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This is almost certainly the best known of New York’s downtown districts and has been a focal point for alternative city living for over a hundred years. It is generally considered as being bounded by Broadway on the east, the Hudson River on the west, Houston Street on the south, and 14th Street on the north, though this varies slightly according to the source you consult – some for instance regard the West Village (west of Seventh Avenue) as a separate district. Unlike more northerly districts of Manhattan, its historic streets are laid out in a more European fashion rather than a geometric grid, with diagonals and even bends quite commonplace. This makes exploring here more of a challenge but also more fun, as getting lost is the best way to encounter unexpected sights and events.
It grew up as a distinct village and was only later absorbed into the fast-growing New York City. Perhaps because of this it has always been seen as a focal point of new movements and ideas: political, artistic and cultural. Artists were attracted to its bohemian image, and in the 1950s it saw the birth of the Beat culture, attracting writes such as Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsburg and Dylan Thomas. And growing up in the 1960s and 70s I first heard about “The Village” as the place for American folk music and my favoured musical genre, the folk-influenced singer-songwriters. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Simon and Garfunkel, Jackson Browne, Tom Paxton and many others lived and played here. More recently the area played a key role in the gay liberation movement – see my separate tip on the Stonewall Inn for more on this. These days this is an expensive area in which to live, so it has perhaps lost its former beatnik charm, but the presence of lots of students (New York University has its main campus here) keeps it young and lively in tone. There are still plenty of music and comedy clubs, bars and excellent coffee shops.
This is exactly the sort of area that makes exploring New York such a delight in my view. You can be walking the skyscraper-walled canyons on midtown Manhattan in the morning, and by lunch-time find yourself, as we did, on the much more human-scale streets of the Village. This is a people-watcher’s paradise. Take a seat at a pavement café or in a local bar, maybe bring along a book to fit in (although on this visit we saw as many Apple Macs as we did books!), and relax and watch the world go by. Or wander in and out of some of the more eclectic shops to be found here – left-wing bookshops, vintage clothing stores, old vinyl record shops and much more. You could easily spend the best part of a day exploring just a few streets, and still not see everything.
My photos were taken mostly around Bleecker and McDougall Streets.
Directions: The most convenient subway station is West 4th St / Washington Square, served by seven different lines
One of my most enjoyable experiences in NYC is to walk around aimlessly in the West Village. This is a peaceful, wealthy neighborhood, still in Manhattan, but away from the noise and congestion of Midtown and other neighborhoods like Midtown (ie. UES, UWS, Murray Hill, you know who you are).
Also, there are lots of little boutique stores like Marc Jacobs, enjoyable cafe spots , celebrities incognito, renowned cupcake shops (Magnolia Bakery), a really nice vibe overall. Walking through the streets of the West Village is a perfect antidote to the madness of the rest of New York.
Address: South of 14th Street, West of Hudson Street
Directions: Just below the meat packing district in Manhattan
Halloween Night 7pm-10pm
the greatest parade, must do at least once
We gone over the years and had a great time.
You'll see some of the best costumns, fun, mellow crowd, music,
looking forward to seeing the 35th annual parade
pictures to come....
Address: 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 21st Street
Directions: Watch it Live: On 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 21st Street from 7 - 10 p.m.
TV: NY 1 Television from 8 - 9:30 p.m.
Website: http://www.halloween-nyc.comRelated to:
- Road Trip
- Gay and Lesbian
I visited Greenwich Village some nights for some nice small blues venues but one morning I passed by again to see the area under the day light because I always knew that this was the area of bohemians in the 20th century, the beatniks, alternative artists etc. The truth is that I didn’t see anywhere the old artistic feeling but it was nice to walk around here anyway although I knew that the high rents brought here some celebrities while the artists had gone in other parts of NY. The locals call the area simple “The Village” and the area is very popular among the homosexual community, Stonewall Inn is one of their landmarks. I got lost in the tiny streets that were too complicated in comparison with other parts of Manhattan. What’s more most of them are named rather that numbered so I had to check the map all the time :) This district is interesting if you check the 19th century row houses, the small alleys and tiny squares but there are also too many buildings that belong to New York University (law school etc) and I always thought they must be in a separated area.
Washington Square park is a popular public park where families, dogs and street artists try to find a free space. You can also see a lot of people playing chess (pic 1), some picnic tables, the Stanford White Arch(the first Arch was built in 1889 from wood but some years later a marble arch created), a fountain and some statues like the Giuseppe Garibaldi monument(pic 2). What I liked most here were the small squirrels running on the wires over the trees of the park! Opposite the square is the Judson Memorial Church (pic 3). It was built in 1892 and it has some nice vitro windows. If you go down Thompson street you’ll find a lot of cafes and pubs.
At the north side of the square at 5th avenue(at 10th street) you will see the Church of the Ascension (pic 4), a neo-gothic church that was built in 1840 by Richard Upjohn (he also built Trinity Church). One other interesting building is the Jefferson Market Library with the “Old Jeff” Tower (pic 5) that housed a fire bell the old times. It’s located at 425 Avenida of the Americas. It was originally a courthouse from 1877 till the middle of 20th century
Don’t miss the nightlife of Greenwich village. A dozen of blues and jazz venues, you can also watch an alternative performance at one of the Off Broadway theatre or a stand up comedy performance.
Directions: Take train A,B,C,D,E,V,F to 4th street
- Hiking and Walking
I went on this tour http://www.photowalkabouts.com/ which combines a walking tour and NYC photo expedition.
It is led by a young, very good fashion photographer, Lora Danley who not only points out the sites but makes suggestions how to shoot them.
Amazingly, it is only$20 for about 2 1/2 hours. I went on the Village tour but she also has Central Park and Wall Street tours.
Will post some of the shots in the photo area.
Address: West Village
Directions: Meets on Sat 10AM at 6th & Bleeker
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
“At Old Jeff there is also the literature of architecture: cut stone faces and flowers, spiral stairs, soaring stained glass windows, the feeling, form and sensibility of another age. This, too, is the record of civilization.”
— Ada Louise Huxtable, architecture critic, “The New York Times” 28.November.1967 her evaluation of the Jefferson Market Library
Because of its Victorian Gothic style the Jefferson Market Library is sometimes mistaken for a church. Originally this New York City landmark was a courthouse designed by architects Frederick Clark Withers (1828-1901) and Calvert Vaux (1824–1895), who co-designed Central Park with Frederick Law Olmstead. It was built, along with an adjacent prison and market, between 1875 and 1876 at a cost of $360,000. This architectural gem was voted one of the ten most beautiful buildings in America in a poll of architects in the 1880s. The chimneys resembles those found at Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace outside London.
A civil court was on the second floor, where the Adult Reading Room is now; and a police court, where now the first-floor Children’s Room now is. The brick-arched basement, now the Reference Room, was used as a holding area for prisoners headed to jail or to trial.
And then there is that clock tower. The firewatcher’s balcony sits one hundred feet above ground. The bell, which once called volunteer firemen to action, still hangs in the tower and rings out the hour during daylight.
After more than 80 years of service as a courthouse, by 1959 the building had been abandoned and was looked upon as an architectural eyesore. The city planned to knock it down and build an apartment building. Village residents, including poet e. e. cummings, who lived across the street in Patchin Place, organized to save the building from the wrecking ball. In 1961, Mayor Robert Wagner announced a plan to preserve and convert the old courthouse into a public library. The preservation and conversion fell to architect Giorgio Cavaglieri, who had adapted the Astor Library on Lafayette Street to become the Public Theatre. Construction began in 1965 and the library opened for business in 1967.
Address: Sixth Avenue & West 10th Street
Directions: Take the #1 subway train to Sheridan Square/Christopher Street stop; walk one block east on Christopher Street or
take the A, B, C, D, E subway train to the West Fourth Street stop; walk north on Sixth Ave. to 10th Street.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Another reason why I enjoyed walking around Greenwich Village so much is that I got to see where many famous authors have lived, written, drank, and even died. Henry James, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, e.e. cummings, Simone de Beauvoir, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Edward Albee and J.D. Salinger - just to name a few - have all contributed to creating an immortal tie between literature and the Village.
It was at No. 116 Waverley Place (Photo 2), then the home of an English professor, that Edgar Allan Poe performed the first public reading of his poem "The Raven". Edith Wharton lived at No. 7 Washington Square North (Photo 3), while Henry James's grand-mother's house, located at No. 18 Washington Square North (Photo 4), became the house of Catherine Sloper in his novel "Washington Square" (1880). I also made a quick detour to see the White Horse Tavern, located at 567 Hudson Street (Photo 5), where Dylan Thomas drank his very last beers before dying just a few days after his 39th birthday.
Directions: In the Washington Square area, Greenwich Village
- Hiking and Walking
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Greenwich Village was by far my favorite spot in New York City! We ended up spending almost an entire day wandering through its streets, which are not "square" like in the rest of the city, and where skyscrappers give way to smaller brick buildings, and where life just seems to go on at a slower pace.
Greenwich Village truly started out as a small, slightly remote village back at the beginning of the 19th century, which explains its unique urban design. During the first half of the 20th century, the Village became an artists' refuge, and is especially associated with the Beat Generation of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and, later on, with folk singer Bob Dylan, among many others. During the last few decades, however, housing prices have drastically changed the demographics of Greenwich Village and today's villagers are more likely to be movie stars than penniless writers. But those who live there still seem to appreciate the history of the place, and perhaps this is the reason why Greenwhich Village has managed to keep some of its unique flavor.
Because of its distinctive origins, the Village is a great place to go to spot unique architecture (see photos), such as No. 75 1/2 Bedford St., the smallest house in New York City (it is only 2.90 m wide), or the beautiful Jefferson Market Courthouse (425 Ave. of the Americas), which is now a branch of the NYC Public Library, or Twin Peaks (102 Bedford St.), a rather unusual house built in 1830 which later became an artists' residence (they believed the house's original achitecture would foster their creativity).
Also, thanks to its numerous restaurants and charming cafes, Greenwich Village is a great place to go for lunch or dinner. So don't miss this little gem on Manhattan Island!
Directions: Located south of 14th Street and west of Broadway
- Hiking and Walking
Positively 4th Street
If you're walking around the west village and you get tired or hungry here is a good street:
Cornelia between W 4th and Bleecker
On one block, good & affordable Cuban at the Little Havana; trattoria Po; Palma (Italian with a little indoor terrace); Gigot (a little NY/french bistro); Home (good specials & upscale comfort food); there's sushi on the corner at Bleecker (Sushi Mam Bo); and my fave hangout, Cornelia Cafe in the middle of the block.
For people-watching and passing the time, Cornelia Cafe has an outdoor terrace w/tables, Palma more of an indoor terrace, but it's open/no windows in good weather.
I doubt many blocks in the village or even Manhattan have this tight concentration of places to eat delicious food & hang out.
Excellent people-watching and a great variety of places to eat and pass the time.
Address: Cornelia St, NY 10014
Directions: In Greenwich (west) village, the Cornelia St. block between W 4th and Bleecker.
Using the subway, probably A, C, E; D, F, V; S at W 4th St
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Greenwich did have that village feel to me with residents meeting in bars and walking dogs. There are loads of restaurants to choose from that cater for a wide variety of tastes and wallet size.
My tip, take an afternoon to wander around Greenwich village, take in some shops if you must, choose a place to eat, if warm spend time in Washington Square Park.
This was the building that was the most impressive that we saw throughout Manhattan. The outside is a tremendous yet inside the terminal is breathtaking in its grand design. This is a real gem in NY. The railroad is a male dominated industry from an age of male domination and the terminal oozes masculinity to me with vast concourse and flat line, pollished marble inside.
There are free tours on a Wednesday and you can purchase your own book as a guide.Worth allowing time for either of these activities or dining inside.
New York is too big a subject to sum up in a few words. While well travelled I live on a small island called Guernsey . It is part of the UK. I am a long time jazz broadcaster and writer over here but LOVE New York and in particular Greenwich Village. My favorite day is to spend some time in the DOMA cafe with its bohemian atmosphere and an evening at the VILLAGE VANGUARD or the BLUE NOTE. Last time I was over I caught Herbie Hancock.
Everyone should catch some jazz in the big apple it is etched into the soul of the city. Check out those record stores on Bleeker Street, I promise it is unlike any other place on earth. Fantastic.
Steve Thompson. B.A
Address: Greenwich VillageAdd to your Trip Planner
This small shop on Bleecker street only sells condoms. They have only condoms but all the condoms you can imagine, all colours, all flavours, all sizes, all shapes, all specialities, and the combinations between them.
I have purchased the fluorescent ones. Try that in the dark, you only see one thing!
Address: Bleecker Street 351
Directions: 351 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village (1 block west of 7th Ave, 1 block up from Christopher Street).
This tiny house has been built in 1799. It is less than two meters on the street.
I saw the house on February 15th, 2007. The weather was so bad and the temperature so low than my digital camera did not function any longer.
Address: 77 Bedford Street, NYC
Directions: not far from "Friends" building.
Go and walk in Bleecker street, one of the most famous streets of the Village.
Old houses from the 19th century. It became famous because of their jazz clubs and famous ecclectic restaurants. This is still there today.
Directions: The Village
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