Does a street that’s only six blocks long rate a whole book? I wouldn’t have thought so, and I’ve lived at both ends of it (22 Bank and 123 Bank). But Donna Florio’s Growing Up Bank Street turned me around. The fact is that this modest strip of brownstones and smallish apartment buildings has had a monumental impact on American culture.
John Dos Passos (11 Bank) wrote Manhattan Transfer while living there, and an 18-year-old Lauren Bacall (75 Bank) was crowned “Miss Greenwich Village.” John Cage and Merce Cunningham (107 Bank) let John Lennon and Yoko Ono (105 Bank) use the phone to avoid F.B.I. surveillance. Pretty much anyone who’s ever been in a Martin Scorsese movie trained at HB Studio (120 Bank), and Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon were workshopped at the Bank Street Writers Lab (69 Bank).