The East Village extends from Houston Street north to 14th Street, and Lafayette Street east to the East River. Once dominated by squatters and hippies, the East Village used to be a considered a somewhat seedy neighborhood. But the influences of New York University (NYU), great restaurants and hip boutiques have transformed this neighborhood into a welcome home for professionals, artists and students.
Although today no starving artists could now probably afford to live there, the vibe of Greenwich Village still lingers and the beat goes on… The East Village is a well-known, largely residential real estate district in Manhattan attractive to young hipsters and their high-earning professional ilk alike. Though it once served the titans of industry, in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, the Village was colonized by radicals, bohemians, beatniks, artists, and literary greats who squatted in makeshift apartments and sometimes, abandoned factories. From Dylan Thomas, who infamously died of too much drink outside a Village Tavern, to the Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Bob Dylan and William Burroughs, the East Village provided the theater for some of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.
High rents may exclude most of the bohemians today, (their countercultural compatriots now attend the prestigious New York University), but the East Village still offers natives and tourists a respite from the corporate feel of 14th Street. The structural center of the East Village surrounds Washington Square Park and includes NYU’s large campus and a thriving nightlife scene on MacDougal Street. East of the park, however, lie many historic and attractive brownstones, some of the city's best restaurants and bars, shops, as well as many independently owned hotels, bars and restaurants.
You could spend years exploring the East Village's watering holes. From dive bars to chic clubs, it's a weekend destination for residents of other Manhattan neighborhoods. It's also home to dozens of small theaters, especially in the area of Bowery.
Tompkins Square Park used to be considered the center of all that was wrong with the East Village. But after 1991, when the homeless shantytown was razed, the park was transformed. It now boasts two dog runs, tree-lined paths, a weekend farmer's market and outdoor theater in the summer.
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