One of my favorite things to do is wander around Greenwich Village. There’s just something so enchanting about the quiet winding streets tucked between the busy avenues. I feel at peace as I stroll along the hidden alleys past a quiet historic theater that no doubt comes alive at night and a dog and its owner going for an afternoon stroll in a square. Almost lost in the curved paths and quiet, I am surprised at how easily I could forget that I am even in New York City.
That is, until I find myself on Seventh Avenue and then Bleecker Street. Once there, I’m in the midst of busy restaurants and shops. Everything is alive with a different kind of energy. People duck into boutiques to check out the latest fashions. They sip their wine while enjoying plates of pasta after Sunday Mass. Children hurry to eat their popsicles before the sun melts them, leaving sugary trails down their arms. A mere five minute walk and I am in a different world. And I can’t decide which one I love more.
I keep walking, making my way into SoHo. I am amazed at the cast-iron architecture that seems to tell stories of the past. Contrasting with the exceptionally modern stores that line the street, I understand why this area is famous for shopping. Everyone around me is armed with bags of the day’s purchases. I step into a boutique to take a break from the heat (and do a little shopping myself) before picking up a snack as I continue walking north. A sea salt chocolate chip cookie is just what I need as I realize how much I appreciate that the streets form a more coherent grid here. Even though they aren’t numbered like those further north, it is much easier to orient myself.
My wanderings lead me to several famous sites. Washington Square Park is bustling with students enjoying the nice weather between classes. I pass the site of Mark Twain’s former home. I step inside the dark bars where famous writers wrote the books we call classics and passed the time, with both their colleagues and drinks of choice. I admire the Mayor’s lamps in Gramercy Park, in honor of James Harper’s former home there. This city holds so much history and honor; I am in love and can’t help but continue on.
And as I walk, I reacquaint myself with the Theater District and Times Square. There is truly nothing like this area of Manhattan. People are everywhere, taking pictures of themselves (Times Square must be the Selfie-Stick capital of the World) and of the billboards. The bright lights make it hard to believe it is actually dark outside as they remind everyone below of the Broadway shows that are being performed on the streets spidering off from the main square. People outside different clubs call out to passersby about the comedy shows that are starting in 30 minutes, an hour, or later on tonight. Glancing to my left, I see two little boys standing next to Spiderman for a picture, their eyes shining with excitement.
After a trip to the Hershey’s Store, I make my way back home. I can’t wait for tomorrow though. I’m heading to Chinatown for a special treat–Dim Sum anyone?
*Photo courtesy of Isabella Maria Padasak
Meandering through Manhattan