University Place, a relatively short street in lower Manhattan, links Washington Square Park to the south with Union Square to the north. A thoroughfare frequented by NYU students, neighborhood residents, and office workers, the street enjoys a democratic mix of bars, coffee shops, diners, restaurants, boutiques, laundries, shoe repair shops, florists, and even a bowling alley. A few haunts of old New York can be found along in here - the Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, a favorite of the late Brooke Astor, and Patsy's, one of Frank Sinatra's preferred stops for pizza pie. Residents try to keep straight three similarly-sounding places - Café Spice, Space Market, and Spice.
University Place is pedestrian in both senses - it's an ordinary street, nothing to write home about, but it's also a good place for walking. I frequently walk up University Place to shop at the green market on Union Square, but sometimes I like to just stroll up the street for no good reason at all. Many of the eateries provide seats at the counter facing the street, the perfect place to sit and watch everyone walk by.
A few changes are afoot, as they say. At the intersection of University Place and 8th Street, Joyce Leslie, an inexpensive popular clothing store for women with bodies and tastes unlike like my own, is relocating to Broadway. Across the street, on the east side, the bbq restaurant, where I often enjoyed watching people drink gigantic frozen margaritas in the summertime, has left the building and will now be the home of a bank. No fun. I hope the rest of the street stays its sweet pedestrian self.
Photos by Walking Off the Big Apple. March 5, 2008