Searching for the Soul of the West Village

As I stroll the narrow and wandering streets of the West Village, a piece of New York City roughly bound by the Hudson River and Seventh Avenue, extending from 14th down to Houston Street, its character seems intact, much as it has been for decades. The Bohemian vibe, the 19th century red-brick homes, the eccentric avenues that defy grid-bound linearity.

I am a newcomer to New York, visiting the West Village to meet its spirits. (I’ve heard that Dylan Thomas’ ghost inhabits the White Horse Tavern, moving tables around and leaving brandy snifters in…