12 July 2011

Commerce Street

Some of the hidden gems in the West Village are the streets themselves, one of which is Commerce Street. Just a block and a half long, it's filled with lovely 19th buildings and plenty of history.

Turning onto Commerce Street, I immediately came upon the home of Washington Irving's sister (above) and where some believe Irving wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow while on a visit.

While apparently nothing happened next door, the home two houses down was built in 1829 on the site where Aaron Burr once lived in 1800 before his infamous duel with Alexander Hamilton. The house was recently for sale and has what looks like a lovely extension at the back.

The beauty here is in the details. Across the street, window panes are comprised of circles of glass. I would love to see how the light looks hitting the room inside.

In 1924 a former box factory was converted into a theatre, which would become the Cherry Lane Theatre. Actress Kim Hunter, who originated the role of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, lived upstairs for 50 years until her death in 2002. Hunter's children, who grew up in the building, told the story of a nearby excavation in the 1950s that uncovered not only a river but thousands of turtles.

A house on the bend in the street displays its patriotic pride on the Fourth of July. Most of the buildings bring to mind early America and seemed an appropriate area to wander around on the holiday.

At the end of the street one finds twin houses (one of them is pictured above). Built in 1831 by a milkman, they have my favourite—mansard roofs.

I don't know if Commerce Street is the cutest street in the West Village but I'm going to put it pretty high on the list.

Photos by Michele.


  1. always had dreams of working at cherry lane, might still happen one day! one of my favorite streets too!

  2. now that i think about it, wasn't the theater going to close?

  3. It was but they've managed to keep it open for a while longer by renting out space, reducing staff, etc. Hopefully it will do the trick.

  4. The Washington Irving House (number 11) is for sale... I grew up in it so it is sad to say goodbye but I love how much people love Commerce Street, so I know it will end up in good hands. :)

    1. What wonderful memories you must have of living in such a place. Commerce is truly one of the best streets in New York.



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