Greenwich Village - also known as the West Village or the Village - is more upscale than the East Village and is the original corner of cool,
the closest any American neighborhood comes to a corner of Paris. This part of town has been home to artists and writers, nonconformists,
entertainers, intellectuals, and bohemians since the turn of the 20th century. Downtown charm is personified in lots of low-rise townhouses,
thumbnail size gardens, secret courtyards, and a wacky serpentine layout of streets.
Washington Square Park and the rows of townhouses around it with charming alleys behind them are all frozen in time.
The park, with its arch famous from much movie exposure, is the heart of the Village.
This 9 ½ -acre park at the foot of Fifth Avenue is an oasis and circus combined, where skate boarders, jugglers, stand-up comics, sitters,
strollers, sweethearts, chess players, fortune tellers, and daydreamers converge and commune.
Washington Mews and Mac Dougal Alley are quiet cobblestone lanes right off the square. Legendary streets such as McDougal,
Astor Place, and Bleecker (famous Beat and hippie hangouts) are lined with super-hip boutiques, delis displaying esoteric beers from around the globe,
and cafes and restaurants of all stripes.
It makes sense that New York University is in the Village, an area that has been home to some of the world's most famous writers and
artists including Henry James, Edith Wharton, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Eugene O'Neill, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock,
Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Beat writers Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
At night, Greenwich Village comes alive with sounds from late-night coffeehouses, cafés, experimental theaters, and music clubs.
Bars and restaurants ad infinitum serve everything from cranberry martinis and celestial sushi to pita-wrapped shwarma.
Searching for the soul of the Beat generation? At fabled coffeehouses like Caffe Reggio and Café Figaro, you can order a
double espresso or cappuccino and pretend for a few minutes that you're Allen Ginsberg, Jack Keruouac, or William Burroughs.
The Village is home to a large community of gays and lesbians. Across 7th Avenue is Christopher Street, site of a historic
clash (in front of the Stonewall bar) in 1969 between city police and gay men, marking the beginning of the gay rights movement.