HistoryDuring colonial times, the area that eventually was named Greenwich Village was mostly rural. In the early 1800's, the government of New York City set up a prison to handle the natural increase of crime that came with population growth. Warehouses, markets and other commercial buildings dominated the neighborhood for most of the 19th century. By the middle of the 20th century, Greenwich Village became a magnet for artists, musicians, intellectuals and other free-spirited individuals. These residents transformed the district into a Bohemian hub. In fact, the Whitney Museum of American Art was originally established in this vibrant part of Manhattan. Andy Warhol and Edward Hopper are some prominent American artists who lived and worked in Greenwich Village. In the 1970s, the neighborhood became the permanent site of New York's Village Halloween Parade, which attracts millions of spectators each year. Additionally, the neighborhood played a major role in initiating the LGBT Movement. The Stonewall Riots of 1969 have dramatically influenced political views and attitudes towards gays in America. Click to book your Greenwich Village walking tour.
Attractions and LandmarksSince opening in the 1870s, Washington Square Park has defined the heart and soul of Greenwich Village. This 9.75-acre urban oasis includes the Washington Square Arch that honours the legacy of the first president of the United States of America. Standing approximately 80 feet tall, this triumphal arch is made of marble that was extracted from the northern suburbs of NYC. A bronze statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Alexander Lyman Holley Monument are other notable installations in Washington Square Park. New York University has also traditionally defined the character of Greenwich Village. The campus of this prestigious private university surrounds most of Washington Square Park. You don't have to be a student or faculty member of NYU to embrace its history and architectural charm. Officially part of the university, the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is a modern venue with up to 850 seats. This building commonly hosts forums, seminars and other meetings that cover politics and other emerging issues on a global scale. If you're interested in Jewish history and culture, check out the museum at the Hebrew Union College, which follows the Reform denomination of Judaism. Another notable institution of higher education that's located in Greenwich Village is Cooper Union. The most eye-catching building of this private college is 41 Cooper Square, which has a futuristic facade with an emphasis on sustainability.
Location and TransitGreenwich Village is one of the most prominent neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan. The northern boundary of the district is clearly marked by 14th Street, which is primarily lined with commercial buildings. The Hudson River serves as a natural barrier to the westernmost part of the neighborhood. Additionally, the historic Houston Street separates Greenwich Village from the trendy SoHo area. Conveniently located near the northeastern tip of Washington Square Park, the 8 Street Station is served by N, Q, R and W trains of the New York City subway. Situated just a few blocks south of the park, the West 4 Street-Washington Square station gets service from 7 different subway lines. Bus service by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is readily available around the streets of Washington Square Park. Most of Greenwich Village has a grid layout, so you'll need to carefully drive on narrow streets that have one-way traffic patterns.
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