One thing I love about the Village is the fact that even though it has always welcomed change and celebrated youth (aah…the beatnik days) there is a deep reverence for the not so new. As many of you know, The Washington Square Hotel turned 110 this year. (Yeah, she’s had a little work done–but just a little. I swear.) But there are other establishments in the neighborhood that have also been around a long, long time.
C.O. Bigelow Chemists: Established in 1838, not only is it the oldest apothecary in the neighborhood, but the longest operating pharmacy in the entire country to boot. Located on 6th Avenue, near West 9th, the store sports lots of homeopathic remedies, high-end toiletries, and something I personally cherish–a knowledgeable staff. And hey! The joint has chandeliers! Have you ever seen a chandelier in Duane Reade? Nope. Didn’t think so.
White Horse Tavern: Opened in 1880 on Hudson Ave. at 11th St., the White Horse Tavern is considered to be the second oldest bar in New York. (Top honors goes to McSorley’s Ale House–Abe Lincoln supposedly took a pint at
McSorley’s) You’ll find evidence of bar regular Welsh poet Dylan Thomas all over the place. Thomas apparently died a few days after consuming eighteen-that’s one eight–straight whiskeys at the White Horse.
Cherry Lane Theater: Originally built as a brewery, a group of theater artists (pals of Edna St. Vincent Millay) got together to convert the building into a theater in 1924. Ever since, the Commerce St. theater has been the home to plays written by everyone from F. Scott Fitzgerald to William Saroyan to Lanford Wilson. It’s now surely presenting works from the next generation of great scribes.
Village Vanguard: A relative youngster at 77 years old, the Vanguard is the place for serious jazz buffs. It’s not fancy, but the room has great acoustics and has hosted–and continues to host–all of the greats. John Coltrane, Art Pepper, Wynton Marsalis…the list goes on an on. And the price ($25) is extremely reasonable for the quality of music you hear.