NY Infirmary for Women and Children founder honored with plaque

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, speaks at the plaque unveiling. (Photo by Harry Bubbins)

On Monday, Elizabeth Blackwell, who founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, the first hospital to be run by and for women, was commemorated with the unveiling of a historic plaque at 58 Bleecker Street. Blackwell was also the first woman doctor in America.

The Greenwich Village address was chosen because it was the original site of the infirmary, which was later moved to East 15th Street in Stuyvesant Square. The infirmary in more recent years was incorporated into New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. The infirmary had originally operated out of a house that’s still standing, though it was originally numbered 64 Bleecker Street.

Built in 1822-1823, the Federal style house was erected for James Roosevelt, the great-grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who lived there until his death just ten years before Blackwell embarked on her groundbreaking effort. Blackwell’s hospital opened on May 12, 1857, the 37th birthday of Florence Nightingale, whom Blackwell had befriended earlier in her career. The hospital was open seven days a week and provided medical care for needy women and children free of charge.

Monday’s plaque unveiling, which took place almost 161 years to the day after the infirmary opened, was organized by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

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Hoylman takes aim at ‘high rent blight’

Various empty storefronts in State Senator Brad Hoylman’s District, the subject of his recent study, “Bleaker on Bleecker” (Photo collage courtesy of Brad Hoylman)

By Sabina Mollot

State Senator Brad Hoylman, whose district includes Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, recently conducted a study that found a high percentage of vacant storefronts in the district, with some retail corridors about 10 percent vacant and on Bleecker Street, a vacancy rate of 18.4 percent.

This is no breaking news to area residents of course; but the senator’s study “Bleaker on Bleecker,” which focuses on what’s been dubbed “high rent blight,” has led to his offering a few proposals to combat the problem.

In particular, the phenomenon of landlords of choosing to keep a space vacant “suggests waiting for Marc Jacobs instead of renting to Jane Jacobs,” the study quotes economist Tim Wu as saying.

The study also mentions the closure last year of the Chelsea Associated Supermarket, which had seen its $32,000 rent jump by $100,000. The now-shuttered store had the same owners as the Associated in Stuyvesant Town, the future of which is still murky.

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Andrett Funeral Home leaves Gramercy for West Village

Andrett’s new home on Bleecker Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Andrett’s new home on Bleecker Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

After more than 60 years a block away from Stuyvesant Town, Andrett Funeral Home has relocated to another space on Bleecker Street that has been operating as a funeral home since 1925.

New owner Peter DeLuca, who has been running Greenwich Village Funeral Home and the Beth Abraham Memorial Chapel at the Bleecker Street address for about 40 years, took over operations for Andrett in mid-December and said that the business is still essentially the same as before, apart from the location. In addition to the business name, the phone number and website are the same as well.

DeLuca emphasized that he also wants to maintain connections with the community despite being farther away and some of the deep ties with the neighborhood lie in the thousands of pages of historical records that DeLuca said that the previous owners meticulously kept.

“I had to get a moving van just for those and we brought it all here,” he said. “They kept everything in perfect order. There are 62 years of records and service to that community.”

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