Greenwich Village

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Like pretty much anyone who grew up in the 1990s, Feng and I watched the sitcom Friends that is set in Greenwich Village, “The Village”, an upper class residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan. While we didn’t rush there to spot Chandler, Joey, Rachel, and Monica’s apartment building—come on, this is like soo last century!—we were still curious to check out the neighborhood.

We started the morning in Washington Square Park, a landmark in Greenwich Village. We had heard about the park being “a hub for politics and culture” but we were slightly disappointed: the park was much smaller than we had expected and nothing special was going on. Don’t get me wrong, there were musicians, singers and chess players—a few opportunities for candid pics, but nothing out of the ordinary. Parks in China are more fun, with old people doing tai-chi and walking their birds in a cage!

We walked around in the neighborhood a bit. It was mostly residential and while I’m sure it’s a very nice (and expensive) community to live in, the Village didn’t really appeal to me as a tourist. In a way, it reminded me of the Glebe in Ottawa or Kensington Market in Toronto: expensive “hippie chic” and sometimes slightly pretentious.

The most interesting thing we saw around was a game of stickball, a street game related to baseball. That was kind of unique!

In the evening, we ended up in Greenwich Village again to find a bite to eat. We had started to look for a restaurant in the neighborhood we were in… until we realized that it was a bit posher than we liked. No wonder, we later noticed we were on Park Avenue, where restaurants tend to be wine bars with fancy-dressed French waiters! So we walked back to the Village, where we figured food would be cheaper and restaurants more relaxed.

Turned out that the Village is much livelier at night, and we had a great time. The neighborhood caters to NYU students and they are tons of cheap eats, including a number of Japanese and Korean restaurants.

One thing I couldn’t help wondering though, is how NYU students (or anyone, really!) can afford to live in the Village. We checked out a few ads just out of curiosity and the average rent seemed to be around $2,700 – 3,500 a month for a simple apartment. This is NYC, I’m not surprised… yet who makes enough to pay that much in rent and cover living expenses? Sure, there are bankers, traders, doctors, lawyers, etc. who make a very comfortable wage, but there are also a lot of people working in the service industry, and it’s not like the minimum wage in NYC is $50 an hour!

I don’t understand real estate, I really don’t.

You can see the set of pictures taken in the U.S.A. on Flickr.

Pianist at Washington Square Park

Relaxing at Washington Square Park

By the Fountain at Washington Square Park

Artist at Washington Square Park

Singers at Washington Square Park

Playing Chess at Washington Square Park

Playing Stickball

Watching a Stickball Game

Playing Stickball

Playing Stickball

This Sticker is Illegal

Graffiti in Greenwich Village

NYPD in The Village

Shops in the Village

Tattoo Shop

American Flag on Lamppost

The Village at Sunset

While You Sleep…

The Village

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

6 Comments

  1. If you want some political action, I think it’s better to go to Union Square Park; both times I was there this month there was some protest or two going on. I saw protests against abortion and the restarting of Japanese nuclear reactors.

    In 2010, I attended a conference in NYU, and the building we were at was right in front of the Washington Square Park. I did remember there were some artists and street performers there, but not a lot of political hobnobbing.

    • Yep, that’s the other “hot spot” in NYC I think. I didn’t see protests that time though, probably because it was summer and very hot? Like French, protesters must take a break in the summer 😆

  2. I guess mommy and daddy are paying for the appartments. Just like in Montreal I knew lots of students that lived downtown with huge rents only to find out that their parents were some big shots!

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