THIS TOWN IS NO FIT PLACE FOR AN ARTIST
By ROBERT NEVILLE Illustrations by ALBERT LEVERING
There Are Studios in
Plenty, in Greenwich
tillage and Environs,
but Where is the Artist
Vrlio Is Rich Enough
to Rent a Studio?
PROBLEM confronts the dwellers
Greenwich Village , all except the
. maire manufacturers and their
"Where do we go from here?' they sing in
Go tl : must. The last link in the circle
bringing Washington Square and the domains
adja< ;nt back to the social prestige which they
enjoyed seventy years ago has been forged by
the artists. They have learned the truth of
0. Henry's assertion that Bohemia is a land
of illusion and that if you seek it it will flee
v m you.
rhe original rich departed fifty years be?
fore th art colony arrived. The bourgeoisie
came and went. The humble workman left his
?he wall, and following him came the
immigrants. The glory that was Macdougal
St eel and the grandeur that was Washington
By economic deduction there remained only
the artists to share in its crumbling past.
They entered and took possession. Their
kingdom became a rendezvous of artistic en?
deavor. It attracted attention. Slummers
discovered it. Keen-eyed persons with bobbed
hair opened restaurants and pseudo art shops.
Within a year the neighborhood was commer?
cialized. Landlords were at work buying
leases. Showing their hands slowly, they per?
mitted the artists to make habitable and at
tra tive the tumbling homes they had rented.
They raised rents gradually, spreading the
artists further and further away from the
lare. Slowly the moth of art realized the
situation. Its chrysalis had become of greater
value than th? prospective butterfly. Wash?
ington Square had traversed its circle and was
once more in the hands of the well to do.
There are no apartments to be had in the
central part of the Village for less than $75 a
month, and there a>-e few at that price. Ten
years ago, when the district deserved its tit! 7
- f the "Latin Quarter of New York," the best
?oor in Washington Square ?South was to be
had for $40 a month. A room overlooking the
nark scenery and filled with atmosphere
Now a room without a privat-:' bath is $6C
or $70 and a whole floor, if you can get or.--,
will cost you in the neighborhood of $160.
Washington Mews was filled with stables
that the owners were glad to let for $30 or $40.
Last year one of these stables was held at
$4,000, and the agents informed inquirers that
tenants would have to invest at lea t $500 out
of their own pockets in repairs 1 efore they
could take possession of the place.
A certain noted Dutch painter to k over
one 7:" these places four years ago at a rental
of 52,000. He stuccoed it and made it charm?
ing and hahit3.v?ie. with the result that his
-? - * as used ' $3,000 the next y iar He
pa: ? th? - . 1 the /? a ? -'? '. .-.-.' _- they
trie i t ? charge him $6,01 0.
That portion of Eighth Street backing on
the M **.- ; as r. '??? n c : v ;rti ; inf i ps< a '.
Italian mansions and the rents raised to $160
a month for one-half a floor.
Macdi ugal Alley was the first portion of
Boh mia to le elevated out of the reach of
tne ordinary artist. A wealthy amateur arr
ist at, bul not inter.
Unaavory M'metta Lan*:, which may be the last .?and of the Greenwich Vil?
lager in hit retreat before ad verneine; rents
The presence of an artist in ::i^dio neighborhood .roves almost too much for the patience of the moneyed residents
Hov "??? er, shrewd owners and
agents did us< her presence to raise artists'
rent right and left. There ;? one known
incident where a young artist rented thre<
h.ous s and was ejected from them in suc
?ion just after he had put in weeks ? f
hard labor d.cc rating them.
Macdougal and Fourth streets next cam
nto prcmir ence. 11 re ? c leap
An artist wa abb to eat, as well as pay rent
Lit to- lay ?'.. .. ' owi . 3 ai e paying
same rent in thi tie tl at i. ;. ar
paying on Washington Square,
Ninth, Tenth, Elev? nth ai Twelfth
streets had retained through all the influx of
v. ri? us ?? kisses an air of ind gent aristocracy.
They made wonderful hunting grounds fo
he ?' ' . rais( . ?-. A floor in these street? will
Sr>me are wondering if the artists, like the early Christians _/ Rome, wi.if have
to practice their rites in secret
a" . '.? - .a . ruiivid lal ?"_
So v . Id that there is
with a pr ? ting, enting two
hou ' buying and tun
?ng them into ap irt its,
i: ti,, y ur 1 . - 01 Barro x _
?ar Hudson Street v ? ?? ?? ?d. Th? s
es occupi . ?urt and were r i
? d orig ?nally foi . i tt le. Th< y were al:
rented at Greenwi h Village prices befor
; epairs ever '??? ere .tari id
And o it goes 1 it 1 he di
Every availal :-' bu . i ng has hern seized an .
converted. So mil . plac? < were prepared
during the winti r and at, d te I i th.
summer exodus of the millionaires, about two
hundn d la; ; t! il the seas >n
Have the renta gone down? They have not.
Thi i ..."r-; an making ?o much money thai
they can take the I
... 3 ,.a ?s be
ginning to h? ! .. .- - i tia iiucl
Bohei ha ii lost virtu restored, it
. : appear 'espectable. So ":
ieen br< ught to hear, with the r ?sull I
..;* ce halls 1 en icens
has beei a te il to the ' 11 ige
parasites, bc-caus the;
-. ay to .'.:*? ;alth [< w a - Ian
- that brought the slummcrs town to look
o . er the village u ; ?' . ? led ? ustom ?j s for
? amateur-mad ; batil he painte i woo len
: ?'ads and :l- ? ?:;'..-. ?? .?. -fa tun i . moi i.
What this : leans to the ommen ial el ?
uent can be judged whe the writer statei
al know ledi thai ?? - of
? ?? of lance ha ? ar more I in
$400 a week during : m> first winter he wa
in busi ?*
Of cour e, I he real Vil
feel that these people \ ?? trumental
in running them out of their "quartier," bul
they are not, generally speaking, well treated
3 lievi large, ara; h ... ison with
the slummer : - ons ered poor business
? 'or sequen tly, a _<? staura: I r his pat?
ronage for ? purp? of ? iv till its
uptown cliei tele Then i
?lot ?rd - ived
.he Ita a rest; r f th? (uar-3
form? ntirel lent m the
a rtist ' o ... '! here are o ?-, eral of ; '??
. hich - fe ' ?ay c eared
tro md a qu r pro,
prietors. If ; : '.. ? I o into one of
places i m up a bill of ?ass tha?i
: ?. several d? la a waiter would spill a
. h :' o:.-. di his shirt fr< i
[n the ' ' ' irtists are homele -
Some i . 'o- m have forsal - arl f
,,,....,.., .a, work " ' ? "' '? n in I
Even the horse at the Minetta Lane mithy seems to acuse the art atmosphere.
Note his dx~vil-may-%\"re manner of leaning against the door
When Nobody Else
Wants a House an
Artist May Live in It.
There He "Creates an
Finally Smothers Him
..* and pay theif rent. Others, reekon
ing wisely, have ???? aces deserted
by the uptowners, and exchanged places
Kith them A colony has migrated to the
? .-7 of Spuyten Duyvjl. A large group
crossed the river to Brooklyn and has
n up its abode in the forme: aristocr I
i Heights section.
Villagers, as a whole, however, scorn this
- move. Columbia Heights bears too much
in common with Washington Sonare. There
o. i? permanent "quartier "
*. that now confronts
m i-:- Shall they take over Minetta Lane
I ing '. with Blec7
Street, knew n as A1 ine1 \i A'
From the artistic angle, or rather, the angle
artistic atmosphere, it is perfect. Th?.? lane
s narrow and winding, and faced by i
ihioned houses. The alley gives to tl -
south on the ?'hi yellow cathedral standing
in Bleecker St rev.
There are numerous covered passages lead
rig to 'rack courts, in which stand isolate?.:
tenements which would delight the soul of anj
; respective dweller of artistic tendencies.
Farseeing real estate people who have ol
served the profitable changes made in
ck bounded by Macdougal, Bleecker. Sulli
H7 and Houston streets, only a few yards
away, have tried to invade the Minetta dis
The villagers would like to replace the pr?s
dwellers in Minetta Street, but they know
at lynx eyes are watching them. They cal
ate sadly that they could last one -?.-.-?? n ? i
two at the most before they would be dis
sessed to make room for the magna-? -.
Some are wondering if the artists, 1: ?
early Christians of Rome, will have to pra?
tice their rites in secret.
Of course, the vicious circle is grea
purposes of social reclamation, but one has t
admit that it keeps the artist on the jump. If
he spends all his time home seeking and home
decorating when he will paint his pictures ano
whence will come America's contribution to
A solution cannot be found in d< -
New York for some less commercial city. Th*
parasites will follow or grow. The landl
will awaken to their opportunities, and th?
hist -y ? the Xew York colony will be r<
The old French quarter of New O
?een converted by the artists of that city .
a rare and charming Bohemia. But there art
mspici? that real estate peop
dty are behind the scheme, working t
? autiful and a irtei
to its former grandeur.
m elsewhere, lie will have *
fight in America. And the
Gre? ril?agi r will '?..-.' ; 1
in New York. A
? ' ere"
competitive effort. ? it be Mir
Street for a year or two? Will it be the cata
:ombs? Or must the art of the n>
ation die in th? larval stag ? use th?
coc? tioi appreci
ated than the potential ;.,:,-"t--:!v?
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