Living in the West Village: Things to Do and See in the West Village, New York
The West Village—Serenity in the City
Once a haven for writers and artists, the West Village has become one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city. And for good reason: The Village’s winding cobblestone streets, courtyard gardens, charming townhouses, candlelit bistros, and quirky boutiques offer a relaxing interlude from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Big Apple. The Washington Square Arch, designed by noted architect Stanford White, is a magnet for joggers, dog walkers, parents with young children, and musicians. The park is surrounded by historic townhouses, including some of the finest Federal-style architecture in the city. The landmark Macdougal Alley is the former home of Mark Twain. Other famous past residents include Beaux-Arts sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Walt Whitman, Salvador Dali, Thomas Wolfe, and Jackson Pollock. Andy Warhol lived at the iconic Hotel Albert, which was frequented by musicians such as Bob Dylan and the Mamas & The Papas, who wrote California Dreamin’ there.
Where is the West Village Located in NYC?
- East to West Boundaries: Sixth Avenue to West Street
- North to South Boundaries: 4th Street to West Houston Street
- Subway: 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, B, D, F, M, N, Q and R
- Ticket Out of the City: The Holland Tunnel and the West Side Highway
What to Do in the West Village?
Much has changed since the West Village’s heyday as a hub of musical and literary creativity and cultural renaissance. While you can still take a walking tour of Bob Dylan’s old neighborhood, visit a jazz club, or watch the annual Village Halloween Parade, the area has become an upscale enclave of fine homes, high-end shops and restaurants. The original cobblestone streets remain, as do many of the historic districts, including Westbeth Artist Housing, the first art colony to be federally subsidized in the United States. Locally owned boutiques and intimate French and Italian bistros, coffee shops and bakeries, elegant cocktail lounges, and authentic pubs give the village its distinct charm, as do the Village’s denizens, a mix of academics, creatives, financiers, long-time residents, and celebrities looking for a low-key escape.
The West Village has a rich tradition in the arts. An impressive line-up of artists, who lived and worked in the Village over the years, include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marcel Duchamp, Diane Arbus, Winslow Homer, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, and John La Farge. In 1918, American sculptor and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney founded the Whitney Studio on West 8th Street. It would later become the Whitney Museum of American Art, now housed a few blocks away, between the High Line and the Hudson River, in the Meatpacking District. In the 1960s, the art scene moved to the East Village and SoHo, but a few fine galleries remain, including New York City’s oldest non-profit alternative space, the White Columns.
What to See in the West Village?
The West Village has one of the most expensive zip codes in the city, with the median price per home close to $4 million. Cornelia, Jane, Perry, Bank, Bedford, and Commerce are among the most picturesque and highly coveted streets. The most desirable homes are multi-level brownstones with ornate period details, rear gardens, and courtyards shaded by tall, leafy trees, which impart a timeless quality and a sense of privacy rarely found in other New York neighborhoods.
Where to Eat in the West Village?
The West Village is a neighborhood with fine-dining establishments and Michelin stars aplenty. Gunter Seeger NY is the latest village eatery to earn its first Michelin star. Nix, another newcomer, is the only Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant in the U.S. Other Michelin-rated stand-outs include Blue Hill, Minetta Tavern, Sushi Zo, Carbone, ZZ’s Clam Bar, and Wallsé, a sophisticated space with an Austrian-inspired menu, first-class wine list, and a gallery of contemporary art.
What Schools are in the West Village?
The Village has several highly rated private schools, which provide intimate learning experiences with small class sizes. The renowned Little Red Schoolhouse and Elisabeth Irwin High School on Sixth Avenue offer a student-teacher ratio of seven to one. The Village Community School has just 330 students from grades K-8 with a student-teacher ratio of 5 to 1. City Country School is a progressive private school geared towards preschool and elementary school children. The area’s Catholic schools include Notre Dame, St. Luke’s, Our Lady of Pompeii, and the Academy of St. Joseph. P.S. 3 Melser Charrette and PS 41 Greenwich Village School are competitive public elementary schools. The progressive middle school MS 297 opened in the fall of 2017 after 10 years of advocacy by local parents.
How Many People Live in the West Village?
What Languages Are Spoken in the West Village?
What is the Currency in the West Village?