NFT New York Washington Square / NYU / NoHo / SoHo

Washington Square / NYU / NoHo / SoHo

Simply put, this is still the center of the universe. It all radiates from the corner of Broadway and Houston, which serves as the intersection for four of New York City's most exciting neighborhoods: Greenwich Village, Soho, NoHo, and Nolita. While the area is far from bucolic--green space is limited to a few patches of grass in Washington Square Park--it has everything one could possibly want in terms of culture. Architecture, art galleries, movie theaters, live music, shopping, restaurants, old New York, new New York, and every other kind of New York are all here for the taking. If you're new to the city and ready to dive in and explore, start here.

One of this area's highlights is the sheer number of buildings from every period of New York City's development. Just walk the streets and you'll traverse over two hundred years of architectural history. Start with the somewhat-hidden former stables at See more.

>Washington Mews for a taste of 18th-century New York. Other ancient (for New York) buildings include St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery (1799), Colonnade Row (1830s), the Old Merchant's House (1832), Grace Church (1846) and the Cooper Union Building (1859). The stunning white terra cotta exterior of Louis Sullivan's Bayard-Condict Building (1899), and Ernest Flagg's Great Jones Fire House (1899) and Little Singer Building (1904) hearken back to New York at the turn of the 20th century. In the early 20th century Daniel Burnham (Wanamaker's, 1904/1907) and Henry J Hardenbergh (376 Lafayette St, 1888, and the Con Edison Building, 1914) added their contributions to the area. Our ultimate favorite is the little-known DeVinne Press Building (1885) by Babb, Cook & Willard (and not just because Astor Wines is there). Starting in the 21st century, modern (or should we say postmodern?) architecture has run rampant along the Bowery, transforming the once derelict district. Notable examples include Thom Mayne's Cooper Union New Academic Building (2009), Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa's brilliant New Museum of Contemporary Art (2007), and Herzog & de Mauron's bizarre 40 Bond (2007).

Unlike these buildings, some historical places of interest seem hidden in plain sight. Our favorite of these is the lovely New York City Marble Cemetery, tucked away on Second Street between The Bowery and Second Avenue. NYU's Brown Building was the site of the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, while 18 West 11th Street was the site of the Weathermen explosion. A plaque at the Mark Twain House on West 4th Street commemorates his time as a Greenwich Villager. And, while you can't rock out at CBGB anymore, you can still visit the site (now a John Varvatos store), right around the corner from where Joey Ramone lived on East 2nd Street, also known as Joey Ramone Place.

Just as there's no shortage of history, the cultural options here can make your head spin. A few of our favorites include the Salmagundi Club for art, the Astor Center for food and cooking events, and Anthology Film Archives for experimental film. The Bowery Ballroom is one of the best venues in NYC to catch up-and-coming musical acts. Browsing The Strand's 18 miles of books is a must, as is checking out the critics' picks at Other Music, which has outlasted practically every other record store in this 'hood.

For all the history and culture here, signs of the area's down-and-out heyday in the 1970s and 1980s are few and far between. Milano's still serves up divey goodness, as it's been doing since the 1800s. Skate punks still hang out at The Alamo (give it a spin), even while fancy glass towers rise around it. You can still get your punk rock and goth gear at Trash & Vaudeville, and browse the magazine racks at Gem Spa. Much of the rest of St. Mark's Place between Second and Third Avenues now resembles a cross between a strip mall and Little Tokyo, which stretches along 9th Street as well. If you're ready for a break from all this excitement, grab some ramen, then get a cocktail at Angel's Share (one flight up and behind a Japanese restaurant) or explore the sake list at Decibel while feeling like you've left the Village far behind.

For better or worse, this area is why New York is called the city that never sleeps. For dives, we like Scratcher, Milano's, and Blue & Gold. For cocktails, check out Mayahuel or Angel's Share. Catch a reading at KGB, an indie film at Angelika Film Center or Sunshine Cinema, or live music at Joe's Pub or Le Poisson Rouge or Bowery Ballroom. We guarantee you won't be bored.

McSorley's Old Ale House has been in operation 1854, and has a great old-school barroom atmosphere; weekend nights are insane. For a great beer selection, seek out Peculier Pub in Greenwich Village or if you're on the other side of Broadway Jimmy's 43 or Burp Castle, the latter of which is great for Belgian beer and quiet conversation.

It's probably unfair for one neighborhood to claim all the glory, but this one's tops for restaurants too, from wallet-busting upscale (Babbo and Strip House), to awesome street carts (NY Dosas in Washington Square Park). We like Frank for Italian, Zabb Elee for Thai, Num Pang for sandwiches, and Ssam Bar for everything. Out late? Veselka and Blue Ribbon have your back.

There is no shortage of top-notch pizza around these parts. Lombardi's was the first pizzeria in the US, and still puts its coal oven to good use. For an upscale pie, try the exquisite creations at Mario Batali's Otto. For great pizza along with live jazz, check out Arturo's on Houston Street. And you can get great slices at Artichoke Basille's Pizza.

This 'hood is definitely over-represented when it comes to general buzz. Biang! is a muy autentico Flushing export serving up Chinese dishes from unfamiliar regions. Sadelle's is an all-day joint elevating traditional deli food higher than an 80-pound bat mitzvah. And if you're burned out on the umpteenth iteration of pad thai, try the inventive menu at Uncle Boons.

Outside Soho's glorified mall, the city's most eclectic shopping waits. Sample lotions at Kiehl's, and browse for housewares at John Derian, designer shoes at Coclico, trendy threads at Odin, books at The Strand, old prints at Pageant Print Shop, and cool gifts at MoMA Design Store. The selections at Astor Wines & Spirits and New Beer Distributors remind us why we live here.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
An Englishwoman in New York

By Georgia Lawson
Having four weeks to explore New York, Londoner Georgia Lawson dives in head first on a mission to live like a local. Can this Englishwoman master the city in such a short time? Read on to find out.

Breaking into Non-Profit Arts

By Liz Pink
Young, talented, poor and striving. Artists are a mysterious lot. Will they make it, or will we wipe our hands of them, devilishly and unforgivingly. J/K. Liz Pink offers truckloads of making-it-in-the-big-city advice that only a very rich or successful artist could pass up. Join her.

On the Hunt for NY's Avant-Garde

By Sarah Enelow
New York is a world-class performing arts mecca, especially when it comes to experimental work, but where exactly does one find it? NFT Editor Sarah Enelow takes us on a tour of avant-garde performance venues in the city, cutting through the Broadway fluff to find the best, most affordable offbeat events.
Living on a Budget in NYC

By Diana Bocco
The living is easy when you have lots of money. And that's why we need Diana Bocco to tell us to shop at the Greenmarket and patronize the free-for-all furniture store of the street. After all, what is living if not suffering; drinking if not free sampling? Nothing. It is nothing if not that.

Walk Like You Mean It

By Sarah Enelow
"Ugh, if we don’t get there soon, I’m gonna die." Judging by the number of times you hear this on the street, you'd think many people feel that New York is not a "walking city." However, Sarah Enelow explains how New York's very unruly nature is what lends itself to walking, wandering, and discovering your role in this monolith.
It’s a Dog’s City

By Michele Langer
Dogs: They're more than lovable, overeager bundles of fur. Dogs can be social ice breakers and show-off accessories. Or can they? A dog is many things to many people, some of whom care for their pets with the love of a brother or mother. Dog runs, dog-friendly restaurants and hotels all aim to serve, comfort and further domesticate this sociable animal. It's enough to make them forget they were ever wolves.

East Side Kids

By Jessica Feder-Birnbaum
Kids these days. So full of life. Sometimes you gotta put them in their place and sometimes you just gotta take them on the town. And what part? The East Side. From Kosher bakeries to high-falutin' libraries, the East Side has it all. Come. Join us on this kid-friendly journey.

Hearing Gotham's Literati

By Stephanie Pekarsky
Literature and New York: Like a fine wine and artisinal cheese, no combination is commoner, snobbier and potentially rife with commercial success. But seriously, where can you go to see up-and-coming writers? Stephanie Pekarsky will tell  you.

Not Your Mama’s Candy Striper

By Vanessa Vichit-Vadakan
If you want to go to hell, then don't bother reading this.

Free NYC

By Krista Apple
When Krista Apple moved to NYC, a friend shoved her into a corner and hissed, "They charge you to breathe here." But Krista could not be deterred. She vowed to seek out the cheapest eats, drinks and arts this side of the Appalachians. Now, let her show you the way.

Stuffed to the Gills: All-U-Can-Eat Sushi

By David Freedenberg
Eating is the one thing a man can do with a fish.

Guide to Entertaining Tourists

By Jane Pirone
Someone's gotta do it.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

The Alamo (The Cube)
In October 2014, one of NYC's most beloved pieces of public art was taken from Astor Place. Did it need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city? Was the Cube priced out of its now fancy neighborhood (like the rest of us)? Did it go on a road trip looking for the meaning of life? We may never know, but two years after it was removed, the Cube has arrived back home. We stopped in our tracks when we stepped out of the 6 train station and saw it just looming there. Some things can come home again, even in New York City. We can't wait to give it a spin. 

Posted By:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian

Saxon + Parole
For old timers, and even people with just a decade or two under their belts here in New York, the transformation of The Bowery from forlorn skid row to the kind of street that can have expense account restaurants, and a clothing joint un-ironically called Blue and Cream, has been one of the stranger turnarounds in New York's recent history. One thing that has remained consistent: it's one of those areas New Yorkers avoid (once because of bums, now because of bros), but as with everything in the City, there are some gems among the fool's gold. Saxon + Parole comes across as a typical overpriced, unauthentic restaurant of the new Bowery, but it's actually not too bad. True, they have a “look at me” dish called the seafood tower (which is pretty much what it says it is) and a steak that costs $58, but with a bunch of dishes in the $25-$30 range, great cocktails and a lovely setting, it's a good option for a nice night out in hell.

Posted By:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian

It's amazing how a simple thing like hot bread straight out of the oven can be so satisfying. Manousheh's small kitchen on Bleecker Street, open behind the counter, is centered on the large oven where they bake their Lebanese-style flatbread. It's served with your choice of topping, like a simple but delicious zaatar (thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, olive oil) or soft akkawi cheese (or both together), all of which make for a surprisingly filling meal for not much money. You can get a sweet version with Nutella as well. The bread (the eponymous manousheh) is still the backbone of each dish, though, and the quiet star of the show.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

I love all food, but if I had to pick one type of cuisine, Italian would be near the top of the list. Luckily, New York still has plenty of excellent Italian food stores to help me stock up on everything I need for nightly feasts of pasta, sausages, cheese, sparkling water, olive get the picture. Buon Italia, Di Palo, Alleva, Todaro Bros., heck even tourist mecca Eataly, all get the job done. But there's one tiny place in Greenwich Village that has a special place in my heart: Raffetto's. They make their very own ravioli which you can buy fresh or frozen and entering their shop brings you back to when the city was all mom & pop shops, before chain stores took over. So go pay them a visit and show your support, just like New Yorkers have been doing since 1904.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

B&H Dairy
B&H is one of the last cozy, old-school diners in Manhattan (think Cup & Saucer or Eisenberg's). Every time I sit down here, I'm thankful it's still going strong. They say good things come in threes, and here, in no particular order, you can always rely on: a seat at the counter, a filling bowl of mushroom barley soup and a huge slice of homemade challah bread. I wish I could branch out on the menu, but after years of trying, I just keep going back to the very same meal. Plus, there's no need to stop at the ATM across the street, because the experience won't cost you much more than a fiver. For those interested in diner culture of yesteryear, here's a little history from Vanishing New York.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Bowery Poetry Club
Choosing a literary reading can be tough in this city, and not just because you have to plan that über-intellectual all-black outfit. There are so many writers and styles that may or may not suit your tastes, and who can keep up with all the indie publications anyway? Thankfully, the annual Lit Crawl (born in San Francisco) served up three hours of readings all over the East Village and Lower East Side last weekend. Fiction, memoir, poetry, improv, word games, and performance were all on the menu. You could sample a cadre of talented authors without committing to more than 45 minutes at a time. This year I heard short stories about stains at the Launderette (an actual Laundromat that was open for business), comical poetry at the Bowery Poetry Club, and a dramatized scene from a new novel at Dixon Place. It was all completely free -- one Saturday night extremely well spent. Watch out for Lit Crawls in these NFT cities next month: San Francisco October 7–15 and Austin on October 22.

Posted By:  Alisha Miranda
Photo:  Alisha Miranda

La Vie Lounge
You've probably passed this place dozens of times stumbling back to the 2nd Avenue F stop on those crazy nights in the L.E.S. But next time you're sober and want to soak up some of that alcohol with cheese, bread, and a hookah, go to La Vie Lounge. It's decked out like a Middle Eastern lounge complete with dimly lit candles, darkly painted walls, plush decor, and comfy couches on each side. Go for the Goat Cheese Brulée served with toasted pita and hummus, which is super creamy and the perfect late night snack. Ask your waitress in Cat Woman-esque black attire to fetch you a hookah for you and your friends. Have room for one more drink? Ask the waiter for a "Skinny Girl Margarita" (don't be shy, fellas!). Sit back and enjoy the Arabic music setting the mood overhead. You're in for the night.

Posted By:  Layne Mosler
Photo:  Layne Mosler

Anyone can make udon, but working buckwheat flour into Soba noodles is a difficult art to master. At Sobaya, a noodle expert works his dough in the back of the dining room while guests patiently wait for the chance to dig in. While it's a pleasure to watch him show off his skills, it's even more fun to taste the results of his efforts--in soup, in stir-fry, and in salads. To appreciate soba in their full, firm-tender glory, try them cold (in a salad or as part of Sobaya's pre-7pm Happy Hour special: for $18, you get a tray of sushi, tempura, and a big bowl of cold soba noodles for dipping).

Posted By:  Sonia Weiser
Photo:  Sonia Weiser

16 Handles
While you may end up with two love handles if you keep going back for more (or take advantage of their larger sized cups), 16 handles is the best fro-yo location around. A frequent study-break spot for NYU kids, the joint offers sixteen flavors of frozen yogurt (it's healthier than ice cream!...just keep telling yourself that...and some are sugar free and/or kosher) and toppings ranging from the fruity (strawberries) to the slightly bad for you (butterfingers) to the WTF (lychee?) and tons of others in between. They charge by the weight, so you can keep adding goodies to your heart's content. And guys heads up: if you want to buy your girlfriend dessert and she won't eat something of the real dessert genre (it's always bathing suit season somewhere) this is the place to go; and no one will judge you if you indulge as well ("it [won't] devastate [your] reputation as a dude.") That’s from Sixteen do you understand the name? There are only a few seats inside and the line can be long, but it moves quickly and gives you time to mentally plan. Plus, it's totally worth it.

Posted By:  Sonia Weiser
Photo:  Sonia Weiser

The Grey Dog's Coffee
Walking into Grey Dog's Coffee is like walking into New Hampshire. The normal NYU hipster look fuses into lumberjack chic and the lively atmosphere is reminiscent of the type of cafe you'd hit up after a long day in the snow. Try to get there around 9:30 pm; the big dinner rush is gone so you can whip out your Scrabble board and set up shop until closing time. If you're having trouble deciding what to get, definitely order pie. Not only are they all delicious, but the portion is about the size of a a normal teenage girl's head (that's a large piece of pie if that imagery didn't help.) Although they deliver, the atmosphere is half the fun. And make sure to check out the paintings on the tables and the cartoons on the walls before taking off.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Courtesy of Edible Manhattan

Le Poisson Rouge
We all know winter in New York can be grim. There's a reason wealthy New Yorkers spend all of January and February on their private Caribbean islands. One way to warm yourself up is to get out of the house and treat yourself to some good food and drink. Luckily, one of our favorite food publications, Edible Manhattan, is hosting a fantastic seasonal cocktail pairing event on January 25th at Le Poisson Rouge. Entitled "Good Spirits", Edible matches mixology-minded chefs and food artisans with spectacular, storied spirits (plus some beer, wine and coffee for good measure), asking them to strive for liquid symbiosis. Top-notch spirit companies like Tuthilltown, Prairie Vodka, Karma Tequila, Compass Box Whiskey will be serving up drinks galore. Plus, there will be tasty food selections from the likes of Fette Sau, Northern Spy, and Huckleberry Bar just to name a few. So conquer the winter blues, and get your tickets today before this excellent food and drink adventure sells out.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

Double Crown
On the Bowery, a lively part of town, a spirited crowd roams the night away. Case in point: Double Crown. The amazing wooden bar that sweeps the whole way around is the perfect place for people watching. The bar staff are welcoming and are exceptionally talented with the cocktail shaker. They even rustled up some tasty non-alcoholic cocktails for the ones taking the night off. Double Crown is better known for its culinary talents; it won two stars from the New York Times for its ability to fuse Britannia and Eastern cuisine. Food aside, it should not be over looked as a great place to get the drinks in before hitting the rest of the Bowery.

Posted By:  Layne Mosler
Photo:  Layne Mosler

Bespoke Chocolates
There's a reason salted caramel has created a taste craze: it's one of the best ways to wake up the sweet and salty zones on your palate. Or, to put it pornographically, it's a combination so good it will make you moan. The chocolatiers at Bespoke (tucked away on Extra Place below some fancy new lofts off of East 1st Street) understand the power of salted caramel, and they've created a truffle that encases it in dark chocolate and pretzels. They've got other truffles, too (infused with delicacies like single origin Colombian cocoa and black tea), but the salted caramel pretty much steals the show.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

What's shaped like a dandelion leaf and tastes like pepper? ARUGULA! This caused much amusement at Pulino's for the Europeans among us, because we know it as "rocket." Once the confusion had been sorted and the pizzas ordered, we settle in to what turned out to be one of my favorite meals in New York. The pizza had a light and crispy base and was full of flavor. This comes as no surprise when considering that chef Nate Appleman is one of the few American pizzaiolos to have certified training in the production of authentic Neapolitan pizza. The restaurant has a rustic style with a modern twist, aged bottles with bare brick walls, and wooden tables. The atmosphere is warm and lively, and the icing on the cake is the dreamy concierge, who upgraded us to a better table and gave us the wonderful explanation of arugula. If he isn't enough to entice you, then the pizza surely should be.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

You only have to make two decisions: What you will be drinking and whether you will have the meat or fish for a main. This does not mean you do not get to try a variety of Italian specialties; in fact, it's the complete opposite. The courses just keep on coming. You have 4 exquisite starter dishes that you share, followed by a small pasta dish. Then you have the mains, a palate cleanser, and a selection of pastries. And one last decision, coffee? It is hard to get a table as this hot spot is small, and they do not take reservation and won't seat you until the whole party has arrived. But it's well worth the extreme effort you need to undertake. The music was a little loud but the food was so excellent who needs conversation? Just smile, eat, and nod.

Posted By:  Euphenia Cheng
Photo:  Euphenia Cheng

Unless you have a big group, the best spot in the dining room is at the counter. Sit down here and you'll get the full Robotaya experience. They specialize in the traditional robatayaki style of cooking-- a Japanese grilling technique that cooks food over charcoal right before your eyes. The meat, seafood and the veggies are so fresh and so perfectly grilled, they barely need seasoning. And when you throw in a great selection of sake and a few tasty soups, you have one of the most interesting Japanese dining outings in New York.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Every once in awhile you hear about a deal so good, you figure it can't be true. Case in point: I was surfing The Interwebs a few weeks ago (not during work hours of course), when I stumbled upon an entry on the world famous pizza blog Slice about a five dollar Margherita pizza on St Mark's Place. The next time I was down in the East Village--ok, about 4 hours after I read that post--I headed straight to Totale to investigate. And yes, that is not a misprint. A measly five bucks gets you a gorgeous Neapolitan pizza. The crust is charred, the mozzarella is luscious, and the sauce is tangy and first rate. And just like in Napoli, the space is spare and simple. No reclaimed Redwood table here--just a few marble tops, a bottle of olive oil, and good pizza. Oh, and if that's not enough, the place is BYOB. So grab a beer from your fridge and make a dash for St. Mark's Place. If there's a better dining deal in the city right now, let us know!

Posted By:  J. Slab
Photo:  J. Slab

82 Mercer
The Japanese translation for "wino"--Arukoru izon-sha--is less word than phrase, roughly "one dependent on alcohol." Which sounds eerily similar to the brochures given college freshman, equal parts AA scare tactic and spot-on description. Fortunately, it makes no mention of "sake," which means you are free to attend New York's 10th annual Joy of Sake extravaganza guilt-free on September 23rd. The largest of its sort outside of Japan, this year features 329 sakes (of which 194 are normally unavailable in the US). To make matters better, 13 restaurants will be supplying signature appetizers, everything from tofu and sea urchin, tuna truffle sandwiches and crab-stuffed crepes to smoked duck sushi and tender roasted octopus (the latter courtesy of Brooklyn standout Hibino). To sum up: Super Happy Love Rice Wine Gives Extravagant Fun To All Who Attend. Konichiwa, bitches! Check out for more info.

Posted By:  Ilona Virostek
Photo:  Ilona Virostek

Dress Shoppe
"Welcome to my mess," offers Dress Shoppe owner Purushottam Goyal when customers walk through the door. And what a mess it is: The interior is a full-on visual explosion, a mashup of the expected and the inexplicable, a perfect blending of the respective essences of India and the East Village. Here you will find Hindu and Buddhist religious statuettes sharing shelf space with secondhand Barbie and baby dolls and a life-size porcelain cat. Garlands of flowers and mirrors and other ornaments of devotion hang from the walls. Framed prints of deities and queens overflow onto the floor and lean against tables displaying colorful rings and bangles. A bucket of antique padlocks lurks mysteriously next to a vintage radio and a pair of ash-laden cowboy hat-shaped incense holders from Wall Drug in South Dakota. East meets West! As inferred by the name, Dress Shoppe also sells a large selection of women's and men's clothing from India. Everything's for sale and it's always on sale for less than the marked price, true to Dress Shoppe's bazaar/flea-market nature. Be sure to grab some of Mr. Goyal's famous incense, a truly intoxicating nag champa that draws orders from as far as Europe.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Whole Foods
These days, stores and cafes around the city are offering mate (mah-tay), the bitter Argentine "tea" steeped in hot (not boiling) water, traditionally drunk from a gourd through a metal straw. For some Argentines, mate is literally a substitute for water, even during the peak of summer, regardless of the fact that they're drinking hot liquid through a burning metal tube. But oddly enough, mate in New York is rarely prepared hot with the aforementioned gourd and straw, but rather drunk cold from a bottle like a Gatorade substitute, and in my personal opinion, cold mate tastes disgusting. Ordering a mate teabag in a cafe, as I've often seen here, is also markedly un-Argentine, as most natives have their personal gourd and thermos of hot water surgically attached to their hands. Can any NFT followers explain the cold mate trend?

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