Jefferson Market Courthouse in New York

A Love Affair with a Landmark in Manhattan: An Arresting Drama in Greenwich Village. [Opinions expressed are the views of OLD JEFF unless attributed to other - - potentially less-reliable - - sources, i.e., newcomers who have not been around since 1832 on Sixth Avenue.]

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mayhem on Sixth Avenue!

Out of the night at the intersection of 9th Street and Sixth Avenue there dashed a frantic, frazzled man shouting that he was a drama critic and that the police had just invaded a theater up on 14th Street and carted the star away — — a certain Miss Mae West (several decades before Off-Off-Broadway) — — to the Jefferson Market Jailhouse, right where we were now standing.

Once there had also been a women's prison that provided bed and board from time to time to such grandes dames of Off-Off-Broadway as Judith Malina and Ellen Stewart, according to Jerry Tallmer, drama critic, writing about these events in The Villager.
• • Only now it was no longer the jail nor the long-gone Women’s House of Detention. It was an anonymous overgrown swath of greenery, and the principal witnesses to all this were a dozen journalists who had been invited to accompany and observe a preview of “OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments,” an on-foot, two-hour revisit of some of the sites and sounds of the Off-Off-Broadway classics of the 1960s. Déjà OOB all over again, reports Jerry Taller.
• • “Look, she’s out!” somebody yelled. And there she was, Miss Mae West herself (more or less) to inform the world, or this tiny corner of it, how deeply women disliked having to “spread ourselves across the public table like platters at a banquet.” [This, too, from Jerry Tallmer's coverage.]
• • Just then a half-dozen agitated persons burst on the scene waving signs and yelling things like: “Art before taxes! Let freedom ring!”
As the police (well, one pseudo-policeman) closed in, the journalists were sent trotting down Christopher Street . . . . [Continue reading Jerry Tallmer's reportage of this site-specific theatrical offering:]
• • • • Off Stage: The West Village Fragments • • • •
• • An intriguing site-specific multi-venue performance, Off Stage: The West Village Fragments will travel along historic West Village streets. Along the way, short scenes from over a dozen landmark Off-Off Broadway plays will reawaken the actual sites where they premiered. There will also be original performances between stops. A special treat for lovers of theater and the history of Greenwich Village. Equally recommended for New Yorkers and tourists alike. The journey begins at Sixth Avenue & West 9th Street.
• • Meet @ the Traffic Circle: 6th Avenue & West Ninth Street, NY
• • Three shows nightly until 7 October 2006
• • Peculiar Works Project: 212-529-3626
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• • Photo: Mae West • • on trial at Jefferson Market Court • • March 1927 • •

Jefferson Market.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Inez Milholland [1886-1916]

This never-to-be-forgotten leader comes to mind for many reasons. If you never met INEZ MILHOLLAND [1886 1916], war resister, suffragette, civil rights organizer, and human dynamo, then make her acquaintance here.
• • Though it seems like yesterday that she was arguing the merits of her case in
Jefferson Market Court, it took place almost 100 years ago on 18 January 1910.
• • This is what the newspapers said about the trial in January 1910:
The cases of Miss Inez MILHOLLAND, daughter of John E. MILHOLLAND, and Lieut. Henry W. TOURNEY, of the Coast Artillery Corps — — who were arrested last night as the result of a demonstration by striking shirtwaist workers which Miss MILHOLLAND was leading — — were called in
Jefferson Market Court, Manhattan, to-day, and after much testimony had been taken were continued until to-morrow afternoon.
• • Miss MILHOLLAND, accompanied by the lieutenant and 500 strikers and their sympathizers, were marching in Waverly Place in front of a factory when Police Captain HENRY demanded that they disperse. They refused, declaring that Magistrate BARLOW had declared so long as they kept moving they could not be disturbed. HENRY disputed this. He told the court to-day that the strikers and their followers blocked the streets and obstructed traffic. His uniform was badly torn in the melee which followed the refusal of Miss MILHOLLAND to order her followers to disperse and the [ . . . ] were badly ruffled because young women, in ignorance of the divinity that hedges the person of a New York police captain, demanded his number.
• • It is rumored that as the result of his coming into conflict with the civil authorities and being locked up — — both he and Miss MILHOLLAND were placed in a cell until John MILHOLLAND arrived to bail them out — — Lieut. TOURNEY may have to face a court-martial. In all, fifteen strikers and sympathizers were arrested last night.
• • Should the police prove their charge of disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer in the discharge of his duty against Miss MILHOLLAND the case will be appealed to the highest courts in order to get a decision on this question as well as to have determined how far a person may go on "peacefully picketing" a plant where there is a strike. Miss MILHOLLAND is a graduate of Vassar and an ardent advocate of women's suffrage. . . .
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Inez Milholland was born in Brooklyn, New York on 6 August 1886. She attended Vassar and was suspended after organizing a women's suffrage meeting in a cemetery.
• • She matured into a record-setting collegiate athlete, an attorney, a forceful and charismatic public speaker. Friends remembered Inez as a tall, beautiful woman in flowing robes, riding a white horse at the head of a great movement [March 1913]. She fought for labor, was a writer and magazine editor, served as a correspondent in the First World War, was jailed as a suffragette in England, and died at 30 while on a speaking tour as a suffragist in this country.
• • Her last public words were, "Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?"
• • In 1913 Milholland led the women's suffrage demonstration in Washington on a white horse. Wearing white robes, the photograph of Milholland during the parade became one of the most memorable images of the struggle for women's rights in America.
• • Milholland lived in Greenwich Village [New York] and was associated with a group of socialists involved in the production of
The Masses journal. [This group included Max Eastman, John Reed, Crystal Eastman, Inez Milholland, Louis Untermeyer, Randolf Bourne, Dorothy Day, Mabel Dodge, Floyd Dell, and Louise Bryant.]
• • Like most of the people involved with
The Masses, Milholland was opposed to America's involvement in the First World War. In December 1915, Milholland and other pacifists travelled on Henry Ford's Peace Ship to Europe.
• • On her return to the USA she became one of the leaders of the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage. The movement's most popular orator, Milholland was in demand as a speaker at public meetings from coast to coast.
• • Inez Milholland, who suffered from pernicious anemia, was warned by her doctor of the dangers of vigorous campaigning. However, she refused to heed his advice and she collapsed in the middle of a speech in Los Angeles on 22 October 1916.
• • She was rushed to a hospital. Despite repeated blood transfusions
— — blood donated by her sister Vida — — 30-year-old Inez died on 25 November 1916.
• • Jefferson Market Court commemorates this peace activist and suffrage martyr, and rejoices in her bright spirit as this troubled city prepares to go to the polls in November 2008, the sixth year of the wasteful war in the Middle East
— — the US-led take-over in Iraq that has resulted in thousands killed.
• • Every New York City historian remembers our hometown firebrand Inez Milholland. In Greenwich Village, many daughters have been named in your honor.
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• • Photo: Inez Milholland • •

Jefferson Market.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Election Hex 1904

Runs Several Lodging Houses in Van Cott's District.
White Widow of Negro Held for Getting Man to Register Wrongly from Her House.

• • Mrs. Katie Hicks, thirty-eight years old, of 125 West Third Street, was arraigned yesterday in the Jefferson Market Court on the charge of aiding and abetting in fraudulent registration. Deputy State Superintendent of Elections P. Hooker was the complainant in the case, and Deputy Attorney General Byrne appeared to prosecute. . . .
Date: 25 October 1904, Tuesday
Source:The New York Times
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• • Jefferson Market Court • •

Jefferson Market.