Joined townhouses at 130 and 132 MacDougal Street

 Joined townhouses at 130 and 132 MacDougal Street

  A recent tourgoer asked why Dylan and the Beats flocked to Greenwich Village. He asked right as the group was passing the building pictured here.

  Simply, it was the cheap rent for apartments that are now "quaint" and "vintage" and so on, but then were called dumps and were often cold-water flats. And the cheap rents had historically attracted creatively rich but financially challenged people, often artists, writers, playwrights, poets and the like.  

  And it is that history of Villagers like Poe and O'Neill and Dos Passos and Theodore Dreiser, Ezra Pound, and Sinclair Lewis that drew later waves of Bohemians.

  The residences at 130 and 132 MacDougal housed for many years Louisa May Alcott, not generally known as a Village person.

  And the debate rages on as to whether she wrote Little Women just across the street from where Café Reggio and Mamoun's Falafel and the Comedy Cellar would later take hold.

  Her uncle built and owned the place, and it is documented that she lived there for several years after the Civil War. One website writes, "In 1868, Louisa May Alcott sat at her desk before the second story window in her uncle’s house on MacDougal Street and penned the final paragraph of Little Women."

  Other sources say she wrote the novel at her family’s home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts. And in a period New York Times interview she said she wrote it in Boston.

  Regardless, Alcott was yet another famous Village literary denizen.

  And now the building is part of... wait for it... NYU and its law school. At least they didn't demolish the place, as they did with Edgar Allen Poe's place around the corner at 85 West 3rd St.

A 1940 postage stamp from a Famous Americans series.   

A 1940 postage stamp from a Famous Americans series.


1 Comment