Visiting Greenwich Village as if it was the first time – REPOST!!

I was cruising through Greenwich Village the other day while working on research and development for my product invention, RestoPresto, and saw a fun group taking a Free Tours by Foot tour.

This reminded me of my own lovely experience so I am reposting my article and hope you enjoy it!

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Keith Haring Mural at James J Walker Park

Keith Haring Mural at James J Walker Park

The Candi Dish is a huge fan of taking tours to get to know cities.  Manhattan included, even for residents. The City’s 380+ year history provides for much to see, do and learn so naturally there are many tour opportunities that cater to both visitors and locals.  I made a clever last minute decision to join a “Free Tours by Foot” Greenwich Village walking tour led by Renée on a chilly and sunny autumn day last week and it was fantastic.  Learning new things about the place that I call home felt great.  I detail my two favorite parts of the tour here.

I joined the group at stop #2 (because I was running a bit late) in front of The Northern Dispensary, a now defunct medical facility that was built in 1827 and is located at an interesting intersection in which one side of the building faces two streets: Grove and Christopher while the other two sides face Waverly. I have passed that building tons of times but never knew its interesting story (please look it up for more info).

Northern Dispensary - Empty but Full of History

Northern Dispensary – Empty but Full of History

I previously posted about how one should look out and up when walking around the City so please allow me to contradict myself because examining the pavement beneath your feet can be very rewarding. One such example is the small triangular mosaic imbedded on the southwest corner of Christopher and 7th Avenue South in front of Village Cigars that reads “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated for Public Purposes.”  In a nutshell, David Hess once owned a five-story building at this location and it was seized by the City since it obstructed construction plans to widen 7th Avenue South. In 1914, Mr. Hess fought the city but lost and was left with only a 500-square inch piece of land, which he was expected to donate to the City to become part of the thoroughfare “for public purposes”. Mr. Hess refused and to symbolize his defiance, implanted the mosaic to remind people of his plight. In 1938, Mr. Hess sold the triangle to Village Cigars and the shop has left the mosaic message, a west village treasure, untouched. Again, I have walked by Village Cigars (a NY institution in its own right) countless times and never noticed this priceless piece of NY history.

David Hess' Tiny Plot of Private Property

David Hess’ Tiny Plot of Private Property

Being escorted around Greenwich Village by someone who knows much more than I was a joy.  I observed architecture (smallest house in Manhattan), special spots (the alleged origin of the term “86 that guy”) and street art (Keith Haring, anyone?) for the first time. An experience like this for a local is remarkable.  If you have 2.5 hours to spend exploring, consider a Free Tours by Foot, you will be glad that you did.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Please note that I was not compensated by Free Tours by Foot for this post.  My hope is to simply spread the word about a great tour company. 

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