The Judson Memorial Church at 239 Thompson Street on the south side of Washington Square Park, New York City was designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White 1892. It is a composite of Byzantine, Lombardo-Romanesque or Renaissance Italianate. The building materials are terracotta and brick. The stained glass by John La Farge are amazing.
In 1890 the preacher Edward Judson initiated construction of Judson Church as a memorial to his father Adoniram Judson, the first American Protestant foreign missionary. It was backed by John D. Rockefeller and other prominent Northern Baptists. Judson Memorial Church’s location was intended to unite the immigrants of the tenements to the south of the square with the wealthy upper classes. However, the established rich were not keen on rubbing shoulders with the immigrant poor and attendance declined.
From the 1950’s on the forward thinking ministers of the church helped foster the arts and racial and gay rights. One event I found interesting was Lenny Bruce’s memorial service on August 12, 1966. It was attended by Allen Garfield, The Fugs, Paul Krassner, C Sharp, Alan Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, to name a few. Lenny Bruce was famous for his comedy which integrated satire, politics, religion, sex, and vulgarity. He was convicted in 1964 of obscenity and posthumously pardoned.
Greenwich Village has alleys that remind me of the many old alleys in London. I love exploring these hidden pathways when I find them. They are found in the older parts of many cities. Some were used as passage ways to stables in the rear of houses; and some for rear access to service doors. The word alley is from Middle English from Old French allee meaning to walking passage.
Charles Lane, with its Belgian Block paving, is named for Charles Christopher Amos, who owned the estate where Charles Street and Lane are 10th Street used to be called Amos Street). Charles Lane.
The lane may mark the northern boundary of Newgate State Prison, which stood from 1797 until 1828 when it moved upstate and became Sing Sing.
I love the old sign on the building across from Jefferson Market. It has an old phone number that uses a name with numbers, Algonquin4-1817, instead of 5 numbers. Ours used to be Oregon, OR5-0138, the same number that his mother had since 1945.
Fire insurance marks were metal plaques marked with the emblem of the insurance company which were affixed to the front of insured buildings as a guide to the insurance company’s fire brigade. These identification marks were used in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in the days before municipal fire services were formed.
Subscribers paid firefighting companies in advance for fire protection and in exchange would receive a fire mark to attach to their building. The payments for the fire marks supported the firefighting companies. Volunteer fire departments were also common in the United States, and some fire insurers contributed money to these departments and awarded bonuses to the first fire engine arriving at the scene of a fire.
Firefighting used to be a private for-profit industry. In the 1800’sin cities like New York and Baltimore, there were private “clubs” or “gangs” who were in charge of putting out fires. The infamous Boss Tweed started his illustrious political career at a volunteer fire company. The first club at the scene got money from the insurance company and sometimes loot. So, they had an incentive to get there fast. They also had an incentive to sabotage competition. They also often ended up getting in fights over territory and many times buildings would burn down before the issue was resolved.