East Village in Manhattan NY

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East Village Origins

During the 19th century, millionaires like the Astors and Vanderbilts had homes in East Village but the waves of immigrants who flooded into New York City in the 1900s soon displaced the elite, who moved uptown.

East Village Today

It's still a young person's neighborhood, with its experimental music clubs, theaters and cutting-edge fashion. New York University is in the area, so there's no shortage of clientele here. Foodies take note: this neighborhood reputedly contains the most varied assortment of ethnic restaurants in New York City, from the crush of Indian eateries on the south side of East Sixth Street (sometimes called "Little Bombay") to McSorley's Old Ale House, a pub that seems unchanged since it first opened in 1854. Nearby, in what was once the home of the Astor Library, the restored Public Theater has been the opening venue for many now-famous plays.

For more trend-setting street life, head east toward Alphabet City (named for avenues A, B, C and D) for an eclectic mix of reasonably priced, fun and gamut-running places to eat, drink and shop and—if you're really getting into the scene—some very cool tattoo parlors.

A haven from the pressure of classes at New York University, students regularly gather around the Alamo at Astor Place. The Alamo is a 15-foot steel cube designed by Bernard Rosenthal that revolves when pushed. Cooper Union, a school that holds many interesting public lectures and exhibits, was established in 1859 just in time for Abraham Lincoln to make a campaign speech in its auditorium. Today, Blue Man Group performs its popular Tubes Off-Broadway audience-participation performance art extravaganza at the Astor Place Theater.

East Village in Manhattan

The East Village, from about 14th Street to Houston Street on the east side of Manhattan, is the place to go for any tattoos, piercings or crazy hair colors you've been wanting; this also makes it an ideal spot for people-watching.

Eccentric East Village

The East Village was made famous by the musical "rent", originally produced in the East Village at the New York Theatre Workshop, which is located between Houston and 14th Streets. The area was once the home of the wealthy Astors and Vanderbuilts, but eventually became a melting pot for early immigrants coming into New York City. There is a large population of Ukrainians in an area now called Little Ukraine. You will find that the East Village has many ethnic restaurants that are very affordable. Try Little India on 6th street.

The Great Hall at Cooper Union located on Third Ave. once hosted speakers such as Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain, while the "Public Theater" has been the opening theater for quite a few famous productions (Chorus Line opened here). Be sure to visit Historic St. Marks-in-the Bowery Church located on 10th Street. The church dates back to 1799. Also in the area Tompkins Square Park was home to many of the violent protests of the 60’s hippie era.

Check out the Old Merchant House located at 29 East 4th Street, or the Alamo, a steel cube sculpture that revolves when pushed.

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