What the locals love about living here: The brownstones. The sun-dappled tree-lined streets that are wonderful for strolling. The outdoor cafes and restaurants. The low-key neighborhood feeling. The fact that it’s the most child- and dog-friendly neighborhood in the city, populated by parents who tend to be non-competitive, both academically and socially.
Where local families eat:
470 Sixth Ave., between 11th and 12th Streets
http://www.usmenuguide.com/bltburger.htm. Burgers are pretty good. The atmosphere is casual and easy for a family.
Cowgirl Hall of Fame
519 Hudson St., at W. 10th St.
Reknown kid-friendly restaurant decorated with western memorabilia. Great brunch, burgers and barbecued chicken. Outdoor seating in the warm-weather months.
621 Hudson St., corner of Jane St.
The owner of this charming, small, very popular Italian restaurant knows all the neighborhood kids and dogs by name and runs out into the street to say hello when he sees them passing by. Even if you aren’t a local, he will talk to your kids at great length and make them feel very special.
Sammy’s Noodle Shop
6th Ave between W. 10 and W. 11 St.
The waitresses at this excellent Chinese restaurant love kids and often send them home with their pockets full of fortune cookies. Sammy’s also owns the small bakery next door which, believe it or not, makes the best doughnuts in New York.
Where local couples eat:
The Little Owl
90 Bedford Street (at Grove St.)
A tiny, corner restaurant with big windows. Very hard to get a reservation so call way in advance. Great pork chops.
The Spotted Pig
314 West 11 St.
This gastro-pub earned Michelin stars and gets a lot of press for its hamburger. We loved the pastas and salads too. It’s so popular that locals avoid the place on weekends and head there during the week instead. Even then it’s packed. The only time we were able to snag a table was during a blizzard. But it’s worth trying…
The Original Firestore
17 Greenwich Ave. (west of 8th St and 6th Ave.) 212-226-3142
This New York institution, which originated the “keep back 200 feet” line of products, sells police and firemen t-shirts and baseball caps, police cars, fire trucks and various novelties. Most local parents come here to buy their kids’ raincoats. They are the nicest rain jackets in the city—yellow with plaid liners and reflective stripes.
The three gems are:
Washington Square Park (5th Ave and Washington Square North). There are two playgrounds here—one for toddlers and one for older kids. Look also for the “matchstick man,” a man who, weather permitting, makes beautiful boxes out of match sticks on the eastern-most edge of the plaza surrounding the fountain. At around 4:30 every day a nice lady comes and feeds the squirrels on the east side of the park. She knows them all by name and can tell you all about their personalities. On most weekends, you will find musicians or other performers putting on a show near the fountain.
The Hudson River Park Playground, Pier 51, Gansevoort St and the West Side Highway. The best water-play in the city. It also has the best view, since it sits right on top of a Hudson River pier.
Bleecker Street Playground, at Bleecker and Hudson Streets. The latter is the most likely place to spot village resident celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker. Two great village bakeries— Milk and Cookies and Magnolia Bakery—are a just a short walk away. (For more info see bakeries, below.)
Activities for kids
Baby Loves Disco
At Ciello,18 Little West 12 St., between Hudson St. and the West Side Highway.
This parent-child dance event—with a bubble machine, buckets of toys, and music both grownups and kids love—happens the second Saturday of every month. Check website for ticket availability. www.babylovesdisco.com.
Greenwich and 139 Perry St. between Washington Streets
An indoor play space where the staff has a well deserved reputation for actively engaging the kids.
The Forbes Galleries.
Ground floor of the Forbes Building, 62 Fifth Ave., at the corner of 12th St. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. Thursdays are reserved for group tours. Free Admission.
You’ll love watching your little one’s face as he examines the seemingly endless parade of toy soldiers, planes, boats and much more. The thousands of miniature figures are all displayed with interesting stories and background for you to read to him as he marvels at the displays. Our son especially loved learning about the history of the toy submarine and was captivated by the display of the sunken Lusitania. We went just for fun but, to our surprise, the exhibit opened up a wide-ranging interest in World War I.
Greenwich House Music School
46 Barrow St., at 7th Ave.
This is the #1 choice of artistically minded West Village parents for kids’ music lessons. The ballet lessons are excellent too.
Jefferson Market Library
6th Ave. between W. 9th and W. 10th Streets.
Housed in a landmark former courthouse, this library has a wonderful children’s room. Behind the library is a lovely community garden where parents and kids can sit and read their books together. Dogs are welcome too.
Karma Kids Yoga
104 W. 14 St. between 6 and 7 Aves.
Very popular yoga classes for kids of all ages as well as family yoga.
125 W. 14 St between 6 and 7 Ave.
This is where Greenwich Village kids go for swimming lessons. There are tables and couches where parents can sit and observe their kids through a glass wall while chatting with other grownups, or supervising siblings’ homework.
The Village has a lot of tiny takeout stores dotting neighborhood blocks. It also has three heavy hitters: Jefferson Market (450 Sixth Ave., between 10 and 11th St.) Local families love the chicken pot pie; Citarella (6th Ave. at W. 9th St.) and Balducci’s (8th Ave. on the corner of W. 14th St.).
Corner of W. 11th St. and Bleecker St.
The cupcakes are in such demand that there is a limit of 12 per customer! It was made famous by Sex and the City and on weekends the line stretches down the block
Milk & Cookies
19 Commerce St. west of 7th Ave.
Kids can buy ready made cookies at this lovely bakery or they can choose their own mix-ins and have them baked to order. In just 8 minutes, their cookies will be served fresh from the oven.
630 Hudson St. (at Jane St)
Nice looking store with a great selection of dog toys and leashes.