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A West Village walking tour

What's even cuter than a vintage streetscape? Half

What's even cuter than a vintage streetscape? Half of one. That's why starting your tour just a half-block above the north side of Washington Square Park makes sense: Washington Mews and MacDougal Alley are two picture-perfect, dead-end alleyways, parallel to each other and sneaked into Manhattan's rigid grid. (April 7, 2013) Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

The West Village feels set apart from the rest of New York City, centrally located but architecturally distinguished by its well-preserved, generally low-rise buildings. Your pace naturally slows to take in the beauty of the streets -- even though it's not exactly undiscovered territory, as you'll be reminded when Sex and the City Tour buses zoom by. So instead of focusing on cupcakes, give the neighborhood its due for its rich history. --TED LOOS, Special to Newsday

What's even cuter than a vintage streetscape? Half
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

What's even cuter than a vintage streetscape? Half of one. That's why starting your tour just a half-block above the north side of Washington Square Park makes sense: Washington Mews and MacDougal Alley are two picture-perfect, dead-end alleyways, parallel to each other and sneaked into Manhattan's rigid grid. (April 7, 2013)

Grey-shuttered windows open out over Washington Mews alley,
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Grey-shuttered windows open out over Washington Mews alley, just north of Washington Square. The Mews were once stables but, since the 1950s, have been converted into offices and other facilities for New York University. (April 7, 2013)

Just a half of a block south of
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Just a half of a block south of Washington Mews Alley is Washington Square Park, where New Yorkers can almost always take in a street performance. (April 7, 2013)

An impromptu jazz band plays music in Washington
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

An impromptu jazz band plays music in Washington Square, which was once a marsh, then a cemetery, then a parade ground. (April 7, 2013)

Visitors and New Yorkers alike gather around musicians
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Visitors and New Yorkers alike gather around musicians and street performers in Washington Square. (April 7, 2013)

Head west on Eighth Street, and coming into
Photo Credit: AP

Head west on Eighth Street, and coming into view will be one of the area's iconic structures, Jefferson Market Courthouse, now the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library (425 Sixth Ave., nypl.org/locations/jefferson-market). Once slated for demolition, the 1877 building, with its grand clock face and elaborate Gothic detailing, is a tribute to preservation efforts. (Feb. 1, 1968)

Turning just west and south will lead you
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Turning just west and south will lead you to Sheridan Square's Christopher Park, where white statues of gay couples, by pop sculptor George Segal, commemorate New York City's Stonewall Rebellion. From the park you can see the mysterious, circa 1831 Northern Dispensary (165 Waverly Place), filling a small piece of land shaped like a pie slice, is a former dental clinic that as been vacant for 20 years, although the stout brick building, with its old-timey sign, adds charm to the view. (April 7, 2013)

The Northern Dispensary, 165 Waverly Pl., is a
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

The Northern Dispensary, 165 Waverly Pl., is a triangle-shaped building built circa 1831 in what was the northern end of the city. (April 7, 2013)

A stone's throw away and facing the same
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

A stone's throw away and facing the same small patch of park is the historic Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher St., thestonewallinnnyc.com), where, on a hot June night in 1969, bar patrons fought back against police harassment and launched the modern gay civil rights movement. Not only is there history on-site, the bar offers two-for-one drinks specials until 8 p.m. (April 7, 2013)

Patrons kick back at the legendary Stonewall Inn,
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Patrons kick back at the legendary Stonewall Inn, a designated historic landmark since 2000. (Apr. 7, 2013)

Patrons attend a party at the legendary Stonewall
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Patrons attend a party at the legendary Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. (April 7, 2013)

Taking Christopher Street west and hanging a left
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Taking Christopher Street west and hanging a left on Bedford Street takes you to what is reputedly Manhattan's narrowest house: 75½ Bedford St. It's currently being renovated, but the storybook quality of the building is still readily apparent; as a bonus fact, the great poet Edna St. Vincent Millay once lived there and is honored by a plaque. (April 7, 2013)

Just around the corner, Edna St. Vincent Millay
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Just around the corner, Edna St. Vincent Millay co-founded the Cherry Lane Playhouse, now the Cherry Lane Theater (38 Commerce St., cherrylanetheater.org). For almost 90 years, the stage has been home to groundbreaking plays from the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Clifford Odets, Eugene O' Neill, Harold Pinter and David Mamet. (April 7, 2013)

It's time to head up Hudson Street to
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

It's time to head up Hudson Street to reward yourself with a beer (or the drink of your choice) at the same literary watering hole where two famous Dylans once tippled (though not together): the White Horse Tavern (567 Hudson St., no website), a favorite of Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan, not to mention Norman Mailer and many others. Drink a toast to your West Village walking tour while you're at it. (April 12, 2012)

The White Horse Tavern is famous for literary
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

The White Horse Tavern is famous for literary luminaries, having hosted Dylan Thomas, Norman Mailer, Bob Dylan and James Baldwin. (April 7, 2013)

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