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4th Street (Manhattan)

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Title: 4th Street (Manhattan)  
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Subject: Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, Jones Street, East Village/Lower East Side Historic District, Bridge Street (Manhattan), Broome Street
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4th Street (Manhattan)

West 4th Street
West 4th Street and Bank Street
West 4th Street at West 12th Street, which runs left-right

4th Street is a minor street in southern Manhattan, New York City. It starts at Avenue D as East 4th Street and continues to Broadway, where it becomes West 4th Street. It continues west until Sixth Avenue, where West 4th Street turns north to intersect with West 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Streets in Greenwich Village. Most of the street has the same 40-foot (12 m) width between curbstones as others in the prevailing street grid, striped as two curbside lanes and one traffic lane, with one-way traffic eastbound. The portion from Seventh to Eighth Avenues is westbound (northbound geographically) and is approximately 35 feet (11 m) wide, a legacy of the original Greenwich Village street grid. The approximately three block section of West 4th on the southern border of Washington Square Park is also called Washington Square South. The north/south portion was formerly called Asylum Street.


Located near Washington Square Park's south-west corner, between MacDougal Street and Sixth Avenue, The Washington Square Methodist Church (135 West Fourth) is an early Romanesque Revival marble edifice designed by Gamaliel King and built in 1859–60. Dubbed the "Peace Church" for its support of Vietnam War protesters, Washington Square Church long provided a neighborhood base for activist groups such as the Black Panthers and Gay Men's Health Crisis. The church was sold in 2005 to a developer for conversion into residential units. During construction, parts of the church were salvaged to form the furniture and interior architecture of Urban Spring, a cafe in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Judson Memorial Church, located at the corner of Thompson Street and Washington Square South, was designed by architect Stanford White and stained glass master John LaFarge.

The West Fourth Street subway station (A B C D E F M trains) at Sixth Avenue is one of the major transfer points in the IND portion of the New York City Subway.

The street is home to the basketball and handball West Fourth Street Courts, known as "The Cage", a hangout for some of New York's best basketball players and the site of a city-wide streetball tournament.

Historic locations and residents

West 4th Street has always been a center of the Village's bohemian lifestyle. The Village's first tearoom, The Mad Hatter, was located at 150 West 4th Street and served as a meeting place for intellectuals and artists.

The intersection of West 4th and West 12th Streets

The infamous Golden Swan bar (known as the "Hell Hole"), at the corner of Sixth Avenue, was a famous haunt of Eugene O'Neill and the setting and inspiration for his play The Iceman Cometh. Writer Willa Cather's first New York residence was at 60 Washington Square South (4th Street between LaGuardia Place and Thompson Place) and radical journalists John Reed and Lincoln Steffens lived nearby at 42 Washington Square South. Reed later worked in a room in the Studio Club building to complete the series of articles that became his account of the Bolshevik Revolution, Ten Days That Shook the World, later the source for the film Reds.

Sculptor and art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney established the Whitney Studio Club in a brownstone at 147 West 4th Street in 1918 as a place for young artists to gather and show their work. The facility operated for ten years and was the second incarnation of what would later become the Whitney Museum of American Art. It started the careers of such artists as Ashcan School painter John Sloan, Edward Hopper, whose first one-man exhibit was held there in 1920, and social realists Reginald Marsh and Isabel Bishop. Sloan lived at 240 West 4th St and painted locations on the street including the Golden Swan.

The street was later home to the famous folk club Gerde's Folk City (11 West 4th Street), which hosted the New York debuts of Bob Dylan in 1961 and Simon & Garfunkel. Dylan also lived from early-1962 until late-1964 in a small $60-per-month studio apartment at 161 West 4th Street; the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan was photographed at nearby Jones Street at West 4th, and the street may have inspired his 1965 hit song "Positively 4th Street".

Music venue The Bottom Line was at 15th West 4th Street from 1974 to 2004.


  1. ^ New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Guide to New York City Landmarks, John Wiley and Sons: 2003, p. 50.
  2. ^ Albert Amateau, "Washington Square church is sold", The Villager, Vol. 75, Num. 10, July 27, 2005 Online version
  3. ^ Wight Martindale Jr., Inside the Cage: A Season at West Fourth Street's Legendary Tournament, Simon Spotlight Entertainment: 2005.
  4. ^ Patrick Bunyan, All Around the Town: Amazing Manhattan Facts and Curiosities, Fordham Univ Press: 1999, pp. 143, 147.
  5. ^ Janet Wolff, "Women at the Whitney, 1910–1930" in Bettina Messias Carbonell, editor, Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts, Blackwell Publishing: 2003, p. 485.
  6. ^ "Memoirs of a Girl From the East Country (O.K., Queens)", The New York Times, Anthony DeCurtis: May 11, 2008 Online version
  7. ^ Howard Sounes, Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, Grove Press: 2002, pp. 108, 164.

External links

  • "New York Songlines: 4th Street"
  • NY Parks department history of the Golden Swan and other West 4th Street sites
  • Gerde's Folk City photo and info
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