In an interview at Gothamist, This Old House senior editor Alexandra Bandon talks about her obsession with backhouses, the free-standing structures hidden behind buildings that front the street:
There are 75 of them in the West Village alone. One I could see out the window of my apartment, behind another house two doors down. Others I'd see hints of through little alleyways on the street. But it wasn?t until I started looking at insurance maps, which show all the structures on the lot, that I realized how many there were...Ah, history, you wicked muse.
One, on 10th Street, was the servants quarters to a sailors' boarding house in the front, where there were hammocks instead of beds. Another, on W. 3rd Street, was the Golden Rule Pleasure Club, the first all-male gay brothel, which figured prominently in the Rev. Parkhurst?s 1896 report to Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt on corruption in the department.
· Alexandra Bandon, Editor and Writer [Gothamist Interview]