TRAVEL GUIDE: GREENWICH VILLAGE, EAST VILLAGE, LOWER EAST SIDE, CHELSEA, NYC, USA
It was day 3 and we were excited to explore the next part of NYC – Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side and Chelsea. However, the first thing on our agenda for the day was a boat tour, which was starting just a short walk from our hotel at the 42nd Street pier.
There are loads of boat tours on offer in NYC, but we decided to go for the Circle Line tour, which was offered as part of the Explorer Pass, meaning that we got 25% discount off the normal price. We arrived about one hour before departure, which wasn’t such a bad idea as the queue was already building and by the time we were ready for boarding, there was a very long queue behind us. We boarded the boat and got seats on the open deck up the top. It was quite windy but that didn’t deter us as we wanted to have a great view of all the sights along the way. The tour left and made its way south down the Hudson and around the bottom of the island, under Brooklyn bridge and up as far as 30th street. We saw many of the famous sights of NYC, such as the WTC, Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, Wall Street and Brooklyn Bridge – but from a different perspective and viewpoint. This tour was guided, and the guide did a fantastic job of telling us about the sights and history, as well as some stories and interesting facts. After 1 ½ hours we were back at the Pier and were more than satisfied with this experience – we’d definitely recommend it.
After this, we decided to take the metro to our next stop, East Village, as we’d passed a lot of time with the tour. We got out at 2nd Avenue station and made our way to St. Marks Place, an area famous for its second hand boutiques - well that’s at least what we’d read in the guide. But actually, we didn’t find too much there, so we decided to continue to our next destination, Old Merchants House, which is one of only 2,400 listed historic houses. The house was built in 1832 and the interior is a tribute to the period, virtually unchanged from its original state.
From Old Merchants house, we made our way to Washington Square Park, located at the south most point of 5th Avenue. Washington Square Park is amongst all the buildings of NYU and is largely known for the Washington Square Arch, a triumph arch located on 5th Avenue. This style of architecture is unusual for New York, and it looks more like something you’d see from the Roman Empire in Europe, however this unusualness makes it even more spectacular.
As we were now standing next to 5th Avenue, we decided to take a walk along this famous street. Just like in the movies, the buildings have these large awnings covering the entrances on the street – you almost feel like a character in Pretty Woman! After we’d had a walk up and back down, we moved on to the next stop, Christopher Street, which took us further towards the west side of Manhattan.
Christopher Street is famous for its gay scene and the annual Gay Pride parade that takes place here. The areas is really beautiful, with lovely houses and small shops. The area has a village like character to it, which is really welcoming and relaxed. As we walked someway along the street, we suddenly spotted something that we never imaged we’d see… Across the road, we saw something moving in the shop window and we couldn’t believe our luck! They were French bulldog puppies, our favourite breed of dog, and they can only have been 6 weeks old. They were so tiny, cute and clumsy and we spent at least 20 minutes at the shop window admiring them. We found it hard to pull ourselves away from the beauties! We walked further along the street, and were again surprised to see another pet shop with more cute puppies, so in total we spent one hour of our day just looking at Frenchies and a couple of dachshunds.
After we’d got over the cuteness, we walked further north towards the area of Chelsea. On the way we passed through the residential area of Greenwich Village, which is very well known. Chelsea and Greenwich Village are considered the most European areas of NYC and have a very metropolitan feeling. We made our way up 9th Avenue towards Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market is famous for its diverse food scene and when you enter the place, you really are spoilt for choice. The market just covers the ground floor, but the area is extremely big and it’s not just restaurants, but also small market stores. Altogether, there are 55 outlets inside the market, offering almost everything you can imagine, at all price levels. Chelsea Market is our secret tip for day 3, and we’d advise you to keep your hunger locked up until you get here – there’s definitely something for everyone and you could also do a small gourmet tour, stopping at 3 or 4 places.
So, with full stomachs and well exercised legs, another day came to the end and we made the short walk back to the hotel. Watch out for the 4th instalment coming soon!