chapter  25
On this Spot
Materialism, memory, and the politics of absence in Greenwich Village
ByElayne Tobin
Pages 7

This chapter concentrates on the material architecture of 10th Street, but also its history in the world of arts and letters. Referring to Greenwich Village, writer Katherine Greider has noted, Memory is a strong potion. It can be a source of vital continuity, charging the moment with texture and meaning. In 1917, the poet Hart Crane was living at No. 54 West 10th. Crane's relationship with his sexuality was a vexed one, but no doubt he drew some pleasure living in the heart of Greenwich Village, on this magical street with its regal yet subdued beauty. Despite infighting and political hair-splitting, the "Greenwich Village Left" were generally united in their belief in the absolute link between political radicalism and innovation in art and literature. It seems important to reiterate here the complexity of New York City and Greenwich Village's simultaneous fetishizing and ignoring its own artistic history.