Jeﬀerson Market Garden
Named for Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, the Jefferson Market opened on this site in 1833, alongside a police court, a volunteer firehouse, and a jail. The market grew rapidly to include fishmongers, poultry vendors, and hucksters. It was razed in 1873 to make way for a new civic complex and courthouse.
The Jefferson Market Courthouse, with its fire-watch bell tower, and lighted clock dial, was designed by Fredrick Clarke Withers and Calvert Vaux, and built in 1877. The ornate courthouse struck the New York Times as inappropriate for such a shoddy neighborhood – “a jewel in a pig’s snout.” Nonetheless, architects polled in 1895 deemed the building to be the fifth most beautiful in the United States. While Vaux believed that the cells should be “strong, secure and entirely unattractive,: he created a six-tiered structure that allowed some light to penetrate and air to circulate. At the turn of the century, the triangular parcel between Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Avenue, and 10th Street was thus entirely occupied and connected to the rest of the city by the Gilbert Elevated Railway’s Sixth Avenue line, inaugurated in 1878.
The Board of Estimate
In the late 1960s, GVA and Community Board 2 held town meetings to discuss the removal of the Women’s House of Detention and the creation of a “passive recreation area” on the site. At the time, friends and families of inmates lingered outside the House at all hours of the day or night, yelling their news and greetings. Nearby residents were disturbed by the noise. Gawkers came to watch the scene. The facility was overcrowded and had become obsolete. The Women’s House of Detention was demolished in 1973, after 42 years of use.
A generous grant, one of the last made by the Vincent Astor Foundation, funded the new decorative steel fence, which recalls the design of the courthouse fence and unifies the site. On
Erected 1999 by City of New York Parks & Recreation.
Location. 40° 44.07′ N, 73° 59.984′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Greenwich Avenue. Touch for map. The Jefferson Market Garden is located on Greenwich Avenue between West 10th Street and Christopher Street. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9 Greenwich Avenue, New York NY 10011, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jefferson Market Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); 4 Patchin Place / e.e. cummings (within shouting distance of this marker); 27 Christopher Street (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Charles Ives (about 500 feet away); The Second Cemetery (about 600 feet away); Ephraim Ellsworth and the New York Fire Zouaves (about 700 feet away); Marianne Moore (about 700 feet away); Edwin Arlington Robinson (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . . Jefferson Market Library - New York Architecture. This article also describes the Jefferson Market Jail and Women's Detention Facilities. “In place of the wretched and desolate quarters of the old Jefferson Market Prison, at one time hailed as a remarkable step in advance, replacing the inhumane and dungeon-like city prison of early days, there stands a modern structure providing hygienic and wholesome environment, with most ample possibilities for segregation of types of offenders; splendid facilities for organized recreation, wholesome work rooms and medical equipment adapted to every need." (Submitted on July 5, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Charity & Public Work • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 5, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 305 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 5, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.