Greenwich Village Has A Rich History That Lives On Today

Yuliya Afanasyev

Located in Downtown Manhattan, Greenwich Village is a bustling neighborhood that has a rich history of progressive movements and offers a well-balance lifestyle of active days and relaxing nights. Bordered the Hudson River to the west, Houston Street to the south, Broadway to the east and 14th Street to the north, the neighborhood is home to the iconic Washington Square Park.

In a way paying homage to its past, Greenwich Village offers an air of community culture that makes it an embracing neighborhood, something you might not expect in such a busy part of Manhattan. For sure, you will not ever be mistaken that you are in a busy city when you’re in the neighborhood; it does not offer a suburban feel as some other parts of the borough do.

Greenwich Village was home to New York State’s first penitentiary, known as the Newgate Prison, near what is now the Christopher Street pier. But what the neighborhood is perhaps most known for is its history of counter-culture and progressive movements. Greenwich Village was once the center of American bohemian culture, and was home to artistic residents and an air of alternative culture.

The neighborhood has always been known for its progressive attitude. In 1938, the nation’s first racially integrated nightclub, Café Society, opened in The Village. It eventually hosted world-renowned African American acts such as Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne.

The Beatniks flocked to The Village after World War II to find a place they could call home away from the “oppressive social conformity” they saw in other parts of the city. The Village was also the epicenter of the gay liberation movement, and was unfortunately home to the Stonewall riots in 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn. Since then, Greenwich Village has always been associated with the fight for LGBT rights in the United States.

Today, the neighborhood is still a haven for aspiring artists and musicians who hope to follow in the footsteps of other stars who got their start here – including Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Even the educational institutions located in Greenwich Village pay homage to the neighborhood’s vibe – with both the world-renown New York University and Parsons The New School For Design calling it home.

Greenwich Village is made up mostly of a younger population, not surprisingly, and the amenities and attractions in the neighborhood reflect that makeup. In addition to beautiful Washington Square Park, the neighborhood has an eclectic mix of coffee shops, eateries, comedy clubs and other nightlife offerings. Indeed, there really is something for everyone in Greenwich Village, no matter what your heritage or your taste buds are.

And while Greenwich Village is located among the hustle and bustle of Manhattan’s busiest sections, the neighborhood has a welcoming and laid-back feel that will make you feel right at home.

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