5 Reasons to love the West Village this spring
Sited as many life-long New Yorkers’ favorite neighborhood in New York City, the West Village is reallywhere it’s at.
Firstly, the West Village has numerous landmark restrictions that limit the heights of buildings; the West Village area is one of the few remaining neighborhoods in NYC to possess that cozy, residential feel. The warm neighborhood impression of the West Village is easily attributable to the low buildings, sure, but its fundamental character and warm residents are really what sets it apart.
Secondly, the area comprises so much history; it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the stories that recapture its earliest days. I’m a new resident of this neighborhood and just last night at dinner, I was seated next to a couple that’d given me a brief introduction to the historical landmarks that surrounded us. “Oh, Bette Midler lived above ‘Marie’s Crisis Café’ and see the current play at The Cherry Lane Theatre on Commerce Street. That play is fabulous.” They, themselves lived just around the corner on Grove Street, but they certainly could tell tales of all the neighboring streets. And remember,the NYC building that six young singles were supposed to live in during the sitcom, Friends,that lasted from the ‘90s through the early ‘aughts was believed to exist on Bedford St., in the West Village. Based on the overwhelming popularity of that show, photographs of the building are still constantly taken today by tourists and visitors, much to the chagrin of diners and staff at “Little Owl” restaurant, located on the ground floor.
(But by now, they’re used to it. They don’t mind.)
And thirdly, the residents of this area are really second to none. I soon found out that that’s also what the West Village is about. In this neighborhood there exists an eagerness to inform, as well as to learn from, your neighbor. Being reminiscent of an old- time town where everyone knows each other, the West Village possesses charm of both old and new.
Personally, I’ve met two different neighbors for wine, on two separate occasions. The first woman I met with lives on my floor and she happened to have attended an inter-state rival college of mine, so we’ve been able to razz each other about that, and the other meeting was with a woman with a biting sense of humor on a higher floor. Not only is the company gracious out in nearby restaurants, but in my very own residential building, too!
As if life wasn’t good during the dead of winter when I first moved here and could only marvel at the charming interiorsof places, life is already better now that it’s started getting warmer outside, and West Village life is supposed to reallyimprove by the summertime!
The fourth reason, I am going to love the West Village this spring is because of where I now go on nice days. I take the time to walk from my very charming and homey block, to the waterfront (Pier 45) at Hudson River Park. Last weekend I had to walk by The Church of St. Luke in the Fields’ private gardens and restful sitting area on my way to the waterfront. I promised myself I’d stop in on my return trip, but first I had to see the waterfront.
So, I got there.
I used the very assistive crosswalks to traverse the busy W. Side highway and was brought to a section of the city rarely seen, or heard of. Pier 45 exceeded all of my expectations.
My thoughts were as follows:
How does this jaw-dropping site exist right in the same bustling city where I live?
Am I on vacation???
Absolutely stunning. The scene was stunning.
Water lapped against the docks, ducks paddled hard against the current, a New Jersey city scape was in the distance, and the further out on the pier I got, the stronger the wind became. Finally, I got all the way to the end of the pier and I could only hear the loud “shhhhhh’ing” of the wind.
My hair was everywhere, too.
To be downtown with all that the area already provides, and then to have this exquisite escape from the concrete surroundings, was way more than I could have ever hoped! I mean, I’d been to a waterfront in midtown West, but to now see this?!?!
I was blown away (both hair and mind)
To walk out on the pier was to walk past a grass patch constructed perfectly in the middle of the stretch so sunbathing is able to take place. From the furthest reaches of the dock, which is at the very tip of the pier, I had a perfect view of the water and a very distant look at the
Statue of Liberty.
When standing on land, the breeze is gentle, and the temperature is high. On this shore, it’s hot and people are yelling, cars are honking. It’s possible to hear all of it.
Not the case when you’re further out on the pier. Out there, the wind picks up. It’s very private, isolated.
And finally, here comes the fifth reasonI’m going to love my small section of the West Village this spring –on the walk home, I did stop in St. Luke’s garden to have a brief rest, and repose.
I was not alone.
Many people had the same idea on that pleasant day. People reading, or with ear buds in, filled every bench. I was finally able to grab a bench with an older couple sitting together on the other end.
That garden is quite deceptive, now that I think of it.
There exists a bench at every bend, or corner, of the patch. When you think you’re alone and enjoying the abandoned privacy of a vegetation-filled square in the middle of a concrete jungle, you abruptly realize you’re not. People are everywhere, always. You can never be completely alone here in NYC, sorry to say.
So, like the farthest reaches of the pier from which I’d just come, the garden was quiet. It was serene except for occasional street noise that would break up the monotony. I tried to 5. eavesdrop on a pair that was talking the other day. Trying with all my might at 10:30am on a Monday, I couldn’t make out enough of their conversation to form an opinion either way. She was a young woman; he was an older greyed man. Maybe it was a teacher-student conference? Sitting on a bench across the path from where I sat, I could only hear or two phrases every three seconds. Clearly, I was wasting my time thinking I’d ever hear anything juicy or worthwhile. But I do know that they were speaking in English.
At least I knew that. That was something.
After sitting that morning in that restful space filled with pervasive street noise and breeze and hearing occasional, “Ohh, that’s what that means,” and, “Mention that to me again some other time,” I saw what public spaces are used for; they are used to connect. It’s been rare that I’ve found other conversing people in the gardens where I’ve been sitting up to this point.
But yay, it’s the West Village!
I have company here.
*Please don’t let this small article limit you from participating in all of the possible adventures, and good times, that take place in this glorious section of the city, the West Village. I realize I failed to mention any of the fantastic bars, restaurants, or museums that also exist in the neighborhood, but I just wanted to share my most recent five reasons.