The Village is full of narrow alleys that lead to back houses (buildings that don’t front on the street but instead stand in back of houses that face the street and can be reached only by gates with key access).
Grove Court, in the bend of Grove Street just east of Hudson Street, is probably the best-known of these. It too requires key access by the residents of the brick townhouses in the back of the court. Way back in 1999 at the Dawn of Forgotten NY I was lucky enough to be taking a walk past when one of Grove Street’s denizens was letting himself through the gate, I asked politely if I could get in, and I got a few pictures. That was 14 years ago and time has flown!
The court goes back to 1848 when local grocer/tavern owner Samuel Cocks built it to house tradesmen who would likely frequent his establishment. A frequent trope in NYC housing is little alleys filled with housing for people with modest means that, over the decades and now centuries, became exclusive hideaways for the wealthy. Grove Court is one of those.