What To See And Do In Greenwich Village?
Greenwich Village is a neighborhood in New York with an atmosphere that is quite different from other neighborhoods in the city. With its quiet streets and red brick houses, The Village is a district full of charm and very popular with artists for its bohemian atmosphere: definitely worth discovering during a trip to New York!
The History Of Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village was built on a former marshy area by the first Dutch settlers who settled in the area during the first half of the 17th century. For a long time, this village developed quite slowly, and remained separated from Manhattan and New York.
It was not until the beginning of the 19th century, following the yellow fever epidemic which caused the inhabitants of New York to flee to Greenwich Village, that the development of this district of New York accelerated.
Many rich New Yorkers, who had settled in Greenwich, had very beautiful homes built there, in the classic old New York style. Thereafter, the richest populations migrated further north of the city, and it was immigrants from Ireland, Italy and China who settled in large numbers in Greenwich Village.
The Birth Of The Bohemian Quarter Of New York
During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, rental prices, which were much lower than in many other areas of Manhattan and New York, attracted many artists who chose to live bohemian.
The vibe of Greenwich quickly changed, and this neighborhood quickly became a place where artists felt inspired and totally free to practice their art as they saw fit. Great names in painting or literature, such as Mark Twain, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol, lived in Greenwich.
From 1950 and in the decades that followed, Greenwich also became a musically important place. Major artists such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendricks and Bruce Springsteen got their start there. Jimi Hendrix also built the Electric Lady studio – his legendary recording studio – at 52 West 8th Street, Greenwich Village.
Today, The Village, as New Yorkers call it, is known the world over.
Even though rents have risen dramatically over the past few decades, the neighborhood has remained a symbol of artistic flourishing and the bohemian lifestyle.
The beautiful homes and high quality of life found in the neighborhood have made Greenwich one of Manhattan’s most desirable areas. Even if the population living in Greenwich has become much more bourgeois, the district has kept a good part of its identity. It is always an avant-garde place, at the forefront of the evolution of mentalities, where the atmosphere is relaxed, and the nightlife very lively.
Greenwich Village’s Influence In Television And Film
This modern neighborhood of artists, with its typical buildings and its many green spaces, represents quite well the trendy New York life in the eyes of the general public. Countless novels, films and series have Greenwich Village as their setting.
The legendary Friends series takes place almost entirely in The Village, and you can even see the building occupied by the characters of the series. Greenwich is also the setting for many other series and films, such as Sex and the City, Ghostbusters and Doctor Strange.
In Men in Black 2, a humorous nod is given to Greenwich’s reputation as an open and contrarian neighborhood, when a welcome agent announces to the aliens that Greenwich is the only place they can hang out in during the day.
You have the possibility to discover this district with a local guide who will show you the different places during a short visit of 2 hours.
Places To Discover In Greenwich Village
Washington Square Park
In the neighborhood, you can find several parks, but Washington Square Park is by far the most interesting. It is also the largest, and probably one of the prettiest parks in all of New York.
Historically, it was in the center of this park that public executions were held. Fortunately, that past is now far behind and today the park is a perfect place to relax and enjoy a beautiful day.
Surrounding the park are some of the buildings of New York University, which houses nearly 60,000 students. You can also visit the Gray Art Gallery, the university’s fine arts museum, which houses exhibitions from around the world.
I spoke to you a little earlier about the influence of Greenwich on popular culture and in particular on cinema. There’s pretty much no doubt that you’ve seen this park in a movie before. In fact, you might come across a film crew hard at work during your visit to Washington Park Square!
You should also meet musicians and street artists who will brighten up your ride. The players who indulge in chess on the benches of this park are also part of the symbols of Greenwich.
The park’s main landmark is the Washington Square Arch, a triumphal arch built for the centennial celebrations of George Washington ‘s inauguration.
The Ground Zero Museum Workshop
This museum is dedicated to the victims of September 11, 2001, but it is largely different from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located on the site of the former Twin Towers. Here, you can take a guided tour of a small, much more intimate museum, founded by Gary Marlon Suson, the former official photographer of the New York fire department.
This photographer was the only one authorized to take pictures during the rubble removal operations. All the photos and objects present in the Ground Zero Museum Workshop are gathered in one room, and the guide in charge of telling you anecdotes and stories about some of these objects will allow you to rediscover the events of September 11 from a new angle..
The Streets And Famous Places Of Greenwich Village
Today, the Friends apartment is among the most well-known locations in television history, and it has also become one of the most iconic locations in Greenwich Village. You can find it at 90 Bedford Street.
Another cult apartment from a TV series is that of Sex and the City heroine Carrie Bradshow at 66th Perry Street.
St Mark Place is a famous street steeped in history. It was for a very long time a place where artists, poets and musicians met. It was one of Andy Warhol’s favorite places, and a hotspot in graffiti history. This place also made rock history in 1975, when two of its buildings appeared on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fifth album: Physical Graffiti.
Shopping In Greenwich Village
In a trendy district welcoming many artists, you will inevitably find shops of fashion and design designers, who often offer avant-garde collections. But in Greenwich you will actually find a lot of shops and boutiques of all kinds.
Bleecker Street is one of the most original shopping destinations in New York, where you will find many clothing stores and fashion accessories.
In the first part of this street, between Father Demo Square and Christopher Street, you can discover small vintage shops which often offer items at particularly good prices. Further, up to Bleecker Playground, you will find all the shops of big brands as well as designers, offering luxury items.
Eating In Greenwich Village
If you want to eat in one of the most typical places in the Village, head to The Corner Bistro.
This restaurant is really one of the most popular places in the neighborhood, and you can enjoy delicious burgers there.
For a more classic meal, you can go to Olio e Piú on Greenwich Avenue, an Italian restaurant that is among the most popular establishments in New York.
And if you get peckish while discovering the neighborhood, you can go to Magnolia Bakery. This little Greenwich patisserie is actually the oldest shop in what has now become one of the city’s biggest bakery and pastry chains.
By the way, speaking of pastries, it is possible to take a guided walking tour in the neighborhood, in order to discover the best cupcake pastries. Ideal to discover the history of Cupcakes in Manhattan as well as the enthusiasm that people have for this pastry – but also to visit the district itself and, of course, to taste some nuggets.
Going Out In Greenwich Village
In Greenwich Village, there are plenty of small musical clubs for you to have a great night out – especially if you like jazz. At clubs like Fat Cat, Blue Note Jazz Club or Marie’s Crisis Cafe, talented musicians all perform nights. Admissions are free, and you will simply have to consume to be able to enjoy the show.
Bleecker Street isn’t just the shopping street, it’s actually best known for its bars and nightclubs. High-profile New York clubs like The Bitter End and The Village Gate are located on this street – this is definitely where you need to go if you want to experience Greenwich Village at night.
How To Get To Greenwich Village?
This residential area of New York is located in the southwestern part of Manhattan. It is surrounded by Soho to the south, East Village to the east, and Chelsea to the north. To the west, the neighborhood is bordered by the Hudson River.
To get to Greenwich Village, for example, you can take the New York City Subway and stop at West 4 St. Washington Square Station.
You will then be a few steps from Washington Square Park, which will be a very good starting point to start your visit to Greenwich Village. Enjoy your visit !