The traveller's guide to Greenwich Village

A bohemian district where the streets do have names


North of Soho, south of Midtown, east of the Meatpacking District and west of the Bowery, Greenwich Village is a district unlike any other in New York. It is also full of surprises, such as the origin of the name - which it acquired from the Dutch settlement of Greenwijck at the end of the 17th century, and was later Anglicised. At first uninhabitable because of its marshes, it became a residential area in the 19th century, as many imposing homes were built around Washington Square. By the end of the century, though, those who could afford it moved northwards, to be replaced by the communities of European immigrants and impoverished writers, who helped give the neighbourhood its bohemian feel.

In this part of Manhattan, most of the streets have names rather than numbers; and there is no grid system, just an irregular network with crossings at awkward angles. There are no signs that mark out the edges of the Village, but its boundaries are obvious: Hudson Street and Broadway to east and west, 14th and Spring to north and south. Step outside this area, and you will sense immediately that the surroundings have changed. The neighbourhood's main thoroughfare is Bleecker Street, which arcs through the Village from the intersection of Eighth and Greenwich Avenues, across Broadway as far as the Bowery. This is one of the Village's main shopping streets, with everything from chic designer stores to small craft boutiques selling ethnic jewellery or accessories. The other main Village street, Christopher, cuts across Bleecker at right angles.

There are relatively few hotels in this part of the city, but if you want to stay in the Village, the family-owned Washington Square Hotel, just off the Square itself at 103 Waverly Place (00 1 212 777 9515; is a good bet. Double rooms start at $189 (£105) and singles at $160 (£89), including breakfast.

The huge choice of restaurants more than compensates for the scarcity of accommodation. Whether you are looking for Peruvian or Indian, Cuban or Italian, you will find it in the Village. Babbo's, at 110 Waverly Place (00 1 212 777 0303) is always crowded, attracting fans to what is reckoned to be one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. Home, at 20 Cornelia Street (00 1 212 243 9579) is another popular choice in a street more crowded than most with eateries. Expect to find a version of roast chicken or pecan pie on the menu. And if you want to venture into the outer reaches of the Village for a really memorable meal, go to Pastis, at 9 Ninth Avenue, corner of Little West 12th Street (00 1 212 929 4844) for excellent French cooking with a bistro feel.

The Magnolia Bakery at 401 Bleecker Street at the corner of 11th Street (00 1 212 462 2572) is a Village institution, staying open late into the night. So popular are the cup cakes, which are made on the premises, that no one is allowed to buy more than a dozen at a time; they cost $1.75 (£1) each. Look out for seasonal decorations, like orange frosting for Halloween and green icing at Christmas.


Greenwich Village is the bohemian heartland of Manhattan, a quiet, tree-lined residential district by day, which transforms itself after dark into a neighbourhood of lively bars and cafés, centre of the New York gay scene and location for some of the best jazz clubs in the city. Among the most popular are the Blue Note at 131 West Third Street between MacDougal Street and Sixth Avenue (00 1 212 475 8592;, and the Village Vanguard at 178 Seventh Avenue South (00 1 212 255 4037; The Village hosts the best Halloween parade in the US, during which thousands of people throng the streets to see the weird and wonderful costumes, as the parade weaves its way along Sixth Avenue and into Washington Square Park.


Start at Washington Square and its triumphal arch - the emblem of NYU, the university whose buildings dominate the area. The current structure is a replacement, but it was originally erected to commemorate the centenary of George Washington's inauguration as President, an event which took place in New York's financial district. Washington Square Park's fountain is ringed with trees and proves a popular local meeting point or dog-walking spot. There is even an enclosure where small hounds can bound around in safety and there is usually someone there strumming a guitar or singing. The houses along the north side, known as the Row, are all that survived the early 19th-century property boom.

The narrowest house in the Village is at 75a Bedford Street. It was once the home of the poet Edna St Vincent Millay, who first used the phrase, "Burning the candle at both ends" - a good description of life in Greenwich Village

On Seventh Avenue, between Christopher and Grove Streets, lies a triangle of land known as Christopher Park. Originally part of a 17th-century tobacco farm, it was kept as a green oasis as the Village became increasingly overcrowded. In 1969, though, rioting broke out in Christopher Street when the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay establishment, and Christopher Park became a symbol of the gay liberation movement. A statue in the park commemorates the conflict. You can still visit the Stonewall whose entrance is at 113 Seventh Avenue (00 1 212 647 8258).

The Five Best: Shopping opportunities

Three Lives and Company

154 West 10th Street (00 1 212 741 2069;

Stuffed full of fiction and non-fiction, including lots of new publications. Open noon-8pm Monday and Tuesday, 11am-8.30pm Wednesday-Saturday; 11am-7pm on Sundays.

Fat Beats

Second floor at 406 6th Avenue (00 1 212 673 3883;

Specialist hip-hop and underground store, with an impressive selection of vinyl. Open noon-9pm Monday-Saturday; noon-6pm Sunday

Sonic Groove

41 Carmine Street (00 1 212 243 0500).

The owner will happily root through the stock room for your rare vinyl in this tiny store. Open 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday.


19 Christopher Street (00 1 212 414 4234)

The most enticing of three shops in the same building that stock contemporary clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery. Open noon-8pm daily.

Christian Louboutin

59 Horatio Street (00 1 212 255 1910)

Right on the edge of the Village, with an enticing stock of the designer's exquisite shoes, which have distinctive red soles. It opens 11am-7pm Tuesday-Saturday; noon-6pm on Sundays.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments