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.