The East Village is a buzzing hub of youthful energy and activity, boasting bookstores, cafes, galleries, and hip bars. Situated between 3rd avenue and the East River, with 14th street to the north and Houston to the south, this neighborhood is both stylish and laid back. Once the most vibrant art scene in NYC, it remains a trendy neighborhood to the avant-garde while also boasting a much more polished edge, complete with luxury condos, franchised coffee shops, and plenty of lunch spots.
Like most of New York, the East Village started out as farmland. Until the early 1960s, the East Village was just the northern tip of the Lower East Side, largely occupied by German and Ukrainian working class immigrants. However, the Beat movement made its roots in the East Village in the 1950’s and paved the way for the influx of the counterculture scene of the 60s.
Since then, the art scene of the East Village exploded with series like Andy Warhol’s multimedia shows from 1966-1967, entitled “The Exploding Plastic Inevitable.” They featured music by the Velvet Underground on St Marks Place. The Electric Circus, an influential yet short lived music venue, opened in 1967. Even though the club closed its doors in 1971, it is forever in the cultural zeitgeist for hosting names like Bobby Kennedy, The Grateful Dead, Sly and the Family Stone, the Allman Brothers Band, among many others. CBGB’s, the nightclub that is generally considered to be the birthplace of punk music, was located on the Bowery until 2006. Artists like Patti Smith, the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Television, Sonic Youth, the Beastie Boys, and many others got their starts at CBGB and neighboring venues.
Beyond music, the East village has had an enormous impact on the arts and culture of the United States. The neighborhood birthed cultural icons and movements from Warhol to folk art, as well as punk rock and hip hop.
Over 30% of all renters in the East Village live in buildings with 50 or more units; while almost half of all housing stock in the East Village was built in or before 1939. Newer buildings, such as luxury apartment complexes pop up every now and then. However, shorter pre-war, multi-family complexes still dominate the area.
The East Village has the highest concentration of bars in the city. It boasts apartment diversity, demographic diversity, a high density of restaurants, and proximity to nightlife. Likely due to its vicinity to NYU, the East Village has more income and ethnic diversity than its next-door-neighborhoods.
The East Village built its name on the influx of artists in the 1960s and that vibe carries through in its atmosphere today despite the increasing gentrification of the area, maintaining much of its bohemian charm. There are plenty of dive bars and dollar pizza spots that pepper the area.
That said, the neighborhood does have a more affluent side to it. Hosting many libraries, educational institutions as well as several upscale restaurants and shopping experiences, your experiences in this neighborhood will depend on how you spend your time here.
The East Village is home to many great schools, clean parks, several hospitals and a lot of New York art and culture. While the neighborhood is becoming more family friendly, the high amount of bars and 21+ entertainment venues mean that kids might struggle to find things to do here. That said, the neighborhood is very safe and many families have flourished after planting roots in the East Village.
While the New York subway system is very extensive, it won’t land you in the middle of the East Village. The 3rd and 1st avenue stops on the L train can get you to the top of the neighborhood while the Union Square, Astor Place, and Bleeker Street stops on the 4, 5, and 6 trains can get you close to the western section.
That said, the neighborhood is very walkable. It’s easy to get where you need to go by foot or on a bike, and there are plenty of Citi Bike docking stations to help with that.
The one mode of transportation I don’t recommend is a car. Being picked up by a rideshare, like Uber or Lyft, is easy enough. However, parking is scarce and the streets are thin. In the East Village, the pedestrian is king.
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East Village is located within New York County, New York. This area currently has 1,634,989 residents in 753,385 households. Out of the total population, 40.12% of the residents speak another language at home instead of English. The majority of the inhabitants in this county are currently unmarried and have a median age of 37.
When looking at residents older than 25, around 12.55% have graduated from high school, 31.80% have a bachelor's degree, and 28.64% have obtained their master's degree or above. Employment rate is typically around 62.9% and the median income in this county is $75,513.
At least 76.86% of those living in this county are renting their homes. Most residents will commute to work by public transportation with an average commute time of 31 minutes.
Geographically, New York County, New York is a part of the New York - Newark, NY - NJ - CT Urban Area. This county is currently home to 18,812,161 residents, or 6,707,347 households with a median income of $68,319. the New York - Newark, NY - NJ - CT Urban Area residents have a median age of 38 and 50.07% are currently renting their homes in the area.