SotW: Bleecker Street; Charm, Cheese, and Charcuterie

Written By Serena Horrigan | July 23, 2015 | Published in Elegran Insider, Neighborhood News
2016%2f01%2f17%2f10%2f36%2f54%2f65eca694 c8c7 44f1 b8a9 515405dec14e%2f36 bleecker st schumaker

Last month, New York State Court of Appeals granted NYU the right to proceed with an expansion after years of resistance. Opponents of the expansion had long insisted the land NYU wanted to build on was parkland. This ruling ended the debate once and for all, and now NYU is free to expand to parts of Mercer Street, LaGuardia Place, and Bleecker Street, the most famous street in Greenwich Village, and our Street of the Week.

Bleecker Street is named for the farm of Anthony Lispenard Bleecker that the road cut through, and is one of the oldest thoroughfares of Greenwich Village, which began as a Dutch settlement for merchant ships docking on the Hudson River.

In 1797, the city hired surveyors to create a city map, and since the area near the Bowery was Anthony Bleecker’s property, that section of roadway from Broadway to the Bowery was named after him. When he auctioned off his farm in the early 1800s, Bleecker Street extended west to Sixth Avenue. During this time it became the center of the first wealthy neighborhood in Downtown Manhattan, and attracted an enclave of brokers, bankers, and merchants.

During and after the Civil War, wealthier residents moved north, and the residences were turned largely into boarding houses. Bleecker Street became third-rate, and a 1872 guidebook called Light and Shadows of New York Life compared it to Paris’ Latin Quarter, dubbing it the “headquarters of Bohemianism”, a term that is synonymous with the street, and the Village at large, to this day.

The influx of Italians again shifted the character of the street, as boarding houses became tenements, and a lively mix of cafes, restaurants, and shops rivaled Mulberry Street as Little Italy’s epicenter.

As many Italians began leaving the city for the outer boroughs, New Jersey, and Long Island, Bleecker Street began attracting a new wave of bohemian: poets, writers, and songwriters.

Such artists as Alan Ginsberg, Jackson Pollock, Bob Dylan, and William S. Burroughs transformed Bleecker into the beatnik epicenter. Even Simon and Garfunkel wrote a song named after this iconic stretch of the Village.

Today, Bleecker Street is studded with landmarked buildings and architecture that retain its colonial, Italian, and bohemian roots, while equally embracing new luxury development, couture boutiques and some of the best restaurants Downtown.

John’s of Bleecker- Established in 1929, John’s of Bleecker Street has had a cult following for almost as long. Though not exactly inviting, with menus that are old and faded and a lackluster decor, it’s a Bleecker Street institution. And if you’ve ever been to John’s, you know their strict NO SLICES policy. It’s nailed curmudgeonly on the door, after all. What you might not know is where that rule came from. Allegedly, Al Capone controlled manufacturing of Wisconsin “pizza cheese”, and the mob pressured pizza joints into using their manufactured cheese. Institutional coal oven pizza parlors like John’s, Lombardi’s, Totonno’s, however, were allowed to continue using freshly made mozzarella as long as they didn’t sell their pizza by the slice.

The Schumaker- This historic loft building at 36 Bleecker Street has a Queen Anne Victorian and Romanesque revival, red brick facade. The loft residences are filled with natural light from the 16 foot vaulted ceilings and oversized windows. The state-of-the-art kitchens and baths feature custom finishes, marble countertops, and top-of-the-line appliances.

The lofts offer an amenities package featuring a 24-hour doorman, library, roof terrace with BBQ grills, 700,000 square foot gym, bike storage, and children’s playroom. There are currently three remarkable penthouses available for sale at The Schumaker.

253 Bleecker Street, Apt. 1A- Nestled between Morton and Leroy Streets, 253 Bleecker is a charming, quintessential West Village rowhouse. Apartment 1A is a sunny, full-floor, gut renovated one bedroom. It features a king size bedroom, an open kitchen, hardwood flooring throughout, and a renovated, windowed bathroom. The building is pet friendly and features a shared patio.

Photo via flickr user Mallory Dash by CC 2.0

Murray’s Cheese- Directly across from 253 Bleecker is Murray’s Cheese. Founded in 1940 by Murray Greenberg, this shop at 254 Bleecker has been home to the world-famous cheesemonger for more than 70 years.

Current owner Rob Kaufelt bought Murray’s in the early 90s and set out traveling the world in search of the highest quality artisanal cheeses from across the globe. In 2012, Murray’s Cheese Bar opened just down the block, at 264 Bleecker Street, and serves as an homage to all things fromage, with cheeses from all around the world and housed in their cheese caves in Long Island City. You can pick from an endless selection of blues, soft-ripened, washed rind, and semi-firm cheeses, and your own table-side cheesemonger will assist you in pairing them with the perfect charcuterie, wines, cocktails, and craft beer and cider. To say it's sublime is an understatement. 

Blog Archive


This information is not verified for authenticity or accuracy and is not guaranteed and may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. © 2021 REBNY Listing Service, Inc. All rights reserved. RLS IDX Data display by Elegran LLC. IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers’ personal, non- commercial use and that it may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing.

Elegran LLC may or may not be the exclusive listing agent of the properties being displayed on All data displayed on is presented for informational purposes only and should be independently confirmed by all customers. All Information is compiled from both public and private sources including, but not limited to the RLS, MLS and ACRIS; each of which is assumed to be reliable. All information displayed is subject to errors and omissions regarding apartment specifications and final sale prices, and further, any unit listed may have had its listing withdrawn without notice subsequent to such information being compiled. No representation is made as to the accuracy of any description (ie: listing, close sale data, and/or building description) of any building or individual unit. All measurements and square footage are approximate and all information herein should be confirmed by customer and/or their attorney. Elegran LLC, its members, affiliates, and contributors adhere to New Your City, New York State, and United States Fair Housing Laws.