Even the Village, Greenwich Village that is, one of my most visited neighborhoods and the one I go to class, still comes up with surprises, with new things. That made me aware how unrealistic my idea was to get to know New York City in every detail in just 6 months. That’s just not possible. The city is too big and too full of details.
What made me go to the Village today was that my colleague Claus called me yesterday. He and his wife Sabine are spending a week in NYC and we agreed on meeting tomorrow. They haven’t been to New York before and will do the big things every first time visitor wants to do. So I thought it might be a good idea to take them where the New York Pass will not take them but what is an essential part of New York City – the Village.
I thought that we should not just have dinner in a restaurant I would suggest but as well go for a walk to get an idea what Greenwich Village was then and is now. The perfectionist in me thought I should prepare that. So last night I went through all my material about the village and through my memory and decided that I should work out a walk on the spot, today.
So I took my book of literary walks – having two walks in Greenwich Village, one of which I already walked and traveled to W4 – West 4th Street, Washington Square. The Arch in Washington Square Park would be a good meeting point, easily accessible by subway and a village landmark.
Bleecker Street should be on my tour as well as McDougall Street and Christopher Street. Restaurant suggestions would be the Cornelia Street Café and Arturo’s on West Houston.
I followed my walk from the park in southern direction to Bleecker Street and found a part of Bleecker where I apparently had never been before. I had never been to The Market, a space hosting arts and crafts, between Thompson and McDougall Streets. I followed Sullivan down to West Houston to find Arturo’s, one of Manhattan’s most recommended pizzerias. It’s not on the corner of Sullivan but Thompson though. On Thompson I found Lupa, a much recommended Roman Osteria. Most restaurants still offered brunch – it is the weekend.
On McDougall I found a great poster shop and had a break at Caffe Reggio, having a Caffe Latte and a Cannoli. Superb!
From there I walked a little deviation to check out the literary places around Washington Square. Edgar Allen Poe had lived there and Edith Wharton – on the noble north side, Greek revival style. Crossing 6th Avenue took me back to Bleecker Street, its best known part with Carmine and Cornelia as side streets, with Murray’s Cheese, Amy’s Bread and Ottomanelli’s. I followed Bleecker to Christopher Street and Sheridan Square, another must see on a Greenwich Village walk.
That would be enough for my visitors. My literary walk took me back to 6th Avenue to see the Jefferson Market Courthouse. This remarkable building had been a court house and a prison and now serves as a library. I must have passed it so often, but never really saw it.
Behind it there is Patchin Place, a little dead end, where Djuna Barnes had a tiny apartment. Finally I walked back towards 5th Avenue on 10th Street, where a lot of authors, among them Mark Twain, had lived.
I got hungry, a signal to get home. On my way to Astor Place where I could catch the 6 I picked up an Italian bread at a Gristedes and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc at Wines and Spirits on Broadway. I was so hungry I ate part of the bread on my way home, which was stony. The 5 I cought at Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall, where the 6 ends just took me to Bowling Green. There I had to wait for a 4 to Brooklyn for 8 minutes. I would have starved without the bread.