If there’s one thing on which (most) New Yorkers agree, it’s that "The Village" is still very much where it's at.
Originally the site of a Dutch tobacco plantation--and then several acres of British farmland--this broad swath of what’s now considered Downtown Manhattan covers virtually the width of the island, from 14th Street in the north to Houston Street in the south. From the late 19th-century to the present day, Greenwich Village has attracted a remarkable assortment of well-known (and not so well-known) writers, musicians, artists and revolutionaries.
At one time or another, Washington Irving, Henry James, Edgar Allen Poe, Eugene O'Neill, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollack, Allen Ginsberg, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, and James Dean all wrote, played, painted, filmed and/or lived in the Village...not to mention, of course, Bob Dylan, who made an early living (and name for himself) in the clubs and cafes around Bleecker Street.
Almost no high-rise buildings can be found along the quiet, tree-lined streets of the area, particularly in the West Village, and in the immediate vicinity of Washington Square Park. Geographically at the neighborhood’s center, the park is ringed by elegant 19th-century townhouses on the north end, and the buildings and housing of New York University to the south, east and west.
Inside, around the fountain and the famous Washington Square Arch, students and street performers mix, as they’ve been doing for decades, with fellow bohemians, families and tourists, the odd celebrity or two…and celebrate the almost European joie de vivre that makes this creatively diverse, genteel and charming "village" in New York City such a coveted and sought-after neighborhood option.
Booklovers adore browsing the renowned Strand Bookstore, which boasts “18 miles of books,” one of the largest used-book selections in the world. Right nearby, one can find Forbidden Planet, a famous UK comics and game store, whose only US location is in the Village. Shoppers also love City Opera Thrift Shop, the city’s highest quality thrift shop, as well as major chain stores along Fifth Avenue, such as Anthropologie, Banana Republic, and others.
Famous local eateries and restaurants include Joe’s Pizza, Gotham Bar & Grill, Blue Ribbon Bakery, The Pink Teaup, Sushi Samba 7, Magnolia Bakery (people line up for hours to sample their delicious cupcakes), Peanut Butter & Co., Annisa (a French restaurant), Po (Italian), and El Faro (Spanish).
The hot nightlife includes such bars and clubs as the historic Village Vanguard and Stonewall Inn (site of the Stonewall Riots for gay rights), Joe’s Pub (named after Joseph Papp and attached to the Public Theater, they nightly stage cabaret events featuring stars of Broadway and cinema), Arthur’s Tavern, Barrow Street Alehouse, Café Wha?, Terra Blues, Asylum, The White Horse Tavern, 55 Bar, Chumley’s, Temple Bar, The Village Underground, Garage and Duplex, another world-famous piano bar and cabaret, of which the Village has many.
As far as theater is concerned, Greenwich Village is the location of The Public Theater, founded by Joseph Papp in the 1960s as New York’s home for authentic, contemporary, accessible theatre, and other off-Broadway theaters such as the Lucille Lortel Theatre, The Bouwerie Theater, Westbeth Theatre, Sullivan Street Playhouse, and Astor Place Theatre. Cinephiles can view the best in independent film at the gorgeous Angelika Film Center, Quad Cinema, Cinema Village, and The IFC Center.
Annual cultural events and festivals include the Halloween Parade, during which the streets are packed with the most fabulous, outlandish costumes imaginable, The Greenwich Village Festival, Wigstock, an outdoor drag festival, The Panasonic Jazz Festival, and countless art fairs and exhibitions.
The Merchant's House Museum, New York City's only 19th century home preserved both inside and out, is located in Greenwich Village. Notable hotels in the area include Abingdon Guest House, Bleeker House and the Larchmont Hotel.
Greenwich Village is zoned into two elementary school districts: Greenwich Village School (PS41) and Melser Charrette School (PS3). Children of residents are then zoned to Baruch Middle School (104) before they apply to New York City high school for further education. Institutions of Higher Education in the neighborhood include the New School and New York University, as well as Cooper Union (a highly selective art school known worldwide).
MTA subway lines that service the neighborhood are the blue line (A, C, E), the red line (1, 2, 3) the orange line (B, D, F, V) and the yellow line (N, Q, R, W).
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