5 spots within a radius of walking 5 minutes — Let’s go.

1)  Partners & Crime Bookstore

Located at 44 Greenwich Ave, this independent book store is a haven for enthusiasts of the mystery genre. Labels such as “Espionage” and “Felony and Mayhem” adorn the shelves, offering several sub-categories that I didn’t know even constituted a grouping of its own. Additionally, the bookstore offers new releases, out-of-print titles, bargain books, and a shelf containing the shop’s “100 Best”.

If you’re like me and can spend an inordinate amount of time just flipping through books and perusing the inside flap of book jackets, then this bookstore is definitely a place to check out. The staff members are eager to answer any questions, but they are also content with letting customers browse freely throughout the store.

2) Taà ¯m Falafel & Smoothie Bar

It’s a tiny place on 222 Waverly Pl., but waiting in line for the falafel is small sacrifice for the delicious reward.

I’ve frequented several falafel joints in New York and other cities, but I can verify that Taà ¯m absolutely deserves all of the applause it has been receiving from food critics. Reasonably priced (the restaurant scores a single dollar sign on yelp.com) the strictly vegetarian menu includes sandwiches, salads, platters, spreads, sides, and a smoothie bar with fresh fruits only. Additionally, when a falafel venue actually offers different flavors of falafel, great food is sure to follow.

The main seating in the establishment is a few chairs by the window, but with the usual crowd, it’s better to get take-out and sit elsewhere. However, Taà ¯m also has a food truck roaming around Manhattan so check their website to see their weekly schedule.

3) Birdhouses at McCarthy Square

On the intersection at 7th Ave., Charles St., and Waverly Pl., birdhouses can be seen among the shrubbery at the square. Whimsical and playful, these birdhouses appeared spontaneously a few years ago. Their creator, Vincent Mele, is a self-proclaimed “local handyman”. A Greek temple, a wooden cabin, and a high-rise apartment are just some of his quirky, yet intricate hand-made birdhouses.

4) Sant Ambroeus

Even though Sant Ambroeus at 259 West 4th St. offers a full-fledged menu for brunch, lunch, and dinner, if you’re looking for food not as pricey, I recommend taking a peek at their dessert options: a pastry assortment with treats such as the eponymous Sant Ambroeus, a chocolate mousse cake with a chocolate custard center, a fruit sorbet cup with a hot drink, or a wide variety of gelato flavors.  If you decide to limit yourself to one dessert dish, then I recommend bringing along a couple friends so that everyone can have a taste of everything.

5) Jefferson Market Garden

Adjacent to the Jefferson Market Library on Greenwich Ave. between 6th Ave. and West 10th St., this garden stands on what once was a prison for women. The movement to transform the detention center into a public green space sprouted after Greenwich residents successfully saved the Jefferson Courthouse (now library) from demolition in the 1960s, and in 1975, the garden opened to the public.

The landscape architect behind the original design is Pamela Berdan, who modeled the garden in the same vein as would Frederick Law Olmsted, the co-designer of Central Park. A wide variety of trees inhabit the garden, including two rare American yellowwoods. Additionally, tucked away in one of the corners, is a koi pond with classic Monet-esque water lilies.

A decorative steel fence, which echoes the pattern of the courthouse fence, encloses the garden and separates it from the nearby intersection. Flowers surround the benches that lie on the pathway, while the trees lean favorably over the path and lawn to provide a much needed shade during these summer months.  Despite being just a few feet away from the street on three sides, the garden’s landscape evokes the same sense as a cloister.

Want to learn more about the history of Jefferson Market Library? Click here to see Untapped’s past article on the library for Partners in Preservation.

Get in touch with the author @iyisak