Leroy Street


Lindy Segal

NHNY Final Presentation-St. Luke’s Place: The Pride of Leroy Street

When researching the West Village’s Leroy Street, it is difficult not to find all of your attention directed to the one-block stretch between Seventh Avenue South and Hudson Street. The block was owned by Trinity Church until 1851, and they renamed it St Luke’s Place in order to add a bit of prestige to the area (“Brownstones in Pop Culture”). Interestingly, the prestige associated with St. Luke’s Place seemingly has little to do with its name, but more to do with the names of those who lived there, both in fiction and real life. I can’t be entirely sure why so much of this little street’s history is concentrated in one block, but perhaps it can be linked back to its extra name. Who wouldn’t want to live on a block with two names? Whatever the reason may be, St. Luke’s Place is so rich in history that it is worth a visit from everyone—from the snobbiest New Yorker to the most enthusiastic tourist. Let’s take a little stroll down this handsome stretch, shall we?

From the Seventh Avenue mark on St. Luke’s Place, you’ll first see a branch of the New York Public Library on your left, followed by James J. Walker Park. On your right, you will see a number of brownstones, but we’ll get back to those shortly. On the outer brick wall of the library, there is a plaque commemorating our first St. Luke’s Place celebrity, the poet Marianne Moore, who lived at 14 St. Luke’s Place and worked at the library from 1921-1925 (Holmes 134). A few feet further, the park begins.  Formerly Hudson Park, James J. Walker Park came to be in 1947 (“James J Walker Park Highlights”). Half a century before the park was renamed, however, it was actually a cemetery belonging to Trinity Church. Legend has it that Edgar Allen Poe was partial to late-night walks in the cemetery when he lived nearby, no doubt seeking inspiration for his dark literary works. In present day, the park is a much more light-hearted destination, containing a baseball field, bocce ball court, pool, basketball courts, and playground. Yet, there is still one reminder of the park’s former purpose, a sarcophagus to the right of the entrance, detailing the deaths of three young firefighters in 1834. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the park (for the 13-and-above set) is a mural from the late Keith Haring (see photo, above).

On the brownstone side of the street, several more notable names took up residence. Theodore Dreiser once lived at building 16, and it is where he began his An American Tragedy. Counterculture icon Timothy Leary was raided by the police at number 11 in 1965 (Naureckas). Although it’s likely you will be most taken with 10 St. Luke’s Place, which served as the façade for the Huxtable family home in The Cosby Show (“Brownstones in Pop Culture”).

Aside from the naming of the park, you may have never heard of the former resident of 6 St. Luke’s Place, Jazz Age New York Mayor Jimmy Walker.  He is more infamous than famous for his accomplishments, as Walker resigned in 1932 after corruption charges were filed against him. Once the mayor, known as “Beau James” died in 1946, all was seemingly forgiven and the park across the street from his home was renamed in his honor. In 1995, the park underwent an enormous renovation thanks to Rudy Giuliani making it the site it is today. A little fun tidbit: the baseball field was added as a specific homage to Walker, who helped legalize baseball on Sundays (“James J. Walker Park”).

Mayor Walker

Finally, 4 St. Luke’s Place served as Audrey Hepburn’s apartment in the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark (“Wait Until Dark (1967) – IMDb.”). Normally when you think of Audrey Hepburn and New York, you think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, right? Well, this film offers a whole new side to the iconic actress as well as to the romantic notion of the city. Much of the apartment’s exterior and interior can be spotted throughout the film, as seen from the trailer:

Amazing how so many figures of the past took up residence on this one block, isn’t it? I find it particularly fascinating how so much of the street’s history takes place during the 1920s-early 30s and during the 1960s. These periods are known for their progressive attitudes, making St. Luke’s Place a sort of petri dish of liberal thinking in an area already known for these ideas. Surely, St. Luke’s Place will continue to be a habitat for New York’s most creative set, and it will breed even more history in an age so dominated by media and progress.

Works Cited

“Brownstones in Pop Culture: The Cosby House.” Vandenberg, Inc. — The Townhouse Experts. 08 Aug. 2010. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <http://townhouseexperts.blogspot.com/2009/09/brownstones-in-pop-culture-cosby-show.html&gt;.

Holmes, Julia. “Marianne Moore.” One Hundred New Yorkers: a Guide to Illustrious Lives & Locations. New York: Little Bookroom, 2004. 134-35. Print.

“James J Walker Park Highlights.” New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M038/highlights/6465&gt;.

Naureckas, Jim. “Leroy Street/St Lukes Place: New York Songlines.” New York Songlines: Virtual Walking Tours of Manhattan Streets. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.nysonglines.com/leroy.htm&gt;.

“Wait Until Dark (1967) – IMDb.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 24 Oct. 2011.



Intro to Leroy Street

Lindy Segal


Leroy Street is located in the West Village, beginning at Bleecker Street as its east boundary and continuing on until it reaches the West Side Highway. One way that Leroy Street is rumored to have gotten its name is from the Lost Dauphin of France, son of Louis XVI, who reportedly lived in New York under the name Leroy, for “Le Roi.” Also, his gravestone was supposedly found when the Trinity Church graveyard was turned into a playground. Although this theory is mysterious and romantic, the street is actually named for the offices of Le Roy and Sons, a shipping company whose offices were on the street. The company was prosperous during the War of 1812 because it ran the British Blockade. However, Leroy Street was named by 1807. St. Lukes Place (a small stretch of Leroy Street between 7th Avenue and Hudson Street) is named for St. Luke’s Church, which is two blocks away.

A major landmark on Leroy Street (technically St. Lukes Place) is James J. Walker Park. The park was formerly the Trinity Parish Cemetery, where Edgar Allen Poe frequently wandered at night when he lived nearby in 1837. The park is named for the scandalous 1920s mayor of New York, who was born and went to parochial school down the block (he later lived across the street, at 6 St. Lukes Place). Walker is somewhat the pride and joy of the area despite the fact that his term as mayor was highly controversial and resulted in his resignation at the behest of then-governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. The park is also notable in part because it features a mural by Keith Haring, and it is home to the Hudson Park branch of the New York Public Library.

Much of the architecture on Leroy Street is Greek revival and former tenement housing. Perhaps the most notable building is the external of Huxtables’ house from The Cosby Show, which is located at 10 St. Lukes Place. Although the family lived in Brooklyn on the show, the façade is a tourist destination because it is so recognizable with the show. Many literary and cultural figures have lived on Leroy Street, including Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson and Timothy Leary, as well as poet Marianne Moore. Leary was even raided by the police at his address at 11 St. Lukes Place in 1965 (Naureckas). Also notable about Leroy Street is that it is home to Leroy Street Dog Run, a dog park at the very west end of the street.

Naureckas, Jim. “Leroy Street/St Lukes Place: New York Songlines.” New York Songlines: Virtual Walking Tours of Manhattan Streets. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.nysonglines.com/leroy.htm&gt;.


When walking along the bend in Leroy Street between 7th avenue and Hudson Street, the atmosphere magically transforms from a rather unremarkable residential street to a charming block filled with townhouses, a branch of the New York Public Library, and a park. This particular block (named St. Lukes Place, after St. Luke’s Church a few blocks away on Hudson), has that feeling that very few areas in New York still maintain; the feeling of history, romance, and culture that it is often easy to forget is what drew us to this city in the first place. When walking from east to west, the homes fill the right side of the street, while the park sprawls along the left. Though you wouldn’t recognize it immediately, James J. Walker Park, named for an NYC mayor from the 1930s, was once the site of a cemetery from 1834-1898. According to legend, Edgar Allen Poe used to walk the cemetery at night when he lived in the area (Naureckas).

Among the park’s many attributes are a Bocce Ball court, a small baseball field, a playground, a swimming pool, and basketball courts. Yet the aspect of the park that caught my eye was a large cement block located directly to the right when upon entering the gate.

A plaque on the monument explains that the grounds were once used as a cemetery by Trinity Parish, but that they were made into a park in 1897-1898, and that the monument was moved to its current spot in 1898. Circling clockwise from this side of the monument, you will see the following text inscribed on the monument:

The engraving explains that the monument was built to commemorate members of the 13th Fire Engine who were deceased. The other side of the monument explains that, for all intents and purposes, the monument is a sarcophagus, though presumably no bodies remain interred in it because it has been moved.

The two men commemorated include Eugene Underhill (20 years of age upon his death) and Frederick A. Ward (22 years of age upon his death). The text also describes the manner in which they died, by falling off a building in the line of duty in July, 1834. What struck me about this artifact is that it is the only blatant reference to the area’s past life, and it fills that requirement off to the side as a mere reminder. I do not know why this particular piece was chosen to remain, but because it dates from the cemetery’s first year in existence, it seems as if it continues to stand in order to honor all those buried thereafter. It may not be a particularly uplifting monument, but it is one that allows us to peel back the layers of New York’s surface.

Naureckas, Jim. “Leroy Street/St Lukes Place: New York Songlines.” New York Songlines: Virtual Walking Tours of Manhattan Streets. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.nysonglines.com/leroy.htm&gt;.

Walking on Leroy Street


Walking down Leroy Street may not be an adventure, but it is certainly exhilarating in its own right. What is perhaps most striking about the street is the way its environment and attitude change from one block to the next. When I first approached the northwest corner of Bleecker Street at Leroy, I stopped at the delicious Amy’s Bread for a coffee (the better to enjoy strolling with). Outside, there was an A Cappella group performing, and its members smiled and greeted all the passersby. While I was ordering, one of the singers came in and was handed some waters and coffees from the guy at the counter, who was obviously chummy with them. I overheard the singer telling someone else in line that they had been singing in that very spot for about five years. Immediately, I was able to feel the neighborly vibe in the area. Coffee in hand, I began walking west. The block between Bleecker and Seventh Avenue is nearly entirely residential, and also incredibly quiet. I saw a few people strolling, but they did not seem to be in the manic rush that most New Yorkers are in at any given moment. Considering it was a Monday evening at about 5:30, I was surprised there weren’t more people out on their ways home from work. There were also no cars in the road, aside from those parked on either side. While New York is wholly a walkers’ city, I find that the West Village particularly facilitates this quality, not only because it is rather winding, but also because it is picturesque and charming. As Michel de Certeau states in his “Walking in the City,” the streets are like a language, and walking is like speaking that language. Therefore, West Village strolls, to de Certeau, are all the better because “walking affirms, suspects, tries out, transgresses, respects, etc., the trajectories it ‘speaks’” (99).

It’s a bit tricky once you reach Seventh Avenue, because the street crooks once you cross the street, and therefore there is no direct crosswalk across the avenue. As Brian Morris explains while discussing de Certeau, the format of the city “must be activated by the ‘rhetorical’ practices of users and passers-by” (Morris 677). I made this spot of the city my own by ignoring the inconvenient diagonal crosswalk I was provided with on Seventh Avenue, preferring to use my own, more direct, route. Once I made it safely across, I entered the St. Luke’s Place portion of Leroy Street, which has the most history, and arguably the most personality of the few Leroy blocks. Winding around the road, the homes become slightly more romantic and indicative of what one expects to see in the West Village. On the left side of the street, the library becomes James J. Walker Park, with its many children playing and their nannies lounging on the benches. As with many areas of New York, this park was built upon a cemetery, which adds a palpable sort of eeriness to the playground (especially during the evening).

Once you cross the threshold of Hudson Street, and return to simply Leroy Street again, you are greeted by the West Village institution that is a brand new Equinox gym. It is here that I was immediately reminded that I am, in fact, in New York City, and that the word “village” helps form the quiet oasis of the area, though it is no village at all. Continuing west, the street fills with studio-like spaces, including some art galleries. The architecture becomes less traditional in favor of more modern, streamlined buildings that are generally associated with the Meatpacking District. It is at once very odd that this is the same humble street that houses Amy’s Bread two blocks away, but also makes perfect sense. For it is exactly this sort of contradiction that makes New York the dynamic city that it is.

Works Cited

Certeau, Michel De. “Walking in the City.” The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California, 1984. 91-110. Print.

Morris, Brian. “What We Talk about When We Talk about ‘walking in the City’1.” Cultural Studies 18.5 (2004): 675-97. Print.

1984: An Archaeology Project on Leroy

Photo from South Village Preservation Campaign, http://www.gvshp.org/south_village990.htm

One thing that Leroy Street seems to be rather well-known for is its Classic-Revival architecture. One particular building, 12 Leroy Street, caught the eye of a real-estate agent named Vincent Crisci, who bought the property from the nearby Church of Our Lady of Pompeii in 1984. Before Crisci could decide whether to keep the house as an investment or sell it, he was contacted by the executive director of the Greenwich Village Trust for Historic Preservation, who was familiar with the house and informed him that underneath the plywood and linoleum tile that flanked it, there was well-preserved historic architecture. Crisci, who had no idea the house was so special, became excited about his new acquisition and agreed to a surprising deal with the Trust director: he would keep the house off the market long enough so that two teams of students could study and record the property as class projects.

The first group of students came from the architecture school at Columbia, and Professor Frank Matero said the Leroy Street home was “a perfect site for my class to do an archeological survey.” The students didn’t hold back when it came to surveying the place, from every inch of the roof frame to every mark in the basement wood; Crisci explained, “”It was a little disconcerting seeing the groups ripping apart ceilings and walls…It really was like an archeological dig, going behind walls and discovering doors. It was like finding a dinosaur with all its bones.”

Once the Columbia students had completed their research of the home, an interior design class from FIT took the reins. Supervisor Charles Hasbrouck said that his students would take what he called “the conservator approach”—a move that surely kept the GVTHP satisfied: they would ”disturb as little as possible, fake as little as possible, preserve as much as possible, be very observant of textures and seek design opportunities from them.” Having young eyes on the project helped solve some of the problems the house faced, such as replacing the modern plumbing without affecting the existing plan of the house. One thing that was interesting about these studies is that they convinced Crisci that the house should be kept for single-family use, rather than split into separate apartments (which as far as I can tell, it remains to this day).

Despite all of the work that went into it, the Columbia professor claimed, “12 Leroy is no major architectural statement. What is significant about it is that it has stayed remarkably intact.” The reason that the project was so important was because documents from the period in which it was built (circa 1835) were and still are scarce. Although the article was written twenty-seven years ago, its purpose is still quite relevant. People are still incredibly concerned about preserving the old New York City (specifically in the Village), and it is projects like this one that inspire people to continue maintaining the city’s history. It is so interesting that the house seemed so generic until its layers were quite literally peeled away from it. Walking in the West Village can sometimes seem like a walk back in time, which is one of the reasons the area is so fascinating.

Dunlap, David W. “Architectural Archeology in the the Village.” New York Times 14 June 1984, New York ed., sec. C: 12. Print.


Leroy Street in New York’s Early Years

Information about Leroy Street is not always easy to come by, whether one is looking for information now, or back in the day. However, enough bits and pieces are spread among sources that it is possible to understand what life was like in the 19th century even without too many sources. According to The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, Leroy Street (between Washington and Greenwich Streets) was the site of a public garden during the Antebellum period, one of several that author Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes includes as part of the “fashionable resort” (528). The area may have been fashionable then, but now is home to a Fed Ex distribution center (though the West Village itself is still quite swanky).

Deep in the index of the book lies something that could easily be overlooked that I still found interesting. It lists Hudson Park in the Landmark Reference Key, which was once the Trinity Parish Church. Today, Hudson Park is known as James J. Walker Park, but it hadn’t occurred to me before that it could not have always been called that, since Walker wasn’t in office until the 1920s but the park came to be in 1898. According to an engraving in the park itself (below), it was not renamed until 1995 under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. It is also notable that the park was built in the same year that the five boroughs became united as New York City as we know it today. Therefore, the building of the park could have been part of an effort to make Manhattan seem family friendly to those who came in from the other boroughs.

It is also notable that the park was built in the same year that the five boroughs became united as New York City as we know it today. Therefore, the building of the park could have been part of an effort to make Manhattan seem family friendly to those who came in from the other boroughs. One more thing that I learned from the index of The Iconography of Manhattan Island is that Leroy Street was formerly named Burton Street, a fact I had not come across at all previously (995).

Stokes, I. N. Phelps. The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909,. New York: R.H. Dodd, 1916. Print.


“Old Rogaum and His Theresa”

Although I could not find any fiction that is specifically set on Leroy Street, I found that one-time Leroy resident Theodore Dreiser (who began his An American Tragedy while living at 16 St. Lukes Place) wrote about the area (Naureckas). In fact, Dreiser wrote in his short story “Old Rogaum and His Theresa” about a family who lives on Bleecker Street, which serves as the eastern boundary for Leroy.

The story begins, “In all Bleecker Street was no more comfortable doorway than that of the butcher Rogaum, even if the first floor was given over to meat market purposes. It was to one side of the main entrance, which gave ingress to the butcher shop, and from it led up a flight of steps, at least five feet wide, to the living rooms above. A little portico stood out in front of it, railed on either side, and within was a second or final door, forming, with the outer or storm door, a little area, where Mrs. Rogaum and her children frequently sat of a summer’s evening. The outer door was never locked, owing to the inconvenience it would inflict on Mr. Rogaum, who had no other way of getting upstairs. In winter, when all had gone to bed, there had been cases in which belated travelers had taken refuge there from the snow or sleet. One or two newsboys occasionally slept there, until routed out by Officer Maguire, who, seeing it half open one morning at two o’clock, took occasion to look in. He jogged the newsboys sharply with his stick, and then, when they were gone, tried the inner door, which was locked” (Dreiser)

The realist story tells the tale of a family whose daughter, Theresa, is almost eighteen and looking to rebel in a sense. She tests the boundaries that her father puts on her and ends up in a rather dangerous situation when he locks her out of the house to teach her a lesson. What really interested me about the short story is that the dialogue is very much how I would imagine people talked back then (to the point of being difficult to understand), and it reminds me of Charles Dickens’s dialogue gives insight into mid-eighteenth century England (though “Old Rogaum and His Theresa” was written later, in 1901).

Also, since the father, Mr. Roguam, is a butcher, it gives a realistic interpretation of how a lower-to-middle class family may have lived at such a time. The story is also an earlier account of youth sexuality, when Theresa’s partner-in-crime Connie Almerting tries to persuade her to act on their newfound desires with him once they discover that she is locked out. Their relationship seems fitting since it takes place in the Village, which of course is well-known for harboring the darker, more sexually-deviant culture in New York City.

Works Cited

Dreiser, Theodore. The Lost Phoebe ; And, Old Rogaum and His Theresa. Girard, Kan.: Haldeman Julius, 1918. Print.

Naureckas, Jim. “Leroy Street/St Lukes Place: New York Songlines.” New York Songlines: Virtual Walking Tours of Manhattan Streets. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.nysonglines.com/leroy.htm&gt;.


4 St. Luke’s Place in Wait Until Dark

The horror film Wait Until Dark (directed by Terence Young) was released in 1968, and is known today as one of the classics of the genre. The American Film Institute included it as #55 in its “100 Years, 100 Thrills” list in 2001 (“AFI’s 100 YEARS…100 THRILLS“). The film stars Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman named Susy who is terrorized by three criminals (including Alan Arkin) regarding a drug-filled doll the men believe to be at her apartment. Since Susy is blind, she is obviously impaired in dealing with the criminals, who have told her they are investigating her husband, who is away. Ultimately, Susy breaks the light bulbs one-by-one in the apartment so that the men will be in the same visual state as she (a trick which was cleverly imitated by movie theaters, so the audience would succumb to the darkness just as the characters in the film did) (“Wait Until Dark [1967] – IMDb.”).

The apartment is where most of the action takes place in the film, and it stands at 4 St. Lukes Place across from Hudson Park (now James J. Walker Park) (“Wait Until Dark [1967] – IMDb.”). Technically, the apartment that the character lives in is below 4 St. Lukes Place, which you can also tell from the scenes in the trailer where the front door is at the top of the stairs. Wait Until Dark is notable because it was Audrey Hepburn’s last film before taking an eight-year break from acting, and also because she earned an Oscar Nomination for her performance. The choice to cast Audrey Hepburn was a rather ingenious one, because she was so beloved, and seeing her struggle as she did in the film had a profound affect on the audiences watching it. Also, since Hepburn was so recognizable from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a film so closely associated with the uptown girl of New York City, her switch from Holly Golightly to downtown victim Susy was very disconcerting to viewers.

4 St. Lukes Place, now and in Wait Until Dark

Works Cited
“AFI’s 100 YEARS…100 THRILLS.” American Film Institute. 13 June 2001. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.
“Wait Until Dark (1967) – IMDb.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 24 Oct. 2011.
Leroy at Night
Although I unfortunately wasn’t able to stroll down Leroy on the night of Halloween, I was able to do so the following night. The street may not have felt the energy seeping over from the parade on 6th Avenue, but the remnants of the night before allowed me to piece together what the experience may have been like. While usually the activity on Leroy is sparse compared to the liveliness on Bleecker Street,  there was evidence that last night was rather busier than usual. On the street, there was a mosaic of candy wrappers and scraps of costumes, most of which appeared to have come from people far too old to trick-or-treat. I thought of how the street may have been filled with the ten-and-under set and their parents at sunset, followed by reckless Villagers once night fell completely.
I walked down Leroy at about 8pm tonight, so it had already been dark for almost two hours when I got started. It may not have been the middle of the night, but the mood was significantly different than the other times I have visited (even when it was dusk). It was still rather quiet, though each sound that was made seemed to startle me a bit more than it would if it were sunny out, even though it was not particularly late. I was more alert than I had been during the day, even though the amount of activity was almost identical. Again, I noticed the Halloween debris floating around the sidewalk and street, thinking of how the normally-calm Leroy had it’s one annual night of craziness.
Since I find James J. Walker Park eerie on a good day, I was compelled to go by before it closed to see how it felt at night. Usually filled with kids, moms, and nannies, the park was nearly abandoned, save for a couple of young teenagers playing basketball. Legend has it that Edgar Allen Poe strolled the grounds at night when it was the Trinity Cemetery, and it is easy to see why even though the cemetery is no longer. Every shadow is noticeable, and every crunching leaf sound is magnified “for night is sinister, dramatic: it brings with it something of the jungle” (Schlör 263).
Work Cited
Schlör, Joachim. “Night-Walking.” Nights in the Big City: Paris, Berlin, London 1840-1930. London: Reaktion, 1998. 235-75. Print.
The Cosby Show and NYC
Although The Cosby Show was set in Brooklyn, the facade of the Huxtable family house was actually 10 Leroy Street. It seems an odd choice to use a Manhattan home rather than a Brooklyn brownstone, but makes more sense that the producers of the show would choose this particular address when you look at the details. For one thing, the house pops on camera because it is next door to a white building. Plus, it looks like a home perfect for a family. It made more sense for the show to be set in Brooklyn, as this home in Manhattan would be extraordinarily expensive, but more reasonable in an outer borough.
In this clip from season 2, episode 20 of the show, the home is glimpsed in all its snowy winter New York glory.
As Sadler and Haskins point out, the mythology surrounding New York renders the real city obsolete, replaced instead with the idea of what New York should be like according to the media. The authors remind us that “Things must seem real to ‘connote the real,’ but in the process the ‘completely real’ appears ‘completely fake'” (197). In the case of the Huxtable house, it is physically real, but it is in a fake world, one where 10 Leroy Street exists in Brooklyn. Tourists flock to visit the house still, nearly thirty years after it premiered, because it is so crucial to the world of pop culture. The Cosby Show appeals to a range of demographics, and reruns still air, making it accessible to a whole new generation. What is interesting is that  fans of the show have no problem seeing their beloved set out of the context it has been presented to them in for so many years. Seeing the house is symbolic enough, and it makes the whole show seem real. The Huxtable house, like the city it lies in, “becomes a postcard, for ‘what counts…is not the authenticity of a piece, but the amazing information it conveys'” (Haskins and Sadler 197).
Work Cited
Haskins, Ekaterina V., and William J. Sadler. “Metonymy and the Metropolis: Television Show Settings and the Image of New York City.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 29.3 (2005): 195-216. Print.
The Sound of Leroy 
I mentioned in a previous post how there is an a cappella group that performs regularly outside of Amy’s Bread on the corner of Leroy and Bleecker Streets. I returned to the site twice this week to see if I could make my own recording, but they unfortunately weren’t there at those times. However, I was able to find a clip on youtube of the group singing “My Girl” in that very spot:
The group has been performing there for about five years (according to one of the members, whom I overheard while visiting Amy’s previously) and every time I have seen them, they have at least a small crowd surrounding them. As you can see in the clip, the night this video was taken is no different. Several people have cameras out to record the group, and everyone seems to be very involved in the performance. They aren’t technically singing a cappella, since there is a guitar in the background, but the instrument only adds to the atmosphere.
Why the group chose this spot five years ago, I’m not sure. But I can assume that the reason they have remained there is because they are well-received there. If people didn’t regularly come to watch them, they would surely try somewhere else. Surely, the fact that Amy’s Bread allows them to stay there is a deciding factor as well. The group is incredibly friendly (true story: I once walked by wearing my hair in a braid, and one of the singers said “Good morning, Pocahontas” and I didn’t find it at all creepy), which is good because it is an area that is trafficked by tourists and locals alike. I wish I could find more information on the group, but there doesn’t seem to be much online. If I can, I will try to interview  them if they are there in the next couple weeks so I can learn more about them and why they chose Leroy and Bleecker. The sound they create may not be representative of Leroy Street in its entirety, but because it is what welcomes people to the street (on its eastern border), this charming music is what sets the tone for what is to come.

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