Home to the oldest, most historic streets in Manhattan, Greenwich Village is one of New York City’s coziest neighborhoods. While Greenwich Village spans a mere 185 acres, the land has a rich history dating back to the early Dutch settlers. In the 1600s, Governor Wouter van Twiller turned the area into a 200-acre tobacco farm that employed freed slaves. While this lasted under Dutch settlement, the area was not named ‘Greenwich’ until 1713 in the will of Yellis Mandeville of Greenwich under British rule. Slowly, Greenwich accumulated settlers and began to develop row houses towards the end of the eighteenth century. Though due to plague in the neighborhood in the early nineteenth century, many settlers were forced to abandon the area. However, famous Quaker prison reformer Thomas Eddy saw an opportunity to create a humanitarian prison on the land. While Eddy had a great idea, there was poor execution and quickly the prison was overrun with riots and killings. However, after the failed prison, the area was reclaimed by progressive New Yorkers who advocated for rights, education and art. This group of visionaries later gave The Village the reputation as urban bohemia due to their counterculture and progressive movements of all types and magnitudes. Greenwich Village is known to be a landmark for avant-garde and alternative culture, from Bohemians to Beats or from women’s rights protests to AIDs activism. Today, Greenwich Village is known for its historic architecture, diverse cuisine and attention to the arts.
Washington Square Park is a 9.75 acre park in the center of Greenwich Village and has become the ‘quad’ for New York University students. The park was built around the Washington Square Arch. Since the 20th century the park has been used for protests and group meetings in addition to the casual painters or pianists who work regularly on the square.
Gay Street is home to one of Greenwich Village’s iconic winding streets and historic townhouses. As per the name, Gay Street was named in respect to the gay population that largely inhabits Greenwich Village and the activism that has occurred within the streets.
Stonewall National Monument is a park dedicated to the Stonewall Uprising June 28th, 1969. This uprising advocated for LGBTQ+ rights that were previously obsolete. The riot paved the path for a more equal and just city for all people of all genders and sexual orientations. This uprising not only created waves of movement within The City, but across the country and eventually around the world.
Washington Mews used to be boarding stables during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, now home to NYU cultural housing and offices.
Originally a courthouse, The Jefferson Market Library is a New York City landmark, designed by architects Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux. The Library has served the neighborhood for over 40 years and is now a New York City landmark.