Photographing New York: West Village and Washington Square Park

White Horse Tavern, West Village Photography, New York Photography

(This guide is part of The New York Photographer’s Travel Book, which is available as a free digital download.)

Old beautiful houses are the name of the game in the Village. Start the day with a drink and a photograph at the old Whitehorse Tavern on 11th Street and Hudson Street, one of the last remaining gathering places for writers and artists in the Village heyday of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and where Dylan Thomas famously drank before becoming ill and dying a few days later.
Walk two blocks south and one block west to 121 Charles St, where a 200-year-old farmhouse stands. The farmhouse originated on the Upper East Side and was moved to this location to save it from demolition. Walk south and one block east to Bedford Street, where you will come across a rare wooden building at 17 Grove Street, built in 1822 and one of the oldest buildings in the Village. Around the corner is Grove Court, one of the most special places in New York. Hidden behind a private gate is a row of six brick-faced three-story townhouses with an ivy patch of land in front. These buildings were originally built as back-houses, to house tradesmen and laborers. Now they are worth millions.

Grove Court, West Village Photography, New York Photography

Walk south on Bedford Street to Commerce Street, where you will see the Cherry Lane Theatre, housed in a farm silo building that dates back to 1817. On the corner of Commerce and Bedford (77 Bedford) is the Isaacs-Hendricks House, which dates back to 1799, four years younger than the oldest house in the Village. Next door at 75 and 1/2 Bedford is one of the narrowest houses in the city at nine and a half feet wide, dating back to 1873.

Head north on 7th Avenue and make a right on Christopher Street, where you will see the famous Stonewall Inn of the Stonewall riots fame. Continue walking east on Christopher Street where you will see a strange triangular building called the Northern Dispensary. This building was built in 1831 for the purpose of providing medical services, and Edgar Allen Poe was famously treated there. Once you arrive at 6th Avenue, you will see the Jefferson Market Library at 10th Street. Head one block East on 9th street and you will see some incredible townhouses along the way.

West Village Photography, New York Photography

Make a right on 5th Avenue and walk south towards Washington Square Park. Half a block before you get there is the Washington Mews, a hidden side street of tiny old townhouses that follow the path of an old Lenape trail, which connected the Hudson and East Rivers. It originally functioned as a row of stables (a mews) that serviced horses owned by homes in the area. Finally, enter Washington Square Park and take some time to photograph people and relax on the benches. Often there will be musicians playing and other performers. Make sure to get the photograph of the Empire State Building through the space in the Washington Square Arch.

Washington Square Arch, West Village Photography, New York Photography

(This guide is part of The New York Photographer’s Travel Book, which is available as a free digital download.)