West Village or Western Europe?

West Villagers are entirely content with their bohemian, shabby chic neck of the New York City woods and with good reason.  The Manhattan mountain range of blocks of steel towers filled with banking tycoons drop off suddenly, giving way to the foothills of the much calmer downtown environment.  West Villagers are quite pleased to live in said foothills, as far as I can gather – for they have surely paid enough for the Village charm – and they relish in the quaint, European piazza they call home.  No spot embodies that Euro charm quite like the intersection of Carmine Street, Bleecker Street, and 6th Avenue.  The three streets form a triangle, surrounded by apartments I would kill for, an amazing gelato shop, the beautiful Our Lady of Pompeii stone church, a distant view of the Empire State building, and an Italian restaurant.  In the middle of it all is a fountain.  During my visit, I remember hearing a man play an accordion next to the gelato shop – the instrument mulling over some Parisian melody no doubt.  He was smiling pleasantly, and I am not even sure he realized there were other people around him.  The setting seemed entirely European, yet entirely West Village in the same moment.  The Villagers, however, did not seem to notice the old-world utopia in which they found themselves.  Sipping espresso at the Italian restaurant, savoring gelato, or conversing on a bench next to the fountain, they seemed content to be lost in their own worlds – each carrying out the insular missions of their days.  Sitting here, one could almost forget to want for anything, to look at one’s wristwatch, or to recall that they were indeed in Manhattan.

Lauren Hendricks

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