The West Village constitutes the western portion of the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City. The area is roughly bounded by the Hudson River on the west and Sixth Avenue on the east, extending from West 14th Street south to West Houston Street. The Far West Village extends from the Hudson River to Hudson Street.[a] Bordering neighborhoods are Chelsea to the north, Hudson Square – officially designated in 2009 – and the South Village to the south, and the East Village to the east.
The neighborhood is primarily residential, with a multitude of small restaurants, shops, and services. The area is part of Manhattan Community Board 2, as well as of the Sixth Precinct of the New York City Police Department, which also covers an area east of the West Village between Sixth Avenue and Broadway from Houston to 14th Streets. Residential property sale prices in the West Village neighborhood are some of the most expensive in the United States, typically exceeding US$2,000 per square foot ($22,000/m2) in 2016.
Known as "Little Bohemia" starting in 1916, West Village is in some ways the center of the bohemian lifestyle on the West Side, with classic artists' lofts in the form of the Westbeth Artists Community and Julian Schnabel's Palazzo Chupi. It is also the site of sleek new residential towers designed by American architect Richard Meier facing the Hudson River at 173/176 Perry Street.
Beginning in the early 1980s, residential development spread in the Far West Village between West and Hudson Streets, from West 14th to West Houston Streets, resulting in the area being given its own name.
Historically, local residents and preservation groups have been concerned about development in the Village and have fought to preserve the architectural and historic integrity of the neighborhood. More than 50 blocks of West Village, bordered on the north by 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 this area is severely restricted, and developers must preserve the main facade and aesthetics of the buildings even during renovation. This district—which was, for four decades, the city’s largest—was created in 1969 by the then-four-year-old New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. However, preservationists advocated for the entire neighborhood to be designated an historic district; although it covers most of the West Village, the blocks closest to the Hudson River are excluded.
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 sailor’s 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. The Landmarks Preservation Commission also designated as landmarks several individual sites proposed by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, including the former Bell Telephone Labs Complex (1861-1963), now Westbeth Artists Community, designated in 2011; and houses at 159 Charles Street and 354 W. 11th Street, as well as the Keller Hotel, all in 2007.
In addition, 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.
The neighborhood is distinguished by streets that are "off the grid", being set at an angle to the other streets in Manhattan. These roads were laid out in an 18th-century grid plan, approximately parallel or perpendicular to the Hudson, long before the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 which created the main street grid plan for later parts of the city. Even streets that were given numbers in the 19th century to make them nominally part of the grid can be idiosyncratic, at best. West 4th Street, formerly Asylum Street, crosses West 10th, 11th and 12th Streets, ending at an intersection with West 13th Street. Heading north on Greenwich Street, West 12th Street is separated by three blocks from Little West 12th Street, which in turn is one block south of West 13th Street. Further, some of the smaller east-west residential streets are paved with setts (often confused with cobblestones), particularly in Far West Village and the Meatpacking District.
This grid is prevalent through the rest of Greenwich Village as well.
- 10% of the population in the West Village is less than 20 years old (27% of population of entire US is less than 20 years old)
- 45% of the population in the West Village is 20–39 years old (versus 27% in entire US)
- Females aged 20–39 make up 25% of the population in the West Village (13% of population in entire US) Females aged 20–29 make up 14% of the population in the West Village versus 7% in the entire US. Females in West Village represent 52% of the population versus 51% in all of the US.
- 80% of the population was born in the US (87% in entire US)
- Average household income by census tract was $180,000 (compared to $51,000 average household income by state for entire US)
A study by NYU estimated that 1.61 million workers commute to Manhattan during the workweek, 8,000 of them to the West Village.
About 13,000 out-of-town visitors also visit the neighborhood daily. A portion of these approximately 139,452 domestic and international visitors that enter the city daily visit or stay in the West Village; an average of 11,000 people visit the High Line every day.
Community board and non-emergency services
Community Board 2 (CB2) deals with land use and zoning matters, municipal service delivery and community concerns of an area including the West Village. New York City's Community Boards review data collected by the 311 Customer Service Center. 3-1-1 is a non-emergency telephone number, and New York City releases monthly reports on the number of requests for services to 311. In April 2013 there were 77 non-emergency calls per day, up 8% sequentially and down 2% year-over-year.
There were approximately nine crime complaints per day in the NYPD Sixth Precinct (West Village and area east of Sixth Avenue to Broadway between Houston and 14th Streets) year-to-date as of May 12, 2013 according to NYPD crime data. This data does not include information for other types of police activity, such as the number of radio runs, calls about trespassing, graffiti charges or resisting arrest. There is no public data that bifurcates the crime statistics for the Sixth Precinct into smaller areas. 86% of the total tabulated crime complaints in the Sixth Precinct are related to instances of stealing (robbery, burglary, grand larceny, grand larceny auto, petit larceny) compared to 71% citywide. Excluding cases of petit larceny (such as a person stealing a bottle of shampoo from a drug store), crime increased 5% in 2012.
According to the data:
- Year-to-date crime complaints in the Sixth Precinct increased 7.5% year-over-year compared to a -3.5% decrease in citywide crime (as of May 12, 2013).
- Crime bottomed in the Sixth Precinct in 2011 after declining steadily for many years. Information from the NYPD indicates total crime complaints in the Sixth Precinct increased approximately 7% in 2012.
- In comparison, citywide crime increased by a smaller amount in 2012, up just 3% versus the 7% increase in the Sixth Precinct.
The Meatpacking District at the north end of this neighborhood, also known as the "Gansevoort Historic District", is filled with trendy boutiques and nightclubs. It is also the area's most concentrated site of grand larceny. In February 2013 the NYPD passed out 3,500 fliers to bars and clubs in the Sixth Precinct warning people to guard their valuables, especially at district's clubs, due to the rise in grand larceny rates. Police have said these crimes mostly happen in the Meatpacking District from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Grand larceny in New York refers to stealing property worth $1,000 or more or property taken from the person of another without the threat of force (robbery), among other definitions.
There are two zoned elementary schools nearby: PS 3 Melser Charrette School, and PS 41 Greenwich Village School. Residents are zoned to Baruch Middle School 104. Greenwich Village High School was a private high school formerly located in the area, but later moved to SoHo.
- 14th Street – Eighth Avenue at Eighth Avenue; serving the A C E L trains
- West Fourth Street – Washington Square at Sixth Avenue; serving the A B C D E F M trains
- 14th Street at Seventh Avenue; serving the 1 2 3 trains
- Christopher Street – Sheridan Square at Seventh Avenue; serving the 1 2 trains
- Houston Street at Varick Street; serving the 1 2 trains
Points of interest
- The Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library is at 425 Sixth Avenue, corner of West 10th Street. It was built as a courthouse from 1874 to 1877, and was designed by architect Frederick Clarke Withers of the firm of Vaux and Withers. It was turned into a library after public outcry over its planned demolition in 1958.
- The High Line, now a public park, connects the historic district to Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, and the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. The elevated train tracks, mostly running parallel to Tenth Avenue, have been converted to an open greenway. The tracks, abandoned in 1980, once served the businesses in the area; the park opened in 2009.
- The Hudson River Park, running from 59th Street to the Battery including most of associated piers, is being transformed into a joint city/state park with non-traditional uses.
- The St. Luke in the Fields Church is an Episcopal church founded in 1820 on farmland donated by Trinity Church.
- The Stonewall Inn is a gay tavern and recreational bar. It is most famous as the site of the Stonewall riots of 1969, which is widely considered to be the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States.
- The Village Vanguard is a jazz club opened on February 22, 1935, by Max Gordon. At first, it featured many forms of music, such as folk music and beat poetry, but it switched to an all-jazz format in 1957.
- The Westbeth Artists Community is a nonprofit housing and commercial complex dedicated to providing affordable living and working space for artists and arts organizations. The complex is named for two of the streets that border it—West and Bethune.
- The new Whitney Museum of American Artis located in the West Village. The Whitney, as it is nicknamed, was founded in 1931 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a wealthy and prominent American socialite and art patron. Its permanent collection comprises more than 21,000 works. From 1966 to 2014, the Whitney was located on Upper East Side; it closed in October 2014 to relocate to a new building in the Meatpacking District/West Village, which opened in May 2015.
Notable residents past and present include Matthew Broderick, Andy Samberg, Claire Danes, Will Ferrell, Jill Hennessy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Seth Meyers, Julianne Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, and Liv Tyler.
- There is some ambiguity in the boundaries of the Far West Village, due to variations in block-by-block character – some exclude the 3 north-south blocks from Morton Street (north) to Houston Street (south), and some include the 2 blocks from Hudson Street (west) to Bleecker Street (east) between Bank Street (north) and Christopher Street (south).
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to West Village.|
- Gansevoort Historic District
- Wikipages West Village, a wiki-based business directory for the West Village