A couple of days ago I was riding my bike down a somewhat desolate section of Kercheval Street on my way to Belle Isle and came to the intersection of Parker Street, which runs south from where I was, to East Jefferson. Knowing that Parker cuts through the West Village Historic District and since I haven’t been through there in a while, I decided to check out the neighborhood. What struck me right away upon entering the tight-knit community, as it has on past visits, was the strong, urban feeling I experienced. Like many NYC neighborhoods I’ve visited, West Village was designed and built on the human scale that promotes walking and interaction with others. The density of the structures are uniform in their setbacks, built close to the narrow streets that seem to encourage cars to slow down, allowing us bicyclists and walkers the freedom to safely explore and experience Parker and other interesting streets found in the community.
As I continued pedaling down Parker, I came to St. Paul Street. Built on each corner of that intersection are some of the most beautiful multi-unit row houses and single-family buildings found on the eastside. While sitting on my bike at that intersection and looking at the buildings on each of the corners, I was amazed at the variety of architectural styles and the extraordinary craftsmanship of these homes.
The beauty of the West Village neighborhood was represented right in front of me. I was looking at a microcosm of well preserved, early 20th century architectural styles of the buildings found throughout this National Historic District. The neighborhood is full of Tudors, Arts & Crafts and many other residential architectural styles of that era.
Take a look.
If you haven’t heard of the band St. Vincent, led by singer-songwriter, guitar, bass and keyboard player Annie Clark, I encourage you to check them out. The complex, lyrical compositions of the band can’t be categorized as pop, rock, or indie, but a blend of those genres with a little Jazz, country and a bluegrass mixed in. Clark has a sweet, haunting voice with range that is perfect for her quirky lyrics. The band was named after the NYC Hospital where Dylan Thomas, Annie Clark’s favorite poet died.
Take a listen to Roslyn, a collaborative effort with Bon Iver who wrote this song for the “Twilight – New Moon” movie. If you like this tune, check out St. Vincent’s recent Austin City Limits concert where they shared the bill with Andrew Bird.