Neighborhood Profile:
West Village

BY: SUSAN KAUFMAN APRIL 5TH, 2018

I’ve lived in Greenwich Village for almost my entire adult life, but I only truly discovered the West Village three years ago. It was the magic of modern technology: the iPhone camera, Instagram and Fitbit re-opened my eyes to the history, vibrancy and charm of what has always been in my backyard. (That and leaving a fast-paced job as editor-in-chief of People StyleWatch.) Strolling the picturesquely jumbled streets, shooting the fabulous facades, and sharing my finds on Instagram became a newfound passion. When you slow down and actually look around, what you find is often unexpected and inspiring.

Gay St, West Village, New York - Photos by Susan Kaufman

Also unexpected are the new doors that have opened through the Instagram community. Through organically growing an audience I’ve somehow become a “micro-influencer”. After years of working in magazines, producing and styling fashion shoots, and overseeing design and visuals, I treat my own Instagram gallery like a mini-magazine. In this iteration, architecture has replaced models and now I’m collaborating with real estate companies instead of fashion companies. My photos have been featured on other feeds like Curbed, Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, Country Home Magazine. I’ve even sold images and collaborated with brands like Streeteasy and House Logic.

St Luke's Place, West Village, New York - Photos by Susan Kaufman

The enthusiastic engagement of my Instagram audience has been an added reward for sharing my photos and love of the West Village. I’ve even become a de facto virtual tour guide, recommending specific blocks, buildings, and details for new visitors and tourists.

Thanks to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, more than fifty blocks of the West Village were designated as an Historic District in 1969. With the largest concentration of early New York residential architecture in all five boroughs and extremely restricted redevelopment (any changes to facades must adhere to the aesthetics of the buildings), the old-world character of the Village has been carefully preserved.

Annie Leibovitz's former home, W 11th St - Photo by Susan Kaufman
17 Grove St, West Village, New York - Photo by Susan Kaufman

Almost every one of these fifty landmarked blocks has some cultural, aesthetic, or architectural value (informational plaques abound!). Nonetheless, almost anywhere you look in the West Village you can find the quirky details and architectural accents that make the neighborhood so charming to wander.