The West Village & Soho Guide

Every individual neighborhood in NYC has its charm, but there’s arguably a super-cluster of neighborhoods below 14th street that stretches from the west side into the center of the Manhattan, roughly encompassing: Meatpacking, West Village, Greenwich Village, Soho, Nolita, and Little Italy. Old school West Village is the kind of neighborhood, despite its small size, that you want to get lost wandering around all day, admiring its quintessentially compact, ivy-clad apartment buildings, with plenty of cafe- and wine bar-pit stops along the way. Attached to the northwest corner of the West Village, the Meatpacking District is home to the end of the Highline and the new Whitney, and is still a buzz-y night-life destination for a younger set. Heading east, there’s Greenwich Village, NYU’s territory, and the oft-photographed Washington Square Park. South of Houston Street can admittedly get a little touristy, but you’ll still find some of the best shopping in Soho; Little Italy, decorated in strings of lights, is unapologetically festive; and tiny Nolita complements them both. Below, some of the essential places to see and things to do in this super-cluster area of NYC.

International Culinary Center

462 Broadway, Soho | 888.324.2433

Though the International Culinary Center is one of the country’s best institutes for turning out chefs, sommeliers, and managers, they offer one-day crash courses for home cooks, too. The classes are wonderfully specific, with the intent of 24-hour mastery, whether you want to try your hand at cupcake decoration, fondant, or the basics of sushi.

Judd Foundation

101 Spring St., Soho | 212.219.2747

Donald Judd moved into 101 Spring Street in the then derelict Soho in 1968, and over the course of twenty-five years, renovated each of the five floors in the building according to his singular aesthetic. The result is a space that is as much a home as it is a piece of art. The Judd Foundation opened up the space to docent-led tours, where visitors get to see his custom-made furniture, and the art and objects he acquired over the years. It’s a wonderful window into Judd’s entire sensibility.

The Whitney

99 Gansevoort, Meatpacking Disrict | 212.570.3600

The Whitney—a long-time doyenne on the UES shut its doors and moved to the Meatpacking District, where it sits in a Renzo Piano-designed building at the Southern end of the Highline. The Whitney decamped because of space constrictions up town, a situation that's now eased by its 200,000 square feet. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art is supposedly taking over The Whitney's previous Marcel Breuer's design home at Madison and 75th.) Bonus: It's open until 10pm on the weekends.