Living in West Village
The West Village sprawls westward from Greenwich Village, bordered by Chelsea to its north. This historic district features elegant pre-war brownstones, cobblestones and tree-lined alleyways. Its ramshackle streets wind their way in a somewhat quirky layout that’s a pleasure to explore; you may even find yourself at the corner of Waverly Place and Waverly Place. With cozy bookstores, outdoor cafés and eccentric antique shops lining the twisting alleyways, you’re forgiven for thinking you’ve wandered into a forgotten corner of Paris. The neighborhood also includes the chic Meatpacking District enclave along the river, with its famed nightlife and luxury hotels. Residents enjoy close proximity to nearly all major subway lines in neighboring Greenwich Village and Union Square.
West Village real estate
Impressive brownstones and sculpted façades line the crooked streets of the West Village. Neighbors gather on their broad stoops or in courtyard gardens, and many buildings feature large, imposing doorways. The area has a low skyline, and most buildings do not exceed 12 stories in height to retain the West Village’s original charm. Architecture styles are diverse, with Romanesque Revivals next door to Italianate and Beaux-Arts homes. Inside these 19th-century historic buildings is often a different story. A landmark façade may mask an of-the-moment Bulthaup kitchen and minimalist fixtures. As you head toward the river, West Village real estate takes on a more industrial edge. The Meatpacking District features spacious, contemporary lofts with views spanning the Hudson and floor-to-ceiling windows.
West Village history
The first house in the West Village still stands at 132 Charles Street. Built in 1820, it marks the area’s first population boom when the neighborhood grew from a former landfill. A waterfront trade industry has long existed in the West Village, due to its position along the Hudson River. Like many New York neighborhoods, the area has changed drastically over time. The High Line was once an elevated rail line serving the area, and the Meatpacking District was so named for the 250 slaughterhouses that once filled its streets. Today, those buildings are now boutiques and lofts and the High Line is a park. The West Village also includes a long and storied legacy as a center for jazz and literature. A number of writers have left their mark here over the years, including Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain.
West Village restaurants
Sex and the City put Magnolia Bakery on the map for its rainbow of cupcakes, but crowds line up today for its vanilla-infused banana pudding. Upscale eateries line the West Village’s streets, many with European-style sidewalk seating areas to people-watch. The Spotted Pig is a much-loved gastropub headed by Chef April Bloomfield. It’s revered for its Roquefort-topped burger and luscious ginger cakes. The dining room doesn’t take reservations, so early arrivals are a must to put your name on the list. French cuisine in particular is available in abundance in the West Village, including the charming Buvette and Tartine bistros. The Meatpacking District also presents a cluster of tempting restaurants. Asian street food gets a New York makeover at Spice Market, and Bill’s Bar and Burger is the go-to meeting spot for an after-work burger and beer.
West Village nightlife
From intimate jazz clubs to rooftop champagne, West Village bars cover the full spectrum of nightlife experiences. One of the oldest neighborhood watering holes is The White Horse Tavern. A cozy literary hangout since the 1880s, it’s played host to luminaries from Dylan Thomas to Jack Kerouac. Another historic night spot is the Cherry Lane Theatre, opened in 1924 and hosting a multitude of off-Broadway performances. The area is famous for its prolific jazz scene; visit the Village Vanguard to catch a classic or up-and-coming act. Tucked into a basement, the Vanguard’s stage has seen the likes of Miles Davis and John Coltrane and remains relevant to this day. Smalls has an even more intimate, speakeasy vibe with a performance roster that isn’t afraid to get experimental.
The Meatpacking District is widely celebrated for its luxurious nightclubs. After dark, the sound of stilettos on cobblestones reverberates through its wide avenues as revelers don their finery and venture to hotspots like Cielo and the Gansevoort Hotel. Le Bain takes all-night hedonism to a new level. Plonked on the rooftop of the ultra-swanky Standard Hotel, Le Bain features world-class DJs, a creperie and even a plunge pool on the dance floor for those who can sashay past the discerning bouncers.
West Village shopping
Bleecker Street is a who’s who of internationally renowned designer showrooms. Cynthia Rowley, Paul Smith and Michael Kors shops line this prime retail destination. Further west, the Meatpacking District has upscale interior design stores to furnish its sleek lofts. Stock up on fuzzy rugs at Arhaus or brightly patterned seating at Vitra. Elsewhere in the West Village, there’s a dizzying array of bijou boutiques hawking vintage wares, quirky gifts and rare books. The neighborhood’s residents cultivate their organic skincare routines at CAP Beauty, and pick up designer duds at menswear emporium Odin.
West Village attractions
The elevated High Line Park provides a fresh current of greenery. Its southern tip begins at Gansevoort Street and travels up through Chelsea. Gain a bird’s-eye view of the city from above, or sun yourself on the strategically placed sun loungers. Closer to ground sits the Hudson River Park, spanning 550 acres of outdoor landscapes including a lush patch in the Meatpacking District. Culture abounds in every nook and cranny of the West Village, and there are many art galleries and performance art venues to explore. The Whitney Museum of American Art moved into the neighborhood in 2015, in a brand new Renzo Piano-designed building with asymmetrical angles and abundant glasswork. Founded by sculptor and socialite Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the museum showcases modern American art.
"With cobble stone, tree-lined streets, unmatched charm and close proximity to the water, the West Village is without a doubt, my favorite neighborhood in the city. It's also the favorite of my English Golden Retriever, Riggins."
Local tips and information for going out in the West Village from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.All West Village tips