Greenwich Village is, perhaps, one of Manhattan’s best known neighborhoods. For over 100 years, this small area below 14th Street and west of Broadway has been a Mecca to the creative, rebellious and the Bohemian. Locals frequently refer to it simply as “The Village.”
It’s largely residential area in lower Manhattan, featuring townhouses and brownstones and beautiful tree lined blocks. Greenwich Village is bounded by Broadway on the east, the Hudson River on the west, Houston Street on the south, and 14th Street on the north.
There are literally thousands of unique and interesting small shops and signature gourmet restaurants.
You can find quite a few Landmarks that have been converted into luxurious apartment buildings where you can rent or buy. Greenwich Village is also full of small parks where you can relax and enjoy the almost European vibe of Greenwich Village.
Residents of Greenwich Village possess a strong community identity and are proud of their neighborhood and its unique history and fame. Its cultural uniqueness and apartness from the rest of Manhattan are felt so strongly by some, and so many of its residents' lives are so focused on the Village, that locals sometimes joke and claim that "upstate" New York is anywhere north of 14th Street.
Historic Washington Square Park is considered the center and heart of Greenwich Village, but, as noted, the Village has a number of parks: Father Fagan, Minetta Triangle, Petrosino Square, Little Red Square, and Time Landscape. There are also city playgrounds, including Desalvio, Minetta, Thompson Street, Bleecker Street, Downing Street, Mercer Street, and William Passannante Ballfield.
The most famous city playground is the West 4th Street Courts, known locally as “The Cage.” The Cage is one of the most important sites for the citywide “streetball” basketball tournament.
Greenwich Village History
In the 16th century, Native Americans referred to its farthest northwest corner, by the cove about the Hudson River at present-day Gansevoort Street, as Sapokanikan ("tobacco field"). The land was cleared and converted into meadow by Dutch and freed African settlers in the 1630s, who named their settlement Noortwyck. In the 1630s, Governor Wouter van Twiller farmed tobacco on 200 acres (0.81 km2) here at his "Farm in the Woods". The English conquered the Dutch settlement of New Netherland in 1664 and Greenwich Village developed as a hamlet separate from the bigger (and fast-growing) New York City to the south.
It officially became a village in 1712 and is first known as Grin'wich in 1713 Common Council documents. Sir Peter Warren began accumulating land in 1731 and developed a frame house capacious enough to hold a sitting of the Assembly when smallpox rendered the city dangerous in 1739. His house, which lasted until the Civil War era, overlooked the North River from a bluff; its site on the block bounded by Perry and Charles Streets, Bleecker and West 4th Streets, can still be recognized by its mid-19th century rowhouses inserted into a neighborhood still retaining many houses of the 1830-37 growth.
The most ancient house remaining in Greenwich Village may be the Isaacs-Hendricks Residence, at 77 Bedford Street (built 1799, much modified and enlarged 1836, third story 1928). In 1822, a yellow fever epidemic in New York encouraged residents to flee to the healthier air of Greenwich Village, and later on many stayed. The future site of Washington Square was a potter's field from 1797 to 1823 when 10 to 20,000 of New York's poor were buried here, and still remain. The handsome Greek revival rowhouses on the north side of Washington Square were built about 1832, establishing the fashion of Washington Square and lower Fifth Avenue for many years to come. Well into the 19th century, the district of Washington Square was regarded as separate from Greenwich Village.