The Jane Street Garden is located on the southwest corner of Jane Street and Eighth Ave. in the West Village. Its history dates back to the late 1960’s. Prior to that, the lot was improved with three Greek Revival buildings with residential units facing Jane St. and retail storefronts along Eighth Ave. However, the buildings fell into disrepair in the 60’s, suffered a suspicious fire, were taken to by local squatters, and were eventually demolished. The Jane Street Block Association organized a drive to purchase greeneries for the street and a wire fence was installed around the now empty lot on the corner.
In 1975 a developer attempted to build at the site after acquiring a plot at auction, but the plan was rejected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) who has authority over the historic district. The city took over the triangle and rented it to the Jane St. Block Association for use as a garden. Street fairs were utilized to raise money to pay the lease payments which amounted to $6,000 – $10,000 per year. Later, the West Village Committee was able to negotiate a 25 year lease for the space with the city for only $40 per year.
The Department of Transportation has just unveiled their planned renovation of the traffic triangle across the street from the garden. They intend to extend the sidewalk, add benches, new plants and trees, and permanently adopt part of West 4th Street that is already being used as pedestrian space. The DOT’s plan can be found here. The site, which as we mentioned is located in the historic district, must have its makeover plans approved by the LPC. More information regarding that process can be found at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s landmark application webpage that we previously shared with our readers.