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Blog Posts by Subject: Greenwich Village

"Brava, Valentine" Discussion Wrap Up

Thank you for participating in this month’s Reader’s Den! I hope you enjoyed reading Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. Remember, the Reader's Den is always open! You are always welcome to begin reading the book, then come back and post your comments.

If you’re interested in reading other works by Adriana Trigiani or titles that are similar, then I would suggest these books:

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The Jefferson Market Courthouse/Library Archive: A Sneak Peek with Barbara Knowles-Pinches

Did you know that the Jefferson Market library has an archive of images, papers and press clippings dating back to the 1800s?  This collection of Greenwich Village history has recently been processed and made available to the public by archivist and librarian Barbara Knowles-Pinches, who began working at Jefferson Market in 2009.  The digitizing process has just begun; images and a finding aid will be available online in the near future. Here, Barbara tells us about some of her favorite items from the 

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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which took place 100 years ago today, was a tragic incident in New York City's history but also a turning point in the early labor movement.

One hundred and forty-six workers died, mostly young women from immigrant families. The fire was deadly because of the height of the building, the amount of fabric and flammable material inside, the lack of proper fire escapes, and exits that were locked to prevent workers from taking breaks. Many fell or jumped to their deaths. The tragedy brought greater awareness to sweatshop conditions, which led to 

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The Return of Adriana Trigiani!

A couple of weeks ago, Adriana Trigiani stopped by The Reader's Den to answer a few questions about Brava, Valentine. This week, she returns to answer a few more. Read on to see what she has to say!

You described many amazing locations in New York City and in Greenwich Village specifically. Did any one location in particular mean more to you than the others? Were some settings made up completely for the book? Out of all the places 

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Discussion Questions for "Brava, Valentine"

This week, I'm introducting a few discussion questions for this month's Reader's Den title Brava, Valentine. Want to participate? Simply comment at the bottom of this blog post.

When her Gram moves to Italy permanently at the beginning of the novel, Val feels that it’s her responsibility to step up as head of the Angelini Shoe Company. This puts her into a more forceful role than she has been in before. Her willingness to take ... Read More ›

Beware of Zombies: The Grim Origins of Washington Square Park

Centered on Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village is a neighborhood made legendary by the world famous artists, musicians, and writers that have flourished and created within steps of its arch.  However, what lies beneath that splendid, recently re-landscaped and renovated outdoor sanctuary is a bit more morbid.  

In his 2003 book Around Washington Square, Luther S. Harris posed the question, “What had made 

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Author Interview with Adriana Trigiani

Last week, I promised you an exclusive Reader's Den interview with this month's author of Brava, Valentine: Here is the wonderful Adriana Trigiani.

I think the first obvious question to ask you would be, how crazy is your real life family compared to Valentine Roncalli’s fictional one? Have you ever had a major holiday blowout like the one that happens in the book? That was probably 

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"Brava, Valentine" by Adriana Trigiani

The month of love may have just ended, but things are getting a bit romanticized for the March 2011 edition of The Reader’s Den. Get ready to discuss Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. An Italian-American woman born in Queens, Valentine struggles to balance love, work, and family in this heartfelt and touching novel.

This book, the sequel to ... Read More ›

Changing the Changing City

Seeking further enlightenment into the city we call home, I recently took a class on the literary and cultural history of New York City. Among the many themes common to New York City novels we discussed was the portrayal of the city itself as a character with power to shape the lives of its citizens.

Many of us New Yorkers have felt this pressure in our own lives: we choose where to live based on our budgets, our hobbies, our family situation, and often our ethnic, linguistic or religious 

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My Library: Judy

A book maven visits the Jefferson Market Library.

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My Library: Nikko

Nikko's been coming to Jefferson Market for nearly half his life! A media omnivore, the library is his Netflix alternative.

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Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City

Robert A Caro’s tome The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York is a thick, unwieldy book at 1344 pages. It sits on my shelf with yellowed pages. I bought it shortly after I moved to New York City 30 years ago. I enjoy history and learned after I moved here that Robert Moses was an important piece of the NYC history puzzle. The book upon first reading was lost to me. I had no real understanding of New York City at that point and Robert Moses’ story 

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Boss Tweed's Last Swindle

Amazing to think how something beautiful can come from something corrupt.  The inspiring Jefferson Market Library (born a courthouse) had just such a beginning. You may have heard of Boss Tweed?  William Marcy "Boss" Tweed was a 19th century politician who swindled New York City out of millions of dollars.  By the 1860s, Tweed became head of Tammany Hall, a powerful group of Democratic politicians.  He organized his associates into the Tweed Ring, which sponsored schemes for city improvements.  Millions of 

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Where Is St. John's?: The Old Burying Ground

St. John's Burying Ground used to occupy the space which is now James J. Walker Park, between Leroy, Hudson and Clarkson Streets. In a sense it still does since the old stones were buried in place and few of the 10,000 occupants were moved. The only stone remaining is one dedicated to three firemen who gave their lives in the line of duty over 150 years ago.

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Where Is St. John's?: How Place Names Live On in the West Village

Why was a former railroad freight terminal named for a church? What's odder still is that the terminal was named for a church that had been demolished about 20 years before the terminal was built. And the location of the terminal and the church are not even particularly close. The connection is the railroad.

St. John's Church was built by Trinity Church in 1807 on Varick Street, a couple of blocks south of Canal. It and the private park it faced (also called St. John's) became the center of a fashionable neighborhood.But in 1867, Trinity sold St. John's 

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Where Is St. John's?: Investigating Place Names in Lower Manhattan

Place names stick around even when the source of the name has long disappeared. One name like that in the Hudson Park neighborhood is St. John's.

St. John's still exists in the names St. John's Park, St. John's Lane, and St. John's Center, but St. John's Chapel was demolished almost 100 years ago. Sacrificed for the widening of Varick Street following the construction of the Holland Tunnel, St. John's Chapel was much grander than its name implies.

In future posts I'll write more about St. John's, including its connection to 

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Leroy Street 75 Years Ago

Look at all that parking! So few cars! The downside of Leroy Street from 75 years ago is no trees. I'll take the trees and Leroy Street (aka St. Lukes Place) as it is today.

The pictures are great, but the captions also contain illuminating nuggets of information. The top caption talking about the Hudson Park Branch includes:

"The eastern side of the building exactly marks the old eastern boundary of the Trinity Church Farm, which was originally one of the Dutch farms confiscated by the Duke of York, and was deeded in perpetuity to Trinity Church by ... Read More ›

Greenwich Village Landmarks: Lester William Polsfuss (aka Les Paul)

Greenwich Village has many landmarks of music history. The jazz clubs in the area saw the likes of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. The bars and clubs that line Bleecker Street and the surrounding area helped popularize folk music in the 1960s. And of course there is that famous little recording studio just south of Jefferson Market on Eighth Street where some of the most important music of the past forty years was recorded. Out of all the Village music landmarks though there is one that absolutely dwarfs them all. In 1941 guitar manufacturer Epiphone was located at

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Village Haunts

After 165 years things are bound to change, even in the Village. Maps are a great way to see that change, and fortunately The New York Public Library has one of the world's great map collections. Here's a map of lower Manhattan when Edgar Allen Poe roamed the Village:For fun, compare it to my Google map:

For a nice stroll around the Village, visit the locations of each of Poe's homes. I suggest that you start at Waverly and Sixth, go down to W. 3rd Street, over to Carmine and end up at James J. Walker Park where there is just 

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Hudson Park and the Center of the Literary Universe

Want to breakfast with Theodore Dreiser? Grab a cup of coffee at Grey Dog Coffee or Out of the Kitchen and mosey on down to 16 St. Lukes Place.

Hey, you’re right across from the Hudson Park Library! And just down the street at 14 and 12 St. Lukes Place are the former homes of Marianne Moore and Sherwood Anderson. They all lived here in the 1920s.

Use this map (I'll 

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