The West Village is known for its bohemian chic flares and is one of the most sought after neighborhoods in the city. Due to its quiet tree-lined streets and the trendy and stylish vibes, it is the perfect hideaway for many artists and celebrities. The West Village is a neighborhood of free spirited luxury.
West Village, a subdivision of the famous Greenwich Village neighborhood, can be found on the westside of Manhattan bordered by Houston street to the South, 6th Avenue to the East, 14th street to the North and the Hudson River on the West.
You’ll find 19th century townhomes as well as cul-de-sacs and more recently some condominiums, though even these newer developments are small compared to the standard ones across the rest of the city. Off the grid system, the winding streets of the West Village are exciting, if not complicated, to explore. You’ll get lost, but that’s okay, because the streets are charming and lovely.
In the 16th century, Native Americans called the area “Sapokanikan” (tobacco field). The Dutch cleared the land and turned it into pasture in the 1630s and renamed “Noortwyck” (North District or Northwich). When the English conquered the Dutch settlement of New Netherland in 1664, and Greenwich Village developed as a hamlet separate from the larger New York City to the south on land that would eventually become Lower Manhattan.
Between 1797 and 1829, New York’s first penitentiary, Newgate Prison, took over the land of today’s West Village. The building was designed by Joseph-François Mangin who also later designed City Hall. By 1821, the prison, which was designed for 432 inmates, held 817 instead, a number made possible only by the frequent release of prisoners, sometimes as many as 50 a day. Since the prison was north of New York City (which at the time was largely below Canal Street), being sentenced to Newgate became known as being "sent up the river", an expression which carried over when it was replaced by the new Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.
The Village is generally known as an important landmark on the map of American bohemian culture. 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, most notably the LGBTQ+ movement that started in the 60s at the Stonewall Inn. This tradition as an enclave of avant-garde and alternative culture was established during the 19th century and into the 20th century, when small presses, art galleries, and experimental theater thrived.
The Village hosted the first racially integrated nightclub in the United States. Café Society showcased African American talent and was intended to be an American version of the political cabarets of Europe before World War I. Notable performers there included among others: Pearl Bailey, Nat King Cole, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lead Belly, Anita O'Day, and Charlie Parker.
West Village is peaceful but vibrant. The mix of longtime New Yorkers, younger trend seekers and tourists create a unique group of people traversing the picturesque winding streets. Tourists are drawn to the neighborhood because of the celebrities that live there along with dozens of other famous actors and artists. While both locals and tourists visit Bleecker St, spanning most of the West Village, that has many upscale boutiques as well as local restaurants, bakeries, and record, coffee, and book shops.
Washington Square Park is another site worth visiting — it has been the site of much civil unrest in New York City in the past 50 years, including more recently with controversy over the many performers found there. It was the site of the first ever protest film, as well as the beginning of the gay rights movement in NYC.
While the sidewalks aren’t as wide as those on the UWS, there are several playgrounds in the area like Bleecker Playground, Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground, Minetta Playground and James J. Walker park, as well as abundant space at Washington Square Park and Hudson River Park for the kiddos to run around.
Many schools can be found in the area such as the Village Community School, P.S. 41, West Village Nursery school, M.S. 297, The School of Drama | The New School and parts of the NYU campus.
The West Village is known for beautiful townhouses and smaller apartment buildings. If you’re looking to find a picturesque brownstone, this is one of the neighborhoods to do so.
There are relatively few large apartment buildings but some of what’s there are quite attractive. Notable buildings are the Archive, a striking red-brick building on Greenwich St. that was formerly an archive with extremely high ceilings, and Richard Meier’s towers on Perry St.
What are the subway/bus/ferry stops in the neighborhood? Citi bike docks? Scooter rental like revel available? Car friendly, especially where parking is considered?
You can get to the West Village by the 1/2/3 train as well as the A/B/C/D/E/F/M at the West 4th St. station.
The Path Train has a stop at Christopher St. that easily connects the neighborhood to New Jersey.
There are many Citibike stops throughout the neighborhood as well as throughout the developed bike path along Hudson River Park which connects the neighborhood to others along the West side of Manhattan.
There are plenty of options for street parking in the neighborhood but high demand causes issues in availability. Double check street parking times, street cleaning schedules and requirements for parking permits before parking.
Notable Residents of West Village have included Calvin Klein, Courtney Love, Julia Roberts, Yoko Ono, Jim Carrey and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Some of the neighborhood treasures one can visit in West Village are the Stone Wall National Monument and the Inn itself, the NYC Aids Memorial, Carrie’s House from Sex and the City and The Whitney Museum of American Art.
For outdoor activities visit Hudson River Park, Little Island, Washington Square Park, The Highline and the Jefferson Market Garden.
If you’re looking for things to do in the West Village you can visit the Uncommons to play some board games, play chess against experts in Washington Square Park, take a yoga class at Modo Yoga, visit the Friends house.
For entertainment head over to the IFC Theater to watch a movie, watch some standup comedy at the Comedy Cellar or catch a band at the Cellar Dog (used to be known as Fat Cat) or Smalls Jazz Club.
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West Village is located within New York County, New York. This area currently has 1,634,989 residents in 753,385 households. Out of the total population, 40.12% of the residents speak another language at home instead of English. The majority of the inhabitants in this county are currently unmarried and have a median age of 37.
When looking at residents older than 25, around 12.55% have graduated from high school, 31.80% have a bachelor's degree, and 28.64% have obtained their master's degree or above. Employment rate is typically around 62.9% and the median income in this county is $75,513.
At least 76.86% of those living in this county are renting their homes. Most residents will commute to work by public transportation with an average commute time of 31 minutes.
Geographically, New York County, New York is a part of the New York - Newark, NY - NJ - CT Urban Area. This county is currently home to 18,812,161 residents, or 6,707,347 households with a median income of $68,319. the New York - Newark, NY - NJ - CT Urban Area residents have a median age of 38 and 50.07% are currently renting their homes in the area.