Greenwich Village (often referred to as "West Village" or simply "the Village") is a well-known, largely residential district in Manhattan, once famous for its vibrant art and literary community. Nowadays the neighborhood is so gentrified that the artists and poets who once lived here wouldn't be able to afford the rents, but the Village is still worth a visit for its lovely tree-lined streets and colorful history. Centered around Washington Square Park and the campus of New York University (NYU), the neighborhood sits west of Broadway between Houston Street and SoHo on the south and 14th Street and Chelsea on the north.
Greenwich Village was once a large industrial park; later, it was colonized by radicals, bohemians, beatniks, artists, and literary greats squatting in abandoned factories. High rents exclude most of their ilk today (their countercultural counterparts are NYU students with parental support) but the Village still has its charm.
Greenwich Village, home to a vibrant artistic and literary community in the 1950s, occupies the space between Houston Street and 14th Street. The central portion surrounds Washington Square Park and includes NYU's large campus and a thriving B&T (bridge & tunnel - a pejorative term) nightlife scene on MacDougal Street. West of University Place are many historic and attractive brownstones and some of the city's best restaurants and bars. The area's traditional avant garde reputation - it was a major center of the gay rights movement in the 1970s, for example - has somewhat faded as yuppies and movie stars move in.
Many people worldwide who have never been to the Village are familiar with the Village Voice newspaper, which is actually published in the East Village.
Greenwich Village is also the main setting for the TV series Friends as Monica's apartment has a Grove St. address, and there are numerous references to nearby areas such as Bleecker St. and SoHo (although the series was actually filmed in the Warner Brother studios in Los Angeles).
Note that the "East Village" was not historically part of Greenwich Village and is still considered by many New Yorkers to be part of the Lower East Side, but the term "West Village" is synonymous with Greenwich Village, or at least that part of the neighborhood that is west of 6th Av. or so. In the 19th century, Greenwich Village's eastern portion was better known as Washington Square. Washington Square Park remains a neighborhood landmark, but the terms "The Village," "Greenwich Village," and "West Village" are practically interchangeable.
Greenwich Village is served by many subway lines:
- The 1, 2, and 3 lines run under 7th Avenue, with the 1 stopping at Christopher Street station (next to the picturesque Sheridan Square) and all three stopping at 14th Street (a passageway allows free transfer to 14th St./6th Av. station).
- The A, B, C, D, E, F, and M lines stop in the middle of the Village at the West 4th Street station (at the intersection of West 4th Street and 6th Avenue), with the A, C, and E serving 14th St. and 8th Av. station and the F and M lines serving 14th St. and 6th Av. station (a passageway at 14th St./6th Av. allows free transfer to 14th St./7th Av. station).
- The R line runs under Broadway, along with the N at night and on weekends, serving the 8th Street NYU and Union Square stations on the edge of the neighborhood.
- The L line runs under 14th Street, stopping at the 14th St./6th Av., 14th St./8th Av., and Union Square stations.
- The 4, 5, 6, and Q lines also serve Union Square.
The PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) train, a subway-style transit system, is convenient and inexpensive for going to points on 6th Av. up to 33 St. (one block east of Penn Station) and to Hoboken and Journal Square in New Jersey. One can transfer from Journal Square to the PATH line that terminates at Newark - Penn Station (not to be confused with New York's Penn Station), and get from there to Newark Airport by local Newark bus. Within Greenwich Village, the PATH stops at Christopher St. between Hudson and Greenwich Sts. and at both 9th St. and 14th St. at 6th Avenue.
The double-decker tour buses whisk their way up 6th Av., but why not take an MTA bus, get off, and do your own tour?
In this neighborhood, the following uptown/downtown buses operate:
- The M20 goes uptown on Hudson St. and 8th Av., downtown on 7th Av.
- The M5 and M6 go uptown on 6th Av.. The M6 goes downtown on Broadway, the M5 on 5th Av. to 8th St., then east on 8th and downtown on Broadway to its terminus on Houston St.
- The M3 goes uptown on University Place and downtown on 5th Av.
- The M2 goes uptown on 4th Av. and downtown on 5th Av.
- The M11 goes uptown on Greenwich St. and downtown on Hudson St. to and from Abingdon Square.
- There is also the M7, which has its downtown terminus on 14th St. and Broadway, just south of Union Square.
There are also crosstown buses:
- The M14 goes across 14th St.
- The M8 goes west on 9th and Christopher Sts., east on 10th and 8th Sts.
The M14 is by far the most frequent at all hours. There is also a crosstown bus on Houston St., the M21, but it runs fairly infrequently and tends to get backed up in traffic, so it is not recommended if there is a good alternative. The M21 does not run between approximately midnight and 6AM See the MTA website for more information.
If you are close enough to walk to the Village, do it. Walking is the best way to experience the character of neighborhoods in Manhattan and the contrast and continuity between them.
The park along the Hudson River has a popular bike path. Many people also ride along city streets in this neighborhood, many of which are pretty quiet side streets.
It is possible to take some of the aforementioned buses along the avenues in the Village, but there are so many side streets that are worth wandering on and cannot be accessed by public transit. Walking is really optimal, or you can cycle. Cabs are numerous throughout the neighborhood, too.
- New York University (NYU). The main campus for NYU is found in Greenwich Village, centered around Washington Square Park.
- Washington Square Park (between Washington Square North, Washington Square South, Washington Square East, and Washington Square West). The park and its famous arch are located in the heart of the Village. Though located in the middle of an affluent neighborhood, the park attracts a hodgepodge of people. During the warmer months of the school term, the park is a favourite hangout spot for students from nearby NYU. Part of the charm of the park is the view of the buildings across the street. All these buildings are now owned by NYU, and though there has been some controversial construction in recent years, most of the stately 19th-century dwellings pictured in the classic movie The Heiress (based on Henry James' novel, Washington Square) are still there for you to enjoy looking at.
- Grove Court, Grove St (just off Hudson Street). The setting for O'Henry's famous short story, The Last Leaf.
Greenwich Village has developed as a home for a significant number of off-Broadway theater companies and lots of music venues.
- Cherry Lane Theater, 38 Commerce St, ☎ +1 212 989-2020.
- West 4th Street Courts, W 4th Street and 6th Avenue (atop the West 4th Street subway station). Even if you haven't heard of these basketball courts, you've probably seen them in TV commercials and movies, as "The Cage" (referring to the small, chain-link fence enclosed court) is the site of many intense, very physical pick-up games and informal "streetball" tournament matches. It's not a place to play unless you really know what you're getting into, but it's worth watching if you're interested in a more intense, physical form of basketball.
- IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave, ☎ +1 212 924-7771. An art house theater showing independent films and documentaries. It is owned by the IFC network (an extension of AMC), so a lot of premiers and television broadcasts take place here.
- Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th St, ☎ +1 212 255-2243. One of the older independent cinemas, showing a regular schedule of independent, foreign and documentary films.
- Angelika Film Center, 18 West Houston St (Subway: N or R to Prince Street), ☎ +1 212 995-2000. Just down the street from Film Forum, the Angelika plays new independent and foreign films, many of which are only screened in New York. The cafe upstairs is something of a hotspot as well.
- Cinema Village, 22 East 12th St, ☎ +1 212 629-5097. Cinema Village specializes in showing documentaries, independent and foreign films. Often the films there will not be playing anywhere else in the country and Q&As with directors are common at opening weekends.
- Village Vanguard, 178 7th Avenue South (just south of 11th St.), ☎ +1 212 255-4037. Presents a great lineup of jazz performers in a quiet room (except for the music) that has good acoustics.
- Blue Note, 131 West 3rd St. (between 6th Av. and Macdougal St.), ☎ +1 212 475-8592. Also has a lineup of famous jazz and blues performers. It feels a little more like a bar (with people talking during the show) and a little less like a venue that's only about the music.
- Small's, 183 W. 10 St. (between W. 4th St. and 7th Av.), ☎ +1 212 675-7369. A great place to hear excellent jazz at low prices.
- 55 Bar, 55 Christopher St (Between 6th and 7th Av), ☎ +1 212-929-9883. This bar has some good blues and jazz acts, but what's so unusual about it is that it dates back to 1919 and still has a lot of the original furnishings and Beaux Arts-style lamps. Keep your drink orders simple and enjoy the atmosphere.
The Village is full of unique stores, sometimes so specialized in what they sell that you might feel as if you just walked into your secret collection of some obscure item that you assumed nobody else cared about. There are record stores which sell only oldie vinyls, bookstores larger than an average library, and chess shops where a full chess set might rival with a car in price.
- Generation Records, 210 Thompson St, ☎ +1 212 254-1100. Best place in the city to buy hardcore, metal, industrial, punk, and alternative records.
- Three Lives & Company, 154 W. 10th St (at Waverly). A local independent bookstore, this microscopic yet utterly delightful place is the essence of Greenwich Village, with an extremely knowledgeable and passionate staff.
- Warehouse Wines and Spirits, 735 Broadway (between Waverly Place and Astor Place, just a bit south of 8th Street), ☎ +1 212 982-7770. Monday-Thursday: 9AM to 8:45PM, Friday-Saturday: 9AM to 9:45PM; Sunday: noon to 6:45PM. Generally quite inexpensive wines and liquors, good recommendations and fast service.
You'll find hundreds of restaurants and sidewalk cafés of virtually every culture. All-American, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Polish, Pakistani, Spanish, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese...the list goes on... At many spots you'll find affordable eats with the chance to enjoy your meal on the sidewalk. There are also some well-known upscale restaurants in the neighborhood.
- Arturo's, 106 West Houston St (at Houston and Thompson), ☎ +1 212 677-3820. Su 3PM-12AM, M-Th 4PM-1AM, F-Sa 4PM-2AM. A popular local pizza restaurant with an "old-time" theme, serving coal oven pizza with a lightly charred, crispy crust. There is live jazz there every night.
- Babbo, 110 Waverly Pl (between Washington Square West and 6th Av.), ☎ +1 212 777-0303. The most famous of Chef Mario Batali's restaurants, and especially well-known for its pasta tasting menu. Reserve a month in advance or stand on line before opening time (5:30PM on weekdays and 5:00PM on Sundays) to try to get a seat at the bar or one of the tables kept open for walk-ins. Babbo is one of the hardest restaurants to get a reservation at in New York, which should indicate something about its popularity. Do not expect a cheap meal, but this is one you don't have to dress up for.
- Blue Hill, 75 Washington Pl (between Washington Square West and 6th Ave.), ☎ +1 212 539-1776. An upscale American restaurant known for its fresh ingredients and subtlety. Call ahead for reservations.
- Joe's Pizza, 7 Carmine St (at 6th and Bleecker), ☎ +1 212 366-1182. A very popular corner pizza joint that serves huge, thin crust slices fresh out of the oven. This is classic New York fast food - service is quick but the place is tiny, so you'll want to take your slice outside to eat.
- John's Pizzeria, 278 Bleecker St (at Bleecker and Jones), ☎ +1 212 243-1680. A classic New York pizza place - a gritty joint with brick oven, thin crust pizza. The lines are often long but the service is fast. Whole pies only, no slices. Cash and travelers checks only.
- Lupa Osteria Romana, 170 Thompson St. between West Houston and Bleecker Sts., ☎ +1 212 982-5089. Daily Noon-Midnight. This is yet another restaurant associated with Mario Batali, but the Executive Chef is Steve Connaughton. This is a good and sometimes very good, relatively informal, mid-priced eatery, with a good and fair-priced wine list, though the food can be overly salty at times. Every fan has their own favorite dishes. First-timers may want to share several smaller dishes instead of having full meals, in order to sample the cuisine, but the primi and secondi are also worthy. The excellent Tartufo is their best dessert. Reservations recommended; otherwise, you may have a long wait.
- Mamoun's Falafel, 119 MacDougal St. 11AM-5AM. A hole in the wall place that serves arguably the most famous falafels in New York City.
- Murray's Bagels, 500 Ave of the Americas (6th Ave) (at 13th St), ☎ +1 212 462-2830. M-F 6AM-9PM, Sa-Su 6AM-8PM. This is a place that believes in the pure New York bagel — which means no toasting. Don't even bother asking. But the bagels are so fresh that it doesn't matter. It's often packed with long lines and the service is chaotic, but they give you a healthy amount of spread and toppings.
- Otto, 1 5th Ave (corner of 8th St.), ☎ +1 212 995-9559. The pizzeria in the Batali chain. Prices are much cheaper here than at Babbo, but the entire concept of the restaurant is different, so take it for what it is. The antipasti are great and the gelati as well as the pizza are well thought of. Though the food is very good, the restaurant can be deafeningly loud.
- Percy's Pizza, 190 Bleecker St.. M 11AM-2PM, 6PM-10PM; Tu 10AM-2PM, 6PM-8PM; W 11AM-1PM, 6PM-9PM, 11PM-12AM; Th 11AM-12AM; F 11AM-3AM; Sa 2PM - 3AM; Su 1PM-2PM, 6PM-7PM, 10PM-11PM. Pizza for minimalists. Percy's is a favorite among the collection of one-dollar pizza slice joints in the city. Inside is a cozy little room with about eight seats and a nice pizza cook. Know what you want when you step up to order and avoid trying to sit with any large groups; you'll quickly fill up the whole place. $1 cheese slice, $2 special slice, $1 12oz. soda can.
- Red Bamboo, 140 W. 4th St. (one block SW of Washington Square Park), ☎ +1 212 260-7049. Excellent vegetarian soul food, organic wines.
- Strip House, 13 East 12th Street, ☎ +1 212 328 0000. Su M 5pm-10pm, Tu-Th 5pm-11pm, F Sa 5pm-11:30pm. Strip House is a privately owned fine dining chain of steakhouses. All locations have smaller, separate rooms for private dining and a gift card program. Strip House Next Door is next door at 11 East 12th Street. Similar hours and menu but closed Sunday & Monday.
- Tea and Sympathy, 108 Greenwich Ave, ☎ +1 212 989-9735. M-F 11:30AM-10:30PM, Sa-Su 9:30AM-10:30PM. Describes itself as "a quintessential corner of England in the heart of Greenwich Village", typically English meals are available here (perfect for the Anglophile or homesick Brit!)
- Three Sheets Saloon (formerly The Town Tavern), 134 W. 3rd St. (off Sixth Ave.), ☎ +1 212 777-1733.
- Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St, ☎ +1 212 488-2705. A veritable icon of the worldwide gay community, not just New York's. While it's not the original incarnation of the bar that was the site of the Stonewall riots of 1969 (the building has gone through several uses since then), the current incarnation pays homage to the old and has regained its prominence as a meeting place in the LGBT community.
- Washington Square Hotel, 103 Waverly Pl (near Washington Square Park), ☎ +1 212 777-9515. This hotel offers art deco styled furnishings and complimentary internet access at the lobby bar and considers itself a haven for writers, artists and visitors.
- Jefferson Market Library (Jefferson Market Courthouse), 425 6th Av. (Between 9th and 10th St.), ☎ +1 212-243-4334. Sun:1:00PM - 5:00PM; Mon: 10:00AM - 8:00PM; Tue: 11:00AM - 6:00PM; Wed: 10:00AM - 8:00PM; Thu: 11:00AM - 6:00PM; Fri: 10:00AM - 5:00PM; Sat: 10:00AM - 5:00PM. Like other branches of the New York Public Library, they have Wi-Fi and computers for public use, among other services. The building, formerly used as a courthouse, is a unique, fanciful neo-Gothic structure well worth looking at even if you don't plan on patronizing the library.
The Village thrives on French tourists, honeymooners from Texas, and day-trippers from uptown and all around the region. Having lots of people around all the time makes it feel safer, and the residents appreciate that. Most will happily take your picture, give you directions, and advise you about where to eat, etc. At the same time, the Village isn't an amusement park. The people who live there are generally rather sedate, and they cannot be on perpetual holiday. Most need a good night's sleep so they can get up for work in the morning. Have a heart: Don't make a lot of noise, or do anything else in public that you wouldn't want someone to do in front of your house!
|Routes through Greenwich Village|
|Theater District ← Chelsea ←||N S||→ Soho (1) → Tribeca → Financial District|
|Theater District ← Chelsea ←||N S||→ Soho → Financial District|
|Midtown ← Gramercy Flatiron (F, M) ←||N S||→ Soho → Downtown Brooklyn|
|Midtown ← Gramercy Flatiron ←||N S||→ Soho → Downtown Brooklyn|
|END ←||W E||→ Gramercy Flatiron/East Village → East Brooklyn|
|END ← Hoboken ←||SW NE||→ Chelsea → Theater District|
|END ← Jersey City ←||SW NE||→ Chelsea → Theater District|