In addition to my more adventurous walks in far-flung parts of New York, I routinely walk the streets in my own neighborhood of Greenwich Village in order to shop, dine, attend a meeting, run an errand, or walk the dogs. Many New Yorkers are accustomed to this sort of walking. I have favorite streets in the neighborhood, among them the well-known Bleecker Street, Sullivan Street (especially south of Houston), and others listed below. As I like to go out for a walk simply as a pastime, a way to get exercise, or as a means to walk off something, I often wander outside the boundaries of the Village. Still, my most favorite streets for strolling can be found below 14th Street, the boundary that separates the Village and the East Village (once considered part of the Lower East Side) from whatever bourgeois life happens to the north of it.
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Favorite Downtown Streets
• Bedford Street (West Village): Blue Ribbon Bakery Market, Dallas Jones BBQ, The Point (knitting cafe - now closed, as of May 2009), the city's narrowest house, and many more delights on this historic street.
• West 10th Street, from Fifth Avenue to Waverly Place (Village): Elegant architecture between Fifth and Sixth Avenues then gives way to Village charm.
• St. Luke's Place (West Village): Home to the Huxtables, Marianne Moore, Theodore Dresier, Mayor Jimmy Walker, and many more.
• Bleecker Street, in its entirety (West Village to the Bowery): On the west side, it's now fairly haute. Near 6th Ave., wonderful gourmet shops. In the middle, a mix of cafes and stores, and now one of the city's best new venues with Le Poisson Rouge. Toward the east, a Bowery feel.
• Spring Street (Nolita): Some serious French-ness.
• E. 4th Street (East Village): A street of East Village attractions that's dominated by the color red.
• Hester Street (Lower East Side): Many little trees are now shading this once-bustling corner of Jewish life in New York.
• White St. (Tribeca): An excellent walking introduction to historic architecture in Tribeca.
• Nassau Street (Financial District): A good street to wander through late 19th century and early 20th century New York.
• Bond Street (Noho): 40 Bond, to be sure, but also stroll east to 2nd Ave. Bond Street's new life may be linked with the fate of all bonds.
• Orchard St. (Lower East Side): I listed many highlights of this historic street on the Lower East Side. Visit the Tenement Museum to learn more.
• Thompson Street (South Village): A charming street in a charming neighborhood.
• Stuyvesant St. (East Village): Short and sweet.
• Grand Street, in its entirety (Soho, Chinatown, Lower East Side): One of the best streets for strolling culturally-different neighborhoods.
• MacDougal St. (Village): In my mind, the soulful center of Greenwich Village. Whatever happens here stands in for the rest.
Image: Bleecker Street, near the corner of Sullivan, after a rainfall. Greenwich Village, New York.