History of Hudson Square

Formerly the Printing District, Hudson Square has always been the place for those on the creating edge of innovation and communication. Once home to whirring presses and printer’s magic, Hudson Square today hosts digital wizards, catering connoisseurs, brilliant broadcasters, talented trendsetters, serious scientists and global brand beacons. The legacy of our past remains in Hudson Square’s architecture and continued creating ethos.

201 Varick Street201 Varick StreetBuilt 1929

Originally known as the US Appraiser’s Stores building, the site is home to the Post office, the passport agency, but did you know it is also home to the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, a United States government owned and operated laboratory. The lab tests and evaluates technologies and systems addressing homeland security threats for the DHS and other agencies. The lab traces its roots to the Manhattan Project in 1947. In 1949 it was renamed the Health and Safety Division, and in 1953, the Health and Safety Laboratory (HASL). Fallout from nuclear weapons tests became a major concern and the lab's focus later shifted to a network of monitoring stations and measurements of radioactivity in food products. In 2009, the laboratory conducted a comprehensive Strategic Planning effort and the Laboratory’s name was changed to the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL).
488 Greenwich Street488 Greenwich StreetBuilt in 1823 by the Rohr family

The earliest known tenants included a tin/hardware dealer, a coppersmith, a grocer and a smith/grocer/carman. By 1851, this home became a rooming house. From 1899-1944, it became the home of the Ely family, including former NYC Mayor Smith Ely, Jr. whose leather tanning business (Ely, Vanderpoel & Kitchell, was founded in 1868). Ely had a long career in public service as the school commissioner, state senator, county supervisor, commission or public instruction, member of the US House of Representative, the 92nd Mayor of NY (1877-78) and commissioner of Parks.
246 Spring Street246 Spring StreetBuilt 1811

The Spring Street Presbyterian Church was founded in 1809, though the cornerstone was laid in 1810, and the church was not completed till May 6, 1811. The Church was well known for its abolitionist efforts, and had a multi-racial Sunday school – one of the first in the City. Racial equality was radically preached here, and was targeted along with other sites during the anti-abolitionist riots of July 1834. The church would survive for another 100 years, but by 1966, down to 49 members, the building was razed after suffering a tragic fire, and a parking lot was built over the site. Now home to the Dominick hotel.
315 Hudson315 Hudson1896

Originally built as a 9-story candy factory for the Henry Heide Candy Company. The most famous candy produced here was Jujyfruits (created in 1920). The original flavors included lilac, violet, rose, spearmint and lemon. Other candies produced include Jujubes, Drops, Cinnamon Bears, Cap’n Hot, Jelly Mints and Chuckles. The company remained on Hudson Street till the 1950’s, and the company was sold to Hershey in 1995.
Old Jan’s AlleyOld Jan’s Alley1638

The full north south block running behind 330 Hudson is the location of John Seales Farm of 1638, one of the original plantations of the New Amsterdam Colony.
28-44 Dominick Street28-44 Dominick StreetBuilt 1826

Twelve Federal style brick row houses were constructed on the south side of Dominick Street between Hudson and Varick Streets. Nos. 40, 42 and 44 were demolished around 1922, and were later used as one of the 60-foot (18 m) wide entrances to the Holland Tunnel. In 1926, No. 28 was demolished to make way for a building designed to be lofts. No. 32 was used after 1878 as a rectory for the Church of Our Lady of Vilnius; it is now the one of the four remaining houses which is most intact, retaining much of its original architectural fabric. Nos. 34 and 36 had an additional story added to it with an Italianate style cornice c.1866, a typical alteration for the time. From 1989-2002, 38 Dominick housed a French restaurant called Allison on Dominick Street. The space was describes ad having deep-blue banquettes, black-and-white photographs of France hushed jazz, a famous lamb shank and proposals of marriage, sometimes several in one night. In 2002 the restaurant closed and became a private residence.

In 2012, Landmarks designated 32, 34, and 36 Dominick Street as individual City landmarks. 38, upon the request of the current owners, was not designated as it had undergone too many renovations that altered the original Federal Style.
Paradise GarageParadise GarageFrom 1977 to 1987, Hudson Square was home to the iconic discotheque Paradise Garage. Also known as the “Gay-rage”, the 10,000 square foot landmark was a haven of LGBTQ+ culture and was a trailblazer in the nightclub scene. It was the first club to place the DJ as the center of attention, and it was only open to members and their guests. Legends such as Madonna, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and countless others performed at the Paradise Garage, and art by famed names like Keith Haring adorned the physical structure. Paradise Garage may be no more, but its outsized impact on the future of nightclubs makes it impossible to forget.
Aaron Burr and Richmond HillAaron Burr and Richmond HillOthe morning of July 11th, 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr awoke early and left Richmond Hill, his estate in modern Hudson Square, to be ferried to New Jersey for his famous duel with former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Burr had purchased Richmond Hill from then-Vice President John Adams in 1794, who lived there during Washington’s first term as President. The deadly duel ended Burr’s political career, and Richmond Hill was sold to real estate magnate John Jacob Astor, America’s first multi-millionaire. Richmond Hill was moved a few blocks on logs to its final location at the southeast corner of modern Varick and Charlton Streets, and the area the estate took up now constitutes much of the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District.
Canal StreetCanal StreetBack in the early 1800s, the former Collect Pond served as New York’s main source of water, but was getting polluted. So, the Common Council of New York drained the pond, sending the drainage haphazardly streaming towards the Hudson. They then authorized a canal to be built in place of the drainage stream to continue this mission of draining the Collect Pond. However, it became just as polluted and disease-ridden as the pond itself, so in 1820, Canal Street was built over the land where the doomed canal had run.
Jonathan Larson Jonathan Larson From September 6th through the 9th, 1990, famed theater composer, playwright, and Hudson Square resident Jonathan Larson workshopped his piece Boho Days at the Second Stage Theater. Critical feedback led to Boho Days becoming Tick, Tick… Boom!, which catapulted Larson toward his megahit rock musical Rent. Larson never got to see his theater dream succeed, as he tragically died in his squalid apartment at 508 Greenwich Street the night before Rent’s Off-Broadway premiere in 1996. He may have died young, but Larson’s legacy lives on as a theater trailblazer, and his work has influenced the likes of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who directed Andrew Garfield in an Academy Award-nominated film version of Tick, Tick… Boom! and filmed many scenes in Hudson Square.
Holland Tunnel Ventilation Holland Tunnel Ventilation On October 12, 1920, ground was first broken at Canal and Washington Streets on what would become the Holland Tunnel. Our neighborhood tunnel was the first mechanically ventilated tunnel in the world, and when it was built, it was the longest continuous underwater tunnel for cars in the world. Its ventilation towers (such as the one at 480 Washington Street) were needed to keep the tunnel clear of carbon monoxide fumes from cars, and the towers were so effective that once the tunnel was opened, carbon monoxide content in the tubes were half of those recorded on NYC streets!
Oldest Train in NYCOldest Train in NYCDid you know Hudson Square was once home to the oldest train line in New York City? From November 1873 until 1940, the Interborough Rapid Transit Ninth Avenue elevated train shuttled its way through Hudson Square, stopping at West Houston Street. Elevated trains were the norm in New York long before the advent of the subway system, bringing people in and out of Manhattan in droves. The Ninth Avenue line traveled over Greenwich Street, and stopped in Hudson Square at West Houston. There may be no sign of it anymore at Houston, but if you look closely at the facade on 514 Greenwich Street, you can see a built-in sign (at a height “el” riders could read) telling them they were passing Spring Street
Hudson Square

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