Greenwich Village features four streets that run northwest to southeast, in a sort of subgrid set off against Manhattan’s general grid which runs west to east. The four are Bedford, Bleecker, West 4th and Waverly Place. Greenwich’s Village’s grid is rather complicated, as there are two separate orientations of northwest-southeast streets. Grove, Barrow, Morton, Leroy, and Clarkson/Carmine all have a bend in them to mark a property line that dates to 1633 — the property line between the Jan Van Rotterdam and Wouter Van Twiller farms. That bend serves to change the orientation of Greenwich Village’s two separate subgrids, as you can see on a map of the region.
The Village, with its bends in the roads, hidden courts, enclaves, singular shops, and ancient watering holes (sadly, Chumley’s on Bedford, where the ForgottenBook celebration was held in September 2006, has been in limbo ever since a devastating wall collapse occurred a couple months later) has always held interest for me. I recently walked the lengths of both Greenwich Avenue and Waverly Place (Bleecker Street appeared in FNY in 2009) just to see what was there.
Waverly Place presents two separate atmospheres, as its western end is very much one of those leaf- covered lanes lined with obscurities the guidebooks present as quintessential Village. East of there Waverly changes its name and runs across the north end of Washington Square before ending in a thicket of tall New York University Buildings at Broadway. Or more properly, beginning, as the house numbers run west from Broadway in this part of town — north of Washington Square, 5th Avenue becomes the divider.
Waverly, which runs in the line of where West 6th Street would be (at least till it curves northwest at Christopher) was very early on known by that name. But in 1833 locals wanted to honor novelist Sir Walter Scott a year after his death, but instead of renaming 6th as Scott Street, chose the name of one of his novels, Waverley (a story of the Jacobite Revolution in 1745 Scotland), but misspelling it as Waverly. A couple of decades later, Factory Street, the portion that runs northwest to southeast, was made an extension of Waverly Place and the street as we know it was completed.
When Loving Ashe was first serialized on Wattpad, I received many comments from young readers about how they never realized that Waverly Place was real. They thought it was just something from a TV series (which I’ve never seen).
But there is a Waverly Place in New York, in the Greenwich Village area, and it’s quite expensive to live there. It is, however, a perfect place for someone like Ashe Hunter to live, don’t you think? I love that it’s close to Washington Square Park where the pianist they listen to, Collin Huggins, plays every weekend.
Washington Square Park image by Urban~commonswiki