Bohemian Bliss: Life in Greenwich Village during the 1920s

Greenwich Village, also known as “the Village,” is a neighborhood located in the lower Manhattan area of New York City. During the 1920s, Greenwich Village was a center of artistic and intellectual life in the United States. The neighborhood was home to many artists, writers, and intellectuals who were drawn to its bohemian atmosphere and liberal cultural environment.

Greenwich Village was known for its vibrant nightlife and numerous jazz clubs, speakeasies, and performance venues during this time. The neighborhood was also home to the Provincetown Playhouse, a center of the American avant-garde theater movement. Many of the most famous playwrights and actors of the time, such as Eugene O’Neill, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and E.E. Cummings, lived and worked in the neighborhood. The neighborhood was a center of the feminist movement, with many of the most famous feminist activists and writers of the time, such as Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman, living and working in the neighborhood.

In the 1920s, Greenwich Village was also a melting pot of cultures, with large communities of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and African Americans and other minorities. This diversity was reflected in the neighborhood’s food, music, and culture, which was a blend of different cultures and traditions.

Here are some stunning historical photos that capture life in Greenwich Village in the 1920s.

#2 Portrait of Jessie Tarbox Beals standing on a city sidewalk with her camera, 1920

#5 Portrait of Charlotte Powell standing on a ladder and painting the exterior of The Village Store, Sheridan Square, 1926

#6 Teddy Peck and Romayne Benjamin in their retail shop, The Treasure Box, 1920

#7 Portrait of Don Dickerman standing in the doorway of his business, 1920

#16 I could spend hours in thy society’ Will o’ the Wisp Tea Room, Sheridan Square–Greenwich Village, New York

#17 Great lurid blobs of color on a wooden box and Bobby Edwards in his garret ‘neath the stars creating ukeleles

#21 Dancing in Charley Reed’s Purple Pup, Greenwich Village

#28 Alice Foote MacDougal entertaining a group of sailors in her small apt in Old War

#29 Woman With Dogs

Woman With Dogs

Woman with dogs, rooftop of Arthur Shettle residence, Washington Mews, Greenwich Village, New York, New York, 1929.

#30 Rooftop, Arthur Shettle residence, Washington Mews, Greenwich Village, 1929.

#31 Exterior View of the Jefferson Market Courthouse and Jail

#34 Members of the ‘Greenwich Village Follies’ learning to become good cooks and bakers at the Mary Ryan Tea Room in Greenwich Village, 1925

#35 Anna Held, daughter of musical comedy star of same name, at her novelty shop in Greenwich Village.

#36 For a bit of real Bohemia or the Quartier Latin of Paris, the visitor might journey to Greenwich Village and spend a half hour in Washington Mews

#38 All the Village is raving over the coming Insect Frolic costume ball, to be given by a prominent group of artists from the Village and theatrical personages, at Webster Hall

#39 Greenwich Village Girls Start Cross Country Film. Eva Roland, Bobby Castleton, Edna Morgan and Peggy Thomas start out from the “Pepper Pot” in West 4th Street

#40 A flapper hangs a poster to advertise the Greenwich Village Halloween Ball, at which Paul Whiteman is to perform.

#41 View, looking north, at Washington Square Park, with traffic visible as it enters through the arch off Fifth Avenue, 1920

#45 Fifth Avenue near 8th Street, looking south towards Washington Square Arch, with pedestrians and double decker bus, 1920s

#51 Edith Hayes Thompson standing in the doorway of Her Shop, 1920

#52 Exterior view of The Crumperie and The Treasure Box at night, 1920

#56 Joan Schromache and Lin inside their shop, Jolin’s, 1926

#57 Florence Gough and friends and:or patrons inside of her shop, The Paint Box, 1925

#61 The Isba Tea Room on 4th St. Sachia–now a famous photographer in Europe

#63 Mabel Herbert Urner, author of Helen & Warren ready for trip to Europe

#64 Fontaine Fox, cartoonist, ‘Toonesville Trolly’

#67 A scene in the public school 38 auditorium during the annual Greenwich Village baby contest in which hundreds of childrenware entered.

A scene in the public school 38 auditorium during the annual Greenwich Village baby contest in which hundreds of childrenware entered.

The contest was arranged by the Judson Health Center and the Board of Health. In the foreground may be seen doctors Eleanor A. Campbell, and Dr. Bluementhal of the board of Health. Dr. Campbell is director general of the Judson Health Center.

#70 Men Dressed as Pirates Standing at Bar in Greenwich Village, 1920s.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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  1. UGH, I was SO born in the wrong era…! Love all the women pictured with their art, businesses they own (admittedly found this pleasantly surprising for the 1920s!) and the dress/projects/dance/culture of their lives— thanks for sharing 🎥…🎞️…💃🏻✨🗽