A Walk In the West Village

February 7, 2013

west village ny street

I’ve always loved the peacefulness of New York City’s West Village. Depending on who you talk to, it stretches from 6th or 7th Avenue to the Hudson River, a cozy enclave of beautiful historic buildings and expensive boutiques, along with some trendy restaurants and a variety of cafes and shops. Celebrity sightings are not uncommon and, despite the large amount of wealth found here, the neighbourhood still feels unpretentious and inviting.

west village ny building

west village ny street

We’d chosen to stay in the West Village, in a lovely little apartment. It was quiet around the holidays, as New York can be, and I’d been desperate to get out and take some photos of the neighbourhood. Tucked under my arm was my Secret New York guide, which is an awesome book, written by locals, filled with hidden places around the city that both visitors and locals will love to discover. One of these was just a block away from our apartment: artist, director and designer, Julian Schnabel’s home, the Palazzo Chupi (360 West 11th St., www.palazzochupi.com).

palazzo chupi west village ny

Palazzo Chupi

It is, as the book describes, “an oversized Venetian Palazzo atop a former horse stable” painted “radioactive scarlet.” Apparently many of the neighbours hate it and people protested outside after construction of the building began in 2005.

westbeth residence west village new york

Westbeth Residence at the Old Bell Laboratories

A dozen interconnected structures that formerly made up the Bell Laboratories are now an enormous artists residence. The Westbeth Residence (55 Bethune St., www.westbeth.org) provides affordable loft apartments for low- and middle- income artists. The waiting list was ten years long before it officially closed in 2007. I would love to go back and explore this place a bit more next time I’m in the city as I didn’t have time this particular day and had to continue my walk.

west village nyc

magnolia bakery west village line

west village pizza joint with snowmen

west village building with vines nyc

cotton christmas wreath

west village ny shop

west village ny subway tile art

west village ny red door

police call box nyc

west village puppy shop

west village graffiti

west village shop window dolls

greenwich village school

18 west 11th st paddington bear
One of the places I stopped on my walk was 18 West 11th St. This building looks a bit different than the others around it, with a “jutting wedge angling from its face.” My guidebook tells the story. In the 1970s the subbasement of this building was a meeting place for the radical leftish organization, the Weather Underground. Unbeknownst to the owner, his daughter and four other members were making dynamite and nail bombs here when they inadvertently blew up the building. Wilkerson lost her clothing in the blast while three of her associates were killed. Apparently Dustin Hoffman was the neighbour called to identify the bodies. The subsequent owners had to fight with the Landmarks Commission to push the new design through. And for the last 32 years, Norma Langworthy has kept a Paddington Bear in the front window. She changes its clothing to reflect the season. She says this has nothing to do with the Weathermen incident.

Thank you to JonGlez Publishing for providing me with a copy of Secret New York, An Unusual Guide and Secret London, Unusual Bars and Restaurants (click for that post). All opinions are always my own.


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46 Comments on "A Walk In the West Village"


[…] when I used to live in New York City, escaping to New Jersey to participate in things like horse races and outdoor concerts was always a […]

2 years 5 months ago

Ooh now this is my kind of guide, where you find all the things you would just normally walk by.

2 years 5 months ago

I know, pretty awesome!

2 years 5 months ago

I love the West Village. One of the reasons I find New York to be so beautiful and encourage those visiting to veer from the traditional tourist spots. I have to admit, I think Magnolia is overrated, and I don’t understand the hype when there are so many amazing cupcakeries in the city. What did you think? I love that there are so many trendy places, but the neighborhood still maintains an artsy bohemian feel.

2 years 5 months ago

I totally agree with you – I have never rated Magnolia’s cupcakes…

2 years 5 months ago

You make me miss the cold, crisp air. Heading to the really cold weather tomorrow. But it’s no west village. I have to explore more of NYC.

2 years 5 months ago

It’s starting to warm up here in Norway and I feel like I’m going to miss the cold!

2 years 5 months ago

Looks like a really interesting neighbourhood. I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in NY

2 years 5 months ago

Definitely do! =)

 

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