Friday, August 1, 2008

Village Stories: A Walk in the West Village

A tree-lined Street in the West Village

----A Postcards From New York Encore----

The last weeks of summer and early fall are perfect to explore neighborhoods like “the Village.” Over the next several days we will feature past articles as “Village Stories.” In response to questions about the boundaries of the West Village, Greenwich Village and the East Village click here.


Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

This glorious late summer weather is perfect for walking. And, we know hitting the pavement is the very best way to truly make New York your own.

There are lots of green spots between and in the shadows of our dazzling high skyscrapers, as well as little known fountains and waterfalls, cobblestone streets and mews, tiny steeple churches tucked away in remote corners and 18th and 19th century buildings with endlessly interesting architectural features. I bet you thought I was describing some European city.

Have an hour? We'll keep it simple. Begin at West 4th and 6th Avenue, and find Bleecker Street. Walk north, just pass 7th Avenue to Grove, turn left, and continue walking until you come to Hudson Street.

Stop a moment to glance at the picturesque garden set back from the street at the Church of St. Luke-in-the-Fields on Hudson. Right out of a storybook, now notice the winding walkway leading to the entrance of the school not far from the church. Next, retrace your steps on the opposite side of Grove Street so you can take a close look at the brownstones and buildings across from you. When you reach Bleecker, walk to the next block, Christopher Street and repeat, then proceed to West 10th, Charles, Perry and West 11th Street.

Survey the unique character and architectural detail of the brownstones and low apartment buildings. There is an unhurried neighborhood feel here; people leisurely walk with little children and dogs, and sit on doorsteps and front stoops. You'll see ivy clad doorways and facades, well kept stone stairwells with exquisite wrought iron handrails. Dated plaques on many brownstones are proof they have been around since the mid 19th century.

Look up at the stairwells to find grand entrance doors; some carved with intricate designs or polished to a high gloss finish like the mahogany double doors at 70 Perry Street.

There is a lot to see. Bleecker Street has numerous small shops, cozy bookstores, intimate cafes and sidewalk restaurants. Your fingers will itch to touch the striking flower arrangements displayed at VSF 208 W. 10th Street. While the antiques in the window of Les Pierre Antiques beg to tell their stories, the colorful fabrics and smartly designed children's clothes at
Bonpoint are impossible to resist.

Sarah Jessica Parker calls this area home. If you are a fan of Sex and the City join the line trailing around the block at Carrie's favorite place for cupcakes, Magnolia Bakery, or stop at Sant Ambroeus for gelato. Better yet, be really decadent and have a "to die for" cannoli. I'll tell you where next time.

Jacqueline Cable
Postcards from New York

Address to remember: West 4th Street and Sixth Avenue.

Magnolia Bakery, 401 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014, 212-462-2572,

Sant Ambroeus, 259 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014, 212-604-9264,

Directions: From Times Square MTA 1 to Christopher Street, short walk to Bleecker Street, N, R, and W to 8th Street short walk to Sixth Avenue, A, C, or E to West 4th Street, short walk to Bleecker.

Photo by Joseph Knight

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