New York City Tour: Greenwich Village
Hot restaurants, handsome townhouses, and upscale boutiques (not to mention a surplus of NYU buildings) define this historic downtown hub.
Once the epicenter of bohemian artistry, Greenwich Village is much-coveted Manhattan real estate—and home to the city’s buzziest restaurants and nightlife spots. The neighborhood retains a sense of diversity: you’ll weave through sidewalk booksellers and colorful characters on Sixth Avenue and then pass historic co-ops and stunning townhouses near Fifth Avenue, the “Gold Coast” of Greenwich Village. On a sunlit day, admire the panoply of personalities in Washington Square Park. While most of the legendary clubs are long gone, old favorites, such as Minetta Tavern, still draw in crowds.
Knickerbocker Bar & Grill
In the heart of NYC’s Greenwich Village sits this neighborhood favorite. Established in 1977, Knickerbocker Bar & Grill features wood-paneled walls filled with memorabilia like original caricatures by Al Hirschfield and copies of the Saturday Evening Post. Leather booths, brass accents and live jazz music add to the old-school feel. Under the direction of chef Derrick Van Duzer, the restaurant’s menu still boasts the famous t-bone steaks alongside other options like grilled chicken paillard, classic moules frites and housemade pasta.
Otto, New York
Just blocks from historic Washington Square sits Mario Batali's Otto Pizzeria and Enoteca. The bustling atmosphere is reminiscent of an Italian train station, complete with an old-fashioned schedule board. Polished dark wood and marble-topped standing tables by the bar provide a perch for sampling some of the 750-plus Italian wines offered here. Batali, famous chef, author and host of Molto Mario, is known for his upscale renderings of classic Italian dishes, such as a fennel and bottarga pizza, and the linguine puttanesca. For dessert, olive oil gelato is a popular choice.
C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries
The pharmacy dreams are made of. You'll find everything from cult Swedish soap brands to hand-crafted Japanese hair accessories at this iconic 1838 apothecary, with modern beauty products from Clarins to Weleda represented along the way. Check out classic Bigelow's in-house line for covetable (and affordable) gifts.
This historic village hang-out received a Keith McNally makeover in 2009, and has been a sell-out ever since. Tin ceilings, tiled floors and heavy red curtains lend the room a secretive, sexy vibe, while the bistro-inflected menu features one of NYC’s most feted (and highly-priced) burgers.
Founded in 1975, Joe’s Pizza is a Greenwich Village mainstay serving what is, arguably, the best pizza in New York City. Locals, tourists, and celebrities flock to the small pizzeria, located at the corner of 6th and Bleecker, to sample a slice of owner Pino “Joe” Pozzuoli’s authentic Neapolitan pies. While traditional toppings like pepperoni are available, a cheese slice featuring fresh mozzarella and Joe’s thin, crispy crust is the best bet. The Neapolitan pizza is without a doubt the house specialty, but Joe’s also serves Sicilian pies. The restaurant itself is small, so it may be wise to take your meal on the go.
Washington Square Park
As one of the more lively parks in the city, Washington Square Park provides more than its fair share of entertainment to visitors strolling through the square. From jugglers to pianists to fresh produce stands, there is plenty to explore—not to mention some great photo ops in front of the central fountain and the landmark arch.
Since 1963, this three-screen cinema has showcased a canon of cult classics—not to mention an eclectic mix of edgier flicks. Want to re-watch Mulholland Drive on the big screen? You may be in luck. The theater will often extend runs of special films, and bring back favorites for a revival.
Di Fiore Marquet
Tucked away on W. 12th Street, between University Street and Fifth Avenue, is this French-inspired café that has been serving up the neighborhood’s creamiest café au laits for years. The desserts are delectable, but the restaurant’s stand-out items are on the brunch menu: don’t miss the fresh corn pancakes or the orange-zest brioche French toast, topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Lomography Gallery Store
The New York flagship features an extensive collection of cameras, film, and accessories. But if you’re not in the market for a lomo, it’s worth stopping at this trendy shop: you can test one of the myriad of models or just veg out on one of the comfortable couches (plus, the store has free wi-fi).
New York’s best bagel: an impossible award given the excess of this mouth-watering bread product throughout the five boroughs. But Murray’s comes pretty close—and its collection of freshly made, handcrafted poppy-, sesame seed-, onion-, and garlic- bagels have wowed Villagers for over a decade. Just don’t ask for yours toasted: the folks at Murray’s insist on serving bagels the “right way.”