A few weeks ago I took a break from reading Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities to visit the block of Hudson Street in Manhattan’s West Village where Jacobs lived when she wrote her classic book on urban planning. One block over, on Bleecker Street, the storefronts bear the names of some of the most iconic brands in fashion – Steve Madden, Juicy Couture, Coach, Michael Kors – but Jacobs’ old block of Hudson between Perry and West 11th retains its scruffy charm, mixing small residential buildings with restaurants, a bar, a nail salon, a bodega, and a dry cleaner.