What Greenwich Village is known for
Located on the west side of Lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village combines historic charm and youthful vigor to become one of NYC’s most desirable places to live. While a lively college crowd keeps its streets abuzz with activity, this neighborhood wears its roots on its sleeve with century-old architectural gems, as well as an inviting suburban vibe that harks back to its heyday as a capital of Bohemian culture in the 19th century.
Fondly referred to as “The Village” by New Yorkers, Greenwich Village is bounded by West 14th Street on the north, Broadway on the east, West Houston Street on the south, and 6th Avenue on the west. However, some consider the nearby West Village and Meatpacking District neighborhoods as extensions or subsections of a larger Greenwich Village area, making the Hudson River waterfront the neighborhood’s western limits.
Other well-known Manhattan neighborhoods adjacent to the Village include Union Square, Soho, Noho, and Chelsea. Greenwich Village residents also enjoy convenient access to New York City’s best-known destinations and attractions, such as Times Square, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Part of Greenwich Village’s enduring appeal is the rich history and culture that has shaped (and continues to influence) the local way of life. Greenwich Village goes hand-in-hand with alternative lifestyles, countercultural movements, and other convention-defying forms of human expression.
Indeed, the Village has had a reputation as a Bohemian capital dating all the way back to the 19th century. For more than a century now, the Village has taken pride in embracing musicians, writers, and many other artistically inclined people in its welcoming, diverse, vibrant community.
A brief history of Greenwich Village
- In the 1630s, the first European settlers arrived on the marshland where Greenwich Village now sits. The pioneer community cleared the wild foliage and began to use the land to grow crops.
- Under the stewardship of the English, the area was designated as the hamlet of Grin’wich in 1713.
- After the American Revolutionary War, Greenwich Village survived as a pastoral and agricultural area near the Hudson River. Between the 1790s and the 1820s, the first Federal-style row houses in the neighborhood rose to provide accommodations for local merchants.
- Residential developments continued throughout the mid-1800s, giving rise to more affluent communities around Washington State Park. Red brick townhouses built in the Greek Revival style were prominent additions around the park’s perimeter. New York University was founded in 1831, occupying the east side of Washington Square.
- Toward the end of the 1800s, Greenwich Village welcomed transplants from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and other European countries. With the influx of these new residents emerged the unconventional sensibilities of Bohemianism, a quality that would define the Village for decades to come. Meanwhile, the upscale residents that moved in a few decades earlier relocated north toward Central Park, paving the way for the commercialization of Greenwich Village.
- In 1892, the neighborhood’s most recognizable landmark, the Memorial Arch designed by Stanley White, was built. The massive marble structure was designed to commemorate the centenary of George Washington’s inauguration as the first president of the United States.
- Early in the 1900s, Greenwich Village flourished as a hub of artistic and cultural expression. Small presses produced publications of all sorts, art galleries began to pop up all around the neighborhood, and local theater companies defied the conventions of the upscale Broadway theater scene nearby.
- As artistic expression evolved into the Beat movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Greenwich Village provided the necessary space to support it. During this time, the village also became a prominent site for protests and demonstrations anchored around the emerging LGBTQ movement.
- To this day, more than 2,035 historic structures in this neighborhood are protected and preserved within the Greenwich Village Historic District. Instead of demolishing buildings built in the 19th century, adaptive reuse initiatives became the preferred strategy for these old structures. From these projects, new residential properties are being created and added to the coveted Greenwich Village real estate market.
Greenwich Village, NY Real Estate
City living isn’t limited to mean big crowds and the non-stop buzz of the metropolitan lifestyle—not even in the City that Never Sleeps. Greenwich Village and its impressive range of homes is proof that cozy and serene neighborhoods can still exist amidst an urban sprawl.
With more low-rise and mid-rise brownstone buildings than towering skyscrapers defining its skyline, Greenwich Village maintains a charming suburban feel despite its central location in New York City. Greek Revival and Federal-style influences rule the architectural profile of its rowhomes, giving this neighborhood a distinctive aesthetic that visually sets it apart from the glass, metal, and concrete that people normally associate with Manhattan.
To be clear, there are still high-rise residential complexes to be found in this market. Appealing to the upscale homebuyer, luxurious full-service buildings can be found along Fifth Avenue, between Washington Square and Union Square.
While the exteriors of Greenwich Village buildings may seem frozen in time—in the best way, of course—the living spaces inside them are far from old-fashioned. The best of the contemporary urban lifestyle is at hand when you buy a home here.
Common features that you can see in Greenwich Village real estate listings include flowing open floor plans, tall ceilings, and oversized windows that allow plenty of natural light to enter your living spaces. While the units may be housed within adjacent row houses and similar structures, you can rest assured that your home “breathes” with the space that you need to maximize your modern way of life.
For homebuyers who want dedicated rooms for leisure activities, work, and rest, townhouses are an excellent choice. As multi-level dwellings, these properties can accommodate a wide range of needs.
Buyers who are comfortable with more compact, low-maintenance residences, meanwhile, can look into an impressive selection of modern lofts and studio apartment units.
While included appliances, fixtures, and building amenities vary from one listing to the next, one thing is for sure with the Greenwich Village housing stock: there’s a home for every type of homebuyer scouring the local real estate market on any given day.
The Greenwich Village lifestyle
So what’s day-to-day living like in Greenwich Village? Read on to learn more about the finer points of the local lifestyle.
Greenwich Village is a neighborhood that will treat you to the best of all four seasons throughout the year. On average, winter months are chilly and wet with light to moderate snowfall, while summers tend to be hot and humid. Rain is a frequent occurrence all year round. With an abundance of tree-lined streets, the Village can be a sight to behold when the leaves turn in the fall.
Economy and cost of living
As part of the thriving New York City metropolis, it’s no surprise that Greenwich Village fetches a relatively higher cost of living. Salary.com rates living in the Village as being 11.5% more expensive than the national average. This is partly due to the competitive real estate market, which sees plenty of demand from aspiring homebuyers year in and year out.
New York University is one of the centerpieces of the Greenwich Village community, infusing a lively college town vibe around its Washington Square and Union Square campus buildings. Among all private universities in the United States, NYU has the largest enrollment total with a student population of 51,847 (based on 2018 totals).
Aside from NYU, other well-established colleges that are easily accessible from Greenwich Village are The Cooper Union and The New School.
The John Melser Charrette School (PS 3) and Greenwich Village School (PS 41) cater to elementary level students based in the Village, while high schoolers are zoned to public schools in nearby neighborhoods.
Getting around Greenwich Village without a car is enjoyable thanks to the neighborhood’s peaceful, walkable profile and picture-perfect streetscapes.
As for the public transport available for you to reach other parts of Manhattan and the rest of New York, here’s what you need to know:
- By train – The main subway lines that serve Greenwich Village include the A, B, C, D, E, F, L, and M lines, as well as the 1, 2, and 3 lines. The Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train also makes the Village accessible from New Jersey.
- By bus – Bus routes that traverse this neighborhood include the M2, M3, M5, M6, M7, M8, M11, M14, and M20 lines.
Shopping and dining
New Yorkers are never lacking for options when it comes to favorite retail and dining destinations.
Greenwich Village boasts a signature foodie experience though, and it belongs to the famed MacDougal Street. This historic street is lined with bars and restaurants that capture the creative spirit that has been the Village’s calling card for more than a century. This street is home to Cafe Wha?, the local dive bar where the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan launched their legendary music careers.
Stanford White’s Memorial Arch in Washington Square Park is easily the most recognizable historic landmark in Greenwich Village. It helps that this massive marble structure, constructed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration as president, is surrounded by a beautiful sprawling park—making it more enjoyable for residents and tourists to marvel at the historic relic.
Greenwich Village is also home to the Jefferson Market Courthouse, which you will instantly recognize when you see its majestic 172-foot clock tower. Now housing the
Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library, this breathtaking High Victorian Gothic structure is a National Historic Landmark.
In the West Village subsection of Greenwich Village, you can find the Stonewall National Monument, which is an iconic landmark representing the center of America’s LGBTQ rights movements in the 1960s.
Cultural attractions and destinations
If you’re wondering where to go for art and culture in a neighborhood that has been a hub of creativity throughout generations, here is where to begin.
- Grey Art Gallery (NYU) – As New York University’s dedicated fine arts museum, this attraction is one of the most accessible ways to appreciate contemporary art while also learning about each piece’s significance in history and the sociocultural context from which it was born.
- IFC Center – Greenwich Village’s dedicated theater for independent films, the IFC Center occupies the site of the former Waverly Theater. It opened in 2005 and features five state-of-the-art cinemas and hosts DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival, every November.
- Greenwich Village Orchestra – While the biggest names in rock and roll have their place in Greenwich Village’s history and culture, the diversity of this neighborhood’s creative experiences leaves plenty of room for the likes of the Greenwich Village Orchestra. Founded in 1986, this semi-professional musical organization comprises local volunteers representing different industries—from actors and artists, to accountants, lawyers, educators, students, and more.
- Various live music venues – Aside from the previously mentioned Cafe Wha?, the Village boasts plenty more iconic music venues that have helped form American music as we know it today. The Bitter End, despite its bleak name, was a haven of American folk musicians in the 1960s. The Blue Note Jazz Club, meanwhile, has hosted legends of jazz for nearly half a century.
- The “Friends” apartment – Did you know that one of the most popular American TV shows ever was set in Greenwich Village? Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, and Joey from TV’s Friends were residents of 90 Bedford Street… sort of. While the episodes were filmed at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, exterior shots of the lead characters’ apartment building were unmistakably the building located at the corner of Bedford and Grove.
Parks and nature
In addition to being the site where tourists go to see the Village’s iconic marble arch, Washington Square Park is a 9.75-acre open space in the heart of the always-bustling Manhattan borough.
Undoubtedly the heart and soul of Greenwich Village, Washington Square brings people together with its verdant garden spaces, the always-popular fountain area, and even dog parks. Throughout the neighborhood’s history, this place has served as the ideal site for social gatherings and important community events.
Discover the finest homes for sale in Greenwich Village, NY
Be part of the incredible culture and legacy of NYC’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. If you’re ready to start browsing the latest listings for the most elegant homes for sale here, get in touch with Danny Nassi and The Nassi Team. Call our team of experienced real estate consultants today by calling 917.239.1124 or by sending an email to dnassi(at)bhsusa(dotted)com