I admitt, I have always been drawn to the 'alternative', 'different', bohemian artists. And so I looked forward to see the place where many of these artists, that inspired and still inspire whole generations across the world, had lived and performed.
Greenwich village itself is beautiful. Walking the streets you can hardly believe that you are in a big, crowded city. It seems more like a smalltown, it's quiet, tidy and, hm, rich. All these three descriptions don't really fit the bohemian notion, do they? Especially when I discovered "Private Alleys". Excuse me? Yeah, some blocks are closed for strangers, "residents and guests only". A few days later, I talked to a friend who used to live in Greenwich village for a while, telling him about my surprise discovery.
He told me, that Greenwich v. today is a rather glamourous part of town, with different celebrities living there. He himself had moved away after seeing a famous hollywood actress grocery shopping in the same store he was. That's when he knew that soon he wouldn't be able to afford rent anymore, and moved away. Nevertheless, Greenwich v. is a beautiful part of the city. And with NYU located there, it's not just the celebrities spreading their glamour, but also the students spreading a little bit of 'alternative', 'different', bohemian lifestyle.
Oh, and last but not least - you can find there the most amazing shops.
The East Village is located between 14th street and Houston street.
East, of course. What do you think 'Houston street' is pronounced? Just like that city in Texas, right? Well, wrong. It's pronounced like 'howston'. Nobody could explain to me why, but that's how you supposedly can distinguish a newyorker from a non-newyorker…. Show-offs ;) . The East village looks much like 'movie-New York' to me, you know, when watching films that take place in NY, the set would look much like this part of town, especially in those 1970s crime movies with cops and robbers chasing each other up and down the fire escapes and through the dark alleys with dead ends. No chases today, just a pretty quiet afternoon. Anyway, I noticed that when you turn from the avenues into the side streets, it gets quiet and calm (at least in Lower Manhattan), as if entering a different place.
A must-see, in my opinion, is "The Tenement Museum". It's located on 90 Orchard street, and opening hours are not every day, so be sure to inquire before.
I purchased the ticket in a neighbouring coffee shop, wouldn't know if that has changed since then. During the 19th and early 20th cent. these so called tenements were built to provide housing for the thousands of immigrants. They are 3-storey houses where whole families would live in just one room, and all the families would share one bathroom. Today we'd call them slums, I guess. The museum is such a house, that was left the way it used to be like then, no renovation. The guide told us the stories of the tenants in a very interesting way, showing us around. I absolutely recommend this little museum, it gives a glimpse into everyday life of those just arrived from Ellis Island.
a little bit of artistry