Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Patchin Place

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Photo by Berenice Abbott, March 1936

 Lit Nerd Wednesday!

Tree-lined streets are a dime a dozen in the Village but very few have the reputation of the timeless Patchin Place. This small alley populated with three story row houses dates to the late 1840s but by the early 20th century it attracted writers who could  have peace and quiet to work in the middle of bohemia. In the 1910s journalists John Reed and Louise Bryant lived there while Reed finished Ten Days That Shook World, his firsthand account of the Russian Revolution.

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Djuna Barnes, c. 1921

In 1923 E.E. Cummings moved into 4 Patchin Place and described it as having “Safety & peace & the truth of Dreaming & the bliss of Work“. Modernist writer Djuna Barnes, who left the Village in 1921 for Paris, returned in 1940 and moved into 5 Patchin Place where she lived until her death in 1982. There she lived the life of a recluse barely showing her face causing Cummings to routinely shout out his window “Are you still alive, Djuna?”

Today Patchin Place remains mostly the same even retaining one of the few original gas street lamps minus the gas. The writers have since been replaced by pyschotherapists giving it the new designation of “Therapy Row”.

What: Patchin Place

Who: Djuna Barnes, E.E. Cummings, Louise Bryant, John Reed

Where: 10th Street between Greenwich Avenue and Sixth Avenue

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2 Responses to “Patchin Place”
  1. I love Patchin Place, and so do my tour guests. It is included on two of my guided walking tours. The Greenwich Village Walking Tour [http://walkaboutny.com/the-tours/greenwich-village-art-and-history-walking-tour/] and the Gay Village Walking Tour [http://walkaboutny.com/the-tours/gay-village-walking-tour/] because of Djuna Barnes’ long-time residence. Thank you.

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