The West Village of Manhattan is in the spotlight since NYC & Company, the city’s official destination marketing organization, is highlighting it in the next installment of its “NYCGO Insider Guides.” Here's what visitors can expect from a tour of this classic, popular neighborhood with some bonus suggestions of our own favorite hideaways.
Let's start with our favorite part, the food. Dining in the West Village, found below 14th street, is a worldly experience with cozy restaurants like the French bistro Buvette and the speakeasy-style Hudson Clearwater and Decoy. For dim sum, a neighborhood favorite, eat at RedFarm. Hint: We always see lines of people waiting to eat at Pearl, an oyster bar on Cornelia St. This place doesn’t accept reservations, but we imagine it is worth the wait in line. Also, don't forget that some of the best pizza joints can be found here like Joe's and John's on Bleecker St.
For dessert, nothing is better than Big Gay Ice Cream, located on the corner of Grove St. and Seventh Avenue South, though on hot summer days get ready to wait in line (a sometimes very long line). For those looking for just a relaxed drink, head to Blind Tiger alehouse at 281 Bleecker St. This place is a local favorite with a lively crowd. The menu is strictly beer and cider only, but there are lots of food options to fit every palette. Tip: The bartenders actually offer drink advice here, so don't be afraid to ask questions.
The West Village also has a lot of entertainment options. For jazz, stop in at Small Jazz Club as the name suggests this hotspot is very intimate. The Village Vanguard is also another popular option and is sometimes referred to the “Carnegie Hall of Jazz.” For an off-Broadway taste, watch a production at the Lucille Lortel Theatre or the Cherry Lane Theatre, currently playing Colin Quinn The New York Story.
This area also plays an important role in history that can't be overlooked as the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. Stonewall Inn, a national historic landmark, is a tavern on Christopher St. where police lead a raid 1969, sparking the gay rights movement. Now, you can grab a drink there and still feel its importance in the air.
For a fun-themed outing, check out the narrowest house in New York City at 751Z2 Bedford St., and the apartment building that inspired the popular show Friends on 90 Bedford St (go ahead, take a photo). While in the area, we suggest grabbing a quick bite at Hudson Bagels on 502 Hudson St., our choice is the everything bagel with cream cheese. And we almost hate to tell the world, but our favorite, secret hideaway in the area is the garden found at The Church of St. Luke. Located on Hudson St., this beautiful hideaway has fabulous flowers and benches for relaxation. It is truly a quiet escape in the middle of the city and is worth a walk through in the winter or summer.
As for shopping, get your wallets ready. Along Bleecker and Christopher Streets you will find boutiques by James Perse, Cynthia Rowley, Brunello Cucinelli, Rag & Bone and more. Head to West 10th to get stationary at the famous Greenwich Letterpress and then stop in at Doodle Doo’s -- a kid’s toy store and salon in one.