Forgotten New York is a program of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, a non-profit organization supported by the Long Island City community.
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Jan Yoors (12 April 1922 – 27 November 1977) was a Flemish-American artist, photographer, painter, sculptor, writer, filmmaker, and tapestry creator lived with his wife, children,
and sister-in-law at 108. Both women were excellent tapestry weavers and were favorites on the block long after he died. They were forced to move in the late 1990′s.
The Earle Hotel (now the Washington Square) housed a radical-leaning art gallery which occasionally showed openly gay art. The owner (Gladys Green?) is the subject of Kenneth Lonergan’s play “The Waverly Gallery.” The Earle was an SRO and a Welfare hotel before its reincarnation as a boutique, European style hotel. The owner’s daughter is a very talented tile artist and the hotel’s public spaces have many examples of her work, many of which are copies of famous paintings. They are worth a visit to the hotel to see. The Earle was also a residential hotel for single women at one point and Jane Gaddis, a local legendary figure, lived there as a young woman before moving into 117. Her husband, Wilson Gaddis, was honored by the neighborhood after his death by the planting of the first tree on Waverly Place, which still survives (barely) almost 40 years later in front of 117. Jane was deemed such an important figure that she was given a small plot in Washington Square Park to create her own personal garden (she’s not buried there, however). She was known for her long blond hair (later white, but always down to the small of her back), big hats, floor length dresses, and a long cigarette holder. She had the trick of carrying dog biscuits in her pockets so all the neighborhood dogs loved her!
Most of the brownstones on this block were re-converted to single family homes in the early 2000′s. I used to know most of my neighbors…now I just nod at their cooks, nannies, gardeners, and drivers. Generally they are not here.
115 had a very popular Chinese restaurant in the 40′s.
Victoria Thompson, author of “Murder on Bank Street” also wrote “Murder on Waverly Place”.
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