|Neighborhood of Manhattan|
Location in New York City
|City||New York City|
|Named for||Groenwijck (Green District)|
|• Total||0.75 km2 (0.289 sq mi)|
|• Density||30,000/km2 (79,000/sq mi)|
|ZIP Codes||10003 (east), 10011 (north), 10012 (south), 10014 (west)|
|Area codes||212, 332, 646, and 917|
Greenwich Village Historic District
453–461 Sixth Avenue in the Historic District
north: W 14th St; south: Houston St; west: Hudson River; east: Broadway
|NRHP reference #||79001604|
|Added to NRHP||June 19, 1979|
|Designated NYCL||initial district: April 29, 1969|
extension: May 2, 2006
second extension: June 22, 2010
Greenwich Village (// GREN-itch, /-/ GRIN-, /-/ -ij) often referred to by locals as simply "the Village," is a neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan, New York City. In the 20th century, Greenwich Village was known as an artists' haven, the Bohemian capital, the cradle of the modern LGBT movement, and the East Coast birthplace of both the Beat and '60s counterculture movements. Groenwijck, one of the Dutch names for the village (meaning "Green District"), was Anglicized to Greenwich.[a] Two of New York's private colleges, New York University (NYU) and the New School, are located in Greenwich Village.
Greenwich Village has undergone extensive gentrification and commercialization; the four ZIP codes that constitute the Village – 10011, 10012, 10003, and 10014 – were all ranked among the ten most expensive in the United States by median housing price in 2014, according to Forbes, with residential property sale prices in the West Village neighborhood typically exceeding US$2,100 per square foot ($23,000/m2) in 2017.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Transportation
- 4 Points of interest
- 5 Education
- 6 Notable residents
- 7 In popular culture
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Sources
- 12 External links
The neighborhood is bordered by Broadway to the east, the North River (part of the Hudson River) to the west, Houston Street to the south, and 14th Street to the north, and roughly centered on Washington Square Park and New York University. The neighborhoods surrounding it are the East Village and NoHo to the east, SoHo and Hudson Square to the south, and Chelsea and Union Square to the north. The East Village was formerly considered part of the Lower East Side and has never been considered a part of Greenwich Village. The western part of Greenwich Village is known as the West Village; the dividing line of its eastern border is debated. Some[who?] believe it starts at Seventh Avenue and its southern extension, a border to the west of which the neighborhood changes substantially in character and becomes heavily residential. Others[who?] say the West Village starts one avenue further east at Sixth Avenue, where the east-west streets in the city's grid plan start to orient themselves on an angle to the traditionally perpendicular grid plan occupying most of Manhattan. The Far West Village is another sub-neighborhood of Greenwich Village that is bordered on its west by the Hudson River and on its east by Hudson Street. Greenwich Village is located in New York's 10th congressional district, New York's 25th State Senate district, New York's 66th State Assembly district, and New York City Council's 3rd district.
Into the early 20th century, Greenwich Village was distinguished from the upper-class neighborhood of Washington Square – based on the major landmark Washington Square Park or Empire Ward in the 19th century.
Encyclopædia Britannica's 1956 article on "New York (City)" (subheading "Greenwich Village") states that the southern border of the Village is Spring Street, reflecting an earlier understanding. The newer district of SoHo has since encroached on this border.
As Greenwich Village was once a rural, isolated hamlet to the north of the 17th century European settlement on Manhattan Island, its street layout is more organic than the planned grid pattern of the 19th century grid plan (based on the Commissioners' Plan of 1811). Greenwich Village was allowed to keep the 18th century street pattern of what is now called the West Village: areas that were already built up when the plan was implemented, west of what is now Greenwich Avenue and Sixth Avenue, resulted in a neighborhood whose streets are dramatically different, in layout, from the ordered structure of the newer parts of Manhattan.
Many of the neighborhood's streets are narrow and some curve at odd angles. This is generally regarded as adding to both the historic character and charm of the neighborhood. In addition, as the meandering Greenwich Street used to be on the Hudson River shoreline, much of the neighborhood west of Greenwich Street is on landfill, but still follows the older street grid. When Sixth and Seventh Avenues were built in the early 20th century, they were built diagonally to the existing street plan, and many older, smaller streets had to be demolished.
Unlike the streets of most of Manhattan above Houston Street, streets in the Village typically are named rather than numbered. While some of the formerly named streets (including Factory, Herring and Amity Streets) are now numbered, they still do not always conform to the usual grid pattern when they enter the neighborhood. For example, West 4th Street runs east-west across most of Manhattan, but runs north-south in Greenwich Village, causing it to intersect with West 10th, 11th, and 12th Streets before ending at West 13th Street.
A large section of Greenwich Village, made up of more than 50 northern and western blocks in the area up to 14th Street, is part of a Historic District established by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The District's convoluted borders run no farther south than 4th Street or St. Luke's Place, and no farther east than Washington Square East or University Place. Redevelopment in that area is severely restricted, and developers must preserve the main façade and aesthetics of the buildings during renovation.
Most of the buildings of Greenwich Village are mid-rise apartments, 19th century row houses, and the occasional one-family walk-up, a sharp contrast to the high-rise landscape in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.
In the 16th century, Native Americans referred to its farthest northwest corner, by the cove on the Hudson River at present-day Gansevoort Street, as Sapokanikan ("tobacco field"). The land was cleared and turned into pasture by Dutch and freed African settlers in the 1630s, who named their settlement Noortwyck ("North district", equivalent to Northwich/Northwick). In the 1630s, Governor Wouter van Twiller farmed tobacco on 200 acres (0.81 km2) here at his "Farm in the Woods". The English conquered the Dutch settlement of New Netherland in 1664, and Greenwich Village developed as a hamlet separate from the larger New York City to the south on land that would eventually become the Financial District. In 1644, the eleven Dutch African settlers were freed after the first black legal protest in America.[b] All received parcels of land what is now Greenwich Village.
The earliest known reference to the village's name as "Greenwich" dates back to 1696, in the will of Yellis Mandeville of Greenwich; however, the village was not mentioned in the city records until 1713. Sir Peter Warren began accumulating land in 1731 and built a frame house capacious enough to hold a sitting of the Assembly when smallpox rendered the city dangerous in 1739. His house, which survived until the Civil War era, overlooked the North River from a bluff; its site on the block bounded by Perry and Charles Streets, Bleecker and West 4th Streets, can still be recognized by its mid-19th century rowhouses inserted into a neighborhood still retaining many houses of the 1830–37 boom.
From 1797 until 1829, the bucolic village of Greenwich was the location of New York State's first penitentiary, Newgate Prison, on the Hudson River at what is now West 10th Street, near the Christopher Street pier. The building was designed by Joseph-François Mangin, who would later co-design New York City Hall. Although the intention of its first warden, Quaker prison reformer Thomas Eddy, was to provide a rational and humanitarian place for retribution and rehabilitation, the prison soon became an overcrowded and pestilent place, subject to frequent riots by the prisoners which damaged the buildings and killed some inmates. By 1821, the prison, designed for 432 inmates, held 817 instead, a number made possible only by the frequent release of prisoners, sometimes as many as 50 a day. Since the prison was north of New York City, being sentenced to Newgate became known as being "sent up the river", an expression which carried over when it was replaced by the new Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.
The oldest house remaining in Greenwich Village is the Isaacs-Hendricks House, at 77 Bedford Street (built 1799, much altered and enlarged 1836, third story 1928). When the Church of St. Luke in the Fields was founded in 1820 it stood in fields south of the road (now Christopher Street) that led from Greenwich Lane (now Greenwich Avenue) down to a landing on the North River. In 1822, a yellow fever epidemic in New York encouraged residents to flee to the healthier air of Greenwich Village, and afterwards many stayed. The future site of Washington Square was a potter's field from 1797 to 1823 when up to 20,000 of New York's poor were buried here, and still remain. The handsome Greek revival rowhouses on the north side of Washington Square were built about 1832, establishing the fashion of Washington Square and lower Fifth Avenue for decades to come. Well into the 19th century, the district of Washington Square was considered separate from Greenwich Village.
Reputation as urban bohemia
Greenwich Village historically was known as an important landmark on the map of American bohemian culture in the early and mid-20th century. The neighborhood was known for its colorful, artistic residents and the alternative culture they propagated. Due in part to the progressive attitudes of many of its residents, the Village was a focal point of new movements and ideas, whether political, artistic, or cultural. This tradition as an enclave of avant-garde and alternative culture was established during the 19th century and continued into the 20th century, when small presses, art galleries, and experimental theater thrived.
The Tenth Street Studio Building was situated at 51 West 10th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, the building was commissioned by James Boorman Johnston[c] and designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Its innovative design soon represented a national architectural prototype, and featured a domed central gallery, from which interconnected rooms radiated. Hunt's studio within the building housed the first architectural school in the United States. Soon after its completion in 1857, the building helped to make Greenwich Village central to the arts in New York City, drawing artists from all over the country to work, exhibit, and sell their art. In its initial years Winslow Homer took a studio there, as did Edward Lamson Henry, and many of the artists of the Hudson River School, including Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt.
From the late 19th century until the present, the Hotel Albert has served as a cultural icon of Greenwich Village. Opened during the 1880s and originally located at 11th Street and University Place, called the Hotel St. Stephan and then after 1902, called the Hotel Albert while under the ownership of William Ryder, it served as a meeting place, restaurant and dwelling for several important artists and writers from the late 19th century well into the 20th century. After 1902, the owner's brother Albert Pinkham Ryder lived and painted there. Some other noted guests who lived there include: Augustus St. Gaudens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Hart Crane, Walt Whitman, Anaïs Nin, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Lowell, Horton Foote, Salvador Dalí, Philip Guston, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol. During the golden age of bohemianism, Greenwich Village became famous for such eccentrics as Joe Gould (profiled at length by Joseph Mitchell) and Maxwell Bodenheim, dancer Isadora Duncan, writer William Faulkner, and playwright Eugene O'Neill. Political rebellion also made its home here, whether serious (John Reed) or frivolous (Marcel Duchamp and friends set off balloons from atop Washington Square Arch, proclaiming the founding of "The Independent Republic of Greenwich Village" on January 24, 1917).
In 1924, the Cherry Lane Theatre was established. Located at 38 Commerce Street, it is New York City's oldest continuously running Off-Broadway theater. A landmark in Greenwich Village's cultural landscape, it was built as a farm silo in 1817, and also served as a tobacco warehouse and box factory before Edna St. Vincent Millay and other members of the Provincetown Players converted the structure into a theatre they christened the Cherry Lane Playhouse, which opened on March 24, 1924, with the play The Man Who Ate the Popomack. During the 1940s The Living Theatre, Theatre of the Absurd, and the Downtown Theater movement all took root there, and it developed a reputation as a showcase for aspiring playwrights and emerging voices.
In one of the many Manhattan properties that Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and her husband owned, Gertrude Whitney established the Whitney Studio Club at 8 West 8th Street in 1914, as a facility where young artists could exhibit their works. By the 1930s it had evolved into her greatest legacy, the Whitney Museum of American Art, on the site of today's New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. The Whitney was founded in 1931, as an answer to the Museum of Modern Art, founded 1928, and its collection of mostly European modernism and its neglect of American Art. Gertrude Whitney decided to put the time and money into the museum after the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art turned down her offer to contribute her twenty-five-year collection of modern art works. In 1936, the renowned Abstract Expressionist artist and teacher Hans Hofmann moved his art school from E. 57th Street to 52 West 9th Street. In 1938, Hofmann moved again to a more permanent home at 52 West 8th Street. The school remained active until 1958 when Hofmann retired from teaching.
On January 8, 1947, stevedore Andy Hintz was fatally shot by hitmen John M. Dunn, Andrew Sheridan and Danny Gentile in front of his apartment. Before he died on January 29, he told his wife that "Johnny Dunn shot me." The three gunmen were immediately arrested. Sheridan and Dunn were executed.
The Village hosted the nation's first racially integrated nightclub, when Café Society was opened in 1938 at 1 Sheridan Square by Barney Josephson. Café Society showcased African American talent and was intended to be an American version of the political cabarets that Josephson had seen in Europe before World War I. Notable performers there included: Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Burl Ives, Lead Belly, Anita O'Day, Charlie Parker, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Paul Robeson, Kay Starr, Art Tatum, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Josh White, Teddy Wilson, Lester Young, and the Weavers, who also in Christmas 1949, played at the Village Vanguard.
The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, initiated in 1974 by Greenwich Village puppeteer and mask maker Ralph Lee, is the world's largest Halloween parade and America's only major nighttime parade, attracting more than 60,000 costumed participants, 2 million in-person spectators, and a worldwide television audience of over 100 million.
The Village again became important to the bohemian scene during the 1950s, when the Beat Generation focused their energies there. Fleeing from what they saw as oppressive social conformity, a loose collection of writers, poets, artists, and students (later known as the Beats) and the Beatniks, moved to Greenwich Village, and to North Beach in San Francisco, in many ways creating the east-coast and west-coast predecessors respectively to the Haight-Ashbury-East Village hippie scene of the next decade. The Village (and surrounding New York City) would later play central roles in the writings of, among others, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Marianne Moore, Maya Angelou, Rod McKuen, and Dylan Thomas, who collapsed at the Chelsea Hotel and died at St. Vincents Hospital at 170 West 12th Street, in the Village after drinking at the White Horse Tavern on November 5, 1953.
Off-Off-Broadway began in Greenwich Village in 1958 as a reaction to Off Broadway, and a "complete rejection of commercial theatre". Among the first venues for what would soon be called "Off-Off-Broadway" (a term supposedly coined by critic Jerry Tallmer of the Village Voice) were coffeehouses in Greenwich Village, in particular, the Caffe Cino at 31 Cornelia Street, operated by the eccentric Joe Cino, who early on took a liking to actors and playwrights and agreed to let them stage plays there without bothering to read the plays first, or to even find out much about the content. Also integral to the rise of Off-Off-Broadway were Ellen Stewart at La MaMa, originally located at 321 E. 9th Street, and Al Carmines at the Judson Poets' Theater, located at Judson Memorial Church on the south side of Washington Square Park.
The Village had a cutting-edge cabaret and music scene. The Village Gate, the Village Vanguard, and The Blue Note (since 1981), regularly hosted some of the biggest names in jazz. Greenwich Village also played a major role in the development of the folk music scene of the 1960s. Music clubs included Gerde's Folk City, The Bitter End, Cafe Au Go Go, Cafe Wha?, The Gaslight Cafe and The Bottom Line. Three of the four members of the Mamas & the Papas met there. Guitarist and folk singer Dave Van Ronk lived there for many years. Village resident and cultural icon Bob Dylan by the mid-60s had become one of the world's foremost popular songwriters, and often developments in Greenwich Village would influence the simultaneously occurring folk rock movement in San Francisco and elsewhere, and vice versa. Dozens of other cultural and popular icons got their start in the Village's nightclub, theater, and coffeehouse scene during the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, including Jimi Hendrix, Barbra Streisand, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bette Midler, the Lovin' Spoonful, Simon & Garfunkel, Liza Minnelli, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Eric Andersen, Joan Baez, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, the Velvet Underground, the Kingston Trio, Carly Simon, Richie Havens, Maria Muldaur, Tom Paxton, Janis Ian, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, and Nina Simone. The Greenwich Village of the 1950s and 1960s was at the center of Jane Jacobs's book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which defended it and similar communities, while criticizing common urban renewal policies of the time.
Founded by New York-based artist Mercedes Matter and her students, the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture is an art school formed in the mid-1960s in the Village. Officially opened September 23, 1964, the school is still active, at 8 W. 8th Street, the site of the original Whitney Museum of American Art.
Greenwich Village was home to a safe house used by the radical anti-war movement known as the Weather Underground. On March 6, 1970, their safehouse was destroyed when an explosive device that they were constructing was accidentally detonated, killing three of their members (Ted Gold, Terry Robbins, and Diana Oughton).
The Village has been a center for movements that challenged the wider American culture, for example, its role in the gay liberation movement. The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States. On June 23, 2015, the Stonewall Inn was the first landmark in New York City to be recognized by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on the basis of its status in LGBT history, and on June 24, 2016, the Stonewall National Monument was named the first U.S. National Monument dedicated to the LGBTQ-rights movement. Greenwich Village contains the world's oldest gay and lesbian bookstore, Oscar Wilde Bookshop, founded in 1967, while The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center – best known as simply "The Center" – has occupied the former Food & Maritime Trades High School at 208 West 13th Street since 1984. In 2006, the Village was the scene of an assault involving seven lesbians and a straight man that sparked appreciable media attention, with strong statements defending both sides of the case.
Since end of the twentieth century, many artists and local historians have mourned the fact that the bohemian days of Greenwich Village are long gone, because of the extraordinarily high housing costs in the neighborhood. The artists fled to other New York City neighborhoods including SoHo, Tribeca, Dumbo Williamsburg, and Long Island City. Nevertheless, residents of Greenwich Village still possess a strong community identity and are proud of their neighborhood's unique history and fame, and its well-known liberal live-and-let-live attitudes.
Historically, local residents and preservation groups have been concerned about development in the Village and have fought to preserve its architectural and historic integrity. In the 1960s, Margot Gayle led a group of citizens to preserve the Jefferson Market Courthouse (later reused as Jefferson Market Library) while other citizen groups fought to keep traffic out of Washington Square Park, and Jane Jacobs, using the Village as an example of a vibrant urban community, advocated to keep it that way.
Since then, preservation has been a part of the Village ethos. Shortly after the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) was established in 1965, it acted to protect parts of Greenwich Village, designating the small Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District in 1966, which contains the city's largest concentration of row houses in the Federal style, as well as a significant concentration of Greek Revival houses, and the even smaller MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens Historic District in 1967, a group of 22 houses sharing a common back garden, built in the Greek Revival style and later renovated with Colonial Revival façades. In 1969, the LPC designated the Greenwich Village Historic District — for four decades, the city's largest — despite preservationists' advocacy for the entire neighborhood to be designated an historic district. Advocates continued to pursue their goal of additional designation, spurred in particular by the increased pace of development in the 1990s.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the architectural and cultural character and heritage of the neighborhood, successfully proposed new districts and individual landmarks to the LPC. Those include:
- Gansevoort Market Historic District was the first new historic district in Greenwich Village in 34 years. The 112 buildings on 11 blocks protect the city's distinctive Meatpacking District with its cobblestone streets, warehouses and rowhouses. About 70 percent of the area proposed by GVSHP in 2000 was designated a historic district by the LPC in 2003, while the entire area was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2007.
- Weehawken Street Historic District, designated in 2006, is a 14-building, three-block district near the Hudson River centering on tiny Weehawken Street and containing an array of architecture including a sailors' hotel, former stables, and a wooden house.
- Greenwich Village Historic District Extension I, designated in 2006, brought 46 more buildings on three blocks into the district, thus protecting warehouses, a former public school and police station, and early 19th century rowhouses. Both the Weehawken Street Historic District and the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension I were designated by the LPC in response to the larger proposal for a Far West Village Historic District submitted by GVSHP in 2004.
- Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II, designated in 2010, embracing 225 buildings on 12 blocks, contains 19th century houses, 19th and 20th century tenements, and a variety of cultural landmarks.
- South Village Historic District, designated in 2013, covers 235 buildings on 13 blocks, representing the largest single expansion of landmark protections in Greenwich Village since 1969. It includes well-preserved and renovated 19th century houses, colorful tenements, and a variety of sites important to the area's rich immigrant, artistic, and Italian-American history, as well as several low-rise, historically significant New York University buildings on Washington Square South.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated as landmarks several individual sites proposed by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, including the former Bell Telephone Labs Complex (1861-1933), now Westbeth Artists' Housing, designated in 2011; the Silver Towers/University Village Complex (1967), designed by I.M. Pei and including the Picasso sculpture "Portrait of Sylvette," designated in 2008; and three early 19th-century federal houses at 127, 129 and 131 MacDougal Street.
Several contextual rezonings were enacted in Greenwich Village in recent years to limit the size and height of allowable new development in the neighborhood, and to encourage the preservation of existing buildings. The following were proposed by the GVSHP and passed by the City Planning Commission:
- Far West Village Rezoning, approved in 2005, was the first downzoning in Manhattan in many years, putting in place new height caps, thus ending construction of high-rise waterfront towers in much of the Village and encouraging the reuse of existing buildings.
- Washington and Greenwich Street Rezoning, approved in 2010, was passed in near-record time to protect six blocks from out-of-scale hotel development and maintain the low-rise character.
New York University and Greenwich Village preservationists have been embroiled in a conflict over campus expansion versus preservation of the scale and Bohemian character of the Village.
As one press critic put it in 2013, "For decades, New York University has waged architectural war on Greenwich Village." Recent examples of the university clashing with the community, often led by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, include the destruction of the 85 West Third Street house where Edgar Allan Poe lived from 1844-5, which NYU promised to rebuild using original materials, but then claimed not to have enough bricks to do so; the construction of the 26-story Founders Hall dorm behind the façade of demolished St. Ann's Church at 120 East Twelfth Street, which advocates protested as being out of scale for the low-rise area, and received assurances from NYU, which then built all 26 stories anyway; and the demolition in 2009 of the Provincetown Playhouse and Apartments, over protests.
In 2008, as part of a multi-stakeholder Community Task Force on NYU Development, the university agreed to a set of "Planning Principles." Yet advocates did not find NYU to follow the principles in practice, culminating in a successful lawsuit against the university's "NYU 2031" plan for expansion.
Greenwich Village is served by the IND Eighth Avenue Line (A, C, and E trains), the IND Sixth Avenue Line (B, D, F, and M trains), the BMT Canarsie Line (L train), and the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line (1, 2, and 3 trains) of the New York City Subway. The 14th Street/Sixth Avenue, 14th Street/Eighth Avenue, West Fourth Street–Washington Square, and Christopher Street–Sheridan Square stations are in the neighborhood. Local New York City Bus routes, operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, include the M55, M7, M11, M14, and M20. On the PATH, the Christopher Street, Ninth Street, and 14th Street stations are in Greenwich Village.
Points of interest
Greenwich Village includes several collegiate institutions. Since the 1830s, New York University (NYU) has had a campus there. In 1973 NYU moved its campus in the University Heights section of the West Bronx to Greenwich Village. In 1976 Yeshiva University established the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in the northern part of Greenwich Village. In the 1980s Hebrew Union College was built in Greenwich Village. The New School, with its Parsons The New School for Design, a division of The New School, and the School's Graduate School expanded in the 2000s, with the renovated, award-winning design of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at 66 Fifth Avenue on 13th Street. The Cooper Union is located in Greenwich Village, at Astor Place, near St. Mark's Place on the border of the East Village. Pratt Institute established its latest Manhattan campus in an adaptively reused Brunner & Tryon-designed loft building on 14th Street, east of Seventh Avenue. The university campus building expansion was followed by a gentrification process in the 1980s.
The historic Washington Square Park is the center and heart of the neighborhood. Additionally, the Village has several other, smaller parks: Christopher, Father Fagan, Minetta Triangle, Petrosino Square, Little Red Square, and Time Landscape. There are also city playgrounds, including DeSalvio Playground, Minetta, Thompson Street, Bleecker Street, Downing Street, Mercer Street, Cpl. John A. Seravelli, and William Passannante Ballfield. Perhaps the most famous, though, is "The Cage", officially known as the West Fourth Street Courts. Sitting atop the West Fourth Street – Washington Square subway station (A, B, C, D, E, F, and M trains) at Sixth Avenue, the courts are easily accessible to basketball and American handball players from all over New York. The Cage has become one of the most important tournament sites for the citywide "Streetball" amateur basketball tournament. Since 1975, New York University's art collection has been housed at the Grey Art Gallery bordering Washington Square Park, at 100 Washington Square East. The Grey Art Gallery is notable for its museum-quality exhibitions of contemporary art.
The Village has a bustling performing arts scene. It is home to many Off Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theaters; for instance, Blue Man Group has taken up residence in the Astor Place Theater. The Village Gate (until 1992), the Village Vanguard and The Blue Note are still presenting some of the biggest names in jazz on a regular basis. Other music clubs include The Bitter End, and Lion's Den. The village has its own orchestra aptly named the Greenwich Village Orchestra. Comedy clubs dot the Village as well, including Comedy Cellar, where many American stand-up comedians got their start.
Several publications have offices in the Village, most notably the citywide newsweekly The Village Voice, and the monthly magazines Fortune and American Heritage. The National Audubon Society, having relocated its national headquarters from a mansion in Carnegie Hill to a restored and very green, former industrial building in NoHo, relocated to smaller but even greener LEED certified digs at 225 Varick Street, on Houston Street near the Film Forum.
Greenwich Village residents are zoned to two elementary schools: PS 3, Melser Charrette School, and PS 41, Greenwich Village School. Residents are zoned to Baruch Middle School 104. Residents apply to various New York City high schools. Greenwich Village High School was a private high school formerly located in the area, but later moved to SoHo.
Greenwich Village is home to New York University, which owns large sections of the area and most of the buildings around Washington Square Park. To the north is the campus of The New School, which is housed in several buildings that are considered historical landmarks because of their innovative architecture. New School's Sheila Johnson Design Center doubles as a public art gallery. Cooper Union has been located in the East Village since its founding in 1859.
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Greenwich Village has long been a popular neighborhood for numerous artists and other notable people. Past and present notable residents include:
Dave Van Ronk, the Pope of Greenwich Village, musician and lyric/poetry writer
- Edward Albee (1928–2016), playwright
- Alec Baldwin (born 1958), actor
- Richard Barone, musician, producer
- Brie Bella (born 1986), wrestler
- Nate Berkus (born 1971), interior designer
- Matthew Broderick (born 1962), actor
- Barbara Pierce Bush (born 1981), daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush
- Francesco Carrozzini (born 1982), film director and photographer
- Jessica Chastain (born 1977), actress
- Francesco Clemente (born 1952) contemporary artist
- Jacob Cohen (1923–1983), statistician and psychologist
- Anderson Cooper (born 1967), CNN anchor
- Robert De Niro (born 1943), actor
- Brian De Palma (born 1940), screenwriter
- Floyd Dell (1887–1969), novelist, playwright, poet and managing editor of The Masses
- Leonardo DiCaprio (born 1974), actor
- Robert Downey Jr. (born 1965), actor and singer
- Steve Earle (born 1955), musician
- Crystal Eastman (1881–1928), lawyer and leader in the fight for woman's suffrage
- Maurice Evans (1901–1989), British actor noted for his interpretations of Shakespearean characters
- Andrew Garfield (born 1983), actor [better source needed]
- Hank Greenberg (1911–1986), Hall of Fame baseball player
- John P. Hammond (born 1942), blues singer and guitarist
- Jerry Herman (born 1931), composer and lyricist
- Marc Jacobs (born 1963), fashion designer
- Annie Leibovitz (born 1949), photographer
- Arthur MacArthur IV (born 1938), musician, son of General Douglas MacArthur
- Bob Melvin (born 1961), Major League Baseball player and manager
- Edna St. Vincent Millay, poet and playwright
- Julianne Moore (born 1960), actress
- Nickolas Muray (born Miklós Mandl; 1892-1965), Hungarian-born American photographer and Olympic fencer
- Bebe Neuwirth (born 1958), actress
- Edward Norton (born 1969), actor and filmmaker
- Rosie O'Donnell, actress and comedian
- Mary-Kate Olsen, actress and fashion designer
- Mary-Louise Parker, actress
- Sarah Jessica Parker (born 1965), actress
- Sean Parker (born 1979), entrepreneur
- Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849), poet and novelist
- Leontyne Price (born 1927), soprano
- Daniel Radcliffe (born 1989), actor
- Gilda Radner (1946–1989), actress and comedian
- Rachael Ray, television personality and cook
- Julia Roberts (born 1967), actress
- Susan Sarandon (born 1946), actress
- John Sebastian (born 1944), musician
- Amy Sedaris (born 1961), actress
- James Spader, actor
- Pat Steir (born 1938), painter and printmaker
- Emma Stone (born 1988), actress
- Uma Thurman (born 1970), actress
- Marisa Tomei (born 1964), actress
- Calvin Trillin (born 1935), feature writer for The New Yorker magazine.
- Liv Tyler (born 1977), actress
- Edgard Varèse (1883–1965), French-born composer 
- Anna Wintour (born 1949), editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine
- Hugh Dancy (born 1975), actor
- Claire Danes (born 1979), actress
In popular culture
- In the DC Comics universe, Wonder Woman lived in the "Village" in New York City (never called by its full name, but clearly depicted as Greenwich Village) during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when she had lost most of her superpowers. Madame Xanadu lived on Chrystie Street, described alternately as being in "Greenwich Village" and the "East Village."
- In When Harry Met Sally, Sally drops Harry off in front of the Washington Square Arch after they share a drive from University of Chicago
- In the Marvel Comics universe, Master of the Mystic Arts and Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, lives in a brownstone mansion in Greenwich Village. Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum is located at 177A Bleecker Street.
- In Akimi Yoshida's Banana Fish sequel/side story, Garden of Light, Eiji Okumura is stated to live in Greenwich Village as an accomplished photographer.
- In Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) James Stewart's character lives in a Greenwich Village apartment.
- In Wonderful Town (1953), the Sherwood sisters leave 1935 Columbus, Ohio, for Greenwich Village to pursue their dreams of becoming a writer (Ruth) and an actress (Eileen). Their apartment was said to be on Christopher Street, though the actual apartment of author Ruth McKenney and her sister Eileen McKenney was at 14 Gay Street.
- In Funny Face (1957), Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) works at a bookstore called Embryo Concepts in the Village, where she is discovered by Dick Avery (Fred Astaire).
- In Wait Until Dark (1967), Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn) lives at 4 St. Luke's Place.
- Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976) chronicles the story of a young Jewish boy in 1953 who moves to the Village, looking to break into acting.
- The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984) centers on a maître d' (Mickey Rourke) in the Italian section of the Village.
- Big Daddy (1999), Adam Sandler and Cole/Dylan Sprouse's characters live in a Greenwich Village apartment.
- Chinese Coffee (2000), an independent film by Al Pacino, which features Pacino and Jerry Orbach, is set in Greenwich Village in 1982.
- The Collector of Bedford Street (2002) is a documentary set in Greenwich village. It is about the neighborhood block association on Bedford street setting up a trust fund for a mentally disabled man named Larry Selman.
- In I Am Legend (2007) Will Smith's character lives in Washington Square.
- Greenwich Village is the setting for the restaurant 22 Bleecker in the Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Breslin movie No Reservations (2007).
- In Wanderlust (2012) the characters played by Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston live in a New York City apartment located in the West Village.
- The Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) depicts the Village in the early 1960s, focusing on the emerging folk scene.
- In Avengers: Infinity War, Greenwhich Village is located right outside of the New York Sanctum,
- Greenwich Village is a playable multiplayer map in the Freedom Fighters (2003) video game.
- In her non-fiction, Jane Jacobs frequently cites Greenwich Village as an example of a vibrant urban community, most notably in her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
- O. Henry's short story, "The Last Leaf", is set in Greenwich Village.
- The anti-hero of the book Mother Night by author Kurt Vonnegut, and the film of the same name, Howard W. Campbell Jr., resides in Greenwich Village after World War II and prior to his arrest by the Israelis.
- In Lesley M. M. Blume's children's novel, Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters, the main characters reside in Greenwich Village.
- The suggestion of moving to the Village shocks newlywed New York aristocrat Jamie "Rick" Ricklehouse in Nora Johnson's 1985 novel Tender Offer. The implication is telling of the Village's reputation in the New York of the 1960s before mass gentrification when it was perceived as lowly and beneath upper class society.
- The cover photo for The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963) of Dylan and his then-girlfriend Suze Rotolo was taken on Jones Street near West 4th Street in Greenwich Village, near their apartment.
- In an interview with Jann Wenner, John Lennon said: "I should have been born in New York, I should have been born in the Village, that's where I belong."
- Buddy Holly and his wife Maria Elena Santiago lived in Apartment 4H of the Brevoort Apartments, at 11 Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Here he recorded the series of acoustic songs, including "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" and "What to Do," known as the "Apartment Tapes," which were released after his death.
- The ABC sitcom Barney Miller (1975–82) was set at the fictional 12th precinct NYPD station in Greenwich Village.
- The NBC sitcom Friends (1994–2004) is set in the Village. Central Perk was apparently on Mercer or Houston Street, down the block from the Angelika Film Center;[d] and Phoebe lived at 5 Morton Street. The building in the exterior shot of Chandler, Joey, Rachel, and Monica's apartment building is at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets in the West Village. One of the show's working titles was Once Upon a Time in the West Village.
- The Village features prominently throughout the six seasons of Mad Men. In Season 1, Don Draper is having an affair with artist Midge Daniels, who lives in the Village. In Season 4, Don moves to an apartment on Waverly Place and Sixth Avenue (specified, for example, in "Public Relations"). And in Season 6, Betty Francis goes to Greenwich Village looking for a family friend, in "The Doorway", and Joan Harris and her girlfriend Kate go on a night on the town that culminates at the Electric Circus, in "To Have and to Hold".
- On Sex and the City (1998–2004), exterior shots of Carrie Bradshaw's apartment building are of 66 Perry Street, even though her address is given as on the Upper East Side.
- The NBC Sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–92) made several references to the Village during its run, and the townhouse used for exterior shots, though purportedly set in Brooklyn for purposes of the show, is actually located at 10 St. Luke's Place.
- The Real World: Back to New York, the 2001 season of the MTV reality television series The Real World, was filmed in the Village.
- Village Barn (1948–50), the first country music show on network television (NBC) originated from a nightclub of the same name in the basement of 52 West 8th Street.
- Greenwich Village is the setting for Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place and Girl Meets World.
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- During the period of Dutch control over the area, the Village was called Noortwyck ("Northern District", because of its location north of the original settlement on Manhattan Island). (The Dutch colony was seized by Great Britain in 1664.) Dutch colonist Yellis Mandeville, who moved to the Village in the 1670s, called it Groenwijck after the settlement on Long Island, where he previously lived.
- The eleven freed blacks were Paul d'Angola, Big Manuel, Little Manuel, Manuel de Gerrit de Rens, Simon Congo, Anthony Portuguese. Gracia, Peter Santome, John Francisco, Little Anthony and John Fort Orange.
- James Boorman Johnston (1822–1887) was a son of the prominent Scottish-born New York merchant John Johnston, in partnership with James Boorman (1783–1866) as Boorman & Johnston, developers of Washington Square North, and a founder of New York University; a group portrait of the Johnston Children 1831, is at the Museum of the City of New York
- The Angelika Film Center was said to be "up the block" from Central Perk in "The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel", the sixth season's second episode, placing the coffee house on Mercer Street or Houston.
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