Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Walk 5 miles in NYC Chelsea and West Village Artists and Writers' Homes and Haunts

Quote of the day:
Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright

After our first walk around the East Village looking for homes of writers and visual artists, we continued our search, this time in Chelsea and the West Village.

We met on 14th Street and decided to look for Dada king, Marcel Duchamp's studio before heading north to 23rd Street, and then back down to the West Village. All together, we walked 5 miles, so our somewhat disorganized zigzagging ended up helping us to clock more on the old pedometer.

This is Duchamp's studio at 210 West 14th Street. He was an avid walker. Every day, he walked from here over the Brooklyn Bridge and back. He certainly got in his 10,000 steps a day!

This is the entrance to the building next door. We love this detail showing a writer hard at work.

We walked down 8th Avenue to the West Village where we found Willa Cather's former home on Bank Street between Greenwich Avenue and West 4th Street. Her house has been torn down, but ...

... someone was kind enough to mark her former home with a plaque. Click it to read.

Then we walked west on Bank Street to Hudson and 11th Street. Here we found the famous watering hole of many noted artists and writers, the White Horse Tavern. Dylan Thomas had his last pint here before he walked home to the Chelsea Hotel, where he died of alcohol poisoning the following morning.

North on Hudson to 23rd Street and 10th Avenue. Here in a penthouse apartment at London Terrace lived Susan Sontag, and in an ajoining apartment, her longtime partner, photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Next we walked east on 23rd Street to the Hotel Chelsea between 7th and 8th Avenues (222 West 23rd Street). The Chelsea was home to many artists and writers including Dylan Thomas, Brendan Behan, Thomas Wolfe, Henry Miller, and Shirley Clarke.

Here in the hotel lobby, even ordinary folk can sit and commune with great artists living and not...

The plaque outside the Hotel Chelsea. Click to enlarge to see the names of famous residents.

Is that Andy Warhol leaving the Chelsea? And here's a book of interest: Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with Artists and Outlaws in New York

Next to the Chelsea is El Quixote restaurant where residents met and downed the drink of favor.

Just around the corner and a block east (between 6th and 7th Avenues), at 155 West 22nd Street, stood abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning's studio.

We left Chelsea, walking down 5th Avenue to West 10th Street where we found Emma Lazarus's home at 18 West 10th between 5th and 6th Avenues. Her words, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." are inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Just two doors east of Emma's house, at 14 West 10th Street, we found the building where Mark Twain had an apartment. Click plaque below for the spiel.
 Oops. We realized that we forgot quite a few artists on our list. Stay tuned...