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‘A Strange Story’: How 160 Bleecker Went From Slum House to Bohemian Bastion

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

Evening in one of the courts in the Mills House, no. 1." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1902.

Evening in one of the courts in the Mills House, no. 1.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1902.

At the end of the 19th century, Ernest Flagg had a vision. Educated in the École des Beaux-Art in Paris, the young architect came back to New York in 1890 wanting to “reform the barbaric housing standards of the day.” Then he met banker and philanthropist Darius Odgen Mills, and before long Mills House No. 1, an inexpensive hotel for working men, opened in Greenwich Village in 1897.

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Watch: Lasers Shows and Human Disco Balls at the New York Festival of Light

This’ll light up your life: the city’s first ever Festival of Life has come to Dumbo, and we dropped by last night for the opening. Play our video for an idea of what to expect, and then see the spectacle for yourself tonight, till 11pm, or tomorrow, Nov. 8, from 5pm to 11pm. As previously mentioned, there’ll be displays and installations in the archway under the Manhattan Bridge and at Pearl Street Triangle at Pearl and Water Streets.