Welcome to The Village.
The west side of lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village (home to the kids of the wealthy who can afford NYU’s scary high tuition) with the carved out section of West Village (home to the old money grown up rich) and the collection of reclaimed buildings that make up the Meatpacking District.
Greenwich Village is pretty much synonymous with NYU, and the demographics of the students have greatly shaped the neighborhood over the years. But before it became a magnet for students and tourists hanging around Washington Square Park, before it became one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the country, it 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 stacked atop one another. Still, if you dig beneath the bustling activity you’ll find a thriving arts and theater scene and some longtime neighborhood gems.
Within the broader Greenwich Village are two smaller neighborhoods. West Village is the part that breaks free from the grid in a series of confusing diagonal blocks that are disorienting to navigate, but you don’t even care 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 about as “charming” as Manhattan can get. To the north, the Meatpacking District 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.