A Day in West Village

There’s an instant sense of posh classiness in the West Village, with its 18th Century cobble stone streets and townhouses. This is where the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman lived until his death. This is where Carrie Bradshaw lived in Sex and the City (66 Perry Street). Streets are packed with restaurants and bars. Here are also the jazz bars where the greats began. There are also writer’s bars where many a famous author went to drink and fight the occasional writer’s block. All of this makes West Village special.

Jackson Square

The day starts at one of the oldest public areas in the city. Jackson Square has defined the West Village from the early 1800’s onward. The park was named after former President Andrew Jackson and was originally used as a rallying point for political and civic gatherings. And though its triangular space is small, there are a lot eye-pleasing sites such as the rustic water fountain in its center. Cobblestones give the park an inviting character, and make it a perfect space to walk through to get your mind working.


Dominque Ansel Bakery

Yeah, you may have had a hearty breakfast, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have time to stop at Dominque Ansel Bakery. The one thing you will realize in these parts is the abundance of the specialty spots such as Murray’s Cheese shop and Magnolia Bakery. Hands down, though, the best specialty spot is Dominique Ansel, and West Villagers know it. The lines could be overwhelming at times — especially super early in the day. So this may be the perfect time to experience the perfectly hand-crafted sweets such as the cronut (half donut, half croissant) and the Paris-NY (choux dough filled with chocolate, caramel and peanut butter). There’s so much more to savor here, from the outrageously original cakes to, naturally, macarons.



Not that you haven’t had enough food, but this is the West Village, so When in Rome… The best restaurants, both large and small, are everywhere. And it is lunch time after all. So you decide to make your way to Buvette. The first thing you notice in this small spot is its visual appeal. From tin ceilings to the wooden bar top to the overall rustic surroundings, Buvette is the perfect setting for some grub. The restaurant is a blend of French and Italian cuisines. The must-haves here are the Tartinettes the include the Pesto Di Parma (pearls of prosciutto, parmesan and sage) and Pesto Di Noci (walnut pesto with parmesan & thyme). There are also the poissons that include Moules a La Rouille (steamed mussels with garlic toasts). On a side note, if you take a left outside of Buvette, walk to the corner of Christopher and Bedford streets, you’ll find the exterior of the house used for the show “Friends.”


Scotch & Soda

Now that you are in a shopping mood, visit the neighborhood’s many great shops. Start from the vast record shop Rebel Rebel, and move on to clothing havens of rag & bone, Brunello Cucinelli, and Meg. The highlighted stop along your route has to be Scotch & Soda, which offers top-of-the-line and trendy threads.

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High Street on Hudson

Many of the restaurants you will come across in the West Village are farm-to-table and organic eateries. Of all the early morning eats, there’s probably nothing more wonderful than food at High Street on Hudson. The bread is made on premises (think Panera Bread on steroids, but good steroids). The morning dishes include original creations like The Bodega (malted breakfast sausage, egg, aged cheddar on a sage-black pepper biscuit) and the classics like Breakfast Tartine (toasted keystone bread, avocado, kale, soft boiled egg). Moreover, the coffee and tea are spot on. Not a bad start of a New York City morning!


The IFC Center

The one thing you will quickly understand is that this part of the city is solely inspired by the visual arts. Here are two cinematic centers that you just have to visit, if not for a movie. The IFC Center is the first you may want to stop by. There are always events happening here, spotlighting the indie circuit, from screenings of Oscar-nominated shorts to Q&A forums with actors and directors. Catch a midnight showing of cult classics by getting your calendar out and marking the dates. The second theater you will have to pay tribute to – is the Film Forum. The theater is simple, yet offers some of the best art house films you will find in the world. Between these two power movie houses your cinematic cravings should be all set.


The Jane Hotel

The belly filled, it’s time to explore the sites of historic West Village. There are so many landmark buildings in one small area that you may not know where to look. The architecture is original and some streets are still even clad in original cobble stones. The first landmark is The Jane Hotel, which was completed in 1908 as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute. The interior remains almost the same as it was when it first opened, making the building a popular location for the music and arts scene. The Ballroom at the Jane Hotel, with its lavish Persian rugs and ornate chandeliers, has hosted endless musical events. Not too far away is The Stonewall Inn. The bar has been recently named a National Landmark and Monument, given how it was the center of the LGBT rights movement in the late 1960’s. The next stop is the C.O. Bigelow Chemist, the nation’s oldest apothecary. You will notice a slew of small theaters everywhere, as the small stage is king in the Village. The most storied of the theaters is the Cherry Lane Theatre. Make the time to just peek in.

A Night in West Village



Decisions, decisions, decisions. This is going to be the toughest part of your first day in the West Village. There are so many fantastic restaurants to discover. And just when you thought you’ve been to them all, you find another gem you haven’t seen. There’s Fedora, Corner Bistro, Rosemary’s, Olio e Piu and Barbuta. Tonight, you have a seat at L’Artusi. The Italian eatery is a revelation. The food is consistently excellent, and includes incredible charred octopus (mixed with chiles, olives, and pancetta) and seared sweetbreads (white bean puree, escarole and chorizo). Even better, the service has earned this restaurant glowing recommendations. Skip desert, no matter how painful this may seem.


Village Vanguard

The major selling point for many in this grand NYC neighborhood is the abundance of Jazz clubs. The area has become famous for the launch of many successful jazz careers. You may get a glimpse of some of the future legends as you peruse the many great jazz haunts (probably the best north of New Orleans). The major standouts that you will have to visit are Village Vanguard, Smalls Jazz Club, Mezzrow, Arthur’s Tavern, and The 55 Bar. Live music is a constant at each of these spots, so on any given day you will have a chance to experience some beautiful sounds of the saxophone.


Fat Cat

The night is just getting started in the West Village. At Fat Cat, nights last longer. The place is one part pool hall and one part jazz bar. But its biggest draw is that Fat Cat closes at 5 a.m. There aren’t many places in the five boroughs that continue to serve that late. The atmosphere is easily inviting. As soon as you go downstairs, you are greeted with a sea of pool tables that seem to travel back for miles. The drinks are simple and straightforward. So you’re thinking… time to take a draft of Budweiser and grab a pool stick.

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Big Gay Ice Cream

That no-desert dinner pain was temporary, since you are now on your way to Big Gay Ice Cream. The seasonal ice cream truck opened in 2011 and a year later opened its first storefront in the West Village. The owners offer some of the best ice cream concoctions in the city with the Salty Pimp (salty dark chocolate chunks and salty swirls of dulce de leche in vanilla ice cream) or the Dorothy (swirls of dulce de leche and vanilla wafers cookie chunks in vanilla ice cream). BGIC seem to be transforming into the modern-day Ben & Jerry’s, given how the ice cream parlor has expanded to four shops overall (one in Philadelphia as well), and the owners have even released a popular cookbook.


Little Branch

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This is the hardest part of the night: the late-night bar crawl. The bars in West Village are, undoubtedly, the best in New York City. There’s the laid back Blind Tiger Ale House, the historic writer's hangouts Kettle of Fish, White Horse Tavern (these were bars favorite of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg; and was where Dylan Thomas had his final drink). The one thing that the West Village nightlife offers is a great cocktail. There’s more craft cocktail places here than any place in the city, and possibly even in the country. There’s The Spotted Pig, a popular chef hangout. There’s also Hudson Bar & Books, which has the largest collection of whiskey and bourbon you may every see. And then there’s Little Branch and Employees Only. The two bars have engraved themselves into the fabric of West Village as the ultimate drinking experiences. Their craft cocktails have been rated as some of the best in the world.

Words by Arte Vincent

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Erik Serras
Erik Serras
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Residential Division
Office: 718.840.2757
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