NFT New York West Village

West Village

Ah, the West Village. This is the idyllic neighborhood of Jane Jacobs, the district of odd-angled streets designed to disorient grid-seasoned New Yorkers. Bordered by collegiate Greenwich Village to the east, millionaire stronghold Tribeca to the South, and factory-turned-gallery heaven Chelsea to the North, this neighborhood has quaint beauty, a thriving restaurant scene, and top-notch shopping, making it the ultimate address for the very, very rich. But its draw goes deeper than finding the boots or the cheeseburger that will change your life, because of all the famous artists, musicians, and writers who once lived, worked, drank, strolled, and starved here.

To catch a glimpse of more Bohemian times, head to the White Horse Tavern (1880), which has the dubious honor of being the place where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death. You can see where Edgar Allen Poe was treated at See more.

>Northern Dispensary (1831), and visit Bob Dylan's old apartment at 161 West 4th Street. Charming, gated Patchin Place (1849) was once home to writers Theodore Dreiser, e.e. Cummings, and Djuna Barnes. Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and every other jazz great under the sun played at Village Vanguard (1935). Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay helped found Cherry Lane Theater (1924), which remains the oldest continuously operating off-Broadway theater. Absent is Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's Studio Club on West 8th Street, which moved uptown in the 1950s. In 2015 the Whitney Museum of American Art returned to its West Village roots with a new building at Washington and Gansevoort Streets right next to the High Line.

The atmosphere of artistic creativity and non-conformity that permeated this neighborhood in the early 20th century (and still does, to some extent) gave rise to the gay rights movement, sparked by the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn. The West Village has also been the scene of vehement preservation efforts. The Ear Inn (1817), one of the oldest bars in Manhattan, was an early example of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission acting to protect a historic building. The Jefferson Market Courthouse (1877), now part of the New York Public Library, was also saved by the outcry of the community when faced with demolition. Since 1969 much of the area has been preserved as a historic district that runs from 14th Street to West 4th or St. Luke's Place, and from Washington St. to University Place.

Despite all that architectural preservation, perhaps no area has seen as dramatic change in recent years as the blocks between 14th, Gansevoort, and Hudson Streets, also known as the Meatpacking District. The slaughterhouses, meat markets, hookers, and johns have been displaced by highest of high-end shops, nightclubs, and glittering hotels, paving the way for a different kind of meat market entirely. The Standard Hotel, one of the most visible signs of the area's resurgence, straddles The High Line, converted from a railway to a green public space that runs all the way up to 34th Street. It's worth a stroll, if only to remind yourself that you're (literally) above all the luxury below. Continue your walk along ever-popular Hudson River Park, before hitting one of the West Village's fine bars and restaurants and having more fun than you can afford.

Along Sixth Avenue at West 4th Street is The Cage, one of the city's most heralded outdoor basketball courts. The level of play is high and the competition intense; not your typical neighborhood pick-up game, several NBA players learned their chops here. When you've worked up an appetite watching from the sidelines, hit up the Old Homestead, New York's oldest steakhouse; the only thing better than the wood paneling and leather banquettes is that nifty retro neon out front.

So many bars, so little time. The Ear Inn and White Horse Tavern are classics while Employees Only and Little Branch have speakeasy cocktails covered. Check out live jazz at Village Vanguard, world music at SOB's, cabaret at Marie's Crisis and The Duplex and movies at IFC or revival house Film Forum.

No burger crawl would be complete without a trip to Corner Bistro and BLT Burger. Save up for dinner at the Spotted Pig or Spice Market by grabbing a slice at Joe's Pizza--one of NYC's finest. Head to and Pearl Oyster Bar for seafood, for Italian, and for diner grub, try Waverly Restaurant (not to be confused with Waverly Inn).

Taïm has some of the best falafel on the planet, and for a cheap breakfast that even celebs appreciate, La Bonbonniere can't be beat. Impress dates by locating the unmarked basement door of Bobo. Try En Brasserie for Japanese izakaya and Keste for pizza. For a splurge check out Spice Market.

Foodies, hit Murray's Cheese, Myers of Keswick, Ottomanelli & Sons, Citarella, Faiccos, and Murray's Bagels. Sip java at Joe The Art of Coffee, browse for books at Three Lives & Company, or go ahead and blow your bonus at Jeffrey, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
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.
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.

Not Your Mama’s Candy Striper

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

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.

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

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


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Mah Ze Dahr
When I need a break from my "office" (aka Jefferson Market Library), I can now run around the corner to the newly opened Mah Ze Dahr Bakery. Exquisitely crafted baked goods is the draw at this modern cafe space. Choose from beautiful pastries like brioche doughnuts, dark chocolate brownies, or brown butter blondies, and order your favorite espresso drink. If you're not in the mood for sweets, they also have savory items such as hand pies (spinach and feta was the choice on a recent afternoon). But whatever you decide, make sure to save room for the Mah-Ze-Dahr bar, their signature item that deserves the title. It's an oatmeal cookie topped with pecans and chocolate chips dipped in a salted caramel sauce. Is it time for another coffee break yet?

Posted By:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian

Echelon Cycles
In a city where you're constantly being accosted by ways to spend money, it's the little courtesies that make a big difference in keeping your sanity: water bowls outside restaurants for people's pets; buy-backs in a bar; and when you find the tire on your bike getting a little flat, the compressed air hose protruding from many a bike shop front ready to fill your tires back up and get you on your way. It may be hard for anyone who doesn't live here to understand, but in NY, getting air for free means a lot.

Posted By:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian

Village Pizza
One of the less heralded trademark NYC businesses is the local slice joint. High-end pizza places have proliferated in the past decade and get the press, but the backbone of pizza in New York is still the local pizzeria baking pies all day to be sliced and doled out in ones and twos. Village Pizza on Eighth Avenue and 13th Street hits all the right notes: a sturdy plain slice that it's hard to get sick of, friendly but no-nonsense counter staff, a steady stream of customers that keeps the pizza fresh, and a filling lunch for just five bucks.

Posted By:  Kari Dimmick
Photo:  Kari Dimmick

Tea & Sympathy
In a city that's just as well known for its indelicate disdain as it is for its incomparable allure, there lies a little morsel of sweet sympathy tucked between the bites of bangers and mash. NYC offers plenty of places for high tea paired with high toit, but here it's all about comfort. From your first step into this delightful, little tea room to your initial taste of authentic, British fare, you'll swear you've walked straight into a delicious daydream with your best friend, Earl Grey, where you'll dance among the cozy clouds of clotted cream. What's better, they offer the most pleasant of care packages to send to fellow mates who may be longing the Land of the Rose. Inside these gifts of goodness coined "tuck packages" is an array of savory splendor ranging from chocolate bars to marmites and all the British essentials in between. They've got your spot of tea and you've got a world of reasons to visit. On you go! Chop Chop!

Posted By:  Leigh Raynor
Photo:  Leigh Raynor

Diablo Royale
On a Saturday brunch excursion, I stumbled into Diablo Royale hoping to partake in their $25 all-you-can-drink until 4 PM brunch special. Upon entering, I was told my party and I would have to wait almost two hours for a table. There's not much I would wait two hours for...and Diablo Royale now fits into that category. However, at the time, the atmosphere, sun-drenched bar, and booze made the wait acceptable. Great tacos and the Rickys (3/4 beer, 1/4 margarita) are a must, but do yourself a favor and show up early.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Courtesy of Midtown Lunch

City Winery
This Saturday is an amazing event that you will not want to miss. Especially if you love food. The awesome website Midtown Lunch is turning a ripe old age of five wonderful years. To celebrate this grand achievement, they're throwing a big old party at City Winery. From Noon-3 pm you can mingle with Midtown Lunch's editors, writers, photographers, and fans while munching on some of the best street food in New York including Kelvin Slush, Biryani Cart, Wafels & Dinges, Eddie's Pizza...we better stop, because now we're starving. Quench your thirst with all you can drink beverages from Brooklyn Brewery and Gus Soda. To top it off, all the profits go to the Street Vendor Project, a respected organization that lends a hand to food trucks throughout the city. So let's recap: a great cause, a great space, great food, and great company. Don't wait, get your tix right now!

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Courtesy of Time Out

Who doesn't love Brazil? Beautiful people, gorgeous beaches, incredible music--it's a country that has the total package. But how often can us hard working New Yorkers jet down there on a moment's notice? Yeah, didn't think you've done that lately. Here's a solution: head out to SOB's on Monday night for the Time Out Dining and Libation Society's Flavors of Brazil, part of the annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Join Time Out Food & Drink editor Jordana Rothman to sip Leblon Cachaça caipirinhas, along with original cocktails such as the Terra de Sol, all conjured by Leblon’s mixologist and "Professor de Cachaça," Jacob Briars. Pair the quaffs with unlimited meats from a churrasco station and additional beverages by Chartreuse. To top it there will be a live samba band playing so you can really feel like you're in Rio. It all goes down this Monday May 16 from 7-9 pm. Get your tickets right now!

Posted By:  Jessica Colley
Photo:  Jessica Colley

Joanne Hendricks Cookbooks
Is it the piles of antiquarian cookbooks in the window, the ancient looking wooden door, or just simply curiosity that lures book lovers off Greenwich Street and into Joanne Hendricks Bookstore? No matter what tempts you through the door, you will be greeted by knowledgable and friendly Joanne herself, who can help you find the perfect gift for the food-lover in your life. She opened this store in the front room of her 1850's townhouse in 1995, and has been stocking the shelves ever since. Her selection of unique, out of print, and antiquarian books already attracts big names on the New York culinary scene--she has chefs such as Andrew Carmellini stopping by for unusual books about food and wine. Shelves are organized by type of cuisine, so it's a great place to learn about your culinary heritage as well. There aren't many places in New York that can be called truly one of a kind, but this antiquarian cookbook store is one of them.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Courtesy of Soho House

Soho House
It almost seems a right of passages for a Londoner to spend a night in the Soho House. The hotel has 4 types of rooms that vary in style and size. It is also famously known for the swimming pool on the roof, something I didn't experience due to the colder weather. However, I stayed in the magnificent 750 sq ft Playhouse. The room was incredible with a bath at the foot of the bed, this being a 7ft hand carved bed covered in pillows and lavish throws. There were games, drinks, and a shower that I am sure was also a part time steam room. One of the highlights was the 40" LCD TV as I settled down to a few episodes of Sex and City, which seemed very fitting considering the circumstances, as I fell asleep (on the camp bed). This is luxury living, and like everything else like it in New York, it comes at a price.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

The High Line
It's the calm in the storm of the busy city. The perfect place to go for a crisp Autumn afternoon stroll with friends and family or just alone to reflect on the hectic week. You can lounge on the large deck chairs  whilst gazing out on to the Hudson. You can still see the old wooden tracks that have now been over taken by lush greenery and other beautiful plantings. You can also pick up a bit of culture--The High Line is home to various art installations. Stephen Vitiello's multi-channel sound instillation (opened in June 2010) is a collection of recording bells from all around New York that ring every minute. On the hour a chorus of bells play; all the clanging reminds me of the sound of frantic New York. The listener can geographically follow the recording of the sounds engaging passer-byers in the connection between The High Line and the city.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

10 Downing
It seemed all too much of a clique that two English people in New York would stumble across 10 Downing Street. My urge for the toilet had simply gone too far, and I could no longer peruse Bleecker Street trying to assess which was the best option. Luckily, the 10 Downing bar has a nice European feel, with smartly dressed waiters and an extensive wine list. It is also a restaurant which serves American Bistro food (although we didn't eat.) The walls are filled with modern art work by contemporary artists that all adds up to a very chic feel. It's the ideal place to share a bottle of wine and put the world to rights. And use the bathroom.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

Boom Boom Room
Situated at the top of The Standard Hotel the view from the Boom Boom Room is just breathtaking. That is if you can manage to talk your way onto the guest list. Once past the door man, you are ushered in to a lift. Upon arrival you are greeted with ceiling to floor windows that really do the New York skyline justice. The windows are not only in the bar but also in the toilets, so you can pee and watch the world go by. It's also the ideal place to get your camera out, away from the classy cliental. The layout of the bar is reminiscent of an Austin Powers love shack with dim lighting, a fire burning in a secluded section of the room, and a grand piano by the bar. It's expensive but you're paying for an experience--the staff are attentive and the drinks taste good.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

John's Pizzeria
There's a reason tourists line up down the block for John's. It's the perfect introduction to the world of NY Pizza... It was like a scene straight out of  a sitcom--a table full of NYPD cops, couples on dates, and big groups of friends sharing pitchers of beer. The decor is simple and homey with wooden booths that have been engraved with various declarations of love. When it comes to the pizza there is a simple selection of toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, and olives. These are available in every which way and combination. And the taste? The tomato base was full of flavor and the size was spectacular. That's why you'll find a few locals in the line as well.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Courtesy of Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey
It's that time of the year again when the weather gets cooler, the kids go back to school, and NFT releases a brand new New York guide. This year is super special because we've completely redesigned it from front to back--new neighborhood descriptions, curated lists of our favorite picks, a new page on the High Line...we're not messing around for 2011. Check out an online preview. Help us celebrate by stopping by Brass Monkey on September 28 at 6 pm for a complimentary 2011 guide and drink. We love Brass Monkey because it's one of the few spots in the Meatpacking District that you don't need to be a supermodel or i-banker to get in the door. (Note: If you happen to be a supermodel or i-banker, you're still invited and we hope you come. We don't judge.) Remember, the free stuff runs out fast, so don't be late! Download the PDF invite to bring with you.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Fatty Crab
While we at NFT remember earlier, Fatty Crab-less iterations of the Meatpacking District (Florent? The Cooler? Gay Prostitutes?), and while we also tend to remember the old Meatpacking District with more fondness than the Eurotrash-infested new Meatpacking District, we nonetheless give a special shout-out to Fatty Crab, especially (though not limited to) its exquisite Pork Belly and Pickled Watermelon (pictured). The crispy Fatty Duck was also just about perfect, though the highly-anticipated Short Rib Rendang was disappointingly bland. But the Pork Belly more than made up for it--truly an inspirational dish. My friend Donna loved it so much she went to the UWS Fatty Crab 4 days later; her analysis? Stick with the Meatpacking District. Well, we kinda knew that anyway...

Posted By:  Michael Dale
Photo:  random gay stranger on the street

Wow, it's that time of year again. As they say, in spring, a young man's fancy turns to weekends on Fire Island, outdoor brunching in Chelsea and meeting a fabulous Fag Hag to share it all. And here to get us in the mood is the 2nd Annual Miss Fag Hag Pageant, held on May 2nd at Comix. Contestants will compete in evening wear and talent competitions, as well as presenting their sponsoring gay men in a swimsuit and testing the sharpness of their tongues in the sassy question and answer showdown. This year, NFT says the smart money is on Elyse Beyer, a young cabaret singer and actress whose Off-Broadway credits include featured roles in "Judy and Me" and "The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever." Growing up on Stephen Sondheim instead of Sesame Street in a home where Tony Award night was a bigger event than Christmas morning (okay, they were Jewish), Elyse seemed destined for Fag Hagdom ever since the day she asked her mom, "If men are supposed to be with men, why is daddy married to you?" Click here to check out Elyse's hilariously fabulous music video, which will give you a glimpse into her glittery world.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Kesté Pizza & Vino
It seems that for every top pizzeria that closes in New York (and we've lost three in the last 18 months--Una Pizzeria Napoletana, Anselmo's, and Isabella's), at least another two top quality pizzerias open up. And Keste is indeed worthy of the "top quality" moniker, as the four of us ordered five separate pies, all of which were completely devoured by the end of the evening (perhaps whetted by pre-dinner drinks at Marie's Crisis beforehand? Could be...). Basic margarita pizza? Perfect. Keste pizza with prosciutto and arugola? Perfect. Quattro Formaggi pizza? Perfect. Special pizza that night that I no longer remember the name of? Perfect. You get the idea. The fifth pie was another margarita, which i ordered halfway through the first round, since i knew that it would all be devoured. Only concern: go early, or bring a Russian novel to alleviate the wait. Food this good is just too popular for it's own good...

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

McNulty Tea & Coffee
The next time you end up at a café paying $3.50 for leaves and warm water, think about going to McNulty's and having that tea at home instead. This West Village institution has been around since 1895, providing the good tea-drinking citizens of this city with affordable loose teas from all over the planet, many for only $4 per quarter pound. Just to provide a few examples, they have deliciously strong Russian and Kenyan black teas, an aromatic China Rose black tea, jasmine pearl and rosebud teas, an array of refreshing green and red teas, all your old favorites like English Breakfast and Orange Pekoe, excellent pre-packaged brands like Kusmi, and even bricks of tea. The employees know their subject well and can help with recommendations, plus it's just pleasant to browse, exploring the world by scent. If you're purely a coffee drinker who associates tea with stale chamomile and having the flu, perhaps this place will change your mind, and if it doesn't, they also sell coffee.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

The Standard
Supposedly The Standard is getting a bit of a rap (good or bad; you decide) for people having visible sex through its windows, which all face out to the quiet, unpretentious, brilliant High Line Park, as well as the loud, super-pretentious, ass-reaming Meatpacking District. As I have never been nor will ever be cool enough to witness or participate in such a pastime as voyeur-based sex, I'm reduced, as any other nerd would be, to talking about the architecture, by Todd Schliemann of Polshek Partnership Architects. Essentially: it's a wonderful post-modern homage to modernism, straddling the High Line and providing amazing views of the Hudson River, the West Village, Chelsea, and the rest of Manhattan (if you're high enough). Several restaurants you can't afford have either opened up or are about to open up, but the best way to experience The Standard is by far the cheapest: by walking under it while strolling the High Line. And hey; maybe you'll happen to glance up at just the right time...SOMEBODY eventually wins Lotto, right?

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Spice Market
You know that chef dude, Jean-Georges Vongeraddflvldeirfsn? He's pretty good. And so is Spice Market, as long as you go at, like, 2 pm on a Saturday. The restaurant will only be .25 full of disgustingly rich and fashionable people, as opposed to 1.25 full every other time. At such a time, you can then enjoy the Spring Rolls, Chicken Samosas, Mussels, Crab Dumplings, Squid Salad, Soup, Crispy Salt and Pepper Skate, Pork Vindaloo, Snap Peas, Sticky Rice, etc. etc. etc. Clearly, you should go with a minimum of four people, as all this goodness is served as soon as it comes out of the kitchen, and you'll want to eat at least a dozen things on the menu. Trust me.

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