By Gordon Hughes
As Peter Allen once sang, “Everything old is new again.” Boy, that sure is the case in the West Village. I was going through some of my past WestView News columns the other day and was delighted to see that so many activities I have written about over the years are returning as COVID is winding down.
For instance, young mothers in yoga pants and nannies in uniform are back with their amazing array of perambulators. Of course they are taking up way too much space, once again, at Cafe Panino Mucho Gusto.
The dog-walkers are back with renewed energy; what fun to watch their gaggle of beasts doing just what they did prior to the pandemic. Village Cigars is hopping again, as is Bus Stop Cafe, two of my favorites.
Some places are gone, like Chumley’s—the redo after the fire was just not the same as the Chumleys I used to go to, which makes the demise of Arthur’s Tavern all the more tragic.
That said, on a positive note, Claude Noelle’s French antique store Le Fanion is open, and what fun it is to browse through her new additions from Provence. All the wonderful bookstores I wrote about, like Three Lives, are back. Now, you may remember that I do most of my writing from Panino Mucho Gusto Cafe; however, all those other coffee joints, like Jacks & Joes et al., are also back, and serving new exotic coffees (my favorite being a skinny latte to help stave off weight gained during the pandemic). Yes, all this is happening for the returning West Village natives. And speaking of returning, so have the tourists. I have counted any number of backpacks, Village tourist maps, fanny packs and cameras (tons of cameras), and all those goofy sneakers with the wide white soles. Perry Street is practically blocked by young women in front of the “Sex in the City” brownstone and, of course, the long lines have returned at the Magnolia Bakery.
The resilience of the West Village is truly amazing and heartwarming.