Greenwich Village, New York City
When in New York City, Greenwich Village is where I hang after dark. Obviously from the crowds, mass of locals and tourists also are attracted by the nightlife of the Village. It is here that you will find the densest selection of restaurant, bars and clubs. There are establishments that will appeal to just about any age group here, from the obvious pick up bars to the finest jazz clubs. This is not to say that the Village is just a place to let loose at night for it is also a much sot after residential district and has outstanding shopping.
Greenwich Village has almost been a choice place to live for New Yorkers. It began its life in the 19th century as a rural retreat and many swank homes where built here. Only in the late part of the century did things begin to decline somewhat when the neighborhood became popular with immigrants from Ireland, Germany and Italy. They were attracted here because of the Village's proximity to the warehouses on the Hudson where they were employed. After the First World War, the Village became home to the most famous artist colony in America. They were attracted by the cheap rent and the radical politics that seemed to evolved here. As often seems to happen with such districts the neighborhood became the haunt of silk stocking socialist set who turned the Village into bohemian central and built many lavish apartments. These are now located north of Washington Square which sits in the centre of the Greenwich Village. For much of the 20th century the Village remained the beacon for radicals and artists from around America. They were attracted by the cafes, literary and folk clubs that filled the neighborhood. Today things have changed as perhaps the Village became too self-conscious for the radical-types seem to have moved elsewhere and Greenwich Village has gone mainstream. It is still astonishingly popular with locals and tourists alike but more for a place to go rather than the original bohemian atmosphere.
Fondest memory: This is a great neighborhood to people watch in. The streets are the exception for New York in that they do not follow a grid pattern. Therefore it is easy to get lost here and that is some of the fun. The Village attracts all types of people from the extremely wealthy celebrities to the street punks and goth types. Something will always turn your head.
Greenwich Village boundaries are considered to be 14th Street to the north, Houston Street to the South, the Hudson River to the west and Broadway to the east. The area around Christopher Street is considered the gay area and there are a few such bars here for those so inclined.
There are millions of streets in thousands of cities and each tells us something about the people who lived there and who live there still. But there is something special about the places we get to know very well, particularly if that place is the island of Manhattan ...
As a traveler you may decide to take a turn onto an unknown street ... a street a tourist might simply glance at in passing as he pressses his nose into the guide book for the next official point of interest.
Take time while in Manhattan .. particulary in the Villages - east & west - to wander. There is great life in the second-hand bookstores and coffee shops tucked between the narrow apartment buildings and townhouses.
I first tasted Vittorio's coffee with a scuptor friend from Tuscany who had recently, like me, moved to New York. He and Vittorio were from the same part of Italy ... on the coast of the Ligurian Sea.
Vittorio would sit at a table by the fire with a group of his friends .. playing cards or doing the books. Usually there was a waiter, a daughter, a wife or a son to help out.
Vittorio's son now runs the Cafe ... and the main room upstairs and just off Washington Square park, has not changed. Two fireplaces at each end of the long room, warm the atmosphere ... rich with Italian Opera over the sound system, and the smell of fresh espresso and hot sandwiches.
You can miss it if you aren't looking ... the entrance is on the landing, just above the street. Enjoy it ... this is as good as it gets.
La Lanterna di Vittorio
129 MacDougal St.
New York, NY
Favorite thing: We took ourselves down to Greenwich Village on our own walking tour, some interestering buildings, had a good lunch at one of the cafes and finished with coffee and cake. There are still some interesting buildings and shops, we found a gem of a leather shop where the proprietor hand made most of the leather bags and other items.
Starting at Washington Square Park ( and New York University's urban campus, go southwest to MacDougl Street.
Don't venture into Greenwich Village without a map. The streets run in all kinds of crazy angles and directions.
Fondest memory: Greenwich Village is full of townhouses, second hand stores, stores featuring the work of proprietor artisans, cafés and restaurants.
Many of the buildings here have historical significance. Buy a good guide book and have fun.
I always liked to walk in the Village, my prefered place of New York.
Last time I came, I was not a fan of Friends, so this building had nothing special for me
The external look is different than in 1994, however, it is the same building, even if the appartment of Monica was not really there.
The cost of a two bedrooms appartment in the area is above 5000 dollars. The cost of a coffee in a nearby coffee shop is almost 10$. Even if you are not leaving on Park Avenue with a view on Central Park, the cost of living in the City is amazing.
Fondest memory: This is Bedford Street cross Groove street.
There is no Central Perk in the area of course. A Pity! I am sure that if someone was opening it, it would be full all the time.
We have visited NYC several times in recent years, and continue to find new things to do and enjoy. Something that I’d always wanted to do, but just kept putting it off, was to “visit the village”. By “the village”, I am referring to Greenwich Village, the famous launching pad of the American folk music scene and such luminous performers as “Peter, Paul and Mary”, “the Kingston Trio”, Laura Nyro, and…. oh yeah, some guy named Bob Dylan. Many of the famous folk clubs are still in business, and they’ve been joined by a new cadre of music performance sites, of varying focus and renown. There remains a very wide variety of music being performed live every night in the village, and there are some amazing talents to be heard for sometimes little or no cover charge. Sure, the bigger name places, such as the Bitter End, make premium dollar on their long reputation, but…. C’mon have some fun, it’s Greenwich Village.
As for the village itself, it is bound by Broadway on the east and the Hudson River on the west., Houston Street on the south and 14th Street on the north. In the early to middle parts of the 20th century, it developed a reputation as being very Bohemian, home to artists and musicians most definitely marching to a different and very hip drummer. In recent years, gentrification has crept in, as living in the village has become a very trendy thing for celebrities and wealthy young professionals. This has somewhat changed the former character of the neighborhood itself, and has most notably driven real estate prices through the roof. But again, the music remains and is to be appreciated by any tune-lovers who visit NYC. I sometimes wonder why it took us so long to go that way, but in my defense – we waited until our travel partner daughter came of legal age, so that she could enjoy herself a beverage or two.
The night that we went clubbing, we chose to visit THE RED LION. It was suggested to me by my good VT friend Dino336. (see my separate Dino tip) There was no cover that particular evening, and the entertainment was supplied by the local writers’ guild. There were four performers who shared the stage that evening, and all were entertaining in their own way. We saw Chris Tedesco, Galia Arad (a smoky folk singer who can darn well write a fine song), Kiersten Thien (another great singer and writer – probably the best overall performer of the evening) and Jake Holmes (an older fellow who had a wry quality to his compositions…. His “I have those WASP Blues” was great.) Keyboardist Skip Brezis sat in with most performers and added great body to the tunes. All in all, it was highly entertaining and we had a good time.
The Red Lion is right next door to the much-more-famous Bitter End, and you can see a difference in crowds on a weeknight. The Lion was accessible, we were able to get in and have a table at 6 pm or so, while next door - there was a line out the door. But, the acts within are very similar.... in Greenwich Village, there is sometimes a price to pay for "the name".
The Lion also serves a decent bar menu, albeit it typically a bit overpriced.
Fondest memory: One of my fondest memories involving our night at the Red Lion in the Village happened weeks after we got home. I was trying to confirm the names of the artists we'd enjoyed, and a sweet lady named Caitrona from the Lion (several phone calls back and forth) gave me the name of the writers' guild leader, Anne Rucker. I called Anne and finally got up with her one night after she'd been in a studio all day. At first, she didn't know why I was calling her and was understandably confused and maybe suspicious. But after a short chat, she was thrilled to learn that I enjoyed my evening with the Writers' Guild so much and that I was going to write a tip including their information. Long story short, we talked for maybe an hour on the phone, about everything you could imagine. She was a long-time village resident, and had literally known everyone who'd passed through. She told me how everyone in the area was sooooooooooo jealous of Mary Travers, the recently deceased "Mary" in "Peter, Paul and Mary". Apparently, Mary's parents were bohemian types who really didn't see the use in a lot of schooling, and were more than happy to allow their teenaged daughter to drop out and sing folk music. Anne said that everyone else wished that "their parents were as cool as Mary's".
Anyway, thanks to Anne for the conversation and friendship, and to Caitrona over at the Lion for putting me in touch with Anne. All nice folks.
Favorite thing: A main street (and subway stop) near Greenwich Village is Houston Street. BUT... in NYC it is not pronounced like the city in Texas. So if you don't want to be taken for a tourist say it like New Yorkers do...HOUSE-ton street.
Once the home of artists and free spirits, the Village is now one of the trendiest places in the city, populated in large part by students of NYU and young Wall Street brokers.
Although boundaries are always hard to set, and they seem to expand when real estate prices in a neighborhood grow, I think the common understanding is that the Village is the area north of Houston Street, south of 14th and west of Broadway.
The notorious TV show "Firends" was a tribute to Village life: keep in mind that Monica and Rachel were able to pay rent because their apartment was on rent control: otherwise, hardly would people with those jobs be able to afford the rent in such a beautiful flat in Greenwich Village!
Favorite thing: ``The Village`` (as newyorkers call it) is one of the most popular sites in the city, a world symbol of what is exotic and bohemien. Its fame goes back to the first years of the 20th century, when artists and writers came to live here, and later followed by jazz musicians playing in the popular and still now active clubs. This was the area where Jimi Hendrix used to live and where Rolling Stones recorded their music. So, still today, Greenwhich village is a lively neighbourhood, with plenty of historical places, cafes, shops, bars.
Favorite thing: Walk around the small streets of the West Village on Sunday afternoon and stop in for a beer at Chumley's -- a popular former 'speakeasy' during Prohibition days. See also 'Restaurants' for more information.
New York City is made up of five parts; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. For most tourists to NYC, Manhattan is the only place of interest.
BATTERY This section has Battery Park, here you get a the best view of New York Bay, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn to the east and New Jersey to the west, the first pier holds the NYC Fireboats. You also get the boat to the Statue of Liberty and further south the Staten Island Ferry. Close by is the Custom House. Just north on the Hudson River is the relatively new Battery Park City.
FINANCIAL DISTRICT This is the area east of Broadway from Exchange Place north to Pine Street, this includes Wall St. In this area is the New York Stock Exchange, Trinity Church and many large banks and insurance companies.
CHINA TOWN Just northeast of City Hall you come to China Town, here live and work many of the NYC Chinese. You will find many Chinese restaurants and food markets in this small area.
SOHO DISTRICT a small area, from Canal St to Houston St. between Ave of Americas and Broadway. Here are many art galleries and restaurants
LITTLE ITALY just east of Soho to the Bowery, as one would expect in this area are many Italian restaurants, food shops and bakeries.
GREENWICH VILLAGE is located north of Soho to 14th St on the west side of Manhattan. Like Soho this area has many art galleries and restaurants.
GARMENT DISTRICT starting at 34th St north to 40th St. between 5th and 10th Aves. On 31st St is the the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel to NJ, main post office and Pennsylvania RR Station. On 34th St. at Broadway is Macy's large department store, further east at 5th Av is the Empire State Building.
Fondest memory: THEATER DISTRICT starting at 43rd St north to 49th St between 8th and 10th Aves. Here you will find most of the large legitimate theraters
TIMES SQUARE from 42nd st north to 47th St between Broadway and 7th St. This is the 'Great White Way' holds mainly shops that cater to tourist. At 47th St you will find the small building where one can buy discount tickets to the theaters in the area. Going east on 42nd St you come to the main library on 5th Ave. At Park Ave. You will find Grand Central Station continuing east on Lexington Ave is the Chrysler Building
ROCKEFELLER CENTER from 48th St north to 51st St, between 5th Ave and Ave of Americas. Here you will find Radio City Music Hall, the offices and studios of NBC. Along 5th Ave in this area you will find many airline offices and expensive shops, including Saks Fifth Ave. On 5th Ave and 50th St is St. Patricks Cathedral.
CENTRAL PARK is the largest (840 acres) and oldest (1856) park in NYC designed by Olmstead & Vaux. The park starts at 59th St. and continues north to 110th St. bounded in the west by Central park West and 5th Ave. in the east. The park has facilities for everyone including lakes for rowing and sailing model boats, an ice skating rink and many paths for joggers, formal garden, paths for strollers Cleopatra's Needle, the Mall for summer free concerts and of course the zoo. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is alongside the park at 82nd St. the Guggenheim Museum is just across from the park at 5th Ave and 88th St. On the westside of the park at Central Park West and 72nd St. is
CENTRAL PARK SOUTH at 59th St between 5th & 8th Ave you will find many hotels and shops also the entrance to Central Park.
LINCOLN CENTER from 62nd St north to 66th St between Amsterdam and Columbus Ave. This is the location of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. In this same area are many restaurants and is also a large residential area.
Visit Greenwich Village at night! Do not go there at 9am - you will see nothing, but me and a bunch of other sleepy heads holding on to their coffee and trying to get to work as fast as possible. Not a pretty sight! But come to the coffee shops, million of restaurants, and the funky jazz and rock clubs after 10pm on the weekend and you will see what I mean.
More tips to come!
Fondest memory: The diversity of people! I have never seen such a motly crew anywhere else in the world! Enjoy it for all it is worth!
Favorite thing: This was the scene in Washington Square park . So many flowers, so many candles, so many lives. There were sheets surrounding the arch at the park where everyone could write down their thoughts and feelings. There were so many heartwrenching letters and stories all people should have witnessed it to feel the real impact. Seeing something on TV or hearing about how tragic it was and how many lives were lost cannot be fully felt sometimes until you can identify with the people and emotions of those suffering,
Another of the many things to do in NYC is to visit the neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan; they are huddled so closely together that you can walk them in an hour, but you won't want to. You will want to take your time and savor the delicacies, breathe in the aromas, revel in the rich colors and delight in the bargains.
Sixth Avenue and Christopher and Bleecker streets have, within walking distance, a plethora of quaint shops that sell records, old books, offbeat clothing, ephemera and works by classic and contemporary artists.
Visitors to the area will want to see Washington Square, with Greek Revival houses that are among the nation's finest. A tour of the Cast-Iron Historic District will impress admirers of unique architecture. The invention of the elevator -- the device that made it practical to construct today's modern towers -- inspired the first skyscrapers in this neighborhood, buildings that stood high above the two-story Greenwich Village homes.
In addition to its architectural allure, SoHo also offers great shopping, art galleries and fine restaurants. Shoppers throughout New York City travel to Broadway south of Spring Street for Dean and DeLuca's, world famous epicurean center famous for its jams, teas and pastries.
Pay close attention to Little Italy, located (with SoHo) directly to the south of Greenwich Village. Once distinguishable for its residents of Italian heritage, today it embraces a multitude of ethnic backgrounds.
To walk from Little Italy to Chinatown -- home of one of New York City's fastest growing ethnic communities -- simply cross Canal Street. For the true flavor of Chinatown, stroll up Mott, Pell and Bayard Streets. This is the center of New York's Chinese community, with bustling streets presided over by Buddhist temples. For more info on NYC go to www.iloveny.com