EIGHTH MAN, Greenwich Village

The Village Alliance has a photo on the display windows of a (temporarily) abandoned storefront on West 8th between 6th Avenue and Macdougal Street a panoramic view of West 8th looking east from 6th in, I’d say, about 1935, 1945 at the latest. Even though autos have been commonplace on NYC streets since the Roaring Twenties, wagons pulled by a pair of dobbins were also as likely to be seen.

Both the corner buildings have been replaced by slightly taller ones. Whelan’s Drugs, on the left, was until recently Gray’s Papaya, until it was ousted by a rent increase. Fear not, juice and dog fans, another frankenjuice joint is a block away at 6th and West 4th. On the right in the 1930s was the Grey’s Papaya of its day, Nedick’s, which specialized in orange juice rather than papaya.

At least two signs on the left side of the street tout “furnished rooms” which came in handy during the Depression. An optometrist has an eyeglass-frame-shaped sign above the sidewalk.

On the right we see a shingle with the word “Riker’s” and several words I can’t make out beneath it, though one seems to be “entertainment.” To the rear of this is the Village Barn, a Western-themed club/restaurant that was there from 1930-1967. After The Village Barn closed the space became Electric Lady Recording Studio where Hendrix, the Stones, the Clash and plenty of acts in between laid down trax that appeared on stax of wax.

Hard to make it out but I’m able to zoom in tight with Photoshop at home, and below the Village Barn sign is the marquee of the 8th Street Playhouse theater, where the Rocky Horror Picture Show was screened for many years before it moved to the Waverly on 6th Avenue, where it was originally screened in its original 1975 run. I can’t make out the names on the marquee but one of the words is “Memphis”; Memphis Belle came out in 1944, so that could also be the year the photo was taken.

The Village Alliance has  a capsule history of 8th Street.


In this era, the intersection of 6th Avenue, West 8th and Greenwich Avenue was called Village Square and the name was displayed on street signs. The name has fallen completely out of favor since the 1940s.



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5 Responses to EIGHTH MAN, Greenwich Village

  1. Tal Barzilai says:

    Nevertheless, you can still go to Gray’s Papaya over at 72nd Street and Broadway, which hasn’t left there yet, while there is a Nedick’s in the Penn Station concourse below MSG, so neither of them are totally gone from NYC, though that picture does show how much time has changed for that area.

  2. TJD says:

    Rikers was a chain of small counter service restaurants.

  3. I remember seeing the street sign “VILLAGE SQUARE” in yellow with black letters. The street sign that had the intersection, I guest from the early 1960’s.

  4. John Shea says:

    The only connection my comment has to the picture is horses. Mill Basin in the fifties, maybe even early 60’s, still had the occasional horse drawn vehicle, mainly junk wagons, but also the occasional huckster crying out “Strawberries” as he clopped along. There were a number of stables down toward Jamaica Bay, which catered to the horseback riding crowd, but there must have been at least one stable that housed the couple of remaining draft horses.

  5. Doug Douglass says:

    Three years ago this month B. Dalton / Barnes & Noble on the SE corner of Sixth Avenue (replacing Nathan’s) closed. Rumors were that TD Bank was moving in. The two-story building sits empty .

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