I accidentally moved to the West Village
My husband and I accidentally moved to the West Village.
We were buying an apartment on the Upper East Side and the condo board unexpectedly turned us down. Apparently, this very small townhouse did not want a family with kids or a dog. We wanted kids. We had a dog. We were out. And we were panicked. We had two weeks to find a home.
I will be forever grateful to that snobby, dog-phobic, kid-hating coop board.
The West Village is thankfully much more than a stop on the "Sex and the City" bus tour. It's a small, quaint, cool oasis in a city of dramatic skyscraper buildings, thick crowds and constant chaos. We live officially in the far West Village just below the Meat Packing District. The Hudson River is a half a block away and incredible restaurants can be found on practically every block. It's an amazing place to raise kids in the city.
Now that I have two young, spirited girls, my days start with COFFEE. West 11th Cafe (West 11th between Greenwich + Washington Streets) has awesome coffee, free wifi and friendly, fast service. What more could a New Yorker ask for? I also frequent Mojo Coffee (Charles between Greenwich + Washington Streets), Bonsignour (Jane between Hudson and 8th Avenue) and Grounded (Jane between 4th + Greenwich Avenue).
During warm weather, I love to head to the parks with my girls. The *Hudson River Park *(which runs along the Hudson River) is a beautiful, spacious and clean open space to picnic, run around and enjoy the sunshine. Someone will seriously have to remind you that you are still in New York City. There are some fun playgrounds in the area like the *West 12th Street Water Park*(12th Street + Hudson River), *Bleeker Playground* (Bleeker + Hudson) and *Leroy Street Playground* (Leroy Street between Hudson + 7th Ave).
So what do you do with those kiddos when the weather turns cold? Baby Moves (Perry Street between Washington + Greenwich Streets) has fun, creative classes for young kids. Here are some of my other picks: Gymboree (West 14th Street between 8th + 9th Avenues), Kids Karma Yoga (West 14th between 6th + 7th Avenues) and Chelsea Piers (22nd Street + the Hudson River).
Probably one of the coolest, quirkiest places to take young children is the Chelsea Market (9th Avenue between 15th + 16th Streets). A waterfall, sweet smelling bakeries and yummy food options make this a perfect rainy day excursion. You can even watch them make that delicious Amy's Bread from scratch!
I kind of dig taking my kids out to restaurants (even if a meltdown means we
quickly exit). One of the areas longtime go-to-be-seen hot spots, Pastis (9th Avenue + Little West 12th), is incredibly kid friendly. You'll also find high chairs and a welcoming kid vibe at Vento (Hudson + 14th Street), BLT Burger, (6th Ave between 11 + 12th Streets), Le Pain Quotidien (Hudson between Charles + Perry), Cowgirl (Hudson + West 10th) and MaMa Buddah (Hudson + West 11th).
And once you've had lunch or dinner, swing by the famous Magnolia Bakery (Bleeker + West 11th) for divine cupcakes. Just go during the week to avoid agonizingly long tourist lines.
Is your kid in need of a haircut? Doodle Doo's (11 Christopher Street) is the place to go. Friendly staff and super birthday gifts too. My favorite spot for baby gifts in Showroom 64 (Greenwich Avenue between 12th + 13th).
Lookin' for celebs? You've come to the right hood. Celeb mamas like Heidi Klum, Liv Tyler and Julianne Moore are often sauntering around the cobblestone streets. The village's queen bee is Ms. Sarah Jessica Parker. I've never spotted her myself but I pathetically long for the day.
A few fabulous places are closing their doors. Florent, a 24 hour diner where the food rocks, can no longer afford the rent and will soon be gone. The Chocolate Bar, a coffee and chocolate paradise, just lost its lease and is moving to the East Village. I worry that high rents will force other quirky, neighborhood haunts out of business but so far this area still has an enormous amount of charm in all its nooks and crannies. I feel so lucky to be here.
Kelcey Kintner is the creator and editor of the mama bird diaries, a smart, funny and always unpredictable take on motherhood. She lives with her husband and two daughters in New York City. Their dog has moved to the
West Village Resources:
Parenting List-Serve: West Village Parents