Minetta Lane is named for Minetta Brook, whose course it
followed from Macdougal Street to the turn at Minetta Street.
The name of the waterway was originally Mannette, an Algonquin word
translated as "Devil," but presumably related to
Manitou, or "Spirit." The Dutch reinterpreted the
name as Mintje Kill, which roughly translates as
"Little Teeny Stream."
The path that followed the stream was originally known as the
Negroes' Causeway, serving an area where "partially freed" slaves
were allowed to own land. The area was later known as Little
Africa, home to many of New York City's emancipated blacks. In
1896, Stephen Crane wrote that Minetta Lane and Street had until
recently been "two of the most enthusiastically murderous
thoroughfares in the city." Today they are a surprising oasis
of quiet in one of the noisier sections of the Village.
This used to be the southern endpoint of Sixth Avenue.
Corner: Minetta Green, a
0.05 acre park.
25 (corner): A five-story building
from 1940 that
destroyed a late
1910s redevelopment by Vincent Pepe.
5 (corner): Put up by builder
David Louderback in 1840.
A short wall protects a few
square feet of front yard.
3: Also built by Louderback in 1840.
1: Another 1840 Louderback house.
Vincent Pepe bought all three of these houses
in 1924 and turned them into studio apartments
with a common rear garden. Pepe committed suicide
in 1935 after being accused of ripping off an
See a 360 degree panorama of this
Corner (113 Macdougal): An Italian restaurant
founded in 1937, it was a meeting place for
Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings, Ernest Hemingway, etc. Joe
Gould worked on his Oral History of the World
murals depict Village
history. Until 1929 it was The Black Rabbit,
a speakeasy run by Eve Adams before Eve's Hangout;
Eugene O'Neill and
Max Bodenheim were customers then. Reader's Digest was
founded in the basement in 1923.
The restaurant appears
in the movie Jimmy Blue Eyes
as La Trattoria,
a mob-run joint--which is not so far-fetched,
given that the owner was busted for running an Ecstasy
ring in 2000. In 2008, it was acquired by restauranteur
Keith McNally, who planned to switch the menu from
Italian to French.
What am I missing on Minetta Lane? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him
"Streetscapes: Minetta Lane and Minetta Street," by Christopher Gray
Minetta Street, Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation
The Alleys of Greenwich Village at Forgotten New York.
New York Songlines Home.
Sources for the Songlines.