November Means Thanksgiving in the West Village

By Gordon Hughes

I sit on an outside bench at Cafe Panino Mucho Gusto in a heavy shirt, and there’s a chill in the air. As I enjoy my coffee on these fall mornings, I contemplate the things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. Being able to live here in the West Village tops my list.

I recently read an article in Vanity Fair about Bleecker Street and also a couple of chapters in Jeremiah Moss’s book Vanishing New York about the West Village, which mirrored two of my previous articles in this newspaper. One was positive, one not so.

I understand those who feel a loss here in The Village but I also try to understand those new folks moving here who are making changes. What I find in life is that there appears to be a big—very big—pendulum that swings back and forth. The cycles thus created tend to equalize life, sort of like Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” theory. But I’m getting a bit off track.

So living in the West Village is number one on my thankful list. Second are the people I have been fortunate enough to meet here in The Village and at the Cafe. Cheryl, Chet, Alex, Claud, Tod, Frank and Duane—to his friends “D-Man,” not to mention the owners Sarah and Arshad who always make us feel at home here. I can never forget George Capsis, who put me to work writing this monthly column, and his trusted executive assistant, Dusty. Those two and the remarkable staff at WestView News, I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for Sue, Randy, Molly and the cast and crew at Come From Away. What a remarkable musical, and I’m so proud to be a part of it. I’m thankful for having been a part of The Cher Show. I have a Cher Show hat to prove it. Thank you Flody, Jeffrey, Sarahbeth and of course Stephanie Block, and another remarkable cast and crew. And as we go into the final stretch of An American in Paris, I’m so thankful to have worked with Robbie, Leanne and Chris along with my great friend Sarahbeth.

In The Village itself I’m thankful that Marie’s Crisis Café is still open along with its neighbor, Arthur’s Tavern, and for Village Cigars, Bus Stop Cafe, MéMé Mediterranean, The Village Vanguard, Abingdon Square Park and the Saturday Greenmarket, Village Apothecary, Three Lives & Company bookstore and of course Christofle. We lost a number of wonderful joints this year, and for that we are not so thankful; there is that pendulum again.

All in all the West Village is still a remarkable part of our city and I for one am thankful—very thankful—to be just a small part of it this Thanksgiving.

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