BARNES New York invites you in its series of articles untitled “New York City Neighborhoods”, where you can regularly discover the different districts of the city, in the eyes of French speakers who have settled there. They tell us all about their neighborhood, in their words, their tastes, their habits. Today, we take a walk in the West Village, in the company of illustrator Pauline Lévêque. With her husband, writer Marc Levy, and their two children, she has lived in this West Manhattan neighborhood for twelve years. The artist, who is exhibiting on November 11, 12 and 13 in Brooklyn, shows us her neighborhood, with its inspirations and habits. And without a doubt, its daily joys…
Lepetitjournal.com New York: You live in West Village. What attracted you to this neighborhood?
Pauline Lévêque: Before settling in the Village, my husband and I lived in London. There is an English side to it, green and calm in this neighborhood, but here the sky is blue almost every day. The streets are charming, the brownstones superb, and you don’t really feel the New York frenzy. It’s a little haven of peace in the heart of Manhattan.
Can you tell us about life in this neighborhood, the atmosphere? What makes it live, what drives it?
It really is village life. We know our neighbors, the UPS delivery man, the traders, the elderly in the neighborhood, the watercolorist who draws the street corners, the cellist who has been playing the same tunes for twelve years, the cigarette seller, the dog walker … And we find a bunch of dogs! Almost as many as children! It is very joyful and cordial to walk through the streets of the Village. But depending on the festivities, as with the Halloween parade, it’s not uncommon to come across extravagant, happy, or scary personalities. The shops on Bleecker Street have suffered greatly from the pandemic, but like the rest of the city, we are feeling a new lease of life and we are discovering new brands. The restaurants are all installed on the sidewalks and in the streets, which gives a European “bistro” side.
You are a mom. How is life with children and a family at TriBeCA? Are there many families?
Yes a lot. My children both go to a school in the neighborhood and the majority of their friends live there. We go to school on foot or by scooter, we meet up with friends on the way. It’s easy for last minute playdates and playground laps, too. We feel very safe in the Village. It is a very “kids-friendly” neighborhood. As proof, the ice cream parlor’s truck makes its daily rounds almost all year round!
You are an artist. Can you make us discover this district with your words? Is this a neighborhood that inspires you?
Very much. The outlook of the tree-lined streets, the alleys of townhouses, the view from the banks of the Hudson river… The area does not have too many tall buildings compared to the rest of the city, so I can see the sky with every walk, watch the roofs of small buildings with their water towers, have fun with graffiti, and see the Freedom Tower enthroned at the end of 7th Avenue.
Can you describe where you live, what attracted you, what do you like about your home?
The village is unlike any other parts of Manhattan. Unlike the rest of the city, the streets are not numbered, but have names. Before living here, I always got lost in this neighborhood, and had a soft spot for the corner of Perry Street and W4th. I am fortunate to live close to this corner that made me dream. And I still don’t get tired of it.
As a European, do you find a little European side to this district through the inhabitants, the shops, the schools?
Absolutely! I think the vast majority of people in the West Village are Americans, but the area really does have a European feel to it. By the way, Diptyque, Sandro, Maje, Bash can be found on Bleecker Street. The schools are on a human scale.
Your favorite places in the West Village?
Along the Hudson River, the children’s clothing store “Pink Chicken” on Bleecker Street, the restaurants “Mary’s fish camp”, “La Sevilla”, “Buvette”, “Bobo”, “Nami Nori”, “En Japanese »… Gay street, Morton and Bedford Street, St Luke’s place… Smalls jazz club on W10th. Etc., etc!
Is this a neighborhood that you recommend for those who want to buy or rent?
Sure, for both. West village is an expensive area, but if you can afford it, it’s the nicest area for me to live.
If you had to describe the West Village in three words?
Charming. Calm. Village!
EXPERTS DISCUSS – West Village
Rental Market in West Village: During Q3 2021, the median rent for an apartment in West Village was $3,000 for a studio, $4,000 for a 1 bedroom, and $5,500 for a 2 bedroom.
Sales Market in West Village: In the third quarter of 2021, across the West Village, the median asking price of sellers is $2,100 / sqft.