Some SoHo Addresses
On the fifth floor of the loft building next door in the 1890's was a sweatshop manufacturing neckties. An immigrant teenager from Hungary named Harry Weiss worked the steam press but preferred demonstrating his skill at card tricks until the foreman fired him. A few years later the boy decided that magic was his calling and changed his name to Harry Houdini.
Aaron Columbus Burr, a silversmith and the illegitimate son of Aaron Burr, lived with his family at this address in 1851 in a small red brick federal period row house. Aaron Burr was narrowly defeated by Thomas Jefferson in the presidential election of 1800-the election was finally decided in the US House of Representatives, making Burr Jefferson's Vice President. Burr is most often remembered for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel in July of 1804.
On this block the Lafayette Amphitheater opened in 1825 with an enormous stage (120 feet deep and 100 feet wide) built to stage extravaganzas, circuses and "equestrian dramas". Because of its size, the celebration ball for the opening of the Erie Canal was held at the Lafayette.
Next door was SoHo's grandest gallery building, housing the galleries of (among others) Andre Emmerich, Leo Castelli and Ileana Sonnabend (Catelli's ex-wife). Through the 70's and the 80's these were among the most influential art dealers in the world and each weekend the tiny elevator was packed with art lovers visiting shows of new work by Jasper Johns, Willem DeKooning, Roy Lichtenstein or Robert Rauchenberg.
This is next to an 1871 building designed by Calvert Vaux and F.C. Withers who, together, also designed the Jefferson Market Courthouse, still a major landmark in Greenwich Village. Calvert Vaux, in partnership with Frederick Law Olmstead, created Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
The 1871 Gunther Building, a Griffin Thomas masterpiece in cast iron, was built for William H. Günter, New York's foremost fur dealer. An elegant showroom occupied the ground floor with fabrication and offices on the upper floors. Two larger than life-size cast iron ladies (draped in furs?) stood on either side of the name plaque halfway up the curved corner entrance. The cast iron facade was made in the Aetna Iron Works on the Lower East Side.

Built for the Cheney family, proprietors of the largest silk mills in the US after the Civil War. The mills in Hartford, Connecticut produced ". dress silks, gros grains, satins, figured silks and organzine among other fine fabrics." Elisha Sniffen (1885) was the architect. Originally there were cast iron urns and a balustrade along the roof cornice.
Charles Mettam, the architect (1874) held several key patents for cast iron construction design. The facade was cast in the Aetna Iron Works on the Lower East Side. Thomas Barrett & Son, a paper-manufacturing firm, had their office and warehouse in this building for many years. The surviving platforms along Broome Street are the original horse-loading bays for drivers to load and unload goods.
One of a pair of adjoining houses designed by well-known architect John B. Snook in 1869. Ordered directly from the J. L. Jackson Foundry catalog, the unusual cast iron ashlar (imitating cut stone) facade was originally coated with paint mixed with sand to give it the appearance and surface of real stone. Both 93 and 91 Grand were erected in four months in the summer and fall of 1869, each house costing $6000. The plan called for small retail stores on the ground floor with living quarters above.
Some NoHo Addresses

The 1898 Bayard/Condict Building, in this block, is the only New York City work by Louis Sullivan, the leading architect of the Chicago School and the employer and teacher of Frank Lloyd Wright. It is faced with highly ornamented white terra cotta tiles and six heroic-scale angels fill the spandrels below the intricately filigreed roof cornice. This is one of the city's architectural treasures.

This building is across from little Petrosino Park, named for NYPD Lt. Joseph Petrosino, who, as a 13-year old immigrant from Salerno, Italy shined shoes outside the police headquarters on Mulberry Street. He started in police work as an undercover operative in Little Italy and, in 1895, so impressed Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt that he was promoted to Detective Sargent. He commanded a special squad to combat the Black Hand, making thousands of arrests and sending 500 mafiosi to prison.He was killed by the Mafia on assignment in Palermo, Sicily.
Next door, on the corner at 63 Prince Street, was an 1821 Federal Period house belonging to Samuel Gouverneur. His father-in- law, former US President James Monroe, down on his luck, died here in 1831. He was briefly interred in New York City Marble Cemetery on Second Street (the cemetery is still there, on the south side of the street) between First and Second Avenues.
Originally this was Marion Street, ending in a cul-de-sac next to Jersey Street. A short block away, at the east end of Jersey, is the 1815 fortified cemetery of Old St. Patricks. In the 1860's, just to the south, was the Marion Engine No. 9 fire company and the offices of Joseph Pine, the fire engine manufacturer. Today the Engine 13/Ladder 20 Company FDNY occupies the site.
The Puck Building, designed by Albert Wagner in 1886 as the printing plant and offices of Puck, the first successful humor magazine in the country. Attracting the best-known cartoonists of the day and with circulation of 90,000, Puck enjoyed wide influence. Cleveland attributed his victory in the 1884 presidential election to Puck's attacks on his opponent, James G. Blaine. William Randolph Hearst, another of the magazine's targets, bought it and put it out of business in 1918.
Nikola Tesla's laboratory was on this small block in 1898. It was here that the physicist and inventor first demonstrated his "Tesla Coil" that contributed to the development of broadcasting. Police headquarters was across Mulberry Street along with one of Margaret Sanger's early birth control clinics at Mott and Bleecker, now a Planned Parenthood clinic.
This building is on the site of the 1804 Vauxhall Garden, a large public pleasure garden with trees, shrubs, flowers and light refreshments and, in the center, a large theater. On the opposite side of Lafayette Place was LaGrange Terrace, nine elegant marble houses behind a row of tall, fluted marble columns. One of the residents was John Jacob Astor and another was FDR's maternal grandfather. Four houses and part of the colonnade are still standing today.
On the corner stands the Bouwerie Lane Theater, housed in a spectacular French Second Empire cast iron building. Designed in 1874 by architect Henry Engelbert for the German Exchange Bank at what was then the western edge of Kliendeutschland, the largest concentration of Germans outside of Deutschland itself. The facade is newly refurbished along with the original oak doors.

At the corner of Great Jones Alley and Bond, this was a large Greek Revival residence, one of a row of three similar houses that survive today, although much altered. The two lower floors of this building were modified (around the time of the Civil War) with a cast iron pilasters and large plate glass widows to accommodate a store. Across the street, the Robbins & Appelton building is five white-painted stories of elegant Corinthian cast iron capped by a Second Empire mansard roof and dormers. Albert Gallatin, Jefferson's Secretary of the Treasury, lived in a house at this site.
One of a row of three surviving Federal Period houses from the 1830's. Built of red brick set in Flemish bond with brownstone trim, all of these houses have fine Federal doorways still intact and one even has its original dormers and slate roof. At the rear, the houses overlook the little 1832 Marble Cemetery with its large old trees and stone wall.
In the 1830's developers built a fashionable suburb along Bond Street, attracting families eager to escape the congested city below Canal Street. On both sides Bond was lined with elegant red brick Federal Period houses. This loft building is next to a row of three of three much altered survivors and across the street can be seen, on the wall of a larger and more recent structure, the "ghost" of another, similar house, with the outline of its gambrel roof and two chimneys.
Directly across Broadway, in the 1850's, Pfaff's Beer Hall opened to host the city's first bohemians. In the basement vaults, under the sidewalk, Ada Clare, the "Queen of Bohemia", Walt Whitman and various aspiring authors, journalists and actors fomented conversational rebellion over ale and sausages. Although the building was replaced, the the vault alcove is still there today.