In last week’s post, I mentioned that I’m not a fan of New York City. It still isn’t my favorite place, but Greenwich Village won me over! It was such a beautiful area with some fascinating history, and it was way less crowded than other places I’ve visited in NYC. These are some of the best sights in Greenwich Village that you can’t miss! 🙂
We started our day off around Washington Square, and I wrote a post with lots of information about the historical gems around that area– Caffe Reggio (which has America’s first cappuccino maker and a bench from the Medici family in Florence!), Washington Square, and Washington Mews. Check it out if you want to learn more about the history of those fascinating places!
Washington Square Park
The horse-stables-turned-art-studios of Washington Mews!
After taking plenty of photos around Washington Square, we explored more of Greenwich Village. I mentioned in my previous post that my friend Stephanie planned out our day since I’m closer to NYC and can visit more easily, and she found some really neat places! We saw places like the apartment building used in the show Friends, the narrowest building in NYC, a fancy library that looks like it’s in Hogwarts, and lots of other historical and beautiful buildings! We covered a lot of ground and definitely saw some of the best sights in Greenwich Village 🙂
For a little history on the area, it was originally called Groenwijck (meaning Green District) by the Dutch before the named was changed to Greenwich by the English in the 1700s. Many people moved to Greenwich Village in 1822 when a yellow fever epidemic spread through the city, and since the Village was technically outside the main part of the city at that time, the air was considered fresher and healthier. The area around Washington Square was built up around the 1830s, and many of those buildings are still there! In the early 20th century, Greenwich Village became the center of the American Bohemia movement, and many artists lived in the area (which explains why the stables on Washington Mews were turned into art studios).
The Church of the Ascension is so beautiful!
A house where Mark Twain stayed!
This is the house where Emma Lazarus lived! You may not recognize her name, but you’ll recognize her work. She wrote the famous poem on the Statue of Liberty that says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” She actually wasn’t an immigrant and was born in New York City, and she wrote the poem The New Colossus to raise money for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
This was the prettiest fire escape I’ve ever seen!
We stopped in the Jefferson Market Library and it might be the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen! It was actually a courthouse for years, and when it was going to be demolished (who could demolish such a beautiful building?), it was turned into a library to save it. Inside are some gorgeous stained glass windows, and the spiral staircase reminded me of Hogwarts!
Greenwich Village has a Scandinavian candy store! I LOVE all things Scandinavian (I mean, I commute to NYC every week for an Old Norse class, I volunteer at the Swedish museum in Philly, and my blog used to be called Philly with a Fjallraven because I take my Fjallraven everywhere), so we just had to stop in Sockerbit and get some candy. They also had other food and knicknacks imported from Scandinavia, so I definitely recommend Sockerbit if you’re looking for a piece of Scandinavia! (Just don’t get the salted licorice- trust me)
This is the building that was used in Friends! There was a small crowd taking photos of the building when we were there.
Chumley’s is a restaurant today, but it used to be a speakeasy. You can’t tell with the awning, but there’s a secret entrance! The restaurant inside still has trapdoors and secret passages that were used when the police came to the speakeasy. The term “86” came from this speakeasy because one of the entrances was at 86 Bedford, so to throw out a disruptive customer was to “86” them. The phrase was also used during police raids. There was a door in the back, and sometimes police would give a head’s up before a raid, and they would tell the customers “86” to exit out of the 86 Bedford door while the cops would come in the opposite entrance.
At only 9.5 feet wide, this is the narrowest building in NYC! Its address is 75½ Bedford Street, and it was built in 1873 on a former carriage entranceway. It’s only 2 feet wide at its narrowest inside! Since Greenwich Village was the center of the Bohemia movement, a lot of actors and artists have lived here over the years, including Cary Grant!
If you want some Italian pastries or want to try a white chocolate raspberry latte, I definitely recommend Rocco’s!
So there are 9 of the best sights in Greenwich Village- Caffe Reggio, Washington Square Park, Washington Mews, the Church of the Ascension, Emma Lazarus’s house, the Jefferson Market Library, the Friends apartment building, Chumley’s, and the narrowest building in New York City, plus Sockerbit and Rocco’s 🙂 If you’re in New York City, you should definitely visit some of these places in Greenwich Village!
And if you’re looking for more places to visit in Manhattan, Jessica Elliott has a great guide on her travel website How Dare She! 🙂