Tribeca Then and Now: Upper Greenwich Street

Local artist and writer Jane Freeman has donated a cache of old Tribeca photos—the most recent seem to be from 1990, and most are from earlier—and as you’ll see, the neighborhood was a markedly different place back then. The photos were unlabeled and not in much of an order, so identifying the locations has been a challenge. (This series will end with the unidentifiable ones.) After I had the photos scanned, I realized that they wanted contemporary images for context. I occasionally tried to match Jane’s framing because I liked the comparison; other times, I felt it helped to see more than what she photographed.

Previously:
••• Franklin Street
••• W. Broadway and Staple
••• South Tribeca
••• Hubert, Collister, Beach, and Ericsson
••• Hudson Street
••• When Hollywood Built a Fake Diner in Tribeca
••• Washington Street and Environs

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475 GREENWICH (AT WATTS)

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472 GREENWICH

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467 GREENWICH

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464 GREENWICH

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462 GREENWICH

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462 GREENWICH

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460 AND 462 GREENWICH

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456 GREENWICH (AT DESBROSSES)

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GREENWICH STREET BETWEEN DESBROSSES AND VESTRY (WEST SIDE)

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444 AND 448 GREENWICH

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444 AND 448 GREENWICH

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434 GREENWICH

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GREENWICH STREET BELOW VESTRY (EAST SIDE)

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GREENWICH AND HUBERT (NORTHWEST CORNER)

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Previously:
••• Franklin Street
••• W. Broadway and Staple
••• South Tribeca
••• Hubert, Collister, Beach, and Ericsson
••• Hudson Street
••• When Hollywood Built a Fake Diner in Tribeca
••• Washington Street and Environs

 
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11 Comments

  1. i love this series. thank you.

  2. The tree on Greenwich below Vestry (East Side) is a bright spot. 🌳

  3. Great job matching the aspect in your present day photographs.

  4. What was street life like at this time in the neighborhood? It must be one of the quietest, if not the most, parts of lower Manhattan today. Yet the crowds mostly seem to consist of typical Tribeca residents and workers.
    Did it ever have a community-like artist vibe, or was it always sleepy/industrial?

    • On weekend mornings the streets were empty. Occasionally, a rumpled young artist emerged and meandered down a street with no shops.

      At 3AM, the streets were magical to roam, your private city, quiet, safe, beautiful in its industrial silence,

      The artist bars – Morgan’s, Puffys, Barnabas Rex, filled with local artists who all worked as carpenters. Things started at midnight on Wednesday and went until closing. Everyone knew each other. Coke and endless conversations over cheap Rolling Rocks.

      • A. is right. At five o’clock, with business over for the day, all was still–romantically derelict, peaceful, wondrous. What we lacked in amenities we had in a sparse population of painters, sculptors, and performance artists. I was unaware of anyone but artists living in Tribeca then, though I’m sure there were all walks of life. The lots on which Whole Foods, etc. were built, in addition to other empty spaces all over, had been parking lots; and before they were parking lots they were fields of weeds and wildflowers like chamomile. So between Leonard Street, always redolent of spices, and the ubiquity of overgrown lots, the neighborhood sure smelled sweet!

  5. Magical crime stats. Womp, womp.

  6. I remember, back in the day, feeling like graffiti was something inevitable, an ugliness like a skin disease that never went away. What a blessing it is – and how much better everything looks – freed from the ugliness of spray painted scribble. I hope, whatever happens to the economy in the future, we never again find ourselves plagued by graffiti like it was in these old photos.

  7. To each their own. I liked the graffiti and loved the old neighborhood. It wasn’t a plague – it was a cool place to live and work. The public planters were taken care of by neighbors and the Greening of Greenwich. They are full of weeds now.
    It was quiet and even though AREA was on Hubert, it didn’t bother anyone. Oh and there was WETLANDS too…I miss the old days.

  8. 1 White Street has enough graffiti now to satisfy anyone’s nostalgia.

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