East Village – the eastern part of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village – has long been famous as a haven for artists and the birthplace of counter-cultural movements. The area is basically a parallelogram running from Houston Street on south (where numbered streets begin) to 14th Street on north, and the East River/FDR Drive Park, to Bowery/Third Avenue/Broadway on West. This definition includes Alphabet City (where avenues have letter names) as part of the East Village. The geographic and cultural center of this area is Tompkins Square Park, 10 acres set aside for playgrounds, a dog run, and special events like musical performances and parades.
Historically, East Village, Alphabet City, and Lower East Side were populated by immigrants to New York. The area’s 19th-century architecture and culture is captured in New York’s fascinating Tenement Museum at 97 and 103 Orchard Street. These two apartment buildings were home to some 15,000 people from over 20 nations from 1863 to 2011.
Center of avant-garde culture
In the 1950s, East Village began to attract avant-garde musicians, artists, and poets, such as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, who made their home there. Music venue CBGB’s on Bowery was called the birthplace of punk, and Nuyorican Poets Café remains an institution on East 3rd Street. Another museum, dedicated to Reclaimed Urban Space, opened on Avenue C in 2012 to celebrate the history of the community’s activism.
Most of the housing stock in the area remains low-rise, and many apartment buildings over 100 years old are still preserved and occupied today. In 2008, nearly all of Alphabet City was downzoned to limit building heights. NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission created an East Village/Lower East Side historic district in 2012 which includes some 330 buildings.
East Village Offers Affordable apartments in Manhattan
Although prices have gone up in recent years, East Village remains somewhat less expensive than other Manhattan neighborhoods, with median one-bedroom rents at about $3000, whereas the median for all of Manhattan is well over $4000 per month. Demographics of the neighborhood correspond to the lower prices; according to real estate website Trulia, median household income in East Village is $62,500 – significantly less than the rest of Manhattan – and residents are 90% renters and 71% unmarried. Many residents treasure the area’s small-town feel and modest economics, and gentrification has been a controversial topic for many years.
Tenants who enjoy an artistic neighborhood with nice restaurants, nightclubs, and galleries will enjoy this area, where new intellectual movements rapidly take hold. It is also a great area for convenience and advantageous prices. Homeseekers who appreciate these values will know immediately they have arrived home when they visit the East Village.