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City Declares Section Of Greenwich Village A Historic District

Miles Davis, Jack Kerouac, Edgar Allan Poe Among Icons Who Spent Time There
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MacDougal Street

MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, May 2012. (Credit: Adam Harrington/CBS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Edgar Allen Poe, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Jack Kerouac were among the many titans who spent time in Greenwich Village.

Now the southern part of the iconic Manhattan neighborhood is in better shape to last the ages as the city’s newest historic landmark.

About 250 buildings in that reach back to the early 1800s gained historic district status Tuesday from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. They include houses, famed small theaters and clubs that produced writers, artists and musicians such as Davis, Dylan and Lenny Bruce and Eugene O’Neill.

LINK: Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

The 13-block South Village Historic District south of Washington Square Park also includes America’s first Italian coffeehouse, the former San Remo Cafe, which was a favorite hangout of Davis, Kerouac, Dylan Thomas and others.

Advocates say the buildings have been threatened by developers looking to demolish or change 19th century housing stock.

“I am ecstatic. We’ve been waiting a very, very long time for this,” said Mark Fiedler, 59, a musician and software entrepreneur, who for the past three decades has lived on Bleecker Street in the newly landmarked part of the Village.

A recently developed eight-floor building next to Fiedler’s apartment house blocks what was once his clear view of the Empire State Building. And a onetime home of Poe’s was also destroyed to make way for a new building.

The landmark status will stop New York University’s plan to erect a 300-foot-tall dormitory in its tracks, said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. The new dorm was to rise near Washington Square Park.

Since the 1960s, nearly 2,500 structures have been landmarked in Greenwich Village, which the commission described as “one of the most important cultural and social centers of the city.”

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