Tree-lined streets crisscross and wind, following ancient streams and cow paths. 

Each block reveals yet another row of Greek Revival town houses, a well-preserved Federal-style house, or a peaceful courtyard or square. This is the Village, from Broadway west to the Hudson River, bordered by Houston Street to the south and 14th Street to the north. It defies Manhattans orderly grid system with streets that predate it, virtually every one choc-a-block with activity, and unless you live here, it may be impossible to master the lay of the land - so be sure to take a map along as you explore.


The Seventh Avenue line (1, 2, 3, 9) is the areas main subway artery, while the West 4th Street stop (where the A, C, E lines meet the B, D, F, Q lines) serves as its central hub.
Nineteenth-century artists like Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, and Winslow Homer first gave the Village its reputation for embracing the unconventional.  

NYC

Groundbreaking artists like Edward Hopper and Jackson Pollack were drawn in, as were writers like Eugene ONeill, e.e. cummings, and Dylan Thomas. Radical thinkers from John Reed to Upton Sinclair basked in the neighborhoods liberal ethos, and beatniks Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs dug the free-swinging atmosphere. Now the Village is the roost of choice for the young celebrity set, with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, the Beastie Boys, and Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker drawn by its historic, low-rise, laid-back charms. Gentrification and escalating real-estate values conspire to push out the artistic element, but culture and counterculture still rub shoulders in cafes, internationally renowned jazz clubs, neighborhood bars, Off-Broadway theaters, and an endless variety of tiny shops and restaurants.

The Village is probably the most chameleonlike of Manhattans neighborhoods. Some of the highest-priced real estate in the city runs along lower Fifth Avenue, which dead-ends at Washington Square Park.

Washington

Washington Square Arch, built 1892. Commemorates inauguration of George Washington. Modeled and designed on (of course!) Parisian Arch of Triumph.

Serpentine Bleecker Street stretches through most of the neighborhood and is emblematic of the areas historical bent. 

Bleecker

The tolerant anything-goes attitude in the Village has fostered a large gay community, which is still largely in evidence around Christopher Street and Sheridan Square. The streets west of Seventh Avenue, an area known as the West Village, boast a more relaxed vibe and some of the citys most charming and historic brownstones. Three colleges - New York University, Parsons School of Design, and the New School for Social Research  - keep the area thinking young - hence the popularity of Eighth Street, lined with shops selling cheap, hip clothes to bridge-and-tunnel kids and the college crowd.

Streets are often crowded with weekend warriors and teenagers, especially on Bleecker, West 4th, 8th, and surrounding streets. Keep an eye on your wallet when navigating the weekend throngs. And Washington Square Park was cleaned up a couple of years back, but theres never any telling when the drug dealers will be back; stay away after dark.