East Village is a neighborhood in the NYC borough of Manhattan. East Village used to be considered to be part of the Lower East Side, but it is generally thought to be in the area east of Broadway to the East River, between 14th Street and Houston Street.

East Village Of The 60s

In the 1960s the East Village neighborhood developed a distinct identity created by its various artists, musicians, hippies, and students. The area attracted these types of people due to its cheap rentals and the Beatniks who lived there from the 1950s. The area was nicknamed the “East Village” in order to separate it from the slum-like images of the Lower East Side.

Music & Art Scene Prominence

The explosion of arts and culture in the area saw the likes of Andy Warhol promote a series of multimedia shows
titled “The Exploding Plastic Inevitable” in 1966. In 1967 a nightclub called the Electric Circus opened in the neighborhood and saw various bands like The Grateful Dead, The Chambers Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Allman Brothers Band perform there before its closure in 1971.

A new venue (The Fillmore East) that took on the name “The Church of Rock and Roll” opened up in 1968 on Second Avenue at East 6th Street in the Yiddish Theater District. The owner of this venue, Bill Graham, used this venue to bring in British Bands, thereby introducing the United States to bands like The Who, Pink Floyd, Led
Zeppelin among others. The Fillmore East also closed in 1971.

The punk music scene was also known to be birthed in the East Village’s CBGB nightclub. Many bands and singers like Blondie, the Ramones, Madonna, Beastie Boys, The Strokes and so many more, got their start in clubs like CBGB and others that opened up in the area.

Punk music icon Richard Hell still lives in the same East Village apartment he lived in since the 1970s.

Art Scene Explosion

The East Village has been well known to be a contributor of arts and culture in New York and during the 1980s, the East Village gallery scene ushered in a new era of post-modern art in America. Artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Stephen Lack, Nan Goldin, Kenny Scharf and more are known to be the artists responsible for this post-modern art movement.

The area known as Alphabet City in East Village is well known for being the setting of the musical, Rent. Rent captures the neighborhood as it was in the early 90s, describing a city ravaged by the AIDS epidemic, drugs and crime. Unfortunately, the East Village art and performance high of the 70s and 80s has since declined and has not managed to maintain the caliber of artists and performers of its yesteryear.

Dive Bars & Vintage Shopping Scene

True to its arts and culture performance core, the East Village has a number of dive bars that are filled with character. Some of the dive bars to check out are:

  • Manitoba’s: This bar is owned and run by Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, who is also the lead singer of the Dictators. The bar walls are full of photos of Manitoba and his famous friends like Joey Ramone, and Chris Stein from Blondie.
  • Double Down Saloon: With a sign that reads “you can puke you can clean“, Double Down Saloon is the dive bar you are guaranteed booze, booze and more booze, with a duke-box playing punk, garage, lo-fi and broken blues, you are invited to escape the woes of NYC and enjoy daily happy hour specials.
  • Cherry Tavern: Found in the heart of the East Village, Cherry Tavern is a critic’s pick for its neighborhood tradition of shooting pool and getting drunk, oh and a jukebox.

Vintage Shopping Places

With the likes of like Cyndi Lauper and Blondie who found their clothing inspirations from vintage shops in the East Village, there are many vintage shops available to see you create your own personal brand. Some vintage shops to definitely browse are:

  • Screaming Mimi’s: This highly acclaimed vintage store, boasts having Cyndi Lauper as its former employee. Here you will find dresses from the 60s and 70s, 80s sunglasses and 90s grunge. You can shop by decade here for inspiration and creativity.
  • The 9th St Haberdashery: Established in 2012, this vintage store stocks boys wear for women, vintage lingerie, deco jewelry among other trinkets and finds. It is quickly becoming a vintage wonderland.
  • Obscura Antiques & Oddities: What’s a vintage store in East Village without a touch of oddity? Obscura Antiques & Oddities is known to be a treasure spot for the peculiar and conversation starter antiques and collectibles. The store is filled with eclectic one of a kind lamps and clocks.
  •  Mr. Throwback: This vintage store is considered a one-of-a-kind, dealing in sportswear from the 80s and 90s. What you’ll find are are brightly colored starter jackets from the era, snap-back baseball caps and so much more, as well as retro toys and video games.

How To Get There

Getting to the East Village requires taking the F train to 2nd Avenue, the 4 and 6 to Astor Place, N, Q, R trains to New York University and the L train to First Avenue. A lot of MTA buses serve the neighborhood, including the M8 and the M 14.

Emergency Services

If you in need of emergency services such as the police department and or hospitals, here is the information below:

NYPD 9th Precinct

321 East 5 Street, New York

NY, 10003
(212) 477-7811

Mount Sinai Beth Israel

First Avenue at 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 420-2000