Cheap & Chic: New York City's Greenwich Village

by  Kristine Hansen | May 26, 2015
Christine Wei
Christine Wei

Greenwich Village is one of New York City's most beloved neighborhoods for good reason. Not only is it the home to a slew of celebrities and other trendy Manhattanites -- or the setting of the hit '90s sitcom Friends -- the boho-chic neighborhood is also where you'll find a whole host of hip restaurants, chic boutiques, and lively music venues. Here’s how to sink your teeth into what locals call “The Village.”

Where to Eat
At Mario Batali’s Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria , all nine of the insalatas are $10-$12, flatbreads top out at $15, and pasta dishes range from $11-$15 (we like the ravioli di carne brasato , with braised beef, pork, veal, duck, tomato, basil, and Parmigiano). It's an affordable alternative to the 15-year-old  Blue Hill , where a meal by another celebrity chef with neighborhood roots, Dan Barber, will run you $85 for three courses. Greenwich Village is also home to a staggering number of quirky, ethnic eateries that are budget-friendly, including:  Sacred Chow , serving vegan kosher cuisine such as Nama Gori grilled tofu steaks;  Cuba , with all manners of   Cuban cuisine from ceviche to arroz y frijoles;  and Peanut Butter & Co. , whipping up   elevated peanut butter sandwiches like the Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedy Special and Cookie Dough Surprise.

Where to Play
Perhaps the neighborhood’s most celebrated landmark is Washington Square Park, easy to find thanks to its stone arch. It's a historically and culturally significant park, too; it's been the site of many protests, it's where Robert Louis Stevenson engaged Mark Twain in conversation, and it's a gathering place for artists, chess players, and writers. Vintage shopping continues to rule in the area, with Monk Thrift Shop a perennial favorite. Come nightfall, the thing to do in the neighborhood is to slip into a jazz club. While pricey -- $30 for a set at either 8:30 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. -- Village Vanguard is among the city’s best jazz clubs, and it's celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, too. (And, yes, you can actually see the exterior of the apartment building where Rachel, Monica, Joey, and Chandler lived, at the intersection of Bedford and Grove Streets.)

Where to Sleep
The Jade Hotel’s opening a few years ago introduced an affordable lodging option without sacrificing style. Wake up to brioche French toast ($12) at Grape & Vine, the hotel’s eatery, or wind down the night here with Southern-style fried chicken for two ($44). Rooms here start between $315 per night -- not very low but actually a deal when you consider summer rates at neighborhood hotels: over $600 at The Mercer, $750 at The Greenwich Hotel, and $450 at The Trump SoHo in the next neighborhood. We'd just suggest avoiding June, when weekday rates can soar to $605 -- compared to $315 in late July, $321 in mid- to late-August, and $328 in mid-July.

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