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greenwich village

Welcome to The Village.

The west side of lower Manhattan, extending from Broadway west to the Hudson, marked by 14th St on the north end and Houston on the south. 

The West Village was where I landed right when I first moved to New York and I’ll always have a soft spot for it. Right on that tiny little excuse of a street, Cornelia Street. The chaos of West 4th right around the corner. The constant traffic on Bleeker. Overwhelming in the best way for a new New Yorker. The buzz of tourists packed into the cramped blocks, the unexpectedly stunning views of downtown looking down 7th Ave. And even though it can be a bit of a scene, sometimes I do miss existing in those little streets with the cute French cafes and Italian restaurants, right in the middle of it all. 

The Village is made up of three parts that bleed into each other and yet are so distinct in vibe. Greenwich Village (home to the kids of the wealthy who can afford NYU tuition), the off the grid West Village (home to the old money grown up rich, rich enough to actually keep it feeling like a village) and the Meatpacking District (basically just a bunch of warehouses turned retail that attracts tourists and bleeds into Chelsea).

Greenwich Village is pretty much synonymous with NYU, and the demographics of the students have greatly shaped the neighborhood over the years. It once was a center for bohemian culture and art movements and musical icons and historic moments like the Stonewall riots. Today, it’s a neighborhood filled with compact streets, shops and restaurants and bars and boba cafes stacked atop one another, and a park that tourists flock to and locals love to hate. Still, if you dig beneath the bustling activity you’ll find a thriving arts and theater scene and some longtime neighborhood gems.

The further west you go, the prettier the streets become, the older the crowd feels. The West Village breaks free from the grid that governs Manhattan in a series of confusing diagonal blocks that are disorienting to navigate. But you don’t even care that you’re lost because every block is so damn picturesque with pristine brick row houses and midrises on streets that are remarkably peaceful considering the proximity to chaos just around the corner. It’s as “charming” as Manhattan can get, and one can almost forgive its residents for never leaving the neighborhood. On the northwest corner sits the Meatpacking District, which was in the early 1900s filled with slaughterhouses and packing plants and marketplaces. Today, despite its less than glamorous name, its enviable location (nestled right between West Village and Chelsea with views of the Hudson to the west) makes for the stereotypically gentrified scene, the warehouses and historic markets now converted into trendy shops and restaurants and galleries. On any fair weather day, the pedestrian-ruled streets are filled with a constant buzz from Kobrick to Starbucks. Catch me in a good mood and I’ll happily saunter those blocks right there with the tourists.

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