Angelina Jolie and the Ghosts of New York Past

When Angelina Jolie opened her first fashion boutique in a squat, two-story building at 57 Great Jones Street in Lower Manhattan this month, she joined a long line of notable New Yorkers, including gangsters and artists, who lived or worked at that unassuming address.

Atelier Jolie, which has an appointment-only fitting room on the second floor, sells clothes made from vintage and deadstock materials and offers Turkish coffee and Syrian mini pies in its chic cafe. “I hope to see you there, and to be one of the many creating with you within our new creative collective,” Ms. Jolie wrote in a founding statement. “Bear with me. I hope to grow this with you.”

Atelier Jolie’s branding is tied to the artistic heritage of 57 Great Jones Street. Andy Warhol bought the building in the 1970s. Everyone from Keith Haring to Madonna dropped by. Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and painted in the upstairs studio loft, producing some of his most significant works, before he died there of a heroin overdose at 27 in 1988.

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, artists with ties to 57 Great Jones Street, at a 1984 benefit in Manhattan.Credit…Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

If you dust off more of the structure’s past, you find the bones of New York. The brick building once housed mobsters and bare-knuckle boxers.

It was built in the 1860s, architect unknown, and its first known use was as a stable, according to Village Preservation, an advocacy group. Great Jones Street, a two-block lane in NoHo named after the lawyer and politician Samuel Jones, was a home for the city’s affluent merchant class that counted the mayor and diarist Philip Hone among its early residents. During the Civil War, the 69th Regiment gathered on the street to march toward a steamer on the Hudson. Crowds looked on as the young men headed off to battle.

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