There are differing versions of how the Perry Street Workshop started. Some say as early as 1949, some men started a woodworking/carpentry shop where they worked during the day and held meetings at night. Others say it didn’t start until the summer of 1957, when a group of artists and writers established a group at the carpenters shop on Sullivan Street. It was above a funeral parlor and next to a liquor store. Their goal was to have a place to work, stay sober, and have meetings. What we know for certain is that it was in a carpenters’ shop, hence the name The Workshop.
By 1958, they had outgrown the space and found a new location in the West Village. In September of 1958, the first meetings were held at 50 Perry Street.
Read more in “The Magic of Perry Street” (opening in new tab), a brochure created for our 50th anniversary in 2008.
Also, see oral histories of the Workshop by old-timers in the members section. Log-in information for that section is posted in the room.