Shelley Seccombe
in GVSHP’s Off the Grid

Shelley Seccombe Pier 50 in flames, c. 1971. Taken from a window in Westbeth facing Bethune Street.

Westbeth Photographer Shelley Seccombe Documents the Greenwich Village Waterfront Since 1970
When the Westbeth complex was converted to the first subsidized housing for artists in the United States fifty years ago, the great photographer Shelley Seccombe was one of the first tenants to move in. Over the course of her career, Seccombe has documented the people and landscape of the surrounding neighborhood, marking the events that have defined it and the changes that have reshaped it across five decades, since 1970. The photos she has generously shared with Village Preservation are just a small portion of her work, providing an invaluable portrait of Village history, waterfront history, Westbeth history, and so much more.

Seccombe’s focus on photography was in many ways inspired by her move to Westbeth. When she first arrived, the entrance to the building was on West Street, facing the waterfront. Coming in and out of this entrance defined her daily attention to, and documentation of, the since-demolished West Side Miller Elevated Highway and the piers just beyond it. Seccombe remembers:

“In 1970 I moved with my husband and daughter to the West Village. We were among the first tenants in Westbeth, a conversion of the Bell Labs building on the Hudson River for artists housing/studio space. My husband is a sculptor; at that time I was teaching music, the career path for which I had prepared. Photography was nowhere on my resume.”

-Louisa Winchell
June 2, 2020
The Greenwich village Society for Historic Preservation Blog

Read the entire article HERE

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