A small road spanning across about two and a half blocks, Carmine Street first came into being in the early 1800’s as Carman Street, named after Nicholas Carman.  Carman was an official of Trinity Episcopal Church and owned land in the West Village area.  However, over time, the street’s name changed to Carmine Street, much better reflecting the Italian-American culture that pervades throughout the block even today.

During the 1890’s, an influx of Italian immigration changed the face of the community and converted the area to a predominantly working-class neighborhood.  Centering their lives around their religious and social allegiances, remnants of the Italian population remain today, from Our Lady of Pompeii Church, a catholic church built in 1926 that still actively holds masses, to the cafes that line the street, to the famous Joe’s Pizza.  Even the street looks more European than the rest of New York, with a fountain in the center of Father Demo Square and the grandiose architecture of the aforementioned church.

The street is also closely linked to the vibrant music culture of Greenwich Village; one of the popular businesses on the block is the House of Oldies, which sells a vast collection of rare vinyls.  In addition, many fans of Bob Dylan come to visit Carmine Street since he is such a key figure in the development of the Village’s culture during the 1960’s onward.

While Carmine Street is home to some more modern stores, including food vendors like Dos Toros Taqueria and Popbar, whose niche is selling gelato on a stick, there is a sense of historical preservation on the block that is hard to find elsewhere.  On the following pages we examine this preservation through several of the street’s key institutions.

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Source: New York Public Library Digital Gallery

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