Two Manhattan neighborhoods with their own distinct flavor--find out what makes them unique
Whether you’re considering investing in New York real estate
or just exploring the city, knowing the different neighborhoods and what they offer is crucial. From types of housing to restaurants to overall feel, it’s important to note the individual flavor of each region. One common question that comes up in Manhattan is the difference between the East and West Villages--two areas that flank the island and carry unique histories. From the fashionable cobblestone streets of the West Village to the hip vintage shops and bustling nightlife of the East Village, here’s your guide to the contrasts between the two.
Located on downtown Manhattan’s west side and bound by W 14th Street to the north, Christopher Street to the south, the Hudson River to the west and Sixth Avenue to the east, the West Village is a trendy neighborhood filled with quaint, tree-lined streets, brownstones, and public parks and squares.
Historically artsy and home to many celebrities including Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and Walt Whitman, the West Village is more refined and polished, with real estate made up of impeccably preserved brownstones, townhomes, and smaller apartment buildings, with few buildings in the neighborhood reaching higher than 12 stories. With prices leaning higher, residents tend to skew slightly older, with many younger wealthier families also calling the neighborhood home.
Mirroring the West Village on Manhattan’s east side, the East Village’s borders are roughly defined by 14th Street to the North, Houston Street to the South and Third Avenue to the West. Considered the birth site of punk rock and other counterculture movements, the East Village has always exuded an eclectic feel, with the majority of homes and apartments housed in pre-war walk-ups as well as converted tenement buildings. With more affordable rents and a livelier nightlife, the population skews younger, with many young professionals and aspiring artists calling this neighborhood home.
Like much of Manhattan, you don’t have to walk very far around either neighborhood to stumble across a top restaurant where you’ll be guaranteed a great meal. The West Village is known for its long-standing eateries, tucked away in cozy, dimly-lit, brick-walled buildings. While swankier options include L’Artusi
on W 10th Street for Italian, 4 Charles Prime Rib
for steaks and burgers, and Sushi Nakazawa
for excellent fresh fish, the West Village is also home to burger institution Corner Bistro
and well-known pizza joints.
To the east, you’ll find an overwhelming variety of ethnic eats that speak to the neighborhood’s history. From Ukranian and German to Italian and Greek, there isn’t a better place to broaden your culinary horizons than the East Village. Since 1954, Veselka
has delivered traditional no-frills Ukranian food, including borscht and pierogies, and has become a true attraction and must-visit in the East Village. If you’re craving Italian, look no further than Motorino Pizza
, and for David Chang’s famed pork buns and ramen, Momofuku Noodle Bar
has to be on your list.
The charm of the West Village carries over to its shopping and nightlife scenes. Trendy boutiques and well-known stores mixed in with restaurants and bars line Bleecker Street and its offshoots that run through the heart of the Village. As one of the best places to have drinks in the city, the West Village is home to quaint bars including everything from Bar Sardine
, where you can enjoy a cocktail and oysters al fresco in the warmer months, to Employees Only
, a speakeasy that was one of the first craft cocktail spots in the city. For a more casual beer bar scene, check out Blind Tiger
, a sports bar with a great selection of uncommon drafts and gourmet bar food.
The East Village is also a popular drinking destination from happy hour to late night, with a spot for every mood. With more dive bars than the West Village, the East’s nightlife carries a vibe that’s a bit younger and grittier, with many spots offering live music and affordable drinks in casual settings. McSorley’s Ale House
is a New York City institution that has been serving locals and regulars cheap bar food and two types of beer--light and dark--since the 19th century. For cocktails, Pouring Ribbons
is a second-floor space with a bustling bar as well as more formal seating that models its drink names and themes around popular culture.
Overall, the East and West Villages both have much to offer its residents and visitors. The West Village is an intimate and chic neighborhood with more upscale shopping, housing, and dining, while the East Village offers a laid-back attitude and food and nightlife scene sure to excite adventurous tastes.