Card No. 15 - photos
Bleecker Street cuts across Greenwich Village in a not-quite straight line, making a minitour of the Village from west to east.
Begin at 14th Street and Seventh Avenue (1 train to 14th Street).
Walk south on Seventh Avenue to 12th Street, right to Eighth Avenue and turn left to Abingdon Square, named after Charlotte Warren, the American heiress whose father made her a handsome gift of real estate upon her marriage to the Earl of Abingdon. Head down Bleecker past the Biography Bookshop (corner of Bank Street); Lulu Guinness (394 Bleecker), with one-of-a-kind shoes, bags, and hats' and Susan Parrish (#390) for quilts and other antiques. There's more of the same on the next block - before the street downshifts to the likes of Condomania (#351) and down-at-the-heels import shops and ethnic restaurants. Across Seventh is a venerable lineup of food shops: Ottomanelli's, Zito's bakery, Murray's Cheese Shop, Faicco's Sausages (since 1927), John's Pizza (where Woody Allen and Mariel Hemingway ate in Manhattan), and Rocco's Pastry & Espresso (biscotti by the pound). Our Lady of Pompeii, at Carmine, was the church of Mother Frances Cabrini, the first American saint, and is still the heart of the Village's Italian community. At Sixth Avenue, Bleecker turns increasingly beat, its leather shops and cafés conjuring the ghosts of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, and James Agee (who wrote the screenplay for The African Queen in a flat at #172). Café Au Go Go, where Lenny Bruce was arrested and Bruce Springsteen made his New York debut, was at #152. Turn left up La Guardia Place, left again at Washington Square Park and follow West Fourth Street to the train at Seventh Avenue.
From City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay