If I say New York, what’s the first thing that pops in your mind?
A lot of people picture the skyscrapers of Midtown, or the chaos of Chinatown – but in my case, it’s all about the boho West Village. I have an unconditional love for the quirky shops, the celebrity sightings, the brownstones and the great eateries that are spread around the neighbourhood.
So, what to do in the West Village, you ask? There are loads of things to see, smell, eat, touch and hear in the area. Where to start?
Admire unique pieces of street art
New York is a mecca for all things street art – the scene is constantly changing, evolving, and keeps getting better and more interesting, even for the non-initiated.
Long gone are the days of ugly gang tags! The West Village is full of great, quirky street art and while I’d love to tell you where to find it, it changes so quickly that you’ll have no choice but to explore the area yourself and make your own discoveries.
Go celebrity hunting (in a non-creepy way)
I have several guilty pleasures in life, and celebrity gossip is one of them. I know they don’t like it, and hate paparazzi, but there’s nothing like a few minutes of US Weekly during lunch to give my brain a break! And since New York in general, and the West Village in particular, are celebrity hubs… you can’t help it if they keep showing to places you were already at, by pure luck!
Here are a few places where you can regularly spot the rich and famous of this world:
- The Spotted Pig (314 West 11th St)
- Spice Market (403 West 13th St)
- The Lion (62 West 9th St)
- Starbucks (74 Grove St)
- Bar Pitti (268 6th Ave)
- Da Silvano (260 6th Ave)
- The Waverly Inn & Garden (16 Bank St)
Relax in a green space
I know the High Line park is not really in the West Village, but it’s so close it almost is.
There are a few other options that are less geographically challenged, like the Bleecker Playground or the Hudson River Greenway. Why not find a tasty deli take-out treat and dine al fresco, listening to the liveliest city on the planet?
Shop ’til you drop
Whether your budget will buy you a pair of Jimmy Choo’s or used records and a cupcake, there is something for everyone in the West Village.
Bleecker Street is typically home to the more upscale brands, while other streets like Christopher and Greenwich will be friendlier for your retirement savings. In any case, this is the perfect area for gift shopping, for yourself or others – you’ll find less high street brands and more speciality shops that sell pretty much anything and everything. A few of my favourites:
- Rebel Rebel (319 Bleecker St)
- Aedes De Venutas (9 Christopher St)
- Porcelain Room (13 Christopher St)
- House of Cards and Curiosities (23 Eighth Ave)
- Zachary’s Smile (9 Greenwich Ave)
- Star Struck (47 Greenwich Ave)
- Le Fanion (299 W 4th St)
Play tourist at famous TV filming locations
New York City is the set of SO many films and series – Seinfeld, Friends, Sex and the City, Gossip Girl.
Writers often say that they choose to base their stories in the Big Apple not for the sake of convenience, but because the city is so inspiring and is almost a character by itself. And since Friends and Sex and the City are some of my favorite series, needless to say that finding the iconic homes was high on my bucket list!
- Carrie’s apartment (66 Perry St)
- The Friends building (90 Bedford St)
There’s an entire website dedicated to that sole purpose, where you can find pretty much anything that’s been filmed in NYC for the last 20 years.
Stuff your face
I think this is perhaps my favorite thing about the West Village – the hundreds, perhaps thousands of great restaurants. I’m pretty sure every nation of the planet is represented at least once, thus offering incredible variety, in both tastes and prices. Whether you opt for a vegan lunch on a terrace or an intimate Italian eatery at night, there is something for you and your taste buds in the West Village.
- Smorgas (283 W 12th St)
- The Little Owl (90 Bedford St)
- Taim (222 Waverly Pl)
- Joe’s Pizza (7 Carmine St)
- En Japanese Brasserie (435 Hudson St)
- A Salt & Battery (112 Greenwich Ave)
Take in the famous brownstones
And last but not least, the famous New York brownstones, so often depicted in both literature and onscreen.
The West Village is filled with charming and colorful townhouses and tree-lined streets that are over 200 years old. While these houses are worth a small fortune and your first newborn, I can’t help myself picturing what life could be if I moved in. Would I live a frivolous life à la Carrie, or would I follow the regular hectic pace of a New Yorker?
Maybe life will be kind enough for me to find out one day.
New York City food tour