Day 261

Jefferson Market Garden fishpond

September 16th, 2012

Occupying the former site of a food market and two different jails, this garden lies in the shadow of the Jefferson Market Courthouse, "a delicious fantasy of turrets, gables, lookouts and stone carving" that the NY Times called "a jewel in a swine’s snout" when it was built in 1877 amidst the otherwise shabby dwellings of Greenwich Village.

The courthouse was considered by many 19th-century architects to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire country (photos here), but by the mid-1900s it had been abandoned and in 1958 was slated to be auctioned off to a private developer. It became the focus of New York's first major battle for historic preservation, and its advocates were successful in saving the structure and putting it back into use, this time as a rather magnificent branch of the New York Public Library, a role it serves to this day.

One Comment

  1. Gigi says:

    I love that building, and its clock tower, too! The last time I passed by it was enclosed in scaffolding for the restoration work being done. Hope you can take a picture of the restored building the next time and update us.

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