By Michael Canell
To walk from Sixth Avenue into the West Village is to leave the noisy, modern New York behind and enter a hushed district of winding, tree-lined streets with shoulder-to-shoulder brownstones and restored 1800s townhouses. At practically every corner, you'll find a cafe or antique shop. The West Village was among the first New York neighborhoods to benefit from historic preservation. As a result, a walk down Carmine or Perry streets is like time traveling into an older New York, unchanged except for bike-share stands and ATMs.
Transportation and Livability
The West Village lies between Sixth Avenue to the East and the Hudson River to the West, and extends from 14th Street south to Houston Street. With minimal car traffic, it's a walkable neighborhood. The surrounding neighborhoods are Chelsea, Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District.
The West Village is New York City at its most picturesque. Many streets could pass as movie sets of a quieter, more gracious city. A Saturday afternoon might happily be passed by visiting the famous Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street; browsing at Three Lives & Company, a jewel of a bookstore on West 10th Street; or enjoying drinks at the White Horse Tavern on Hudson Street, where Dylan Thomas stood at the bar after a day of writing. On the downside, the neighborhood contains some of New York’s highest rents and a growing tide of tourists.
The median list price of West Village homes is $1,650,000 — that's $469,231 higher than the median sale price. The median list price per square foot is $2,184, which is more than five times the New York City average. The median rent is $3,600, about a third higher than the New York City average.
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The neighborhood contains three subway lines: the A, C and E run up Sixth Avenue; the 1, 2 and 3 trains cover Seventh Avenue; and the L train runs East along 14th Street. From Midtown or Wall Street, it's roughly a 20-minute ride to the West Village by taxi or subway.
The West Village is Manhattan’s quietest neighborhood, in part because it feels walled-off, in its own world. West of Sixth Avenue, the familiar street grid gives way to a sometimes confusing, off-kilter layout, where West 4th Street crosses West 10th Street and Greenwich Street and Greenwich Avenue are constantly mistaken for one another. To residents, the eccentric arrangement is part of the charm. West Tenth Street in particular is considered by many to be one of the most charming and beautiful Streets in all New York.
The West Village is most famous for its bohemian heyday. In the 1950s, Bob Dylan played in coffeehouses here, Jack Kerouac wrote and read his poetry here, and Jackson Pollack helped invent abstract expressionism here. Skyrocketing rents have long since driven out artists and writers, giving way to an influx of Wall Streeters and celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Seth Myers, Brooke Shields and Claire Danes.
- 178 7th Ave South — Village Vanguard is a 79-year-old underground jazz club where John Coltrane, Miles Davis and other jazz legends played.
- 53 Christopher Street — The Stonewall Inn is the site of the Stonewall riots, the event which marks the beginning of the gay rights movement.
- 567 Hudson Street — The Whitehorse Tavern a popular bar that in the 1950s was a local writers' and artists' haunt.