Greenwich Village and the West Village had originally been a small country town that was separated from the rest of the city by forest. It is now an upper middle class neighborhood with a lot of the charm of a small and secluded part of the city. The buildings are not very tall and the streets are narrow and winding with old trees dotting the sidewalks. This means that vacation rentals on side streets in Greenwich Village and the West Village are often more private due to the small streets.
Washington Square Park, now surrounded by buildings owned by New York University has become the sort of unofficial campus for the school even though it is a public park still owned by New York City. In the Bohemian era of the Village, as it is known colloquially, there was a group of actors, writers and artists who tried to declare from the top of the Washington Square Arch that they were creating the "Independent Republic of Greenwich Village" which obviously did not go over so well. Because of that, there is no longer access to the top of the arch.
The curvy streets of the West Village are lined with little coffee shops, jazz clubs, off-Broadway theaters and many restaurants. In the summer you can sit on the big ring benches in the fountain in Washington Square Park to cool off with your feet in the water.
Greenwich Village and the West Village is a favorite location for people coming to New York to stay. Due to the historic low-rise buildings and townhouses, there is limited inventory on the neighborhood. Therefore, Greenwich Village and the West Village has some of the most expensive vacation rental prices in New York City.