East Village is a neighborhood in Manhattan that is bounded by 14th Street on the north, the East River on the east, Houston Street on the south and Broadway on the west. It is east of the better known Greenwich Village area. East Village includes the Alphabet City (Avenues A - D) and Noho (Houston Street - Astor Place, Broadway to the Bowery) neighborhoods.
The area was dubbed the “East Village” in the fifties and sixties, to distinguish it from the lower East Side and to present it as a haven for artistic types, sort of a new Greenwich Village.
The East Village's has a colorful history as well as vibrant social and cultural outlets. It has been a haven for musicians in particular. CBGB, the nightclub considered to be the birthplace of punk music, was located in East Village. A number of well-known bands and singers who got their start at clubs and venues in the area, including Patti Smith, Talking Heads, the Ramones Sonic Youth and the Beastie Boys.
The East Village art gallery scene was a source for the development of modern art in America, with such artists as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquest and Jeff Koons having exhibited in East Village.
Other notable residents have included Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Deborah Harry and Blondie, Iggy Pop, Jack Kerouac and, in earlier times, Cornelius Vanderbilt.
The area is also noted for its diverse nightlife, reflecting East Village’s wide diversity of lifestyles and atmosphere.
East Village History
The area which is these days known as the East Village was originally a farm owned by Dutch Governor-General Wouter van Twiller. Petrus Stuyvesant received the deed to this farm in 1651, and his family held on to the land for over seven generations, until a descendant began selling off parcels of the property in the early 19th century. Wealthy townhouses dotted the dirt roads for a couple of decades until the great Irish and German immigration in the 1840s and 1850s.
Riskyland owners began building multi-unit dwellings on lots designed for single family homes, and began renting out rooms as well as apartments to the growing working class, including a lot of immigrants from Germany. From roughly the 1850s to first decade of the 20th century, East Village has the largest metropolitan populations of Germans outside of Vienna and Berlin, and was known as Klein Deutschland ("Little Germany"). It was America's first foreign language neighborhood; countless political, social, sports and recreational clubs were set up through this period, some of these buildings even now exist. Nonetheless, the vitality of the community was sapped by the General Slocum disaster on June 15, 1904, in which more than a thousand German-American died.
Until the mid-1960s, the area was simply the northern part of the Lower East Side, with a similar culture of immigrant, working class life. In the 1950s the migration of Beatniks into East Village later on attracted hippies, musicians as well as artists well into 1960s. The area was dubbed the "East Village", to dissociate it from the image of slums evoked by the Lower East Side. Based on the New York Times, a 1964 guide called Earl Wilson's New York wrote that "artists, poets and promoters of coffeehouses from Greenwich Village are trying to remelt East Village under the high-sounding name of 'East Village.'"
Newcomers and real estate brokers popularized the new name, and the term was adopted by the popular media by the mid-1960s. In 1966 a weekly newspaper, The East Village Other, appeared and the New York Times declared that East Village "had come to be known" as the East Village in the June 5, 1967 edition.