metropolis23

Although many residents returned downtown after the outbreak was over, many residents stayed in Greenwich Village, developing their wood-frame dwellings into more permanent structures. It was after this exodus that Greenwich Village was incorporated into New York City itself, changing from the “Village of Greenwich” to “Greenwich Village.”24

The area now known as Washington Square Park was also in transition during this period. As I mentioned, it was used as potter’s field from 1797. In 1825, the potter’s field was filled in and closed, presumably because it was at capacity for burials. The public gallows was also destroyed at this time.

In 1826, Philip Hone was elected Mayor of New York City. Hone was well-connected in the city and conveniently was both a trustee for Sailor’s Snug Harbor and a voting member of the Common Council. Conceived as a rest home for sailors funded by a trust set up by the Randall family, Sailors’ Snug Harbor owned a large tract of land between Washington Square and 10th street, on the east side of the park that was supposed to be used for housing the convalescent sailors and funded by the real estate proceeds from the land itself.

This became less practical as time went on, and because the will stipulated that the trustees could not sell the land, the board of trustees saw fit to move the convalescent home to Staten Island and develop real estate on the Greenwich Village holdings.25 Then, the rest home could be run with the proceeds from the real estate development.

Mayor Hone saw an opportunity when the potter's field was filled in. Due to health restrictions, former potter’s fields could not be used for residential or commercial development. However, it was becoming clear with the rapid urbanization of Manhattan island, that open space raised the property values of surrounding real estate. The trustees of the Sailors’ Snug Harbor wanted to attract high-end real estate to their landholdings, and saw the preservation of the potters’ field as a boon to that mission. Obstacles related to cost and municipal laws arose for Mayor Hone and the Common Council, but fortunately, Mayor Hone came up with a plan to make the dream a reality.26

A military parade ground had been planned but never implemented for a large tract of land above 23rd street. The land was to be used for training for troops during the War of 1812. Now that the threat was over, the council wanted to eliminate the plan, or change its location. Foot Mayor Hone proposed that the potter’s field be transformed into the “Washington Military Parade Ground.” To draw attention to this new plan and to confer prestige on the Parade Ground, the common council threw a celebration on July 4th, 1826 to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A sumptuous feast was served, and sources say that 50,000 people attended the celebration. Mayor Hone’s plan had worked. Within the year, developers were building opulent row houses on Washington Square south. Wealthy merchants and other notable citizens continued to finance building projects and row houses built in an opulent Federal style were constructed along the square, complete with the status and prestige that the Common Council had intended.27

Mayor Hone and the Common Council also went ahead with landscaping the square, which involved buying lots from a variety of landowners, including the Scotch Presbyterian Church, whose cemetery would be disturbed by the new construction. In 1828, the square’s landscaping was complete., and the parade ground was firmly established.28

Other major events included the opening of the Erie Canal, which was heralded by the largest parade New York had yet seen on November 4th, 1825. The parade started on Greenwich Avenue and headed across and then downtown. Over 100,000 people attended the event, which was almost 75% of the population of the city at the time.29 Because New York City then became the center of shipping for the East Coast of North America, the waterfront developed quickly. By 1828, Christopher Street’s pier was the main conduit for building materials for the expanding city.30 Housing and commerce both developed in Greenwich Village even more rapidly after the Erie Canal was opened, with modest tradesmen listed among the residents of the western part of the village. After 1820, with the development of passenger travel on steamships, immigration rose at an astounding rate, with a tenfold increase in new immigrants to the city in the years between 1820 and 1832. Many Irish immigrants settled south and west of Washington Square.31

In 1827, as part of a gradual process that had begun in 1799, slaves were finally manumitted in New York State. Many settled in the Five Points area further south, but a significant number of free blacks moved to the neighborhood west of Washington Square, near what is now called Minetta Lane.32

With the influx of people due to these various factors, Greenwich Village began to be a neighborhood of extremes in wealth disparity, with newly emancipated slaves and more established free blacks, a steady influx of Irish immigrants, Anglo-Dutch traders, and mercantile workers abutted the fashionable, wealthy neighborhoods along Broadway, 5th Avenue, and directly around the park. The neighborhood was poised for conflict as the decade turned from the 20’s to the 30’s.



Greenwich Village history at mid-century can be characterized by the juxtaposition of bourgeois luxury and proletariat squalor. The wealth establishing itself around newly christened Washington Square found its height in these decades, just as conditions south of the park hit a new low with the formalization of tenement housing. While the Lower East Side is most known for this type of construction, it was equally prevalent in the Village, specifically around Houston and Bleeker Streets, where tenements were built-up in close proximity to the “suburban” townhouses and mansions constructed and lived in by some of New York’s wealthiest merchant citizens.33 Greenwich Village is generally remembered for the architecture of this grander class. The string of Greek Revival townhouses nicknamed The Row (constructed 1832-35), which still stands on the north side of Washington Square Park, is an iconic example of antebellum, urban architecture.34 These townhouses are now mostly converted into offices and classrooms for New York University. Their preserved exteriors, however, appear much as they did almost two-hundred years ago.


The other piece of architecture iconic of this period in Greenwich Village history is the old NYU Building. The University of the City of New York (now NYU), founded in 1832, first opened its doors on Washington Square in 1835.35 The large Gothic Revival-style University Building, which opened on the northeast corner of Washington Square in 1835 (demolished in 1893), housed the entire university macrocosm - professor's quarters, dorms, labs, classrooms, chapel, library, etc. The university also rented living and working quarters out to non-affiliated men and organizations. The space attracted other artists and academics; mostly friends and affiliates of those working for the university. Those living and working in the University during these decades perfected some of the best-known inventions of the day, such as the Colt “six-shooter” revolver (invented in 1835), the electromagnetic telegraph (1837) and a photographic solution capable of exposing in short enough time to capture human portraits (1839).36

Among the circle of men who worked, lived and/or socialized at the University during the 1830’s and 1840’s were artists Asher B. Durand, John Trumbull and Alexander Jackson Davis; writers William Cullen Bryant and James Fennimore Cooper; and scientists John William Draper, Samuel Colt and Leonard Gale.37 Many of these men were pivotal in founding societies still extant today, which include the New York Historical, New York Medical and American Geographical Societies.38

One of the most important of these societies was the National Academy of Design, founded in 1827 by NYU professor of Literature of Arts and Design, Samuel Finley Breese Morse. Morse is best remembered for inventing the American telegraphy system and its accompanying code, but he was then a leading artist and scholar with an excellent reputation in New York society and a founding father of the Hudson River School of painting.39 The founding of this society at this place and time shaped the Village as a mecca for nineteenth century artists, a trend which was supported by the pool of wealthy merchants living on the north side of the park.


John Taylor Johnston, eldest son of the Row’s founder John Johnston and railroad tycoon in his own right, was a particularly influential artistic patron. In later life Johnston served as the first president of the Metropolitan Museum, but at this time he created a proto-type for that establishment in the stables behind his own grand mansion on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street. Johnston’s garage gallery – exhibiting rotating artworks from his personal collection – was open every Thursday to invited visitors.40 It is considered one of the first public exhibition spaces in the country, and it began a tradition of exhibiting art in Greenwich Village galleries which continues to this day.

Along with society meetings and art exhibitions, Greenwich Village provided a home for the day’s most notable salons. It was in one of these – in Anne Lynch’s parlor on Waverly Place – that Edgar Allen Poe’s first reading of The Raven was given in 1845.41 Poe’s presence here – for a time he lived with his wife in a townhouse on West 3rd Street and Sullivan Avenue – helped to solidify the association between Greenwich Village, art and literature.

Less rosy is the history of protest and riot in the Village during these years.

The first major uprising of the period was the “ Stonecutters’ Riot” of 1834, an event spurred by construction of the New York University building, whose walls we made from a great deal of hand carved stone. This work was contracted out to Sing Sing Prison at a much reduced price rather than to local city workmen or the Stonecutters’ Guild.42 Local cutters took such offense to this choice that they protested violently, and “the old educational institution came close to having its cornerstones christened with blood.”43

This labor riot was followed by many others around the city in the 1830’s, as the population began to see and feel the effects of industrialization – a historical trend remembered for its subjugation of lower class workers, unsafe working conditions, unemployment and starvation wage levels. Additionally, this decade hosted the US’s first major economic depression, spurred by a financial crash in 1837. The so-called “Flour Riots” that year were the poor’s reaction to starvation.44 These riots were a major event in New York City history, but they took place farther downtown.

In this same decade, pro- and anti-abolition demonstrations began around the City. Slavery was a touchy subject in New York for many decades before this, but news-worthy demonstrating did not begin until after the Slavery Abolition Act was passed through the English Parliament in 1833.
The first major demonstration of this argument took place outside Clinton Hall, situated near City Hall.45 These riots largely centered around the activities of abolition movement leaders Lewis Tappan and William Lloyd Garrison whose avid support and organized rallies often drew attention from the opposing side.46 These riots traveled around quite a bit, often physically following private citizens from public forums to private ones. They weren’t epicentered in Greenwich Village in particular, but the protesting was so wide-spread it would be narrow-sighted not to include the movement in the history of the place and time.

The sides in these riots were literally defined as pro- vs. anti- abolition, however the groups divided themselves along lines of industry and origin. Often referring to themselves as either ‘Southerners’ or ‘Northerners’, thereby showing how tied to the geography this conflict was, technically those involved were all New Yorkers, even if they still identified themselves more by where they were from than where they lived.47


Further demonstrating the schisms between New Yorkers was the Astor Place Riot which occurred on May 10, 1849 outside the Astor Place Opera House (demolished in 1890). The opera house, located slightly to the east of Washington Square at the triangle of Astor Place, East 8th and Lafayette Streets, was made “infamous in 1849 when rioting broke out between anti-British supporters of American actor Edwin Forrest and wealthy patrons of English actor William Macready.”48 Twenty people were killed when the Seventh Regiment National Guard fired on the rioters. While the argument was about giving preference to a foreign dramatist over a native one, this demonstration was really a question of class warfare – a sort of proto-Marxist feud – between those who could afford the culture of Europe and those who could only afford what was produced locally. This riot was later referred to as the “White Kid Glove Opera Riot,” referring to the manner in which those who attended the Astor Place Opera dressed; decked out always in expensive white kid gloves.49

The first half of the 19th Century witnessed the beginning of Greenwich Village history as a cohesive subject. Before this time, the area is little more than a swamp. However, with the growth of downtown and the booming economy of the Industrial Era, this sector of Manhattan Island is quickly subsumed in the City’s fast development. Greenwich Village is known today as a mecca of bohemian culture in New York City. The childhood of that culture can be traced back to this period.


Secondary Sources

1. Barry, Gerald J. The Sailors' Snug Harbor: a History, 1801-2001. 1st ed. New York: Fordham University Press, 2000.
This book contains information regarding real estate purchased in Washington Square that was rented out and thus used to fund a Sailor's retirement home in Staten Island. Major city players were involved in this venture.
2. Cantor, Mindy, ed. Around the Square 1830-1890: Essays on Life, Letters and Architecture in Greenwich Village. Eds. Leslie Berlowitz, et al. New York: New York University Press, 1982.
A comprehensive history of Washington Square from its beginnings a public space up to the present.
3. Chapin , Anna Alice. Greenwich Village. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1917
A general history of Greenwich Village up to the Twentieth Century.
4. Ellis, Edward Robb. The Epic of New York City. Illus. Jeanyee Wong. New York: Kodansha International, 1997.
Ellis's book presents an intensely detailed narrative of the history of Manhattan. It is primarily useful for descriptions of unusual events other writers might leave out. Readers may have to read several chapters in order to get a sense of a time period because the book chapters are not labeled chronologically.
5. Folpe, Emily Kies. It Happened on Washington Square. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
This book has a great section on the history of the land Washington Square Park sits on. It describes who lived around the land early on and how they got there. Though it focuses solely on the park, the book is very useful to understanding events around the park, in larger Greenwich Village.
6. Harris, Leslie M. In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
This book contains information about the free slaves who farmed in Greenwich Village under Dutch rule. Also, Harris provides information about "Little Africa", as the blocks south of Washington Square Park were called when inhabited by free blacks and ex-slaves.
7. Harris, Luther S. Around Washington Square: An Illustrated History of Greenwich Village. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
This book provides great context for understanding the importance of the designation of Washington Square as a burial ground, then parade ground and later park. The author also gives good details of the goings-on around Washington Square as it developed.
8. Headley, Joel Tyler. The Great Riots of New York, 1712 to 1873. New York: E.B. Treat, 1873.
This book offers accounts of the largest riots in New York City during this period. It covers the race riots of the Civil War and the starvation riots of the 1930's. It is a fun, although depressing way to study NYC history.
9. Johnson, James Weldon. Black Manhattan. New York: Da Capo Press, 1991.
This is considered a seminal work of New York City-centered African-American history. This copy is a reprint of an earlier work that discusses many of the same themes as the Harris book. This book has a longer time period, thus the specifics of Greenwich Village history are part of a larger scope of African-American history in New York City.
10. Jones, Theodore Francis. New York University, 1832-1932. New York: New York University Press, 1933.
Jones provides a comprehensive overview of the university which played a large role in shaping the culture and history of Greenwich Village from the 1830’s until the present.
11. Nevius, Michelle, and James Nevius. Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City. New York: Free Press, 2009.
Inside the Apple, in its tour guidebook format has taught me more about New York City history than many of the other I’ve read. However, it is not sourced which can be very frustrating. It is very good for identifying topics for further exploration though.
12. New York City Marble Cemetery. “Landmark Designation.” (1 October 2010) Available Online: LINK.
This website provides a history of one of the two New York Marble Cemeteries, both located in the Village. The site also links to information about the other, adjacent Marble Cemetery.
13. Newton, Roger Hale. Town & Davis Architects. New York: Columbia University Press, 1942.
This volume gives a complete and comprehensive history of the careers and influences which shaped the architectural firm that oversaw construction on the original NYU building, built on Washington Square East in 1834.
14. Pomerantz, Sidney I. New York: An American City, 1783-1803, a Study of American Life. 2nd ed. Port Washington, NY: I.J. Friedman, 1965.
Pomerantz's book is a great early history of New York City. I needed more information about the first years of the 19th century, so I turned to this book. However, it has surprisingly few specific references to Greenwich Village so it took a little looking around to find pertinent information.
15. Still, Bayrd. Mirror for Gotham: New York as Seen by Contemporaries from Dutch Days to the Present. New York: Fordham University Press, 1994.
Bayrd Still was a professor at NYU and his papers are contained at the University Archives. As he spent most of his time in Greenwich Village, much of his writing centers on this area. This book in particular is a fascinating use of primary source travelers' writings on New York City. Luckily for those of us in this research group, Greenwich Village was a large part of New York City from 1800-1850 so there is much of interest for us in this book.

Primary Sources:

1. "At a meeting held at No. 562 Greenwich Street…" FREEDMAN'S JOURNAL. May 16th, 1828. Available online at Accessible Archives: LINK.
This article describes the proceedings among free blacks and abolitionists in Greenwich Village to plan the one year commemoration of the abolition of slavery in New York State on July 5, 1928.
2. Correspondence with Seth Geer about University Building bills found in Administrative Records of the Chancellor Office, 1827-1890, Box 2, Folder 43. New York University Archives , NYU Libraries, NY, NY.
This folder contains various papers regarding the construction and contracting for the University Building. These records contain mention of the contract with the Sing Sing for stonecutters.
3. Council, New York (N.Y.). Common. Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831. M. B. Brown printing & binding co., 1917. Available at Google Books: LINK.
This invaluable source provides the detailed proceedings of New York City government in its early days. It provides great insight into the how the city grew during these years.
4. Dakin, James Harrison. Signed Letter found in Alexander Jackson Davis Papers, Box 1, Folder 1 (General Correspondence 1828-1839). New York Public Library, NY, NY.
Letter from JH Dakin to AJ Davis discussing construction projects on Washington Square.
5. "David Rumsey Historical Map Collection." Available Online: LINK.
This is a great online resource for old maps of New York City. The site allows the user to save a high-resolution image of the map onto their desktop so that he or she can look closely at the image. A fair amount of maps are available on this site.
6. Davis, Alexander Jackson. Library catalogue: manuscript, [18—] found in Manuscript Collection, BV Davis, Alexander. New-York Historical Society, NY, NY.
Manuscript catalog of Davis's personal library and print collection.
7. Davis, Alexander Jackson. Scrapbook on Gothic Architecture found in Alexander Jackson Davis Papers, 1791-1937. New York Public Library, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division, NY, NY.
Scrapbook of images Davis used for research in building design.
8. Hardie, James. An account of the yellow fever, which occurred in the city of New-York, in the year 1822: to which is prefixed a brief sketch of the different pestilential diseases, with which this city was afflicted, in the years 1798, 1799, 1803 & 1805. 1823.
This book is an epidemiological account of the Yellow Fever epidemic that affected New York in 1822. Hardie describes the exodus of people from southern Manhattan into Greenwich Village. The transformation from rural to urban is generally believed to be a result of this migration into the area. Hardie's account lends credence to this idea.
9. James, Henry. Washington Square. Ed. Mark LeFanu. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
A verdant depiction of the courting habits of an heiress living on Washington Square during its hay-day in the 1840’s.
10. Matthews, Reverend James. Letter about the laying of the cornerstone and aims of the University found in Administrative Records of the Chancellor Office, 1827-1890, Box 2, Folder 34. New York University Archives , NYU Libraries, NY, NY.
Handwritten essay of the speech Chancellor Matthews delivered on July 16, 1833 at the cornerstone laying ceremony for the new university building.
11. Members of the Secret Fraternities of the Junior Class. The Lyre, Vol 1. New York: New York University, the Violet (New York, N.Y.), 1887.
NYU's first yearbook. After this edition the name of the publication was changed to The Violet.
12. "The New York Riots." in The Baltimore Patriot July 16, 1834. Vol. XLIII, Issue 12, page 2. Also available through American Historical Newspapers Online: LINK.
This article gives an account of the aftermath of the 1834 anti-abolition riots that occurred in New York City, and in some measure, as the article states, affected Greenwich Village. American Historical Newspapers contains lots of great information, and a search for "Greenwich Village" between the years of 1800 and 1850 yields a great deal of information about commercial development in the area, deaths, marriages, the yellow fever epidemic, and other noteworthy items.
13. Records of the Northern Dispensary. New York University Archives, NYU Libraries, NY, NY.
The University Archives at NYU has in its possession all of the minutes of this organization as well as its annual reports. Examining these records provides a first-hand picture of a public health care system in New York City in the 19th and into the 20th century.
14. Stanford, John. An Authentic Statement of the Case and Conduct of Rose Butler: who was tried, convicted, and executed for the Crime of Arson. 1819.
This is a pamphlet written by the head chaplain of the New York Penal System in the 1810's and 20's. The pamphlet concerns the crime and trial of Rose Butler, a slave living in Greenwich Village who was the last known person hanged at the Gallows near the Potter's field that is now Washington Square Park.
15. Winthrop, Theodore. Cecil Dreeme. New York: Osgood & Co., 1871.
Fictional account of a wealthy, Washington Square-raised girl who dresses up as a boy and lives in the New York University building to avoid an arranged marriage. Story takes place in the 1840's.

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