Greenwich Village: Wikis


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Greenwich Village Historic District
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. Historic District
Washington Square Park, in the heart of Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village is located in New York
Location: Bounded by: W 14st Street on the North; W Houston Street on the South; the Hudson River on the West, Broadway on the East
Coordinates: 40°44′2″N 74°0′4″W / 40.73389°N 74.00111°W / 40.73389; -74.00111Coordinates: 40°44′2″N 74°0′4″W / 40.73389°N 74.00111°W / 40.73389; -74.00111
Built/Founded: 1799
Architectural style(s): Mid 19th Century Revival, Italianate, Federal
Governing body: State
Added to NRHP: June 19, 1979
NRHP Reference#: 79001604


Greenwich Village (pronounced /ˌɡrɛnɪtʃ ˈvɪlɪdʒ/), often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families. Greenwich Village, however, was known in the late 19th – earlier to mid 20th centuries as the bohemian capital and the birthplace of the Beat movement. What provided the initial attractive character of the community eventually contributed to its gentrification and commercialization.[2]

The name of the village is Anglicized from the Dutch name Groenwijck, meaning "Pine District", into its near heterograph Greenwich, a borough of London, England.[3]



Street in Greenwich Village

The neighborhood is bounded by Broadway on the east, the Hudson River on the west, Houston Street on the south, and 14th Street on the north. The neighborhoods surrounding it are the East Village to the east, SoHo and Hudson Square to the south, and Chelsea to the north. The East Village was formerly considered part of the Lower East Side and never associated with Greenwich Village.[4] The West Village is the part of Greenwich Village west of 6th Avenue, though Realtors say the dividing line is 6th Avenue. The neighborhood is located in New York's 8th congressional district, New York's 25th State Senate district, New York's 66th State Assembly district, and New York City Council's 3rd district.

Greenwich Village was better known as Washington Square – based on the major landmark Washington Square Park[5] or Empire Ward[6] in the 19th century.

Encyclopedia Britannica's 1956 article on "New York (City)" (subheading "Greenwich Village") states that the southern border of the Village is Spring Street, reflecting an earlier understanding. The newer district of SoHo has since encroached on the Village's historic border.

Grid plan

The intersection of West 4th and West 12th Streets

As Greenwich Village was once a rural hamlet, to the North of the earliest European settlement on Manhattan Island, its street layout is more haphazard than the grid pattern of the 19th-century grid plan (based on the Commissioners' Plan of 1811). Greenwich Village was allowed to keep its street pattern in areas west of Greenwich Lane (now Greenwich Avenue) and Sixth Avenue that were already built up when the plan was implemented, which has resulted in a neighborhood whose streets are dramatically different, in layout, from the ordered structure of newer parts of town. Many of the neighborhood's streets are narrow and some curve at odd angles. Additionally, unlike most of Manhattan above Houston Street, streets in the Village typically are named rather than numbered. While some of the formerly named streets (including Factory, Herring and Amity Streets) are now numbered, even they do not always conform to the usual grid pattern when they enter the neighborhood. For example, West 4th Street, which runs east-west outside of the Village, turns and runs north, crossing West 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Streets.

A large section of Greenwich Village, made up of more than 50 northern and western blocks in the area up to 14th Street, is considered part of a Historic District by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The District's convoluted borders run no farther south than 4th Street or St. Luke's Place, and no farther east than Washington Square East or University Place.[7] Redevelopment in that area is severely restricted, and developers must preserve the main facade and aesthetics of the buildings even during renovation.

Most parts of Greenwich Village comprise mid-rise apartments, 19th-century row houses and the occasional one-family walk-up, a sharp contrast to the hi-rise landscape in Mid- and Downtown Manhattan, due to the lack of shallow bedrock.


Map of old Greenwich Village. A section of Bernard Ratzer's map of New York and its suburbs, made circa 1766 for Henry Moore, Royal Governor of New York, when Greenwich was more than two miles from the city.

Greenwich Village is located on what was once marshland. In the 16th century Native Americans referred to its farthest northwest corner, by the cove on the Hudson River at present-day Gansevoort Street, as Sapokanikan ("tobacco field"). The land was cleared and turned into pasture by Dutch and freed African settlers in the 1630s, who named their settlement Noortwyck. The English conquered the Dutch settlement of New Netherland in 1664 and Greenwich Village developed as a hamlet separate from the larger (and fast-growing) New York City to the south. It officially became a village in 1712 and is first referred to as Grin'wich in 1713 Common Council records. In 1822, a yellow fever epidemic in New York encouraged residents to flee to the healthier air of Greenwich Village, and afterwards many stayed. the oldest house remaining in Greenwich Village is the Isaacs-Hendricks House, at 77 Bedford Street (1799, much altered and enlarged 1836, third storey 1928).[8]

Greenwich Village is generally known as an important landmark on the map of bohemian culture. The neighborhood is known for its colorful, artistic residents and the alternative culture they propagate. Due in part to the progressive attitudes of many of its residents, the Village has traditionally been a focal point of new movements and ideas, whether political, artistic, or cultural. This tradition as an enclave of avant-garde and alternative culture was established by the beginning of the 20th century when small presses, art galleries, and experimental theater thrived.

In 1914, in one of the many Manhattan properties Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and her husband owned, Gertrude Whitney established the Whitney Studio Club at 8 West 8th Street in Greenwich Village as a facility where young artists could exhibit their works. The place would evolve to become her greatest legacy, the Whitney Museum of American Art, on the site of today's New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. The Whitney was founded in 1931, as an answer to the then newly founded (1928) Museum of Modern Art's collection of mostly European modernism and its neglect of American Art. Gertrude Whitney decided to put the time and money into the museum after the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art turned down her offer to contribute her twenty-five-year collection of modern art works.[9]

Cherry Lane Theatre is also located in Greenwich Village

In 1924 the Cherry Lane Theatre was established. Located at 38 Commerce Street it is New York City's oldest continuously running off-Broadway theater. A landmark in Greenwich Village’s cultural landscape, it was built as a farm silo in 1817, and also served as a tobacco warehouse and box factory before Edna St. Vincent Millay and other members of the Provincetown Players converted the structure into a theatre they christened the Cherry Lane Playhouse, which opened on March 24, 1924, with the play The Man Who Ate the Popomack. During the 1940s The Living Theatre, Theatre of the Absurd, and the Downtown Theater movement all took root there, and it developed a reputation as a place where aspiring playwrights and emerging voices could showcase their work.

In 1936, the renowned Abstract Expressionist artist and teacher Hans Hofmann moved his art school from E. 57th Street to 52 West 9th Street. In 1938, Hofmann moved again to a more permanent home at 52 West 8th Street. The school remained active until 1958 when Hofmann retired from teaching.[10]

During the golden age of bohemianism, Greenwich Village became famous for such eccentrics as Joe Gould (profiled at length by Joseph Mitchell) and Maxwell Bodenheim, dancer Isadora Duncan, writer William Faulkner, and playwright Eugene O'Neill. Political rebellion also made its home here, whether serious (John Reed) or frivolous (Marcel Duchamp and friends set off balloons from atop Washington Square arch, proclaiming the founding of "The Independent Republic of Greenwich Village"). In Christmas 1949, The Weavers played at the Village Vanguard.

The Village again became important to the bohemian scene during the 1950s, when the Beat Generation focused their energies there. Fleeing from what they saw as oppressive social conformity, a loose collection of writers, poets, artists, and students (later known as the Beats) and the Beatniks, moved to Greenwich Village, and to North Beach in San Francisco; in many ways creating the east coast-west coast predecessor to the Haight-Ashbury-East Village hippie scene of the next decade. The Village (and surrounding New York City) would later play central roles in the writings of, among others, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Marianne Moore, Maya Angelou, Rod McKuen, and Dylan Thomas who collapsed while drinking at the White Horse Tavern on November 5, 1953.

Off-Off-Broadway began in Greenwich Village in 1958 as a reaction to Off-Broadway, and a "complete rejection of commercial theatre".[11] Among the first venues for what would soon be called "Off-Off-Broadway" (a term supposedly coined by critic Jerry Tallmer of the Village Voice) were coffeehouses in Greenwich Village, particularly the Caffe Cino at 31 Cornelia Street, operated by the eccentric Joe Cino, who early on took a liking to actors and playwrights and agreed to let them stage plays there without bothering to read the plays first, or to even find out much about the content. Also integral to the rise of Off-Off-Broadway were Ellen Stewart at La MaMa, originally located at 321 E. 9th Street and Al Carmines at the Judson Poets' Theater, located at Judson Memorial Church on the south side of Washington Square Park.

Greenwich Village played a major role in the development of the folk music scene of the 1960s. Three of the four members of The Mamas & the Papas met there. Guitarist and folk singer Dave Van Ronk lived there for many years. Village resident Bob Dylan was one of the foremost popular songwriters in the country, and often developments in New York City would influence the simultaneously occurring folk rock movement in San Francisco, and vice versa. Dozens of other cultural and popular icons got their start in the Village's nightclub, theater, and coffeehouse scene during the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, notably Barbra Streisand, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Eric Andersen, Joan Baez, The Velvet Underground, The Kingston Trio, Richie Havens, Maria Muldaur, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Jimi Hendrix and Nina Simone. The Greenwich Village of the 1950s and 1960s was at the center of Jane Jacobs's book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which defended it and similar communities, while critiquing common urban renewal policies of the time.

Founded by New York based artist Mercedes Matter and her students the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture is an art school formed in the mid 1960s. The school officially opened September 23 1964, it is still currently active and it is housed at 8 W. 8th Street, the site of the original Whitney Museum of American Art.[12]

Greenwich Village was also home to one of the many safe houses used by the radical anti-war movement known as the Weather Underground. On March 6, 1970, however, their safehouse was destroyed when an explosive they were constructing was accidentally detonated, costing three Weathermen (Ted Gold, Terry Robbins, and Diana Oughton) their lives.

In recent days, the Village has maintained its role as a center for movements which have challenged the wider American culture: for example, its role in the gay liberation movement. It contains Christopher Street and the Stonewall Inn, important landmarks, as well as the world's oldest gay and lesbian bookstore, Oscar Wilde Bookshop, founded in 1967. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center - best known as simply "The Center" - has occupied the former Food & Maritime Trades High School at 208 West 13th Street since 1984. In 2006, the Village was the scene of an assault involving seven lesbians and a straight man that sparked appreciable media attention, with strong statements both defending and attacking the parties.

Since the 1960s

Jefferson Market Library, once a courthouse, now serves as a branch of the New York Public Library.

Currently, artists and local historians mourn the fact that the bohemian days of Greenwich Village are long gone, because of the extraordinarily high housing costs in the neighborhood.[13][14][15][16][17][18] The artists have fled to first to SoHo then to TriBeCa and finally Williamsburg[14] and Bushwick[citation needed] in Brooklyn, Long Island City,[14] and DUMBO.[citation needed] Nevertheless, residents of Greenwich Village still possess a strong community identity and are proud of their neighborhood's unique history and fame, and its well-known liberal live-and-let-live attitudes.[17]

Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village is now home to many celebrities, including actresses/actors Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler, Uma Thurman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Leontyne Price, Amy Sedaris, and Barbara Pierce Bush, the daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush; Thurman and Bush both live on West Ninth Street.[19] American designer Marc Jacobs[20] as well as CNN anchor Anderson Cooper[21]lives in the neighborhood. Alt-country/folk musician Steve Earle moved to the neighborhood in 2005,[22] and his album Washington Square Serenade is primarily about his experiences in the Village. The Village also serves as home to Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine as well as Calvin Trillin, a feature writer for The New Yorker magazine.

Greenwich Village includes the primary campus for New York University (NYU), The New School, and Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Parsons The New School for Design, a division of The New School, is located at 66 Fifth Avenue on 13th Street in the newly renovated, award winning design of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. The Cooper Union is also located in Greenwich Village, at Astor Place, near St. Mark's Place on the border of the East Village. Pratt Institute established its latest Manhattan campus in an adaptively reused Brunner & Tryon designed loft building on 14th Street just east of Seventh Avenue,

The historic Washington Square Park is the center and heart of the neighborhood, but the Village has several other, smaller parks: Father Fagan, Minetta Triangle, Petrosino Square, Little Red Square, and Time Landscape. There are also city playgrounds, including Desalvio, Minetta, Thompson Street, Bleecker Street, Downing Street, Mercer Street, and William Passannante Ballfield. Perhaps the most famous, though, is "The Cage", officially known as the West 4th Street Courts. Sitting on top of the West Fourth Street–Washington Square subway station at Sixth Avenue, the courts are easily accessible to basketball and American handball players from all over New York. The Cage has become one of the most important tournament sites for the city-wide "Streetball" amateur basketball tournament.

The Village also has a bustling performing arts scene. It is still home to many Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theaters; for instance, Blue Man Group has taken up residence in the Astor Place Theater. The Village Gate, the Village Vanguard and The Blue Note hosted some of the biggest names in jazz on a regular basis. Other music clubs included The Bitter End, Cafe Au Go Go, Cafe Wha? The Gaslight Cafe, and Lion's Den. The village also has its own orchestra aptly named the Greenwich Village Orchestra. Comedy clubs dot the Village as well, including The Boston and Comedy Cellar, where many American stand-up comedians got their start.

Each year on October 31, it is home to New York's Village Halloween Parade, the largest Halloween event in the country, drawing an audience of two million from throughout the region.

Several publications have offices in the Village, most notably the citywide newsweekly The Village Voice, and the monthly magazines Fortune and American Heritage. The National Audobon Society, having relocated its national headquarters from a mansion in Carnegie Hill to a restored and very green, former industrial building in NoHo, relocated to smaller but even greener LEED certified digs at 225 Varick Street, a short ways down Houston Street from the Film Forum.



Historically, local residents and preservation groups, including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), have been concerned about development in the Village and have fought to preserve the architectural and historic integrity of the neighborhood. In the 1960s, Margot Gayle led a group of citizens to preserve the Jefferson Market Courthouse (later reused as Jefferson Market Library)[23] while other citizen groups fought to keep traffic out of Washington Square Park[24] and Jane Jacobs, using the Village as an example of a vibrant urban community, advocated to keep it that way.

Since then, preservation has been a part of the Village ethos. Preservation success stories abound in the neighborhood, which was landmarked in 1969 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Victories for preservationists, oftentimes spearheaded by GVSHP, include the preservation of the Greenwich Village waterfront and Meatpacking District; the inclusion of the Far West Village in the Greenwich Village Historic District;[25] the creation of the Weehawken Street Historic District;[26] and the downzoning of the Far West Village.[27] Additionally, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission began the process of landmarking the South Village in June 2009.[28]

More recent and on-going preservation issues in the Village include: New York University's (NYU) expansion into the neighborhood;[29][30] St. Vincent’s Hospital’s rebuilding plans;[31] overdevelopment in the Far West Village;[25] and threats to local theaters,[32] including the Provincetown Playhouse,[33] the Yiddish Art Theater,[34] and the Variety Theater.

In media

90 Bedford Street, Winter 2006-2007
  • From 1948-1950, Village Barn, the first country music show on network television (NBC) originated from a nightclub of the same name in the basement of 52 West 8th Street.
  • In the movie Rear Window (1954) James Stewart's character lives in an apartment, in Greenwich Village.
  • The 1970s ABC sitcom Barney Miller was set at a fictional police station in Greenwich Village.
  • The cover of Bob Dylan's hit album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan with his then-girlfriend Suze Rotolo is taken on Jones Street near West 4th Street in Greenwich Village, near the couple's apartment at the time.[citation needed]
  • Through the 1980s, NBC Sitcom The Cosby Show made several references to 'The Village' during its series run.
  • The 1994–2004 NBC sitcom Friends is set in the Village (Central Perk was apparently on Mercer or Houston Street, down the block from the Angelika Film Center,[35] and Phoebe lived at 5 Morton Street[36]), though it was filmed and produced in Burbank, California. The exterior shot of Chandler, Joey, Rachel, and Monica's apartment building is actually located at the corner of Grove Street and Bedford Street in the West Village.[citation needed] One of the working titles of Friends was Once Upon a Time in the West Village.
  • In the 1967 Audrey Hepburn movie Wait Until Dark, the main character, Susy Hendrix, lives in an apartment located at 4 St. Luke's Place in Greenwich Village.[citation needed]
  • The short story The Last Leaf by O. Henry is entirely set in Greenwich Village.
  • The 1976 movie, Next Stop, Greenwich Village chronicles the story of young Larry Lipinski, a Jewish boy who moves to the Village in 1953, looking to break into the acting world.
  • In the Marvel Comics universe, Master of the Mystic Arts and Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, lives in a brownstone mansion in Greenwich Village. Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum is located at 177A Bleecker Street.
  • In the musical comedy, Wonderful Town, the main characters, Ruth and Eileen Sherwood, move from Columbus, Ohio to Greenwich Village to pursue their dreams. The apartment that they move into is located on Christopher Street.
  • The building used for exterior shots of Carrie Bradshaw's apartment in Sex and the City is located at 66 Perry St (even though her address in the series is the fictional address of 245 East 73rd Street on the Upper East Side).
  • The 1984 Mickey Rourke film The Pope of Greenwich Village centers on a restaurant maître d' in the Italian section of the Village.
  • The Real World: Back to New York, the 2001 season of the MTV reality television series The Real World, was filmed in the Village.[37]
  • The Greenwich Village KFC/Taco Bell infested with rats appeared on many TV networks worldwide.[38]
  • Greenwich Village is a playable multiplayer map in the 2003 video game Freedom Fighters.


Greenwich Village residents are zoned to schools in the New York City Department of Education.

Residents are jointly zoned to two elementary schools: PS3 Melser Charrette School and PS41 Greenwich Village School. Residents are zoned to Baruch Middle School 104.

Residents must apply to New York City high schools.

Greenwich Village also houses two major universities - The New School and New York University, as well as Cooper Union, which is one of the most selective art schools in the world.

Notable residents

Sullivan St. was home to Genovese crime family boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante. Born and raised in the Village he would spend most of his adult life there during the day. According to F.B.I. surveillance reports, after midnight, he would be driven to a townhouse at East 77th Street near Park Avenue where he actually lived. Popularly known as the "Oddfather," Gigante allegedly feigned senility by walking around the area in a bathrobe, in the hopes of eventually entering an insanity plea.[39]

  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, later a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and current member of the U.S. Supreme Court.[40]
  • Jane Jacobs: 1916-2006: urbanist, writer, activist
  • Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, has a home in Greenwich Village. Condé Nast Publications Ltd. reportedly gave her a $1.2million interest-free loan to purchase it.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ Strenberg, Adam (2007-11-12). "Embers of Gentrification". New York Magazine: pp. 5. 
  3. ^ Dutch colonist Yellis Mandeville, who moved to the Village in the 1670s, called it Groenwijck after the settlement on Long Island, where he previously lived. Earlier, during the period of Dutch control over the area, the Village was called Noortwyck ("Northern District", because of its location north of the original settlement on Manhattan Island).[1]
  4. ^ F.Y.I., "When did the East Village become the East Village and stop being part of the Lower East Side?", Jesse McKinley, New York Times, June 1, 1995; accessed August 26, 2008.
  5. ^ "Village History". The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  6. ^ Harris, Luther S. (2003). Around Washington Square: An Illustrated History of Greenwich Village. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-080187341-6. 
  7. ^ Landmark Maps: Historic District Maps: Manhattan
  8. ^ Kevin Walsh, Forgotten New York: The Ultimate Urban Explorer's Guide to All Five Boroughs, 2006:155.
  9. ^ Berman, Avis (1990). Rebels on Eighth Street: Juliana Force and the Whitney Museum of American Art. New York: Atheneum. 
  10. ^ Hans Hofmann Estate, retrieved December 19, 2008
  11. ^ Viagas (2004, 72)
  12. ^ History of the NY Studio School, retrieved December 19, 2008
  13. ^ Roberts, Rex (2002-07-29). "When Greenwich Village was a Bohemian paradise". Insight on the News. 
  14. ^ a b c Harris, Paul (2005-08-14). "New York's heart loses its beat". Arts (Guardian Unlimited).,11711,1548962,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  15. ^ Kugelmass, Jack (November 1993). ""The Fun Is in Dressing up": The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade and the Reimagining of Urban Space". Social Text 36 (36): 138–152. doi:10.2307/466393. 
  16. ^ Lydersen, Kari (1999-03-15). "SHAME OF THE CITIES: Gentrification in the New Urban America". LiP Magazine. 
  17. ^ a b Desloovere, Hesper (2007-11-15). "City Living: Greenwich Village". New York City (Newsday).,0,4295838.story. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  18. ^ Fieldsteel, Patricia (2005-10-19). "Remembering a time when the Village was affordable". The Villager (New York: Community Media LLC) 75 (22). 
  19. ^ "Secure Location". New York Post. 2006-09-11. 
  20. ^ "Secure Location". New York Post. 
  21. ^ "Secure Location". Bowery Boogie. 
  22. ^ Seabrook, John (June 11, 2007). "Transplant". The New Yorker. 
  23. ^ The New York Times. "Margot Gayle, Urban Preservationist and Crusader With Style, Dies at 100". 
  24. ^ The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. "Shirley Hayes and the Preservation of Washington Square Park". 
  25. ^ a b The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "Far West Village Districts Unanimously Approved!". 
  26. ^ New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. "Weehawken Street Historic District Designation Report". 
  27. ^ New York City Department of City Planning. "Far West Village Zoning Proposal – Approved!". 
  28. ^ New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. "Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II Presentation". 
  29. ^ The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "Latest News on NYU in the Village". 
  30. ^ The Villager. "Two hundred turn out to try to head off N.Y.U growth". 
  31. ^ The Villager. "Landmarks approves residential part of St. Vincent’s rebuild plan". 
  32. ^ The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "Latest News on Preserving Local Theaters". 
  33. ^ The New York Times. "Revised Plan by N.Y.U. Would Preserve Walls of Provincetown Playhouse". 
  34. ^ The Villager. "A curtain (of netting) comes down on historic theater". 
  35. ^ The Angelika Film Center was said to be "up the block" from Central Perk in "The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel", the sixth season's second episode, placing the coffee house on Mercer Street or Houston.
  36. ^ This address was given "The One With All The Kissing", the fifth season's second episode.
  37. ^ Hudson Street Loft at
  38. ^ Rats at Taco Bell/KFC in NYC at YouTube.
  39. ^ Raab, Selwyn (December 19, 2005), "Vincent Gigante, Mafia Leader Who Feigned Insanity, Dies at 77", New York Times, .
  40. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (May 26, 2009), "Sotomayor, a Trailblazer and a Dreamer", New York Times, .

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Manhattan/Greenwich Village article)

From Wikitravel

A tree-lined street in Greenwich Village
A tree-lined street in Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village (often simply referred to as "the Village") is a well-known, largely residential district in Manhattan, one of the boroughs of New York. The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Broadway on the east, the Hudson River on the west, Houston Street on the south, and 14th Street on the north. The neighborhoods surrounding it are the East Village to the east, SoHo to the south, and Chelsea to the north.

Note that the "East Village" was not historically part of Greenwich Village and is still considered by many New Yorkers to be part of the Lower East Side, but the term "West Village" is synonymous with Greenwich Village, or at least that part of the neighborhood that is west of 6th Av. or so. In the 19th century, the Greenwich Village district was better known as Washington Square. Washington Square Park remains a neighborhood landmark, but the terms "The Village," "Greenwich Village," and "West Village" are practically interchangeable.

Bookstores and other original stores can be found frequently in Greenwich Village
Bookstores and other original stores can be found frequently in Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village was once a large industrial park; later, it was colonized by radicals, bohemians, beatniks, artists, and literary greats squatting in abandoned factories. High rents exclude most of their ilk today (their countercultural counterparts are NYU students with parental support) but the Village (as it is known) still has its charm.

Greenwich Village, home to a vibrant artistic and literary community in the 1950s, occupies the space between Houston Street and 14th Street. The central portion surrounds Washington Square Park and includes NYU's large campus and a thriving B&T (bridge & tunnel - a pejorative term) nightlife scene on MacDougal Street. West of University Place are many historic and attractive brownstones and some of the city's best restaurants and bars. The area's traditional avant garde reputation - it was a major center of the gay rights movement in the 1970s, for example - has somewhat faded as yuppies and movie stars move in.

Many people worldwide who have never been to the Village are familiar with the Village Voice newspaper [1], which is actually published in the East Village.

Greenwich Village is also the main setting for the TV series Friends as Monica's apartment has a Grove St. address, and there are numerous references to nearby areas such as Bleecker St. and SoHo (although the series was actually filmed in the Warner Brother studios in Los Angeles).

Get in

By subway

Greenwich Village is served by many subway lines:

  • The 1, 2, and 3 lines run under 7th Avenue, with the 1 stopping at Christopher Street station (next to the picturesque Sheridan Square) and all three stopping at 14th Street (a passageway allows free transfer to 14th St./6th Av. station).
  • The A, B, C, D, E, F, and V lines stop in the middle of the Village at the West 4th Street station (at the intersection of West 4th Street and 6th Avenue), with the A, C, and E serving 14th St. and 8th Av. station and the F and V lines serving 14th St. and 6th Av. station (a passageway at 14th St./6th Av. allows free transfer to 14th St./7th Av. station).
  • The R and W lines run under Broadway, along with the N at night and on weekends, serving the 8th Street NYU and Union Square stations on the edge of the neighborhood.
  • The L line runs under 14th Street, stopping at the 14th St./6th Av., 14th St./8th Av., and Union Square stations.
  • The 4, 5, 6, and Q lines also serve Union Square.
  • PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) stops at Christopher St. between Hudson and Greenwich Sts. and at both 9th St. and 14th St. at 6th Avenue.

The PATH train, a subway-style transit system, is convenient and inexpensive for going to points on 6th Av. up to 33 St. (one block east of Penn Station) and to Hoboken and Journal Square in New Jersey. One can transfer from Journal Square to the PATH line that terminates at Newark - Penn Station (not to be confused with New York's Penn Station), and get from there to Newark Airport by local Newark bus.

By bus

The double-decker tour buses whisk their way up 6th Av., but why not take an MTA bus, get off, and do your own tour?

In this neighborhood, the following uptown/downtown buses operate:

  • The M20 goes uptown on Hudson St. and 8th Av., downtown on 7th Av.
  • The M5 and M6 go uptown on 6th Av.. The M6 goes downtown on Broadway, the M5 on 5th Av. to 8th St., then east on 8th and downtown on Broadway to its terminus on Houston St.
  • The M3 goes uptown on University Place and downtown on 5th Av.
  • The M2 goes uptown on 4th Av. and downtown on 5th Av.
  • The M11 goes uptown on Greenwich St. and downtown on Hudson St. to and from Abingdon Square.
  • There is also the M7, which has its downtown terminus on 14th St. and Broadway, just south of Union Square.

There are also crosstown buses:

  • The M14 goes across 14th St.
  • The M8 goes west on 9th and Christopher Sts., east on 10th and 8th Sts.

The M14 is by far the most frequent at all hours. There is also a crosstown bus on Houston St., the M21, but it runs fairly infrequently and tends to get backed up in traffic, so it is not recommended if there is a good alternative. The M21 does not run between approximately midnight and 6 A.M. See the MTA website [2] for more information.

On foot

If you are close enough to walk to the Village, do it. Walking is the best way to experience the character of neighborhoods in Manhattan and the contrast and continuity between them.

By bicycle

The park along the Hudson River has a popular bike path. Many people also ride along city streets in this neighborhood, many of which are pretty quiet side streets.

The arch in Washington Square Park.
The arch in Washington Square Park.
  • New York University (NYU), [3]. The main campus for NYU is found in Greenwich Village, centered around Washington Square Park.  edit
  • Washington Square Park, btwn Washington Square North, Washington Square South, Washington Square East, and Washington Square West. The park and the famous arch is located in the heart of the Village. Though located in the middle of an affluent neighborhood, the park attracts a hodgepodge of people.  edit
  • The New School, [4].  edit
  • Grove Court, Grove Street (just off Hudson Street). The setting for O'Henry's famous short story, The Last Leaf.  edit
Cherry Lane Theater
Cherry Lane Theater

Greenwich Village has developed as a home for a significant number of off-Broadway theater companies and lots of music venues.

  • Cherry Lane Theater, 38 Commerce Street, +1 212 989-2020, [5].  edit
  • Bitter End, 147 Bleeker St, +1 212 673-7030, [6]. Historic music club ("New Yorks Oldest Rock Club") opened in 1961 with legendary 60's acts before they were legendary. Some of the acts to play here include Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Jim Croce, David Crosby, Bob Dylan, Arlo get the idea. Still has several live acts each night for little or no cover charge. Extremely intimate bar atmosphere.  edit
  • Village Vanguard, 178 7th Avenue South (just south of 11th St.), +1 212 255-4037, [7]. Presents a great lineup of jazz performers in a quiet room (except for the music) that has good acoustics.  edit
  • Blue Note, 131 West 3rd St. (between 6th Av. and Macdougal St.), +1 212 475-8592, [8]. Also has a lineup of famous jazz and blues performers. It feels a little more like a bar (with people talking during the show) and a little less like a venue that's only about the music.  edit
  • Small's, 183 W. 10 St. (between W. 4th St. and 6th Av.), +1 212 675-7369. A great place to hear excellent jazz at low prices.  edit


There are several stores where only the phonograph records of oldies are sold, and neither CDs nor tapes. One of them is located on Carmine Street.

  • Generation Records, 210 Thompson Street, +1 212 254-1100, [9]. Best place in the city to buy hardcore, metal, industrial, punk, and alternative records.  edit
  • Oscar Wilde Bookshop, 15 Christopher Street, +1 212 255-8097 (), [10]. The world's first and oldest gay and lesbian bookstore, founded in 1967.  edit
  • Three Lives & Company- 154 W. 10th Street (at Waverly). A local independent bookstore, this microscopic yet utterly delightful place is the essence of Greenwich Village, with an extremely knowledgeable and passionate staff.
Groceries and Eateries can be found on almost every street of Greenwich Village
Groceries and Eateries can be found on almost every street of Greenwich Village

You'll find hundreds of restaurants and sidewalk cafés of virtually every culture. All-American, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Polish, Pakistani, Spanish, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese...the list goes on... At many spots you'll find affordable eats with the chance to enjoy your meal on the sidewalk. There are also some well-known upscale restaurants in the neighborhood.

  • Tea and Sympathy, 108 Greenwich Avenue, +1 212 989-9735, [11]. M-F 11:30AM-10:30PM, Sa-Su 9:30AM-10:30PM. Describes itself as "a quintessential corner of England in the heart of Greenwhich Village", typically English meals are available here (perfect for the Anglophile or homesick Brit!)  edit
  • Dragon Fly, 47 7th Ave, +1 212 255-2848. Pan-Asian at very reasonable prices plus a large vegetarian menu. Beautifully calm setting. Closed for renovations as of March 2008.  edit
  • Babbo, 110 Waverly Place (between Washington Square West and 6th Av.), +1 212 777-0303, [12]. The most famous of Chef Mario Batali's restaurants, and especially well-known for its pasta tasting menu. Reserve a month in advance or stand on line before opening time (5:30 on weekdays and 5:00 on Sundays) to try to get a seat at the bar or one of the tables kept open for walk-ins. Babbo is one of the hardest restaurants to get a reservation at in New York, which should indicate something about its popularity. Do not expect a cheap meal, but this is one you don't have to dress up for.  edit
  • Blue Hill, 75 Washington Place (between Washington Square West and 6th Av.), +1 212 539-1776, [13]. An upscale American restaurant known for its fresh ingredients and subtlety. Call ahead for reservations.  edit
  • Otto, 1 5 Av. (corner of 8th St.), +1 212 995-9559, [14]. The pizzeria in the Batali chain. Prices are much cheaper here than at Babbo, but the entire concept of the restaurant is different, so take it for what it is. The antipasti and gelati as well as the pizza are well thought of.  edit
  • Red Bamboo, 140 W. 4th St. (one block SW of Washington Square Park), +1 212 260-7049, [15]. Excellent vegetarian soul food, organic wines.  edit
  • Lupa Osteria Romana, 170 Thompson St. between West Houston and Bleecker Sts., +1 212 982-5089, [16]. Daily Noon-Midnight. This is yet another restaurant associated with Mario Batali, but the Executive Chef is Steve Connaughton. This is a very good, relatively informal, mid-priced eatery, with a good and fair-priced wine list. Every fan has their own favorite dishes. First-timers may want to share several smaller dishes instead of having full meals, in order to sample the cuisine, but the primi and secondi are also worthy. The excellent Tartufo is their best dessert. Reservations recommended; otherwise, you may have a long wait.  edit
  • The Town Tavern, 134 W. 3rd St. (off Sixth Ave.), +1 212 253-6955, [17]. Popular hot spot for the wild parties and friendly people.  edit
  • Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street, +1 212 488-2705, [18]. A veritable icon of the worldwide gay community, not just New York's.  edit
  • Washington Square Hotel, 103 Waverly Place (near Washington Square Park), +1 212 777-9515, [19]. This hotel offers art deco styled furnishings and complimentary internet access at the lobby bar and considers itself a haven for writers, artists and visitors.  edit
  • Web2Zone, [20]. Located right by the NYU campus, Web2Zone is an internet cafe offering regular internet services, a gaming section, a digital lounge in the basement and a small cafe.  edit


The Village thrives on French tourists, honeymooners from Texas, and day-trippers from uptown. Having lots of people around all the time makes it feel safer, and the residents appreciate that. Most will happily take your picture, give you directions, and advise you about where to eat, etc. At the same time, the Village isn't an amusement park. The people who live there are generally rather sedate, and they cannot be on perpetual holiday. Most need a good night's sleep so they can get up for work in the morning. Have a heart: Don't make a lot of noise, or do anything else in public that you wouldn't want someone to do in front of your house!

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Simple English

File:West 4th and West 12th
West 4th and West 12th street intersecting

Greenwich Village is an area on the western part of southern/downtown Manhattan. It is sometimes called The Village. The Village is mainly residential.



Greenwich Village is bordered by Broadway to the east, Hudson River to the west, Houston Street to the south and 14th Street to the north.


Originally, Greenwich Village was a hamlet separate to New York City. It does not have a formal grid plan for its streets like much of Manhattan.


The village is located on what used to be marshland. In the 16th century, Native Americans called it Sapokanikan which means tobacco field. In the 1630s, it was turned into pasture by the Dutch, who called it Noortwyck. In 1664, when the English captured the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, and Greenwich Village developed as a hamlet.

In 1712, it officially became a village, and was named Grin'wich in the 1713 Common Council records. Following a yellow fever epidemic in 1822, many New York residents moved to the healthier air of Greenwich; where many stayed. In the 19th century, it was known as Washington Square.

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