549 Riverside Drive, New York, NY

As Benjamin Davis discusses in his book, Simone Weil’s Political Philosophy (Chapter 5, pp. 93-94), Simone Weil escaped to New York City in July 1942 from Marseilles, France, and lived in an apartment at 549 Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights. She traveled with her parents on the Portuguese ship Serpa Pinto, passing through Morocco and Bermuda, before docking in New York on July 7, 1942 (the boat manifest is here). The Serpa Pinto transported many refugees fleeing the Holocaust during the early 1940s. Simone Weil would live at 549 Riverside Drive until November 10, 1942, when she set sail to London to join General de Gaulle’s Free French army. During her time in Morningside Heights, Weil took part in a first-aid course in Harlem, hoping to return to Europe as a frontline nurse, and spent time in New York’s public libraries.

The building at 549 Riverside Drive is now owned by Columbia University and used as graduate housing, so some of our participants in Coöperism 13/13 may live there now.



Benjamin P. Davis, Simone Weil’s Political Philosophy: Fieldnotes from the Margins (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2023), p. 93-94.

Ronald K.L. Collins, “Simone Weil’s Travels: Geography,” Attention, available at https://attentionsw.org/simone-weil-geography/

Jim Mackin, Notable New Yorkers of Manhattan’s Upper West Side (New York: Fordham University Press, 2020).