Greenwich Village is one of the world's most famous neighborhoods, located on the southwest corner of downtown Manhattan in New York City.
Steeped in history, the village is also known as "West Village" or simply "the Village." It has Broadway on the east, the Hudson River on the west, Houston Street on the south, and 14th Street on the north. Surrounding communities include East Village to the east and Chelsea to the north.
Originally a small farming community, the area surrounding the village was once marshland. It was referred to as "Sapokanikan" in the 16th century. The land was turned into a pasture by the Dutch settlers in the 1630s and then it came to be known as "Noortwyck."
In 1664, the village developed as a hamlet separate from the larger downtown Manhattan when the English occupied the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam.
It officially became a village in 1712 and was first referred to as "Grin'wich" in the records of the Common Council. As a result of recurring yellow fever in New York City in 1820s, many people fled to the healthy area of Greenwich Village and remained there. The village was converted into a military parade ground and park in 1826.
With a history spanning nearly two centuries, Greenwich Village was a mecca to Bohemians, and they played a major role in propagating new political, artistic, and cultural ideas in the area.
Since the turn of the 20th century, the Village has been a destination to famous artists, writers, entertainers, and intellectuals, such as e.e. cummings, Eugene O'Neill, and Edgar Allan Poe.
The village also remained home for political rebels such as John Reed and Marcel Duchamp who proclaimed the founding of "The Independent Republic of Greenwich Village." Further, the village's role as a center for movements is remarkable.
Presently, the Village is a vibrant area, dominated by some important monuments, beautiful townhouses, multitudes of dining areas, and a wacky serpentine layout of streets.
The Federal-style row houses, Greek Revival townhouses, and quaint carriage houses, apart from the office buildings of the late 19th century and towering 20th century apartment buildings, reflect the creative and diverse population of the Village.
The heart of the neighborhood is the historic Washington Square Park, which is a hub of activities such as chess playing, skateboarding, and walking or jogging. The Village is also the seat for some of the important educational institutions in the nation, such as New York University (NYU) and New School University.
The world's oldest gay and lesbian bookstore - Oscar Wilde Bookshop - is located here. Petrosino Square, Little Red Square, Time Landscape, Desalvio, Thompson Street, and William Passannante Ballfield are other important landmarks in the village.
Also, located here is The Cage, officially known as the West 4th Street Courts. It is one of the most important venues for the city-wide amateur basketball tournaments. In addition, the Village is the place for the renowned Halloween Parade - a mile-long parade of life-sized puppets and masqueraders that draws more than two million spectators.
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