A stroll along the Village

If you want to see the variety of people who live, study, work or travel in New York, the Village is a great place to do it. Surrounded by the fashion and art in Soho,the trendy places in the Meatpacking District and a more corporate side in Chelsea, this neighborhood is always full of life. I highly recommend just walking around its narrow and crowded streets to fully experience it.

One great afternoon at the Village would start with a great lunch at one of the most affordable places I’ve found in the city. Thai restaurant Cafetasia, at 8th Street between Broadway and University Place, is a very good option for lunch. The food is great (I personally recommend the chicken Pad Thai… amazing!) and the ambiance is simple and relaxed. I must admit that the service isn’t the best, but with its low prices, you won’t care if it takes a little longer to get your food.

After a great lunch, I like to relax, and maybe take a quick stroll. A great place to do this is Washington Square Park. In this 9 acre landmark you can be sure to find a wide variety of people and music. On one corner you will see a band of bongo drums. Keep walking a little further, and you’ll hear a jazz band improvising for the viewers. When you get to the center of the park, you can sit in a bench, take out a book and read while a concert pianist plays some classics with the great Washington Arch as a background.

For the rest of the afternoon you can buy a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes, like the Mille-feuille Bakery in Laguardia and 3rd St., where you can try their delicious almond croissants.

To have a great end to a very nice day in the Village, I like to go to the Blue Note Jazz Club, on 3rd St. between McDougal and 6th Ave. This very famous, tiny club has seen some of the best jazz performers, and I’ve witnessed some incredible concerts in it. I highly recommend it for a nice, relaxing evening, or before going to a night club in the area.

On a day like this, I am reminded that New York is truly a diverse city, full of all types of people. It’s one of the things I love about the city, and it’s great to go to a place where I can vividly see this.

What about you? What have been some of your experiences in the Village?

An acre of calm

This week, Midtown East has been hectic. With the UN General Assembly, there is security all over the place, streets are closed, and there has been an even greater feeling of hurry. Walking through the neighborhood, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by everything… I needed to unwind.

Suddenly, while I walked through 51st street, I stumbled upon a hidden place called Greenacre Park. Although it isn’t really an acre (more like the width of a town house in the area), when you go inside, it might as well be an acre. There are tables and benches to sit and gaze at all the plants that surround you, and the sounds made by the two-story waterfall and babbling brook drown out all noise from the street.

You can also go during rainy days -such as the today, or the ones to come during Fall. The park offers refuge through a trellis roof.

Upon some research, I found out that Greenacre Park was created in the 1970s by landscape architect Hideo Sasaki, precisely to escape from the “city experience”. And I must say that it really accomplishes its goal. If you ever need to get away, I highly recommend to grab a good book and go to this oasis of tranquility.