Bleecker Street was named after Anthony Bleecker, a writer and a warden at Trinity Church in Manhattan. It was the center of bohemian life and culture in the 20th century, and is still known for its nightlife, comedy venues, and independent boutiques.
Starting in the West Village portion of Bleecker Street, grab a treat at Magnolia Bakery; if you’re a fan of Sex and the City you’ll recognize it as a spot frequented by the ladies known for its cupcakes, so treat yourself and enjoy your indulgence in the park across the street. If that’s too much sugar early in the morning, you could also head to the new location of Juice Generation for an energizing green juice of acai bowl.
The West Village section of Bleecker Street is all about shopping, so grab your credit card and prepare to do some damage. The stores around here are notoriously pricey, but you can have just as much fun window shopping. Many designer stores have outposts on the stretch from Abingdon Square to 6th Avenue – everything from Burberry to 7 For All Mankind to Ralph Lauren. Or check out Bookmarc, a bookstore with home goods and trinkets by Marc Jacobs.
But what makes Bleecker Street so interesting is that along with the fancy and new there’s the old and classic, so mix in your shopping for new shiny things with a look back. As you head south and cross 7th Avenue, check out Faicco’s, a classic Italian deli, and then head across the street to Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market, an old-school butchery that feels like it’s stuck in time. Also on this block is John’s of Bleecker Street – an iconic pizzeria that’s been around since 1929 and has barely changed.
If you hit this area at noon, you’ll hear church bells up above: those are coming from Our Lady of Pompeii, a Roman Catholic Church. The bells provide beautiful background noise, and if you hang around long enough you might even see a newly wedded couple emerging from the church’s doors.
Once you cross 6th Avenue, you may notice a shift as Bleecker Street suddenly becomes New York University territory, and it feels like a college town. There are loads of cheap bars where you can have a beer in this area, so grab a seat outside somewhere and go for it! Or, if you’re looking for a healthier option, try by CHLOE, the new vegan restaurant that seems to be taking over NYC. Even meat lovers have become addicted to this place, and if you don’t believe that just look at the line at lunch…
Come nighttime, head to JG Melon if you’re looking for a burger. Their location on the corner of Bleecker Street and Macdougal is brand new, and the outdoor seating is unbeatable. After dinner, unwind with some live music at Terra Blues. This small, seemingly not-so-special bar actually has some of the best jazz and blues artists anywhere, so don’t underestimate it.