Minetta Street's charming bend results from its
originally following the course of Minetta Brook.
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." As is the way with Manhattan's
streams, it's long since been paved over, but legend
has it you can still hear it gurgling on a quiet night--
and still find it flooding local basements.
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.
Corner (25 Minetta Lane): A five-story building
from 1940 that destroyed a charming 1924 redevelopment
by Vincent Pepe.
12-14: A three- story building
here is the only building on this side of
the street that dates back before the mid-20th
(290 6th Ave): A
six-story building from 1941,
designed by H.I. Feldman.
A very nice, very little (0.075 acres)
park--worth stopping in. A scrap left over from the expansion
of 6th Avenue in 1925, it was given to the Parks Department
in 1945. Refurbished in 1998, the images of trout recall
Minetta Brook, now underground, which is the ultimate
source of the park's name.
Corner (5 Minetta Lane): A four-story building
put up by builder
David Louderback in 1840.
A short wall protects a few
square feet of front yard. Vincent Pepe bought
and two adjacent houses in 1924 and turned
them into studio apartments
with a common rear garden. Pepe committed suicide
in 1935 after being accused the year before of ripping off an
19: Dates back to the 1840s; has a sweet little
17: Three stories also put up in 1840 by builder
David Louderback, then redeveloped into studio apartments
by Vincent Pepe. There's a modern glass-and-steel rear
11-13: Was the Fat Black Pussycat,
where Bob Dylan wrote "Blowing in the Wind"; its faded sign is
still visible. Now the restaurant Pepito's, whose main
9: Minetta Street Suites, a tiny hotel
at the bend of Minetta Street.
5-7: Used in the movie Serpico as the
apartment of the whistle-blowing cop. No. 7 is
the building in the rear of the lot, built 1905.
Corner (203 Bleecker): Corporate clothing outlet.
Is your favorite Minetta Street spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him
"Streetscapes: Minetta Lane and Minetta Street," by Christopher Gray
Minetta Street, Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation
New York City Walk: Minetta Street
The Alleys of Greenwich Village at Forgotten New York.
New York Songlines Home.
Sources for the Songlines.