Students practice yoga in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

New Students, Welcome to the Neighborhood!

You’ve moved out of your parents’ house, enrolled in one of the country’s most innovative universities, and—take a deep breath—relocated to the most amazing city in the world.

Could this be the pinnacle of human existence? We might be exaggerating a little, but probably not.

Being in New York City is both exciting and overwhelming—there are so many people, so much energy, and so much to see and do. Why not start with your new neighborhood, Greenwich Village?

Places to Go

More than a half century after its heyday as an artist’s mecca, Greenwich Village remains one of the most culturally vibrant areas of New York City. From Houston Street to 14th Street, from Fourth Avenue to the Hudson River, there’s no shortage of live music venues, art galleries, movie theaters, and bookstores to check out.

Take in an exhibition opening (typically held on Thursdays) at one of the neighborhood’s many art galleries, including White Columns (West 4th Street and Horatio Street), The Hole (Bowery and Bleecker Street) or The New School’s own Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (Fifth Avenue and West 13th Street). You can catch a movie at Regal Union Square (Broadway and East 14th Street) or the IFC Center (West 3rd Street and Sixth Avenue). For live music, pay a visit to the storied jazz joint Blue Note (West 3rd Street between Macdougal Street and Sixth Avenue) or the venerable rock club The Bitter End (Bleecker Street between Thompson Street and LaGuardia Place). And for a few laughs, check out the comedy shows at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club (Bleecker Street and Macdougal Street) and the Comedy Cellar, which is right next door.

If you feel like wandering around, take a stroll past the neighborhood’s row house–lined streets, where notable New School alums Marlon Brando, Jasper Johns, and John Cage lived, and through Washington Square Park, a prime spot for people-watching and impromptu yoga sessions.

Places to Shop

Besides its cultural offerings, Greenwich Village is known as a shopping hub, with clothing boutiques, art supply shops and record stores lining the streets and avenues. But be careful, because it’s really easy to spend money here.

That’s why, in addition to watching your wallet, you should take advantage of the myriad discounts for New School students. The Newcard, your student ID, gets you deals at Barnes & Noble (17th Street at Union Square) and A.I. Friedman (18th Street and Sixth Avenue). If you’re looking to snazz up your wardrobe, student discounts are also available at J.Crew (17th Street and Fifth Avenue), Club Monaco (21st Street and Fifth Avenue), and Madewell (19th Street and Fifth Avenue).

Speaking of deals, Greenwich Village is a veritable vintage emporium. Sift through the racks at Monk Vintage Thrift Shop (West 8th Street and Macdougal Street), Cure Thrift Store (East 12th Street and Fourth Avenue), and Beacon’s Closet (West 13th Street and Fifth Avenue) to unearth secondhand gems.

Literary and music nerds can browse through the 18 miles of books at the world-famous Strand Book Store (Broadway and East 12th Street) and flip through the stacks of vinyl records at Other Music (4th Avenue and Lafayette Street), Generation Records (Thompson Street between Bleecker Street and West 3rd Street) and Bleeker Street Records (Barrow Street and West 4th Street).

Places to Eat

With all that exploring and shopping, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Look no further than The New School’s own Dining Commons at the University Center, which boasts a mouthwatering menu of global, sustainable, farm-to-table food. There’s sushi, salad and noodle bars, sandwiches and pasta and pizza to order. More than just your typical college mess hall, the Dining Hall uses food as an entry point for discussions on social justice, environmental stewardship, the university’s carbon footprint, the treatment of animals, immigration, history, health, and the role of industry.

If you feel like grabbing a bite off campus, check out the culinary smorgasbord that is Greenwich Village. For Mexican, there’s Dorado (East 12th Street and University Place) and Chipotle (8th Street between Broadway and University Place); for Thai, there’s Spice (13th Street and University Place) and Qi Esarn Thai Kitchen (14th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues); for pizza, there’s Slice & Co. (14th Street and Sixth Avenue) and Two Boots (West 11th Street and Greenwich Avenue); for burgers, there’s Corner Bistro (West 4th Street and Jane Street) and Umami Burger (Sixth Avenue between West 9th and West 10th Streets); and for falafel, there’s Mamoun’s (West 3rd Street and Macdougal Street) and Taim (Waverly Place and Perry Street).

And circling back to discounts: Flash your Newcard at the Garden of Eden gourmet grocery (14th Street and Fifth Avenue), Breads café (16th Street and Union Square West) and Bar Six (West 13th Street and Sixth Avenue) for ten percent off your bill.

Or Hang Out on Campus

The New School is itself a Greenwich Village landmark made up of historic buildings. You’ll have classes in many of them, so why not pay a visit before the first day of school?

Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall (West 12th Street and Sixth Avenue) is one of the earliest examples of modern architecture; it is home to The Auditorium, a beautiful 468-seat venue with a proscenium-style stage that was named one of the world’s most powerful rooms by ABC News in 2014 (Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke there!).

There’s also the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (13th Street and Fifth Avenue), a winner of several national awards for innovative reuse of historic buildings, and the University Center (13th Street and Fifth Avenue), The New School’s striking flagship building. While making the rounds of the university’s impressive architecture, make sure to admire the work of artists José Clemente Orozco, Sol LeWitt, Dave Muller, Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon, and more on display.

There’s plenty to do on campus as well. You can hear from some of the most important cultural and political figures of the day, including philosophy heavyweight Noam Chomsky, who will speak at The New School on September 19, and jazz great Randy Weston, who will lead lectures, concerts, and workshops as the artist-in-residence at the School of Jazz throughout the semester. Check out the schedule of public programs on The New School’s website.

Finally, don’t forget to download the Student Handbook on my.newschool.edu. In it, you’ll find more information to orient you to life at The New School and the Village. And become a fan of The New School’s Facebook page, where you’ll find more useful tips. Good luck out there, and welcome to the neighborhood!