The Village (with a double vision of the car).
I’ve done more traveling this past year alone than I probably have in my whole life. In April I went to Nashville. In May I went to Las Vegas. Yesterday I went to New York City. While some trips were more time consuming than others, they all had minimal amounts of planning as possible, making for an organic experience.
My friends Brittany (Boo), Shanaya (Goober), Brie and I ventured up to NYC with Britt and Brie’s mom, Volieda. V takes acting classes up there on Saturdays so we all decided to go along for the ride and explore some of the city. Our objective for the day: get to Washington Square Park. It was a bit of a walk, but it was totally worth it.
Along the way we stopped at a careful assortment of shops, including an all pink jewelery store that Goober and Boo LOVED, and a very interesting sex shop that we didn’t realize was a sex shop until we walked in. The store was called Pink Pussy Cat, and we were enticed by the kinky lingerie that was featured on the mannequins in the store windows. It’s a nice place if you need to pick up any good sex toys or games.
It wasn’t until we started walking around the Village that I realized it has a very large gay population. Granted I had only heard of this neighborhood before but never really knew what it was like. I knew WSP was there and that’s about it. The gay factor didn’t really bother me, and I kind of figured out why the population is so high there (well, it’s just a theory).
Goober standing in front of Pink Pussy Cat
The Village is home to the Stonewall Inn., a popular gay bar that opened in the ’60s. In September 1969, the Stonewall was the setting for the first major fight for gay rights in the United States. The “riots” were the first time gays had fought back against the police, and they eventually won. The Stonewall is now a landmark in not only the Village, but the country, showing that the fight for equality for gays has been a long, uphill battle. Success for the Stonewall Riots would eventually snowball onto the west coast in the ’70s when Harvey Milk helped repeal Proposition 6 throughout California.
With the Village being the first to host a political fight against gay oppression, it’s only suiting that gays would want to stay in that safe neighborhood to live. There is a glowing radiance about the area that would make anyone want to live there. The shops are all clean, the restaurants are kitchy and fun, and it seems like a great place to stroll around and just do whatever. Would it be weird to call the Village the east coast’s answer to the Castro?
A few food stops along the way (and an awkward encounter with a SU history professor later), we finally made it to WSP. I’ve seen it so many times in countless movies like “The Visitor” and “Angels in America,” but I had never been there in person (obviously).
The grand vastness of the park is absolutely stunning! I had never known how big the park was, but it is brimming with life. You have the famous set up of chess tables, dog parks, beatnik musicians, tourists, aspiring photographers, students from NYU and everyone in between.
The centerpiece of the park is, without a doubt, the fountain. It’s a great big fountain that people like to sit around on/in and just let the its breezy waters just mist over them. Hesitant that I hadn’t worn any slip-on shoes, I took my chucks off and got my feet wet in the fountain, quickly accompanied by Goober.
This dog, and one in the background, was one of a few we saw playing in the fountain.
We watched as adults and kids alike waded in the calf-deep water, some even wearing bathing suits and making a full event out of it. And while signs says dogs can’t go into the water, we found a few dogs getting their beautiful coats wet and enjoying themselves too. There was one black dog (pictured right) that was having the best time with a few kids, making Britt and I proclaim that we both wanted a dog.
What I liked about WSP compared to, say, Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, is that the energy and life of the park is just so much more pleasant. The problem with Rittenhouse is that it’s not nearly as big as WSP, limiting some of the great activities they could offer. Rittenhouse has wooden benches lining entire walkways, while WSP has plenty of open grassy spots for people to openly sunbathe and lay down. Do I prefer WSP because it gave me such a great first impression, or am I just used to Rittenhouse? Maybe, maybe not. It’s one thing to be taken by sheer beauty at first, and another to admire and adorn the beauty that you recognize.
Even though it was a short time we were there, we all really enjoyed it. Ending it at WSP and chilling in the fountain was the cherry on top. Hopefully we can go back to the Village soon and explore even more. Maybe then I can provide you with more observations than what this remedial blog post let me do. Happy travels!