Monday, November 16, 2009

West Village on a Budget

The West Village might be a little intimidating to a Bitch on a Budget- it’s frequently known for it’s celebrity spotting, designer boutiques, and snooty NYU undergrads. However, it has quickly become one of our favorite neighborhoods to spend an afternoon. The combination of quaint brownstones and cobblestone streets has yet to fall under the current architectural overhaul of modern buildings and sharp angles, and it takes just a minute to be transported back to an older, prettier, quieter New York City. Here are some places that you can explore the West Village without paying West Village prices.

EAT/DRINK

1. Grab the best iced coffee ($2) you’ve ever had at The Grey Dog Coffee (33 Carmine St). Always a BBoaB favorite, this West Village standby has all the atmosphere, yummy food, and excellent coffee that you’ve after. Bring a book and settle in for an afternoon of people watching. Once it hits 6p, the Grey Dog offers tastings of its amazing cookies with samples of the wine of the day.

2. Where else in the city could you enjoy a full-tabled spread for under $15? Head to the Hummus Place (71 7th Ave S) to experience some of the best Mediterranean food in the city. From hummus to shakshuka to baba gnoush, everything here is served in heaping quantities with a side of hot peppers and pickles. $7 will get you three appetizers and a drink- and if you feel like splurging, the mojitos are only an additional $4.

3. New York Hot Dog and Coffee (245 Bleeker St) offers some of the most original hot dog/topping combinations we’ve ever been lucky enough to experience. Whether you’re a raging carnivore or a vegetarian, there is something for everything at this Korean-American joint. We recommend the spicy bulgogi hot dog, the dak-kalbi chicken dog, and the kimchi dog (from $6),

SEE

1. Visiting Washington Square park is a must if you find yourself in the Village. A great gathering place for musicians, artists, and beautiful young people, this park is the perfect place to enjoy your coffee. Warning: Visit only during peak school hours to avoid the majority of NYU student traffic.

2. 16 Waverly Place marks the home where Edgar Allen Poe performed his first public reading of The Raven. Fans and admirers of Poe’s creepy literature flock to this spot all year round to take pictures and walk where this literary great once stepped.

3. Café Wha?, on 115 MacDougal St, is the legendary café where Bob Dylan would play six-song sets as soon as he arrived in New York- as well as starting the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Peter, Paul & Mary, Kool and the Gang, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor. A New York institution, this café is home to live entertainment every night, and some of the best jazz, dance, and samba music you’ve heard in Manhattan.

DO

1. Take a West Village stroll. Be aware that the West Village is one of the only places in the entire city that shys away from the typical grid system- you’ll notice that west 4th street actually intersects with west 10th st- but not to worry. The pretty tree-lined streets will make you forget all of your confusion and indulge in the “I would live there” game instead. The perfect walk for a sunny day, post-date stroll, or puddle jumping afternoon.

2. Take your honey and make out in the small alcove next to the Cherry Lane theater. Secluded, romantic, and completely hidden from the street. Highly recommended.

3. The West Village is a prime location to do some celeb spotting- as a matter of fact, it was voted as such in this year’s Village Voice. Sit near the window at French Roast (78 W. 11th St) or pull up a stool at the bar of the Gansevoort Hotel (18 9th Ave) and prepare for the celeb parade that is sure to follow. Patricia Clarkson, Parker Posey, Julianne Moore, Mischa Barton, Julia Stiles, and Kristen Johnson are all known to frequent the area.

SPLURGE

The food at the Spotted Pig (314 W 11th St, #1)is actually worth the type. If you’ve got someone to impress (or have recently come into an extra $50), this is certainly the place. We recommend anything with truffles.

COST: $9- $15 (not including the cost of a Metrocard, $2.25)

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