The East Village has long been a destination for American Bohemia. Recently, it has acquired a hefty downtown price tag but still retains its eclectic and creative roots. Every New York subculture–from yuppie to punk and hipster to hip hop–is celebrated in this inexhaustible grid of drinking, dining, and shops. At the same time, local holdouts preserve the unique individuality of the East Village.
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For my money, there’s no better neighborhood in NYC than the East Village. It’s the most stylish, most vibrant, most lively area in the city – simply the personification of real New York.
I don’t live in the area, but if I were to pick one neighborhood I’d like to call home, it would be the East Village. This is in large part because I’m addicted to all the great food down there. (For french fries, you have to check out Pommes Frites on 2nd Ave. All they do is make french fries, nothing else, and they’re absolutely amazing. Those things are like crack.)
The type of person you’ll find in the East Village is, well, every type of person. It’s so diverse and so novel, and you’re sure to see some interesting characters while strolling the streets, no matter what time it is. (Did I just see a religious cult with shaved heads marching down the sidewalk in robes, beating drums and chanting? I suppose I did.)
Compared to most other places in the rest of the borough, the East Village is definitely one of the more relaxed. You don’t see much sauntering in Midtown or down on Wall Street, but in the East Village people don’t seem to be in such a hurry.
As for dining, there are a bunch of great bars and outdoor cafes that usually remove most of their front wall in the summer and embrace the street. And while I don’t condone drinking heavily during the day (except weekends and holidays), if one were so inclined to go bar hopping from morning to night, the East Village is the best place to do it. So many awesome bars, always full of cool and interesting people just enjoying life.
And I think that’s what truly separates this neighborhood from the rest. At the risk of sounding incredibly trite and cliche, the East Village is just plain fun. No other place in Manhattan offers the quirky, laid back attitude of the Village. Whether you’re just visiting or looking for permanent residence, definitely check out it out. You’ll never be bored, that’s for sure.Justin
The East Village Is Why You Live In New York
If you’re passionate about anything, chances are the East Village is too and they do it better than anywhere else in New York. If you love cocktails, Angel’s Share, Death and Co., or Please Don’t Tell will have you reeling out the door and into the street, reeking of elderflower, muddled blood orange, and ginger syrup. If coffee’s your thing, Ost Cafe, Abraco, and Ninth Street Espresso will give you more than just a fix, with third wave rigor and the best beans in the city. Foodies will find that wonders both high (Apiary, Prune, Motorino, or any of David Chang’s East Village strongholds) and low (Pomme Frites, Artichoke, Crif Dogs) abound. You can play this game at home with almost any category you can imagine (bookstores, music, etc.) . The East Village embodies the urban holy trinity of food, drink, and culture. There’s just one catch, and it’s the one you expected: price.
Ironically, the older professionals most likely to be able to afford the exorbitant rents are the ones least likely to appreciate the EV’s hard partying, youth culture. NearbyNYU and New School dorms keep the nabe stoked with young blood, and youngins of every stripe descend on the area every weekend. When I moved here at 25 I already felt I was at the wrong end of the age bracket (unfortunately I was also at the wrong end of the income bracket). But living in the EV means accepting that St. Marks will explode with revelers at the barest provocation (I think they’ve even started inventing their own holidays).
Some of the nabe’s former grit is preserved by its border with nearby Alphabet Cityand living there might help those struggling with the rent situation. But even then, you’re dealing with not-great rent and not-great subway access so that you can live where you go out on weekends. If this isn’t essential for you, it’s usually a subway ride away from most places an aspiring EV resident would choose as a safety ‘nabe. That said, if you’re under 35, single, have means and exacting tastes, well, your decision’s almost made.What's awesome
Restaurants, bars, music venues, everything elseWhat's not so awesomeMichel C
just okay on green space, noisy, rents are too damn high
For the Artist or for those wanting to be a NYer quicklyA.C.
East Village has a great vibrancy to it – mostly stemming from the energy of the young and musical types that hang out on the streets and bars 24-7. Although chain stores and restaurants are creeping in and adding a bit of dullness to the edgy and punky scene that dominated this neighborhood for ages, it still retains it’s identity as a place to be for upcoming bands to get their start, for locals to get a cheap drink in dim-lit dive bars, or for a tourist getting a souvenir at a local tattoo shop.
Regardless of the punk-rock image it wears so well, it’s completely safe and the crime it experience din the past is no longer a lingering black eye for this area. It’s more of a tale told by the locals that have lived there for twenty plus years and are appreciating how far the neighborhood has come. That said, nearby Thompkins Square Park has a great dog run but it’s best to avoid it’s dark paths after 10 pm at night.
If you are under 25 and consider yourself independent or against the grain in any way, this is where you’ll spend way too many of your weekend nights. Enjoy it, there is never a slow night in the East Village. It will turn the most novice newcomer into a true New Yorker in no time
Pretty much everyone comes to East Village to hang out at one point or another. It’s often said that upper East/West siders come down to pretend to be “slumming it”, though the rents can be just as expensive. Edgier Brooklyn types may also scoff at how played out it is, but there’s no way they’re not here for a gallery, show, meal or drinks on a regular basis. I still think it’s the center of NYC cultural life. Plus, all the transient partiers and scenesters keep alive the crazy, unpredictable vibe for which this place is famous.
Living here is great as well. There are all kinds of people here, and it’s friendly to everyone from families to rockers. I’d add that with the recent trouble in the economy, the area has actually taken a turn for the better. There’s a bit less people going absolutely nuts down here on the weekends, while rents have become (just a little) better for the creative set.NYC L.
Everyone is so stylish around here. I love the East Village, especially hanging out around St. Marks. My dorm is right on Second Avenue, and I can get anything I want within five blocks. I’m right by Union Square for shopping, plenty of restaurants on 2nd and 1st, and there’s lots of little hideaways in Alphabet City.Christy S.
ts amazing square to chill, read and listen to musicKhaled Y.
Union Square and NYU
with part of this nabe taking in the vibes of the NYU crowd, and other parts being an extension of Union Square – this nabe offers a diverse mix of people.
You will find families, and youngsters ready to party and take advantage of the nightlife. There are some good, fun bars here that really open up on the weekend. If you walk down 3rd or 4th you’ll find something to do any night of the week though.
During the daytime, the Union Square crowd really seeps into the East Village. There are hipsters. Don’t be surprised if you see one, stooped up on a fire hydrant like a gargoyle reading a 99 cent strand book.
My friend max lives there and agrees that there is great shopping, bars and beautiful people in this area.What's awesome
people, bars, restaurants, playgroundsWhat's not so awesomeRichard H.
hipsters at strand
I just moved into the neighborhood from Seattle, WA and eagerly await my daily dog walk (two great off-leash options, Tompkins Square and Stuyvesant Park!) and explorations around the neighborhood, there seem to be an endless amount of new restaurants from every corner of the world, a million vegan/healthy options and plenty of interesting little ‘must have’s’ that make a neighborhood livable, like a cobbler, locksmith, hardware stores, etc. There are more students than I imagined (New School and NYU) but the old residents are here too and I think it still retains much of the vibe that it’s always been famous for. Great eats, awesome vibe, quintessentialNYC living.Nathalie M.
I love this place.Erin Alls
After living in Greenwich Village for a year I made the transition to the less expensive and larger apartments in the East Village. That has been 7 years ago.
The Vibe of East Village is like no other, It’s artists decorate the lampposts, the punks still roam Saint Marks Place and the store fronts are always reinventing the new “in”
You can’t beat the bars and restaurants in the area. It’s always a great place to party and great place to people watch. Close to many trains, this is a place anyone can call home
East Village: Old School/New SchoolJanine
The East Village is definitely one of the more exciting and trendy neighborhoods to visit or live in in Manhattan. There is such a fantastic mixture of people that it would be hard to pin down just one trend ethnic flavor to the neighborhood. It’s also one of the more affordable neighborhoods to go out or to live in Downtown.
I have spent many a day and night roaming through the East Village and there are still hundreds of things I have yet to experience, but here are a few of my favorite things….
The East Village has some of the best Ukrainian food in the city. Blintzes, Perogies, or the best Borscht in the world…there’s a perfect location for that on 2nd Ave called Veselka and it’s open 24 hours a day! There are also so many options for other ethnic foods here including almost an entire block of Indian Restaurants on e 6th between 1st and 2nd Avenues, a good deal of Middle Eastern and Hookah Bar, and a growing number of Asian/Japanese restaurants and Karoke Bars on Saint Marks Place. And if you are a vegetarian or vegan you would be hard pressed to find another neighborhood with better options.
If you are looking for bars and clubs—the East Village has nearly every option imaginable. In fact it’s been noted at the East Village has more bars than any other neighborhood in the world!
There are great trendy boutiques on 9th street, Tompkins Square Park with some of the best dog runs in the city and a fabulous Farmers Market there as well.
What I love most about the East Village is the fact that you can go down one street and get a tattoo, do Karoke, hang out at a dive bar or one of the trendiest bars in the city. Hippy, hipster, businessman or artist or model..there is something for everyone in the East Village and it’s one of the best places to people watch in the world!
My favorite neighborhood in ManhattanJessica M
I have watched the East Village make leaps and bounds over the course of my life. The East Village is an area that has managed to strike a special kind of gentrification that built upon the neighborhood’s roots rather than completely over ride them (the St. Mark’s Place Gap did not live long).
Growing up in the city, I went to punk shows in squats on Avenue C and avoided the park after dark; now, Tompkin’s is beautiful, filled with great playgrounds, dog runs and even a greenmarket on Sundays.
The food is amazing- anything you can think of in 10 square blocks: traditional Eastern European, Criffdog (favorite veggie dog ever), Belgian fries, Indian restaurant row with crazy lights and wranglers, Ethiopian, South American- you name it, it is here. On weekends, Avenue A is filled with brunchers recovering from the night before.
There are fewer record stores and vintage shops than there used to be, but there are still quite a few and their selections they have are carefully cultivated. In terms of nightlife, you will find more sports-style bars on 1st and 2nd and more laid back bars once you hit the letter streets. I am partial to the juke box in Lakeside, the margaritas at La Palapa, and the wine at Bourgeoisie Pig. There is an eclectic mix of live music from the bigger acts at Webster hall, to bluegrass nights at Banjo Jim’s on C.
While it is a great place to be an adult, some of my favorite childhood memories are of sampling lotions at Kiehl’s, going to puppet shows in some of the neighborhood’s small theater’s, and trying to push the Astor Place cube. The East Village is an amazing place to live or visit.
The East Village is fit for the trendy, bendy, artistic, and stylish persona. It is the place to be for anyone who wants to experience the cultural aspects of New York City. It is a place where you fit in by being unique. Being as it was once the spot for rioters and protesters you can really express yourself here in the East Village. It had scores of hippies, punk-rockers, and artists move into the area in the 60s and you can see this lifestyle live on through the art galleries and shops within the area. Anyone interested in The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, or Andy Warhol can stroll down St. Marks Place which is the home to where artists and rockers of this time performed in a Polish Ballroom before it was closed down. Since I am not a resident of the East Village I am not sure of the price range for the flats there however being a frequent visitor I know there are many awesome bars that have a good ambiance, good prices, and a relaxing atmosphere.Erica
Generally a good place to liveCrystal H.
This neighborhood is interesting. I moved there without any history of the area and just had to make the discoveries as I went. The area is located on the lower east side of Manhattan. The transportation in and out of the area is primarily just by the L, 4, 5, and 6 trains, as well as buses. While the area is very disconnected from the subway system in many areas, it does have its perks. Rent in the area is usually lower than most other neighboring areas.
The area is also very old, as many of the buildings have yet to remodeled. The same tenants could easily have been in the buildings for decades. My building alone was at least 100 years old when I moved into it. If you are looking to move to this area you can benefit from this. Finding a roommate who has been living in the same apartment for years in Manhattan means that the rent is usually substantially lower than it would be if you were to walk in as a new tenant.
As for crime in the area that is debatable. Online crime maps do not paint a pleasant picture for the area, but the area is improving. Avenues A through D used to be known as Alphabet City years back, and at that time crime was rampant in the area. This is no longer the case, though crime does still exist. I know that even my six-story walk-up apartment was robbed through the fire escape a few years before I moved in.
As for walking outside though I almost always felt safe. I am a small female, so I wouldn’t have moved to the area if I didn’t feel comfortable walking around outside at any hour of the night. While I wouldn’t go for a stroll on Avenue C & D still, the rest of the East Village doesn’t give the same impression.
When I first moved to the area it felt like the area was dead and that it was purely residential. It wasn’t until I went out late in the evening that I found how wrong I had been. The streets are full of late-night establishments and restaurants that cater to students and young professionals.
So, overall I would say that the area isn’t a bad place to live. If you don’t mind a hike to the subway in the morning you should definitely consider this area
I live on 11th St, across from Webster Hall, so basically the line between the villages. It is a great location, super cool and serene. There is always something going on, but you can always escape to Tompkins Square Park or Alphabet City if you want. Not to mention how much cheaper the East Village is than the West Village, for just as much activity and culture! I really wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, and it is by far my favorite place to walk around. As for safety, don’t go past Avenue C at night and you will be fine.Polina M.
I spend a lot of time around the East Village, having worked around there a few years ago, and I love it. There’s so many awesome bars that feature excellent craft beer, and just as many great little restaurants. `Smac is a must for anyone who like macaroni and cheese, and Jimmy’s No. 43 is one of my all time favorite places for a pint. I’m not sure that I could ever afford to live here, or that I would really enjoy living here, but it’s sure a fun place to spend a Friday night.Danny
One of the first places I’d ever been when I came to New York as an adult to visit friends was the East Village. We specifically went down to hit Pommes Frites because what is better than fries right? My experience down there is that there are a ton of great places to eat, bars to hit like McSorley’s (seriously, even if you’ve lived in the city your entire life you need to be at McSorley’s), and things to do. East Village is the kind of place you think of when you’re thinking of Manhattan.Nick G.
What happened to the East Village? All these hipsters with their skinny jeans and coke habits walking around really get on my nerves. Luxury condos? Whole Foods? This neighborhood has completely lost its edge. It used to be a great place for artists, and now you can only live here (or anywhere in Manhattan, for that matter), if you’re one of the ten people that still make millions on Wall Street. Good for developers, bad for everyone that used to live here.Ed C.