PUSHING BOUNDARIES IN THE WEST VILLAGE
By: Joseph De Avila
Back in the early 1980s, the area between the Hudson River and Hudson Street was referred to by residents and eager real-estate developers as the Far West Village. It was home to seedy hotels, old warehouses and historic townhomes. As housing demands in the neighborhood increased, theWest Village's boundaries began encroaching on what generally had been referred to as Greenwich Village for hundreds of years. The "Far" in the West Village was eventually dropped, too.
But while the boundaries of the neighborhood remain tricky to this day, the West Village has become one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city. The warehouses and industrial buildings near the river have been replaced by luxury condos and loft conversions. And east ofHudson Street, there are rows of grand brick townhomes and brownstones lining the twisting streets that date back to the colonial days.
Cultural institutions have also begun to move into the area. The Whitney Museum of American Art plans to open a location near the West Village's northwestern corner by the Meatpacking District. Also close by is the recently renovated High Line elevated park. The West Village has also developed a reputation for fine food.
In recent years since Hudson River Park was built, the area closer to the river has become increasing desirable. "West of Seventh Avenue people are willing to pay a premium," said Jan Hashey of Prudential Douglas Elliman who has lived in the West Village for 15 years.
Of the 204 residences currently listed for sale on real-estate site StreetEasy.com, the median asking price is $999,000, or $1,307 a square foot. In neighboring Greenwich Village, it is $1,075 a square foot, and in TriBeCa, it is $1,335, according to StreetEasy.
At 70 Jane St., there is a quintessential West Village brick Italianate townhouse on the market for $6.95 million. The four-story home, which is listed by Ms. Hashey, has five rooms and four bathrooms. The home was built in 1855 and has many of its original features intact like its refurbished wooden floors and cast-iron railings on the facade. The home is surrounded by other historic townhomes on a cobble-paved street.
While the West Village is known best for its brick townhomes and brownstones, a handful of newer development projects with modern architecture have begun to alter the neighborhood's character. Much of the neighborhood is within a historic district, so a lot of the newer development has occurred outside of the historic district in the western portion of the neighborhood.
Along the Hudson River, there are three Richard Meier condo towers that went up starting in the late 1990s and early 2000s that were eagerly sought after by celebrities. Another notable addition is 166 Perry St., an eight-story condo near the water with a cascading glass facade.
Also in the West Village is One Jackson Square, an 11-story building with a curved-glass facade that resembles a shimmering wave. "It is kind of a counter point to the antique nature" of the WestVillage, said James Lansill, senior managing director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.
The building has a lounge, a fitness center, a spa room and a courtyard. Of the building's 30 units there are three remaining penthouses. The prices range from $5.83 million to $18.95 million, Mr. Lansil said.
Schools: The West Village's schools are in District 2. It includes City-As-School High School and primary school Charrette School. Also nearby is P.S. 041 Greenwich Village.
In 2010, 77.3% of District 2 students in grades three through eight received a proficient score on the math exam, and 66.7% of students received a proficient score on the English language-arts exam. In 2006, the results were 78.5% for math and 73.8% for reading.
Private schools in the neighborhood include Academy of St. Joseph, which runs from nursery school to third grade, and primary and middle schools St. Luke's School and Village CommunitySchool. Also in the area is the Village Preschool Center.
Parks: Hudson River Park stretches along the bank of the river from 59th Street all the way down to Battery Park. Throughout the park, there are biking and running lanes. At West Houston and Clarkson streets is Pier 40 where there are tennis courts and four fields that can be used for soccer or football. Kayaking, rowing, a trapeze and a dog run also are available.
James J. Walker Park, which measures about 1.7 acres, is also in the neighborhood. It features baseball fields, boccie courts, playgrounds and handball courts.
Entertainment: There are live jazz bars aplenty in the West Village. Some of the notable spots include 55 Bar, Arthur's Tavern, Smalls, Village Vanguard and Fat Cat. Also in the neighborhood are Cherry Lane and Barrow Street off-Broadway theaters.
Shopping: There are many big-name retailers in the area such as Marc Jacobs and an Apple Store. For vintage goods, there is Housing Works Thrift Shop. Check out independent bookshop Bookbook and Rebel Rebel Records.
Dining: The West Village has developed a reputation for having some of the best food in the city and also some of the longest waits for a table. Michelin Star recipient the Spotted Pig is known for its burger with Roquefort cheese. Little Owl, famous for its brunch, draws large crowds on the weekend. Fatty Crab serves Asian fusion fare and Havana Alma de Cuba features Cuban food.
If You're Browsing For A House This Weekend ...
687 Greenwich St.
This 2,500-square-foot townhouse is one of seven built in 1989 that are located in a private gated street with a shared indoor garage. The four-story brick home has three bedrooms and 2 ½ bathrooms. The townhouse was renovated about five years ago, and has two fireplaces, oak floors and a private courtyard with a barbecue.
Price: $4.5 million ($1,800 a square foot, compared with $1,803 for similar listings in the West Village.)
Listing History: 104 days on the market
Listing Agent: Kenneth Moore of Corcoran Group