The West Village preserves the charm of city planning gone by with well-kept nineteenth century brownstones and a fair amount of winding cobblestone streets. A bit preppier than its rockin’ cousin the East Village, the West Village still hosts a boisterous nightlife scene and sought after dining spots. Movie stars are known to call it home, while quaint cafes, independent designer shops, and trendy restaurants line the streets
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I love where I live!
It seems like not a day goes by when I don’t think to myself “I love where I live”. I feel incredibly lucky to live in the W. Village in NYC. It truly has a village feel to it. The tree-lined narrow streets lined with cafes make it feel like the old New York. It’s a bit trendy and somewhat snooty in places, but I don’t even mind that. There is a sense of history and charm that this neighborhood exudes. It’s truly timeless. And the food! Oh, the food choices are abundant. Within 4 blocks, I can name 20 or more amazing restaurants and gourmet shops. It’s a food lover’s paradise. The downsides: it’s not cheap to live here and it can get overrun by tourists (on Bleecker St especially). Parking is difficult, but the flipside is that public transportation is nearby and plentiful. This neighborhood continues to delight me and make me proud to call it homeBARBARA P
The West Village looks more like a European town than a neighborhood in New York City. It has the most tree-lined streets, beautiful historic brownstones, nooked restaurants and Hudson River access. As such, it is one of the most coveted addresses in New York. Home to many celebrities and the exorbitantly wealthy, this is an excellent neighborhood for couples or families. It is further away from the raucous college scene of Greenwich Village, but there is still enough in the way of nightlife for people to have a good time. But because it is tucked away, it is not near many subway lines. The walk from the closest ones is not terrible, but it can often be inconvenient especially when the weather is rainy or cold. Even so, it is a stunningly beautiful and quiet neighborhood.Beverly W.
West Village – The Best Neighborhood in Manhattan!
The West Village is by far, the most charming neighborhood in Manhattan. Gorgeous, Pre-war brownstones, tree-flooded streets, quaint shops, trendy restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife. Contradicting an outsider’s general perception that Manhattan is just a huge city with towering skyscrapers, the West Village is more like a suburb within a city where everything is smaller and more intimate. I spend so much time in the village, yet I am always hearing about someone’s favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or hot spot I have yet to experience. There is no better place for the perfect romantic night out. Outdoor dining, live jazz music, or just taking a stroll down an enchanting street, such as Morton, Waverly, or Grove. All summed up, the West Village is a dream come true.Susan D. lives here now
I couldn’t think of a better place in Manhattan to raise kids. There’s great parks, and lots of other young families for play dates, associations, and a general sense of community. It’s also clean, without the post-industrial or recovered slum feel of many parts of downtown. It does feel like a little village, because most of the streets besides the major avenues don’t see a lot of traffic.Evan O.
More than any other neighborhood, the West Village lives up to the image of Manhattan in contemporary romantic comedy movies. It really is beautiful, and the shops and restaurants, though skewing towards upscale, are unique in character. It’s not a cheap place to live, but its residents are still difficult to pin down, as opposed to some other Manhattan neighborhoods. The downside of all this, in my not so humble opinion, is that you see a fair amount of young money acting out a thinly veiled version of Sex in City or Entourage, generally oblivious to where they are at. However, a touch of the character of old downtown still remains on Christopher St, which, although no longer quite a national destination for gay life, still provides an oasis of tolerance for the younger LGBT crowd from the tri-state area.
Filippa Edberg-Manuel visits here regularly
A West Village walk along memory lane (MacDougal Street)
Before the Village was part of New York City, when it was just the marshy green country side, considered uptown by the inhabitants of New Amsterdam, a brook ran southwest from what today is 23rd Street, across the
marsh lands, made a westward turn, and then ran out in the Hudson River.
This brook was called Manette or Devil’s Water, by the Indians, and is known today as Minetta Brook.
Walk along MacDougal Street, from West 3rd Street towards Bleecker, and among pizzerias, cafés, body piercing and tattoo parlors, and you will find
parts of some real Village history.
Named after the Minetta Brook, that still runs underground, Minetta Tavern opened in 1937. Supposedly while it was speakeasy during the prohibition,
“known” as The Black Rabbit, the basement was the birthplace of the very first Readers Digest.
Today Minetta Tavern is known for it’s aged prime beef burgers and excellent cocktails, as well as their celebrity clientele (there is even a “no
photography” rule). Keith McNally, who took over the restaurant in 2008, polished it up, and all while keeping the old saloon feel turned it in to a modern day Village hotspot. Minetta Tavern is today one of the most popular restaurants in the Village, and reservations can be quite hard to come by.
During the golden ear of the Village bohemians Minetta Tavern was a famous hangout for a host of writer and poets like Ernest Hemingway, e.e.Cummings, Dylan Thomas, Eugene O’Neill, Ezra Pound and Joe Gould.
In the street corner just north of Minetta Tavern, at 115 MacDougal Street, is another famous hangout for writers, artists and musicians: the rock club Café
Wha? Beatniks and rockers rubbed elbows here. Allen Ginsberg came for the drinks and the music. Café Wha? claims to be the birthplace of the careers of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix , Bruce Springsteen, Peter, Paul &
Mary, and Kool and the Gang. Today Café Wha? is still an active music venue, and even though it is mostly
cover bands there are still a few historic rock music performance happening: Van Halen and David Lee Roth (who’s uncle, Manny Roth, used to own Café Wha?) preformed together in January, 2012.
If you are in the mood for a coffee why not sit down at Caffe Reggio, at 119 MacDougal Street. This original Village café proudly claims to be the first café in the United States to serve Cappuccino. Caffe Reggio opened in 1927, and the same Espresso machine, in chrome
and bronze, from 1902 is still on display. The original owner, former barber Domenici Parisi, was said to have spent his life savings $1000 to import the Espresso machine from Italy. No food was served at the time, and the owner was the only one allowed to touch the expensive machine. When he was sick, the café was closed. The café has retained its old world décor with stucco walls, pressed tin ceiling and an eclectic mix of furniture and artwork. There is a 500 year old bench said to have belonged to the Medici family, and a painting by an artist from the Caravaggio school. The historic charm of the café has been featured in many movies: The Kremlin Letter, Godfather II, Serpico, Next
Stop-Greenwich Village, In Good Company and Shaft. It is a popular location for photo shoots, and it was the backdrop to a famous speech made by John F Kennedy in 1959.
Besides the many bohemians, writers, poets and painters, this part of the Village was known for its “long-haired men” and “short-haired women”. A large number of famous gay and lesbian restaurants, bars, cafés, and tearooms has lined the streets trough out the years.
In the corner of MacDougal and Bleecker Street lay the San Remo, the cool place to be for Beatniks like Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouak and Corso. In the 1960s they all used to hang out at the San Remo, together with
Tennessee Williams, Jackson Pollock, and Judith Malina (the co-founder of one of the most radical theater troupes of its time: the Living Theater). Famous for being one of the few places in the US were interracial couples were accepted, the San Remo was featured as The Masque in Jack Kerouak’s interracial love story The Subterraneans.
Another famous bohemian village hangout, before it closed after more then 50 years in 2008, was Le Figaro Café. Le Figaro, at 186 Bleecker Street, used to be quite a Village Landmark and “everyone” used to come here for the drinks and the company: Dylan, Ginsburg, Pollock, Miles Davis, Auden, Albee, Lenny Bruce, and Warhold. This is where in the film Factory Girl, Edie Sedgwich met Andy Warhold for the very first time, and in Carlito’s Way there is a scene with Al Pacino and Penelope Ann Miller talking about old times in Le Figaro Café.Edberg-Manuel
mary jane day, too-high-heel night
I def. agree that the Wes Village does have this cool, almost European town vibe going on…during the daytime, that is. I find this area a bit annoying at night. The streets get swarmed with—what is the nice way to say ‘bitches in heels’? All of a sudden the charm gets zapped away and I feel like I’m in an outdoor nightclub. Booze is a bit too expensive here as well: 6 packs of Modelo for $15 at a bodega, come one!
All that said, daylight in the west village is beautiful—I recommend strolling hitting a gourmet food shop and then strolling around some side streets. It’s an uber-charming experienceKatie P.
Though you still have the urban outfitters crowd that you might find in the East Village, the West Village will offer you are more settled and modern feel than it’s ‘village’ neighbors.
This nabe is surely gentrifying, but it maintains its quaintness quite well. The west village has a classy feel to it, and it’s a place where you can always find a great bite to eat.
Although most of the residences here are lowrises or brownstones, there has been work done to get some high rises in there (for better or for worse)Richard H
People get stuck on living here
Here’s the thing with the West Village, so many people feel like they have to live here to get the authentic NYC experience. I think the West Village is great, super charming, etc. But to all those people who feel like this is authentic NYC living at its best, I have to disagree. This is one of the wealthiest and most established areas in NYC. Personally, I love NYC for its diversity, creativity and energy. I think you can find that better in other neighborhoods. Go live in Brooklyn, or the Lower East side, or the East Village, or Harlem, or Washington Heights… I’d rather live somewhere where people are creative and striving, where all the neighbors know each other and there is a real scene. Then you can come back and visit the West Village. You don’t have to live in one of the teeny tiny apartments to experience this nabe. Just be a regular visitor, like me ?
cute, winding, cobblestone streets. Great restaurants, shops and cafes.
What’s not so awesomeAnn
Too mainstream, tiny spaces, lacking the artistic/creative scene of other nabes. EXPENSIVE!!!
West Village Charm
Situated in a very trendy part of town, the West Village provides residents and visitors with a small-town feel in a big city. When you turn down any of its residential side streets, the honks and horns of angry cab drivers and the sometimes-overwhelming intensity of New York traffic suddenly drift away. Yet, those sights and sounds are so close that you don’t feel isolated from any aspect of city life. The West Village is full of tree-lined streets and picturesque brownstones that feel straight out of classic New York films and television shows. Visitors will love the charm of the residential areas, but will also be drawn to the numerous, and often packed, restaurants located on almost every corner. Going to the same restaurant twice will feel like a crime when one sees just how many different choices are within close walking distance. Though the restaurants’ prices can be a bit steep for the average tourist, it is definitely worth the splurge after you taste the food. There is also such great variety in food choices that you will surely not feel deprived. After an incredible dinner at hotspots such as Spotted Pig or Little Owl, a walk around the commercial areas will show more of what the West Village has to offer. Boutiques and cafés are on every block, but a prime attraction is The Magnolia Bakery, located on the corner of West 11th and Bleecker (if you have any trouble finding it, just look out for the line around the corner). Its classic navy blue awning has been made famous by shows such as Sex and the City and Saturday Night Live. Though the line may be daunting at times, the delicious treats inside are well worth the wait (hint: the bakery is noted for its red velvet cupcakes, and its frosting is almost unbeatable). It’s the perfect way to finish a night out in the Village. If those cupcakes didn’t lull you into a food coma, this neighborhood is in very close proximity to the active nightlife in the Meatpacking District. All in all, the West Village offers visitors with a charming look at the best of New York: beautiful brownstones, amazing food, and an exciting and easy neighborhood to casually stroll around in. If you’re one of the lucky residents of this extraordinary neighborhood, feel free to invite me over! For those of you staying in other parts of the city, there are many bus stops and subway entrances in the area, particularly on 7th and 8th Avenues. However, it will be hard to leave such a charming New York neighborhood.Stefanie R.
Love Affair with the West Village
The most European of New York neighborhoods, the cobblestone streets of the West Village sometimes feel like getting lost in Paris…if only for a street here or there. Small (albeit private) gardens, tiny outdoor cafe tables, and petite artisanal shops clustered around crooked tree-lined streets defy the formal gridiron NYC plan with all the charm they can muster.
It’s not uncommon to find New Yorkers (and visitors!) deep in a love affair with the neighborhood. It’s hard to remain indifferent to the sense of community within the anonymous space that’s New York City. Even the most casual observer will notice how carefully a resident will select a spot in a cafe, after all he may be sitting there for hours banging away on his computer.
The mixture of old-time bohemian residents and their wealthier and younger counterparts is only occasionally punctuated by the Hollywood-exhausted celebrity trying hard to go unnoticed in some variation of hat-scarf-sunglasses tightly pulled around the face.
At night, the plethora of cafes & tiny restaurants are filled to the brim with residents and tourists alike. Expense concerns are put aside for the night as a large bill at the end of the meal or a night out is a given in the neighborhood. No money? No problem. The gentle experience of walking the neighborhood streets, trying hard to stifle the naturally curious urge to look into the huge windows of old brownstones, is still the best way to experience the neighborhood.Diana S
West Village Rocks
This is the most New York of the New York neighborhoods. It’s the place I most like to take visitors to NYC.
s w. visits here regularly
Live Music Central
Visit the Vanguard
What’s not so awesome
Crowded during special eventsMatt L