Greenwich Village is one of New York City’s most interesting districts with an intriguing and colorful history. Spending time in this section of The Big Apple is guaranteed to be an unforgettable, indescribable, unique experience of sites, sightings, sounds, and fabulous aromas. Though now considered an upscale neighborhood, The Village, as this area is affectionately known, appears to be one spot on earth destined not to fall victim to the changes of time. The best way to see the place is on foot, so get you guide to Greenwich Village and hit the pavement
One unique feature of Greenwich is its geographical layout. Most streets were named for people and places versus being numbered. One amusing situation involving this grid is West 4th Street which at one point actually turns north and east before resuming a westward direction.
An ideal way to experience The Village is taking a historical walking tour. Beginning at a designated corner of St. Mark’s Place, sites range from Bigelow Pharmacy, the oldest pharmacy/drugstore in America to buildings appearing in opening credits for 2010′s season of television’s Saturday Night Live.
St. Mark’s Place is a three-block, one-way street of firsts, including the first cooking school (1876), Mafia target (1888), and Jewish-Christian Church in America (1885). The first Jewish Navy Commodore, Uriah Levy, hailed from Greenwich. Levy was instrumental in restoration and preservation efforts for Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson.
Bigelow Pharmacy, circa 1838, located on the same street since its founding, continues business today from its circa 1902 nearly-adjacent location. Visitors are amazed if not awestruck by the beautiful, still- functional gas-powered chandeliers. Perhaps the secret to its longevity is Bigelow’s inventory keeps pace with today’s lifestyle.
In contrast to Bigelow’s, another must-see on any walking tour is the SDS Bomb Factory. Situated at 18 West 11th Street, the original residence was the site of an anti-Vietnam War protest by Students for Democratic Society and sub-sect, The Weathermen. Several lives were tragically lost in 1970 when a bomb being built in basement accidentally detonated. Still a vivid memory for next-door neighbor, Dustin Hoffman, the incident was immortalized in song by Bob Dylan. For many musicians such as Dylan, Greenwich was as much a part of their lives as they were of its life.
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