Also known as “Greenwich Village” or simply “The Village,” this neighborhood – bounded by the Hudson River, Broadway, Houston Street, and 14th street, is a historic district known for its off-beat atmosphere, artistic and literary heritage, activism, and gay-friendly attitude. While the avant-garde feel of the place – once known for its 1950's artsy community and gay rights rallies – has largely given way to a yuppified milieu and students from the nearby New York University, it's still worth an evening or afternoon visit.
SEE: Visit Washington Square Park, famous for its arch and for the bohemian subculture that still congregates here – despite the gentrification of the surrounding neighborhood. Union Square, nearby, is another Village center, with a great farmer's market many days of the week that's not averse to giving out free samples. And listen to some jazz – the VIllage Vanguard on 7th Avenue or the Blue Note on West 3rd street are both great places with consistently good line-ups.
EAT: The West Village is full of great places to stop for a bite or several. Tea and Sympathy, in the heart of “Little England” at 108 Greenwich Avenue, is an intimate setting serving delicious English pies, teas, and puddings. Lemongrass Grill, on 7th Avenue South, is a fantastic Thai venue, and Lupa Osteria Romana on Thompson St between West Houston and Bleecker is a classic Italian that's well worth a try.
SHOP: The Strand, on Broadway and 11th Street, is arguably famous as the best bookstore in New York City. With over 18 miles of second-hand books, from classics to art books to rare books in the upstairs shop, the Strand is full of everything from the latest bestsellers at massively discounts to classics from 50 cents. Generation Records, on 210 Thompson St, is the best place in New York for records in the alternative, punk, and metal genres.
By Tara Isabella Burton