14 Reasons You’ll Love Living in The Village

14 Reasons You’ll Love Living in The Village

  • Caryl Berenato
  • 07/20/22

Located on the lower west side of Manhattan is the enclave of Greenwich Village. In the 1960s, this area was the center of counterculture and, to this day, still maintains a bohemian vibe. Affectionately known as “The Village” to hip locals who call the area home, Greenwich Village is an artsy, LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood full of off-Broadway theaters, eclectic boutiques, tasty eats, and trendy inhabitants. There’s a ton to see and do in this village within a city, so you’ll always find something fun to get up to.

Washington Square Park

In the heart of Greenwich Village is where you'll find the 9.75-acre Washington Square Park. Washington Square Park is a meeting place, cultural hub, and one of New York City's most well-known public parks. Locals flock to the park for its playgrounds, game tables, dog runs, the Washington Square Arch built between 1890 and 1892, and Washington Square Fountain. Be sure to bring a picnic, or when you're done exploring the park, stroll the side streets to find one of the beloved nearby eateries.

MacDougal Street

MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village has quite the storied past and is a must-see stop when visiting The Village. MacDougal Street has seen notable residents and denizens come and go, from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Elenor Roosevelt, and Jackson Pollock to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Part of the allure of MacDougal Street is its architectural storefronts that have been restored or maintained to keep their late 20th-century charm. Stop in one of the many iconic Greenwich Village establishments such as Caffe Reggio, which opened its doors in 1927 and is credited with bringing the cappuccino to the United States, or catch some live music at Cafe Wha?, a live music venue that first opened its doors in 1957.

Greenwich Village ghost tours

If the streets of Greenwich Village could talk, they’d most certainly have a story to tell. If you’re a fan of the offbeat and quirky, one reason you’ll love living in the Village is its walking tours. With a history as long as Greenwich Village’s, you can only imagine there’d be a few ghost stories attached to it. This is where the Ghosts of Greenwich Village Tour steps in. Small group and private tours of The Village's more famous (and not so famous) haunts are a fun way to learn about the spookier history of Greenwich Village. Visit the Anne Charlotte Lynch House (also known as the "Poe House”), stand under the Hanging Tree, or meet the ghosts of Gay Street.

The Friends Apartment building

Although the hit sitcom, Friends, was filmed on a Warner Brothers lot in Burbank, California, friends Joey, Ross, Phoebe, Chandler, Rachel, and Monica lived in Greenwich Village on the long-running TV show. While you can’t go inside, you’ll find like-minded fans among the throngs of tourists often spotted outside grabbing selfies. If you fancy yourself a “Friend” of the show, you can, however, pay a visit to the corners of Grove and Bedford Streets and see the six-story building completed in 1899 that was used for exterior shots on the series. And, if you’re fortunate to find an expert real estate agent, you, too, can live in your very own Greenwich Village townhouse.

Bleecker Street

Before Greenwich Village was New York City's bohemian capital, it was fertile farmland. When  Greenwich Village was still farmland, part of it was owned by the Bleecker family. The farm had a road that cut straight through it, and that road was eventually given to the city. Bleecker Street retained the name of the family that once owned the road and land. Today, Bleecker Street is a popular Greenwich Village thoroughfare and is a great place to find restaurants, nightclubs, live music venues, and unique shopping opportunities.

Various architectural styles

Designated on April 29, 1969, the Greenwich Village Historic District contains more than 2,200 buildings encompassing more than 65 blocks. You could spend an entire day strolling The Village's tree-lined streets and admiring the more than two centuries of architectural styles that can be found here. Some of the architectural styles found here range from Federalist-style dwellings just off of Grove Street to Greek Revival and Italianate townhouses. Many of these buildings were built in the late 1700s through 1800s and still have their original iron fences or stone stoops.

Shopping in the Village

In such an eclectic area as Greenwich Village, you can expect the shopping to be pretty epic. This isn't your 5th Avenue or Soho shopping experience. Instead, you can find cool vintage clothing stores, vintage bookstores, and hip places to browse for vinyl records to add to your collection. However, if you're in the market for some high-end retail therapy, you'll find more upscale shopping along Bleecker Street.

Off-Broadway shows

If there is one thing that New York City is known for, it’s live theater. Broadway is famous the world over for attracting some of the most talented stage actors. But, many would-be Broadway stars seeking to see their name in lights have to start somewhere, and this is where Greenwich Village enters the stage. Off-Broadway shows are an excellent opportunity to catch up-and-coming stage actors, directors, and playwrights without the Broadway price tag. Keep in mind that this does not mean you have to sacrifice the quality of entertainment. You’ll often find top-notch talent performing at these lesser-known theaters.

Comedy clubs

Need another reason why you’ll love living in The Village? The comedy clubs you’ll find here are worth the price of admission⁠—you never know which big-name comedian will make a surprise appearance to tickle your funny bone. Greenwich Village has a history of attracting creative types, and comedians are in good company along with the artists, writers, musicians, and poets you’ll find in The Village. The Greenwich Village Comedy Club and Comedy Cellar are both located on MacDougal Street and offer nightly comedic entertainment. Or, if you happen to find yourself on Bleecker Street, The Comedy Shop, formerly known as The Lantern Comedy Club, is worth a visit. Many of the local comedy clubs in Greenwich Village have open mic nights and offer stand-up comedy classes so you can try your hand on stage.

Independent movie theaters

If you fancy yourself a film buff, you aren't left out in the cold, either. Greenwich Village also has art houses and independent movie theaters showing foreign, independent, and classic films. Arguably one of the most well-known of these theaters is the IFC Center. The IFC Center opened its doors in June 2005 and occupies the historic Waverly theater building. The IFC complex has five state-of-the-art cinemas with comfortable seating, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, and a calendar full of events. And best of all, IFC Central serves up organic popcorn with real butter as well as a selection of gourmet snacks.

The Jefferson Market Garden

Photo courtesy of Jefferson Market Garden
Greenwich Village has its fair share of green spaces sprinkled amid the hustle and bustle of lower Manhattan. Jefferson Market Garden is one of the most popular among locals. The history of the space spans nearly 150 years. In 1873, the original Jefferson market was leveled to erect a courthouse. However, in the 1960s, the courthouse was slated for demolition. Greenwich Village residents petitioned to save the courthouse from demolition and have it renovated for use as a public library. The women's detention facility, however, was subsequently demolished, and in its place eventually came a public green space. In the spring of 1975, Jefferson Market Garden saw its first flowers bloom where the women's detention facility once loomed 11-stories over the courthouse. Today, Jefferson Market Garden hosts weddings and community events and provides an oasis for those who call Greenwich Village home.

Pier 45 at Hudson River Park

Photo courtesy of Hudson River Park
Situated along the Hudson River in Hudson River Park is where you’ll find Pier 45. Opened to the public in 2003, Pier 45 is a 900-foot pier that includes a promenade, ample seating areas as well as an expansive lawn. There are also spray showers to help you beat the New York City heat. During the summer, you'll dance the night away at the free Sunset Salsa classes and Sunset on the Hudson concert series.

The Museum of Interesting Things

The Museum of Interesting Things sounds, well, interesting, doesn’t it? Fans of the peculiar will be delighted by the curiosities amassed by curator Denny Daniel. The antiques and inventions found here are unlike anything you'll find at most other museums. Although the Museum of Interesting Things is less of a formal museum and more of an eclectic collection of curios, you can let your imagination run wild and experience an enthusiastic Denny Daniel's interactive world of bygone eras.

Art Galleries

Photo courtesy of Salmagundi Club
Greenwich Village was a thriving, vibrant art colony as far back as the 1850s. Then, like now, you will happen upon art schools, galleries, and art studios. The Salmagundi Museum of American Art is one of America's oldest art organizations. The building which houses the Salmagundi Museum of American Art was first acquired in 1917.

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