I quickly realized my new neighborhood is like a self-contained city within a city; it’s no wonder some people haven’t left for 30 years. Everything you could ever need or want is within walking distance. There are a slew of bars, shops and restaurants that were once gritty and have since been gentrified, but remain hidden gems to all but locals. Once the center of counterculture and Rock ‘n Roll in NYC still maintains its roots, the East Village is now more accessible (and pricey!) after the grittier scene moved south.
The East Village’s history survives in every nook and cranny, despite the neighborhood’s changing character through the decades. Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground and countless other artists & musicians who were once counterculture icons of St. Mark’s have left a legacy of music venues, poetry cafes and galleries.
The EV is also well-known for a food culture that is as diverse as its history. Once a Mecca for Ukrainian and Polish immigrants, the EV is still home to a few excellent Ukrainian/Polish eateries. But there is no lack of other international food – Italian, Chinese, Thai, and Mexican are just a few restaurant types that can be found on any given block.
The true staple of the East Village is its dive bars. These dark, dingy and always-packed bars seem to line every block; each boasting its own unique flair. My goal is to go on an EV pub crawl and get to as many as I can in one fell swoop, though I’m fairly certain that I will be under the table before even scratching the surface.
I can’t wait to continue exploring my new digs. The East Village is the most vibrant, diverse place I’ve ever called home, and I plan to take full advantage of it!