Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
Great Falls, Virginia
February 23, 2007
From journal Santa Takes Manhattan
District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
November 9, 2004
Greenwich Village was my first destination in New York. I set out for the Village first thing on Saturday morning, after arriving in the city the evening before. After getting off the subway at the Christopher St./Sheridan Square station, I ascended into what would soon become my favorite part of New York (or at least my favorite of the parts I’ve seen so far). The Village is a vibrant area of old row houses, shaded narrow residential streets, hidden alleys and carriage houses, classic architecture, funky antiques shops, and great restaurants and coffee houses. It’s also a hub for the city’s large gay and lesbian community. I recommended visiting the Village both during the day and at night; you’ll see dramatically different scenes in doing so. Daytime is best for viewing the unique houses and visiting the shops; nighttime visitors can take in the jazz clubs, bars, and restaurants. But no matter when you visit, in my opinion, you can’t visit New York without spending some time in Greenwich Village.
My walking tour started with Sheridan Square and Christopher St., a location famous for its pivotal place in the gay rights movement. Here is the location of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar where, in late June, 1969, bar patrons fought back against the police busting the bar simply because it was a gathering place for gay men (legend has it the bar’s customers were already quite made over the death of Judy Garland the night before). Across the street from the bar, a series of sculptures in a pocket park commemorate the GLBT community’s influence on the neighborhood.
A few blocks east of Sheridan Square is Gay St. (it is not named after the sexual orientation of some of the neighborhood residents). This short, curved street features some charming Federal houses. Along this street, I saw a film crew with a group of actors filming either a movie or television show; I did not recognize anyone in the group as being someone famous, and I’m unsure as to what they were filming, but maybe one of these days I’ll see a scene in a movie or on TV and realize I was there when it was filmed. These houses, along with Grove Court, a cluster of 19th-century townhomes on Grove St. (just west of Sheridan Square), were some of my favorites in the Village. They are so simple in their design, yet very elegant. Grove Court also features a nice courtyard between the houses and street.
Walking east to Greenwich and 6th Avenues, you will enter an area of art galleries and antiques, book, and gift shops, and the beautiful Jefferson Market Courthouse building, which now serves as a public library. I spent at least an hour browsing the unique stores in the area around this busy intersection.
To complete my walking tour of the Village, I continued to Washington Square Park, which I’ve included as a separate journal entry.
From journal Valentine's Weekend in New York City
April 16, 2005
Now, though, the feel is very much that of a university town: a little bit Libertarian, a little bit left wing, but not too radical, not too dangerous, and just passing through on its way to something else.
This is understandable, of course, when NYU is right on the doorstep and apparently owns large parts of the village.
There are still the trappings of its past, though. Cafe Wha, still exists, though looking slightly faded, and Le Figaro still retains some of its charm. The statues in Stonewall Place still remember a time not so long ago, when personal liberties had to be fought for, and remind us that there are those who would turn back the clock in that regard. On the whole, though, Greenwich Village now feels quaint, safe, and a little ways away from the cutting edge.
It remains a great place, though, and has its highlights. Washington Square Park is a great area for people-watching and listening to buskers. The view from Sixth Avenue north to the Empire State Building is great, and Cafe Reggio on McDougal Street had the best coffee (and waffles) I had in New York.
On a fine evening, as the chess players set up their tables on Thompson Street and the cafés along Bleecker street and West 3rd start filling up, there is a buzz, and it is hard not to find yourself with a smile on your face. It is hard not to feel a part of something. Or maybe it is the ghost of something - who knows.
P.S. If you have young children (2 to 6) there is a great children’s playground at Abington Square (corner Bleecker and Bank sts.) in the West Village. It gets very hectic, but we have found that an hour in the playground keeps our daughter happy for a day or so of less obviously child-focused activities.
From journal Easter in New York City
New York CIty, New York, Australia
September 24, 2002
Historian John Hamilton and poet Edward Kearon Lorenzo take you on a tour of historic homes and watering holes of the Village's best known artists.
The tour starts in Washington Square Park.
The guides point out the Federation style houses and tell us who lives, and has lived, at some of the addresses. John showed us where the Forbes Museum is and suggested that it is one of the city’s best kept, and cheapest, secrets.
They showed us where Charles Lindberg lived and told us of how he was awarded $25k for being the first to cross the Atlantic. They spoke of Mark Twain, Mable Dodge and Edith Wharton.
They showed us the site of the accidental bomb explosion in 1970 by the "Weathermen" (at the time, one of our guides, Ed, happened to be sitting in a dentist’s chair in a building directly opposite); and where Katherine Boudin was said to have sought refuge. The house was rebuilt in 1978 and is the only building allowed to face diagonally to the street. There is a teddy bear in the window whose outfit changes daily.
John pointed out the Acesion Parish House where you can hear Shakespeare readings every Monday night. They showed us where Emma Lazarus lived, they told us what pineapples meant at the entrance of people’s homes. They explained the difference between wrought iron and cast iron. They showed us the former site of the women’s penitentiary and where Mae West was tried for her Broadway show "Sex". They explained the story of Houdini and the canary and they explained why 6th Avenue was called "Avenue of the Americas". They pointed out where e.e. cummings lived and showed us old incinerators. We learnt of the fate of Edgar Allen Poe’s former morphine dispensary and how Billie Holliday managed to perform without a cabaret license.
Ed told us philanthropic stories of Armand Hammer and incredible stories of Frank Stella. He told us about chiclets in the subway and an Al Pacino movie called "Chinese Coffee". He spoke of Woody Allen, Jimmy Gambino and John’s Pizza.
They showed us where Dylan wrote "Positively W.4th St, and where the last person was executed. They showed us where we could swim in an Olympic sized swimming pool, where we could listen to poetry, and where we could drink a pint of homebrew.
I have not even begun to mention what we gleaned on that tour. These two guides are brilliant. They are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and genuine and I highly highly recommend this walking tour to both locals and visitors alike.
Finally, let it be known, that I am not related to, or was friendly with, either of these two folks.
From journal New York for Foreigners
March 21, 2005
From journal New York: New energy, new experiences every time!
New York, New York
January 6, 2004
In one part of Greenwich Village is Washington Park Square. Despite the historic buildings that surround it, the square is probably my least favorite open space that I have come across (I often avoid it deliberately when walking home from SoHo). A ‘Marble Arch’ style monument overlooks an area full of dodgy peddlers who whisper at you as you walk past them. Near the center is a small dog-area – one of the few places where dogs can run free in this dog-crazy city. The dog-area used to be in a triangular space on the northwestern part of the square but they had to move it a few years ago when the dog started digging up the ground. Much longer ago this part of the park was where the city’s hanging tree used to stand. People would crowd every week to watch the latest criminals be hung. The bodies were buried by the gallows (probably the only buried in the city after they banned cemeteries in Manhattan in the 19th century). So the dogs at the park a few years ago started coming back to their owners not with a retrieved ball but a human bone or two!!
From journal Wishful Thinking in New York : An insider's guide
Washington, District of Columbia
May 16, 2002
- Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women at 130 MacDougal Street.
- O. Henry got his inspiration for the story The Last Leaf at the gate at 10 Grove Street.
- Thomas Paine allegedly wrote Common Sense at 59 Grove Street.
- Edgar Allen Poe wrote The Raven at a club at 83 West 3rd Street while living at 49 East 9th Street.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay lived at 75 1/2 Bedford Street.
- 1 Washington Square North has housed the likes of Edith Wharton and Henry James.
Thanks to Robert Heide and John Gilman for compiling and sharing this info via their book, Greenwich Village.
From journal Greenwich Village Walking Tour
NYC, New York
August 24, 2004
I like jazz and blues, and have been to several clubs in Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. I joined a club crawl because I couldn't get any of my friends to go with me that night. I'm glad I did. There were 12 people in the group. I met people from all over the world.
We heard three jazz and blues bands at three clubs. All of them were good to great. One of the clubs I didn't even know about. Jerry, the group leader, knows who's good and where and when they are playing. GO TO: http://www.webspawner.com/users/nyctours for a great, fun night out. One guy from Ireland was out three times in one week. Yes, the music and the group were that good.
From journal New York City Jazz & Blues