If you’re looking to explore the West Village in all its glory, you must do so on foot, and the best place to start your journey is the aerial garden wonderment that is Highline Park – a wealth of greenery built on an abandoned railway line. Urban renewal doesn’t come any more charming than this – especially given the fantastic views of the Hudson River bestowed upon visitors.
1. The Highline Park
The Highline will take you down into the Village and straight into the path of the largest community of artists in the world – Westbeth Artists’ Housing. Check out the nearby White Columns gallery (320 W. 13th St), a hub for new talent, despite being the city’s oldest alt-art space, with a fondness for free shows.
2. The Ink Pad
Now your creative juices are flowing, pop into The Ink Pad (37 7th Ave) for one of the oddest sights you’ll ever see: an entire store dedicated to rubber stamps. For stationery nerds, and anyone dedicated to home-making greetings cards and embellishing notes, this place is arts and crafts heaven. Only in the West Village could a specialty store like this survive.
3. OHWOW Book Club
Another secret nook that’s easy to miss (the shop is below street level and oh-so-teeny-tiny) is the OHWOW Book Club (227 Waverly Pl.). Part-art project, part-specialty book store, this ex-laundromat was renovated and re-born thanks to super-hip art-world darling and NYC native, Aaron Bondaroff. You might not find anything to buy, but you’ll be glad you visited.
4. White House Tavern
If you’re ready to take a break and put your feet up at this point, there’s no better place to do it than the legendary White Horse Tavern (567 Hudson), famous for being the grungy bar of choice for Welsh poet and depression-enthusiast, Dylan Thomas, whose portrait still hangs on the wall here. The bar is cash-only and best in the afternoon, when it’s quiet enough to raise a glass to Thomas and all of the other writers who have helped prop up the bar over the years.
5. C.O Bigelow Chemists
If you want to continue your walk into times past, it’s worth ducking your head into C.O. Bigelow Chemists (414 Sixth Ave).
Image courtesy of: Shuna Lydon
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