Village’s people, bars and even a stoop are honored


By Albert Amateau

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation made its annual awards on June 22 at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Sq. S. for the people, places and institutions that contribute to the special character of the Village.

Miriam Lee, neighborhood activist, homeowner and a Morton St. resident for more than 43 years received the Society award for extraordinary service, commitment to volunteer work, and support for the preservation of Greenwich Village.

Lee, who was cited as “an inspiration to countless Villagers,” served as president of the Village Homeowners Association and was a public member of the Community Board 2 landmarks committee. She was active in the preservation of the Village waterfront and ran the St. Joseph’s Church soup kitchen for many years. Lee is moving to Texas in September to be closer to her family.

The Front Stoop Award went to Robin and David Key who bought their late-Greek Revival townhouse at 64 Jane St. in 1984 and have been restoring it ever since. Originally built in 1848, the house was cited in the Greenwich Village Historic District designation report for “the fine craftsmanship and design of the ironwork of hand railings at the stoop.” The Keys had to do considerable façade repair before restoring the stoop. Ironwork restoration was completed by Richie Lodato of Extreme Metal and brownstone refurbishment was done by Frank Carbonell of Carbonell Restoration. Stonework in the sidewalk was completed by Nathan Hommel of Haines Falls, New York. Robin Key, the owner, served as the landscape architect and accepted the award.

The Cherry Lane Theatre on Commerce St. opened in 1924 and fostered the work and performances of luminaries including John Dos Passos, Eugene O’Neill, Gertrude Stein, William Saroyan, Edward Albee, David Mamet, Ruby Dee, John Malkovich, Cicely Tyson, and Harvey Keitel.

The theater is currently undergoing a restoration and the artistic director, Angelina Fiordellisi, accepted the award that cited the Cherry Lane’s commitment to historical authenticity.

Café Loup, 105 W. 13th St., has been serving its American and French cuisine 365 days a year even during the past four years while a disruptive subway construction project has been going on in front of the restaurant door. Lloyd Feit, owner and chef, also volunteers as a teacher in nutrition classes for local school children. He and his wife Ardes, whose three children attended P.S. 3 in the Village, accepted the award for service to the neighborhood.

Aphrodisia Herb Shoppe, 264 Bleecker St., has been dispensing herbs and spices to the Village for 37 years. Originally on Carmine St., it was founded by James Adelson, a stockbroker whose hobby was herbs and teas. Joann Pelletiere, who began working there in 1978 and bought the store in 2002, accepted the Society’s award last week.

The Jane Street Garden, at the southwest corner of Hudson and Jane Sts., was first planted by neighbors in 1972 after a fire destroyed the building on the corner lot. The sale of the property to a developer in 1975 was a blow to neighbors but it was eventually returned to the neighborhood after the city reclaimed the lot for back taxes. The garden serves as the venue for many neighborhood events. Susan Sipos, the garden horticulturist, and Peter Falk, who inspects the garden every day and is president of the West Village Committee, accepted the award.

The White Horse Tavern is in a wood-frame house built in 1880 at the corner of Hudson and W. 11th Sts. Originally frequented by dockworkers, it became a favorite haunt of writers in the 1950s. Anais Nin, Jack Kerouac and Dylan Thomas, who died in St. Vincent’s Hospital in 1953 after a serious binge at the bar, were regulars. Eddie Brennan, who took over the tavern in 1967, accepted the award that cited the White Horse for maintaining its tradition in its original building.

The Greenwich Village Singers have been performing secular and sacred choral music for 30 years. The mixed-voice chorus, led by music director Mark Mangini, has performed Handel, Bach, Mozart, Shubert, Monteverdi and others classics. A select group in the 50-member chorus, the Greenwich Village Chamber Singers, performs both with the larger chorus and on its own. In addition to ticket events, the Singers perform free at neighborhood events and at the Village Nursing Home.

Miriam Lee, a Village resident for 43 years, was honored for her neighborhood service last week by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and its executive director, Andrew Berman.