Pict0279.jpg (132161 bytes) New York Architecture Images-Greenwich Village

Washington Mews




Behind 1-13 Washington Square North


Victorian stables converted to houses in 1916.






Originally called stable alley.
From MacDougal Street between West 8th Street and Washington Square North
MARCH 20, 1936. ABBOTT FILE 81

In 1833, MacDougal Alley was set up as a private carriage way for houses on Washington Square North and East 8th Street. As horses disappeared from New York's streets, the renovated stables and carriage houses attracted artists and high-society bohemians, such as sculptor and collector Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.

Abbott's photograph of MacDougal Alley, taken on the same sunny day as her view of the Fifth Avenue houses around the corner, was more austere than most contemporary illustrations of this picturesque Village site. Strong sunlight shaped the composition, with the foreground shaded by the back of the Richmond Hill Apartments (right), the sunny middle distance broken up by the shadows of the alley's south side buildings, and the north side's facades clearly delineated. At the rear were outbuildings of the Rhinelander mansion (1839), and rising over the alley was the Art Deco One Fifth Avenue (1928).

Today MacDougal Alley is green, with several trees in the rear blocking the intrusive 2 Fifth Avenue, a mammoth 1955 apartment house that replaced the Rhinelander mansion. An iron gate blocks the entrance to this private drive, which is no longer affordable to artists.