|The shape of the building lot resulted in a beveled chamfer and multifaceted pitched roof.|
Although Warren would become a British vice admiral, Knight of the Bath, Member of Parliament and would be buried in Westminster Abbey; it was his life in colonial New York City that is most often remembered.
Captain Warren was sent to New York in 1728. The 25-year old naval officer came and went as cruises and battles called; each time garnering more glory. The Common Council of the city bestowed on him “the freedom of the city” and he married perhaps the most sought after young woman in the colony, Susannah de Lancey, daughter of Stephen de Lancey. Susannah was not only beautiful and cultured, she brought with her “a pretty fortune.”
|Vice Admiral Sir Peter Warren|
Here in 1744 he built what was commonly called the “Mansion” or the “Manse.” A contemporary, Thomas Janvier, described it:
“The house stood about three hundred yards back from the river, on ground which fell away in a gentle slope towards the waterside. The main entrance was from the east; and at the rear—on the level of the drawing-room and a dozen feet or so above the sloping hillside—was a broad veranda commanding the view westward to the Jersey Highlands and southward down the bay to the Staten Island Hills.”
Warren died in July of 1752. Wealthy merchant Abijah Hammond purchased the estate and, around 1819, the mansion was sold to Abraham van Nest. Slowly, as with all the sprawling 18th century country seats, Warren’s former estate was swallowed up by the city.
|The center of the Warren estate, "The Manse," would survive until 1865 before being demolished for development. -- print NYPL Collection|
A local carpenter-builder purchased the plot at the corner of Hudson and Charles Streets in 1826. Here he built a somewhat peculiar brick home on the oddly-shaped lot. The Flemish-bond red brick was highlighted by paneled brownstone lintels over the windows and paired dormers punched through the steep roof on both sides. To deal with the problem of the irregular site and to increase usable interior space; the builder created a delightful beveled chamfer, one bay wide.
Whether the original design included shop space on the first floor is unclear; however by 1850 Daniel E. Lane ran his mercantile business here. By now the neighborhood was clearly developed and Hudson Street was lined with similar businesses.
As the Civil War was drawing to a close, James Beach purchased the building in 1864. Living upstairs, he opened the Beach Pharmacy which would be a familiar local presence for decades. In 1891 the “History and Commerce of New York” said “The house is a headquarters in his locality for the preparation of prescriptions, with which the strictest accuracy is observed, and popular prices charged. Moreover it is recommended by physicians and medical men generally…The premises occupied consist of a store, in a commanding corner brick building, having a superficial area of 50 x 75 feet, handsomely furnished and fitted throughout with every convenience and appliance incidental to the profession, a full line of drugs, patent medicines, chemicals and fancy articles, being always on hand.”
James Beach was a graduate of the New York College of Pharmacy. Included among the “patent medicines” that were always on hand at the Beach Pharmacy was Paine’s Celery Compound. On April 30, 1894, James Beach told a reporter from The Evening World “I have a high opinion of Paine’s celery compound. I don’t know what its ingredients are, but I do know that it sells better than any other proprietary medicine there is on the market. It is an excellent remedy.”
|Flemish-bond brickwork and paneled lintels were extra touches.|
Not long after Beach’s endorsement, although certainly unrelated to it, the pharmacy became I. B. Meyer’s drugstore. On June 19, 1902 Dr. Wolf Tulschinsky took over the pharmacy, moving his business from a store at Canal and Orchard Streets.
|No. 533 was painted white in 1903 while Meyer's drugstore was still here. Below the third-story window on the corner, a metal sign advertises Sovereign Cigarettes -- photo NYPL Collection.|
In the second half of the 20th century Greenwich Village became the epicenter of New York's gay culture. Around 1968 the former drugstore became home to Sazarac House, a Creole restaurant with a primarily gay clientele. Like the Beach Pharmacy, the little restaurant, locally famous for its jambalaya, would become a mainstay for Village residents—remaining on the corner spot for three decades.
|Brownstone lintels hovering over tiny windows and modern bricks divulge renovations.|
Many thanks to Keith Taillon for suggesting this post. Non-credited photographs taken by the author.