Greenwich Village and Union Square, two adjacent neighborhoods in New York´s borough of Manhattan, share a colorful political past and a vibrant cultural life. A visit to these two neighborhoods is both intellectually enriching and enjoyable. Plus, there´s great food to be had.
The Beat Movement
The birthplace of the Beat movement in the early fifties, Greenwich Village is still shedding its hippie-folk past in favor of trendy restaurants, shops and nightlife. Its exclusive residents (including many celebrities) have long since replaced the Beat artists. But there is still something bohemian in these quaint, tree-lined streets, especially with the strong presence of the nearby University of New York.
And in the heart of the neighborhood, there´s the historic Washington Square Park, where bohemians as well as NYU co-editors, musicians, skaters and street performers now gather in the same places as Dylan and Ginsburg once did. If you want to become better acquainted with Beat poetry, visit the Strand Book Store, the largest independent book which is famous for its 18 km of new, used and rare books.
If you want to party, the Village is full of lively music venues, bars and cafes for an elegant evening out on the town. The streets are full until late into the night on weekends, with revelers in search of places like The Dove Parlour, a sleek underground bar located in a Victorian parlor, and Otto, an Italian wine bar with a bubbly scene and delicious antipasto created by Mario Batali.
Batali has left his mark throughout the Village, including places like the famous and much-loved Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, which offers a tasting menu of pastas, and the rustic Italian Lupa Osteria Romana, in which he also has a stake. For seasonal American cuisine, head to Blue Hill or the Gotham Bar and Grill by the prominent New York chef Alfred Portale. For sushi, try Ushiwakamaru.
Just north of the Village is Union Square, which has long been a meeting point for political activists of all stripes. Union leaders in the early twenties, anti-war protesters in the early sixties, and the Occupy Wall Street protesters of 2011 all demonstrated here. One thing that absolutely eveyone can agree on, however, is that there´s plenty of good food to be found here.
The Union Square Greenmarket is the largest center for chefs and concious consumers in search of organic and locally grown products and ready to eat treats. Delicious restaurants also abound, including sushi at 15 East, fresh seafood at Blue Water Grill, and Italian food at Union Square Cafe. And for great beer or a hearty Irish breakfast, go to Lillie´s Irish pub.
For your next holidays find apartment accommodation in New York and emerse yourself in these two wonderful neighborhoods.