West Village

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Nigel Barker

Nigel Barker Photograph: Gregorio Binuya/ABACA USA

The streets' off-the-grid design always makes losing your way in the West Village a pleasure—suffused with a quaint European air of cobblestone streets, the area is packed with specialty shops and restaurants, row houses and tiny pocket parks. Living in the West Village is a privilege reserved for those who can afford its high cost of living—hell, even Courtney Love is having trouble finding a place to buy—but anyone can get lost here.

The streets' off-the-grid design always makes losing your way in the West Village a pleasure—suffused with a quaint European air of cobblestone streets, the area is packed with specialty shops and restaurants, row houses and tiny pocket parks. Living in the West Village is a privilege reserved for those who can afford its high cost of living—hell, even Courtney Love is having trouble finding a place to buy—but anyone can get lost here.

 

Nigel Barker, fashion photographer; judge, America's Next Top Model


"My favorite pub is an Irish bar called D6. I'm known to drink Guinness and a chaser of tequila. They've dubbed it the Barker Bomb [Laughs]. You should try it; it's the perfect combination."
Dublin6 (D6), 575 Hudson St between Bank and W 11th Sts (646-638-2900, dublin6nyc.com)

"There's a great barbershop in the Village called F.S.C., on Horatio Street. That's where I get my head shaved, pretty much once a week."
F.S.C., 5 Horatio St between Eighth Ave and W 4th St (212-929-3917, fscbarber.com)

"One of my favorite restaurants is Barbuto. It's near a photo studio, one of the places I shoot. It happens to be the restaurant on the ground floor, and it's an old car garage they converted into a restaurant. It's Italian, and it's fabulous."
Barbuto, 775 Washington St between Jane and W 12th Sts (212-924-9700, barbutonyc.com)

 

Charles Busch, actor and playwright


"A place I just adore is a gift shop called Leo Design. They have everything from antique cufflinks to porcelain pottery. I've bought gifts for society dowagers and the raciest drag queen [there], and they all seem very happy."
Leo Design, 543 Hudson St between Charles and Perry Sts (212-929-8466)

"If I want a hip crowd, then I go to a fantastic little wine bar called Pasita. It's got a sort of Venezuelan twist to it. Usually, the food in wine bars is sort of suspect; in this case, I don't know where they found this cook, but [the food] is marvelous. It's a very arty crowd. The theater group the Naked Angels, whenever they convene, they always fill up the bar afterwards. Certain nights of the month it becomes a literary salon; all sorts of fascinating fashion and literary people frequent there."
Pasita, 47 Eighth Ave between Horatio and Jane Sts (212-255-3900, pasitanyc.com)

"Three Lives & Company is kind of amazing to me; they've been in the neighborhood for a good 25 years, it seems. I don't know how they manage to be here with large chains closing. It's a place where you really can feel comfortable walking and picking up a book, and they always have interesting stuff you won't find at Barnes & Noble. You'll find some rare biography that was printed in England that's usually not found in this country, [about] some obscure fascist, you know?"
Three Lives &, 154 W 10th St at Waverly Pl (212-741-2069, threelives.com)

"[Three Lives & Company] is right across the street form the oldest gay bar in town, called Julius'. So, you know, you can go browse on a rainy afternoon, run across the street to Julius and sit at the bar like an old alcoholic."
, 159 W 10th St at Waverly Pl (212-243-1928)

"There's a very peculiar, tiny, munchkinlike store called The Ink Pad. Those who have claustrophobia should stay away; and they almost only sell rubber stamps. They've got them in Art Nouveau designs, Art Deco designs, Chinese designs, humorous designs. I never thought I'd buy a stamp before, but I stamp all my letters with a little comedy-tragedy mask. They've also got a good selection of craft materials, so at midnight, if you've got a sudden urge to decoupage, [I'll] be prepared."
The Ink Pad, 22 Eighth Ave between Jane and W 12th Sts (212-463-9876, theinkpadnyc.com)

 

Lorraine Gordon, owner, Village Vanguard


"The Village Vanguard has just got better and better, and it's still very popular. I sometimes feel how lucky I am that people still love jazz so much."
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave South between Perry and W 11th Sts (212-255-4037, villagevanguard.com)

"Some restaurants got so fancy in the Village, you can't get into them unless you've got four gold stars across your head or something. I ignore almost all of the other restaurants around me. Except for Elephant & Castle. That's been there a long time, and my husband and I used to eat there in the early days. It's still there, and it's still charming. It's low-key, the food is good, and no celebrities except me go there. [Laughs]"
Elephant &, 68 Greenwich Ave at 11th St (212-243-1400, elephantandcastle.com)

"I walk up Seventh Avenue when I'm coming here, and there's the old swimming pool, which is a nice, big old community house. It's been there forever. There's also a beautiful old library there."
Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, 1 Clarkson St at Seventh Ave (212-242-5228) * Hudson Park Library, 66 Leroy St between Varick and Hudson St (212-243-6876)

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