NYC Neighborhoods; The West Village

January 17, 2014

New York, USA Life

Roaming the streets of Manhattan was and still is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m more than anxious to get out and explore again after two years living out of the country. See what’s changed, what’s still the same, and walk around all those neighborhoods that help me recall some amazing times in my past life as a New Yorker, beginning with the West Village.

7th Ave in the West Village

7th Avenue in the West Village

Over the course of the next few weeks, I plan to write a series of posts on different neighborhoods in the NYC vicinity. It’s not meant to be a guide. Instead I’d love to inspire two types of audiences:

1. Current residents of New York City, especially those who have lived here for a long time –

When I moved away from New York two years ago for a new life in London, I couldn’t wait to move away. I think that often happens after you live in one place for a long period of time. I was itching for a change of pace and to see something new.

But – living in New York used to feel dreamlike and fantastic. For years after I first moved here in 2004 I felt a recurrent wave of energy and excitement as I walked the city streets and took in my surroundings.

In West Village

Now that I’m back, I’ve regained that sense of excitement and I vow to try harder to appreciate all those little things I relish about this city. I hope my enthusiasm will spread to others who may have lost it…

2. Visitors to New York City

Throughout my travels I’ve enjoyed observing the real locals experience when possible. I encourage visitors to New York City to do the same,  to explore the areas outside of Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and all other such “tourist zones”. I can guarantee you’ll discover a whole new exciting, not-to-miss piece of New York.

Christopher St station

The West Village as I see it – 

An opportunity to get lost!

In the West Village, the streets aren’t set up in a grid-like form like many other parts of Manhattan, which makes it much easier to lose your sense of direction.

West Village streets

Getting lost in these streets makes for a perfect afternoon. And who knows what you’ll see along the way? The West Village is the backdrop for many famous TV settings in shows like Sex and the City and Friends, and a few celebrities even own townhouses here (see Business Insider article), including Calvin Klein, Sarah Jessica Parker and more.

A sense of community…in the middle of a city where 8 million other people live

Playground nr Hudson St

At a playground near Hudson Street yesterday, there were mothers laughing, children playing and people stopping on the streets to say hello to each other.

An eclectic and fun mix of shops –

With names like Shoegasm

Shoegasm

And The Leather Man

Leather Man NYC

And the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop where you can purchase ice cream flavors with names like the Mermaid or the Salty Pimp…

Big Gay Ice Cream shop

Why the West Village is special to me

It’s where I gained back my independence – 

In 2008, after almost four years of sharing an apartment with two roommates (great friends but I desperately missed the freedom of living alone), I moved into my first studio sublet. Jim and I were in a relationship then and seeing each other often, alternating our evenings between my new neighborhood or his neighborhood  in the Upper East side.  It was a brand new fun and exciting phase of my life.

Jane St apartment

It’s where I overcome one of my “girl fears” –

In that same studio sublet,  though I  wasn’t sharing my apartment with any roommates, I unfortunately was sharing it with one other creature – a mouse (borderline rat).  I was so proud of myself when I set up the trap and caught it, and even prouder when I overcame my fear of picking up that dead mouse/rat and disposing of it in the trash all by myself. The little things…

It’s the place I encountered my first crazy New Yorker neighbors – 

A week after moving into my sublet I received an angry handwritten note under my door. Four pages long and double sided with scrawled writing over every empty space of the paper, the letter lectured me on the do’s and don’ts of a NYC walk-up apartment. The tenant who wrote the letter lived one floor below me (and had lived in that same studio apartment alone for over 50 years of her life) and had some serious demands. She wrote that I should immediately take my shoes off when I entered the apartment and tiptoe if I was up in the middle of the night so as not to wake her up. Who knew? You learn something new every day.

Finally, it’s where I enjoyed so many nights out with wonderful friends and fell in love with piano bars –

Grove St

On Grove street, pictured above, was a bar called Rose’s Turn (which unfortunately closed quite some time ago). In that bar I spent many nights hanging out with incredible friends and staying out until last call at 4am. I loved every second of it. I have a strong feeling that 50 years from now, I will still be talking about these moments of my life. 

Fortunately, on this street there are still two very unique bars worth checking out – a show tunes piano bar called Marie’s Crisis Cafe and a live jazz and blues bar – Arthurs Tavern.

Don’t Miss – 

Grounded Coffee shop…for the awesome vibe and creative atmosphere. I love writing at this place!

Grounded coffee shop

The Corner Bistro…for the juicy American hamburgers and dive bar atmosphere

Corner Bistro exterior

Hello again, New York. It’s great to be home.

In the West Village

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About Tanya

I’m a freelance travel and beer writer and a passionate and energetic 30 something - determined to enjoy life and see as much as possible along the way. Recently I lived abroad in London and traveled to 20+ countries within two years! As of January 2014, I'm back in the USA, and currently living in Charlotte, NC. But before all of that, my roots were set in small town America, where I spent the first 23 years of my life living, going to school, and working in the state of Pennsylvania.

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3 Responses to “NYC Neighborhoods; The West Village”

  1. Stephanie Mayo Says:

    Love this piece and your regained love of New York spills into your writing and is magnetic! It reminds me that New York can be any hometown, yet every hometown has something different to offer! ps…I love that coffee shop, it looks inspiring!

    Reply

    • Tanya Says:

      Thank you so much, Stephanie! Really appreciate your comment. I am looking forward to continue my writing about this city. The coffee shop is the perfect place to write.

      Reply

  2. Nicole @ A Beach Blog Says:

    NYC is my favorite place on earth! Seeing these photos make me want to jump on a plane and go back this instant!

    Reply

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