Caffe Reggio & Washington Mews: Historical Gems of Washington Square

May 7, 2018 24 Comments

New York City is not my favorite. I’ve been a few times over the years, but I’m not a big fan of huge cities with giant skyscrapers and bustling crowds. I live in Center City Philadelphia, but I avoid the crowded downtown areas as much as I can! I’ve lived in Philadelphia for two and a half years, but I didn’t go to New York City until I started going there weekly for a class. 

But when my friend Stephanie (who has made many appearances in my travel posts) came to visit me in Philly again, we took a day trip to New York City and I changed my mind about the city! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a fan of busy Manhattan, but Washington Square won me over! 🙂 

Caffe Reggio & Washington Mews: Historical Gems of Washington Square

Since I live so much closer to New York City and can go there at the drop of a hat, I let Stephanie completely plan our day in New York, and she did good! We explored Greenwich Village and started our day around Washington Square with my sister-in-law, Hannah. 

Our first stop was Caffe Reggio, which has some really cool history! You may recognize it from The Godfather Part II, and it’s actually the place where the cappuccino was introduced to America! And they still have that cappuccino maker that’s over a century old! Plus they have paintings from a student of Caravaggio AND a bench from the Medici family palazzo in Florence. Pretty cool stuff, right? The food and espressos we had were great, but the service was pretty slow (even though we were the only people in there for a while) so it probably isn’t the best place to go for just a quick bite.

Caffe Reggio

Caffe Reggio breakfast

Crepe Reggio with buttered spinach and ricotta filling

Caffe Reggio

Caffe Reggio

The first cappuccino maker in America

The first cappuccino maker in America

The famous cappuccino maker!

Caffe Reggio

Caffe Reggio

After Caffe Reggio, we walked the few blocks over to Washington Square. It was the end of April but it was still 40 degrees and rainy, so not too much was in bloom yet but it was still pretty! And probably because of the dreary weather, it wasn’t too crowded, which was nice. 

For a little history on the park, it was a potter’s field after the Revolutionary War and it was declared the Washington Parade Ground in 1826. There were riots there throughout the Civil War until the infamous “Boss” Tweed made it into the landscaped park it is today in 1870. The famous arch that the park is known for was built for the centennial anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration, but the statue of Washington actually wasn’t added until 1916. 

Men playing chess in Washington Square

Orange daffodils

Washington Square

Washington Square archway

Washington Square archway

Washington Square

Cherry blossoms in Washington Square

Cherry blossoms in Washington Square

Flowers in Washington Square

Flowers in Washington Square

Washington Square archway

Washington Square

Washington Mews

Just about a block from Washington Square is another neat little piece of history- Washington Mews! This cute little cobblestone street is now houses and buildings mostly owned by NYU, but they actually used to be stables! Washington Mews had private stables for many years until most of them were converted into artist studios in 1916. Sculptors like Paul Manship, Gaston Lachaise, and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney live there over the years until the buildings were bought by NYU. It’s pretty interesting to see all the changes the little street has gone through!

Washington Mews

Washington Mews

Washington Mews

Washington Mews

Washington Mews

Washington Mews

Daffodils on Washington Mews

Cherry blossoms in the West Village

Cherry blossoms in the West Village

So New York City may not be my favorite, but how can you not like Washington Square? It’s such a peaceful little corner of the city with such fascinating historical places! Do you have a favorite spot in New York City? 🙂 

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24 Comments

  1. Reply

    Emily

    May 18, 2018

    Such beautiful paintings you’ve managed to photograph Darling! They’re truly mesmerising!!😘 xoxo
    http://www.beautynbrushes.co.uk

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 18, 2018

      Thank you! 🙂

  2. Reply

    Carmelatte

    May 12, 2018

    Those photos look like from a historical movie <3 love it!

    http://carmelatte.co/top-10-stunning-wedding-destinations-in-2018/

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 12, 2018

      Thank you!

  3. Reply

    Lana @ TravelSavvyGal

    May 12, 2018

    Such lovely photos, how fun to focus on a specific neighborhood. Perfect timing, as I’m headed to NYC for my birthday weekend next month!

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 12, 2018

      That’s great! I hope my post helps!

  4. Reply

    Katherine

    May 11, 2018

    Washington Square was one of my favourite places in NYC! We were lucky enough to get there while a few people were playing the piano there and it was so beautiful!

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 11, 2018

      That sounds amazing!

  5. Reply

    Constance

    May 11, 2018

    As much as I’ve visited NYC I haven’t visited Washington Square Park much, but after seeing all those colorful houses and cherry blossoms I gotta rethink my trips to New York City! Your photos are also super amazing and I love the architecture of the arch.

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 11, 2018

      You should definitely go to Washington Square the next time you’re in NYC!!

  6. Reply

    Ashley Roberts

    May 9, 2018

    The homes are adorable and I just love that cafe! I love all the architecture in the cities so peaceful and pretty

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 9, 2018

      The architecture there really is amazing!

  7. Reply

    Em

    May 9, 2018

    I’ve always wanted to go to NYC, it’s been at the top of my list since I was about 10 (I’m 22 now!), I want to do all the stereotypical touristy things so it was great to see this side of the city!

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 9, 2018

      I hope you can go soon! There are so many things to see in NYC!

  8. Reply

    Greatness Reinvented

    May 9, 2018

    Hey great post loving the photos and going to check out Caffe Reggio next time we are in The Big Apple 🙂

    GR | https://www.thegreat.uk

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 9, 2018

      Thanks! It’s such an awesome cafe!

  9. Reply

    Shari E

    May 8, 2018

    I live in NYC but have not really explored that area very much! Thanks for the ideas.

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 9, 2018

      I hope they help!

  10. Reply

    Jennifer

    May 8, 2018

    I love going to NYC. The museums are great, Broadway is fun, and the walking is so easy. Washington Square Park is one of my favorites but I usually get there is late spring and summer when it’s warm and everyone is out enjoying the park.

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 8, 2018

      Yes it was nice having the park to ourselves, even if the weather wasn’t very nice!

  11. Reply

    Tonya

    May 7, 2018

    Wow! These are so pretty and I totally want to check out Caffe Reggio now!

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 7, 2018

      I definitely recommend going to Caffe Reggio the next time you’re in NYC!

  12. Reply

    Julia

    May 7, 2018

    I always hear mixed opinions about New York – some people love it, some people hate it! It’s nice to find someone who’s in the middle haha. This area of NY seems so interesting – I’d go to Caffe Regio even just for the painting by one of Caravaggio’s students! The crepe looks really yummy too though.
    I love learning about the History of the places you visit. Washington Mews would definitely be hig on my list!

    Julia x
    Last Post: The Real Tips For A Productive Weekend | http://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/lifestyle-real-talk-tips-for-productive.html

    • Reply

      Julia

      May 7, 2018

      I’m happy I found a spot in NY I like because before then I really wasn’t a fan of the city! If you get the chance to go, I would definitely recommend exploring quieter places like Washington Square!

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