Despite its wealthy, celeb-heavy demographic and a profusion of restaurants and boutiques, the West Village manages to preserve a low-key, everyone-knows-everyone feel and picturesque charm. Only here could West 10th Street cross West 4th Street, and Waverly Place cross…Waverly Place. The area’s bohemian population may have dwindled years ago, but a few old landmarks remain. Raise a glass in the White Horse Tavern, a favorite of such literary luminaries as Ezra Pound, Norman Mailer and Dylan Thomas, or enjoy a jazz set at the legendary Village Vanguard. While the gay scene has largely migrated north, the West Village played a pivotal role in the gay-rights movement, and many shops, bars and restaurants along Christopher Street from Sheridan Square to the Hudson River pier are out, loud and proud, including the historic Stonewall Inn.
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