An Insider’s Guide to Manhattan’s West Village
PHOTO: The Little Owl. (courtesy NYC & Company)
Manhattan’s West Village is one of the city’s most treasured neighborhoods and was recently highlighted by NYC & Company in its most recent installment of the NYCGO Insider Guides. The series shines a spotlight on an individual neighborhood and, in this edition, the West Village took center stage.
“The West Village is one of the City’s most beloved neighborhoods, and we invite visitors and locals alike to discover this beautiful and authentically NYC enclave this month and beyond,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company’s president and CEO. “As the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, the West Village also has a storied history that travelers from near and far should certainly discover.”
For those who want to live like a local in the West Village, here is the inside scoop on what to see.
Discover LGBT History
Head to Stonewall Inn to discover the birthplace of the gay liberation movement. The gay bar/tavern is a National Historic Landmark on Christopher Street. The raid on the bar on June 28, 1969, sparked the gay rights movement and in June of last year, Stonewall received official landmark status from the city of New York because of its unique connection to LGBT history.
The LGBT Community Center is also in the neighborhood, offering wellness programs, arts, entertainment, performances and cultural events. Don’t miss the Keith Haring mural located at the center.
Running Around Town
The tree-lined streets of the West Village offer the perfect backdrop for walking, running or biking. The area between Greenwich Avenue and Bleecker Street, from Christopher Street to Bank Street, offer a particularly stunning glimpse into the unique beauty of this iconic neighborhood.
Highlights include the narrowest house in NYC at 751/2 Bedford Street, the “Friends” Apartment at 90 Bedford Street and the Little Owl restaurant on the ground floor as well as the Gardens St. Luke in the Fields park, which is a hidden gem.
Hudson River Park is ideal for runners and cyclists and in the warmer months, Pier 45 at Christopher Street offers and urban “beach” experience.
The West Village offers an abundance of attractive shops. There are the tony boutiques along Bleecker Street and Christopher Street — James Perse, Cynthia Rowley, Brunello Cucinelli and Rag & Bone — and hidden treasures such as the city’s only Monocle Shop on Hudson Street, Three Lives & Company (the rare bookstore) on West 10th and Greenwich Letterpress (the rare stationery shop) and Doodle Doo’s (a kids’ toys store and salon in one) on Christopher Street.
Out on the Town
Like other Manhattan neighborhoods, the West Village has a generous offering entertainment options.
Jazz lovers can head to Smalls Jazz Club or try the Village Vanguard, sometimes called the “Carnegie Hall of Jazz.” Theater buffs have the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street; the Cherry Lane Theatre on Commerce Street (currently playing Colin Quinn The New York Story, directed by Jerry Seinfeld), or the Bank Street Theater, home to the Labyrinth Theater Company, on Bank Street.
Gay bars abound in the West Village including the longest-running neighborhood gay bar Julius'. Pieces is a must for the karaoke lover and piano bar Marie’s Crisis is ideal for showtunes.
The speakeasy is making a comeback these days and those who want a retro-style experience can head to Employees Only — don’t be fooled by the psychic readings in the foyer.
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