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New York City Travel Guide

  • Photo: Jay Lazarin / iStockphoto

West Village

High-rises and office towers have little business among the labyrinth of small curving streets, peculiar alleys, and historic town houses here, although a new boom in distinctive apartment living by designer architects has emerged around the western edges near the Hudson River. It's easy to see why the tree-lined streets of the West Village, which are primarily residential, are in such demand—think

charming cafés, carefully disheveled celebrities out and about, and well-dressed children playing in parks.

It's easy to feel like a local while shopping here. Unlike 5th Avenue or SoHo, the pace is slower, the streets are relatively quiet, and the scale is small. This is the place to come for unusual finds as well as global-brand goods. The West Village section of Bleecker Street is a particularly good place to indulge all sorts of shopping appetites; high-fashion foragers prowl the stretch between West 10th Street and 8th Avenue. Hudson Street and Greenwich Avenue are also prime boutique-browsing territory.

Christopher Street has long been the symbolic heart of New York's gay and lesbian community, though places like Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, and parts of Brooklyn attract more gay and lesbians these days. On Christopher, among cafés, lifestyle boutiques, and clothing shops, is one of the city's most acclaimed off-Broadway theaters, the Lucille Lortel, where major playwrights like David Mamet, Eugene Ionesco, and Edward Albee have their own markers in the sidewalk. Nearby, at 51–53 Christopher Street, is the site of the Stonewall Inn and the historic Stonewall riots, one of the signal events in the gay rights movement. Across the street is a green triangle named Christopher Park, where there are commemorative statues of two gay and lesbian couples.

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