The East Village is the neighborhood east of the Bowery and north of little Italy. In the 1960s–1970s it was dominated by artists, beatniks and beggars. Andy Warhol and Alan Ginsburg lived and worked here, and punk rock legends such as Patti Smith, The Ramones and Talking Heads made their debut at the local legendary CBGB nightclub. Since then, the neighborhood underwent a demographic change, following the rise in real estate prices. Yet, East Village still has the most diverse population in Manhattan and vibrant nightlife.
At the beginning, the neighborhood was an actual village, a farm owned by a Dutch Governor named Wouter van Twiller. In 1651, the deed to the farm was given to Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch Director-General of the New Netherland colony, and it remained in his family for seven generations, until the mid-1800s. Then, the previously rural land was covered with single family homes, mostly resided by working class members and German immigrants. At the beginning of the 20th century the neighborhood was known as Little Germany, and after the WWII, it was resided by immigrants from Poland and Ukraine. Until the mid-1960s, the area was seen as part of the Lower East Side. When the area became known for its unique, bohemian nature, it was dubbed in the media as the East Village.
Although many of the neighborhood symbols have disappeared – CBGB is now a high-end fashion store – it is an exciting place to visit.
St. Mark’s Place
Most of the action takes place on St. Mark’s Place, a 3-block street which stretches from Sixth Avenue to Third Avenue, and Avenue B to Avenue D and includes dozens of shops and places to eat and drink. Most of the tourists gather around Third Avenue, where there are plenty of shopping vendors, bars, cafes and restaurants. The East Village cuisine is very rich and diversified and on this short street you can find anything from Falafel Sandwich to Sushi and Moroccan starters. For desert – don’t miss the chocolate egg cream on Gem Spa.
Art & Architecture
Other non-culinary places of interest in the neighborhood include the St. Mark’s Bowery Church on 131 East 10th Street, at the intersection of Stuyvesant Street and Second Avenue, one of the oldest churches in New York.
Performance Space 122, on 150 First Avenue, is an experimental performance art space for theatre, dance and performance arts; Dorian Grey Gallery is a contemporary art gallery on 437 East Ninth Street, focusing on street art.