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! 🙂
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.
Crepe Reggio with buttered spinach and ricotta filling
The famous cappuccino maker!
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.
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!
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? 🙂