East Village door-NYC New York-Untapped Cities-Lara Elmayan

The East Village may be gentrifying, but it’s still one of the last refuges for bohemia in Manhattan, and the coolest place to say you got that regrettable tattoo. The neighborhood around Tompkins Square Park has seen its share of immigrants, artists, musicians, drug dealers, gangsters, beatniks, hippies, anarchists, and punks – and eventually, yuppies and tourists who have seen RENT too many times. Our guide only features some favorites of ours, as it would be difficult to write an exhaustive and descriptive guide. So wander in and marvel at the fact that one neighborhood can still have so much soul.

1. Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 E 3rd Street, between Avenues B and C

Nuyorican Poets Cafe East Village graffiti-NYC New York-Untapped Cities-Lara Elmayan

If you love slam poetry and live in New York, you’ve been to the Nuyorican, one of the last remaining places dedicated to poetry in Manhattan. Even if you don’t, give the Nuyorican a try anyway. Their team of in-house poets is the most inspiring, thoughtful, witty, even hilarious one in the city. And you will get hyped up to hear them–the venue’s hosts are usually nothing short of fabulous, and get the audience dancing between sets. Readings are frequently presided over by DJs with preferences for old school hip hop. When visiting, keep in mind that the word “cafe” is a bit of an exaggeration–there’s a bar you have to fight to get to, and some very closely-packed seating facing the stage.

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  1. lara elmayan says:

    Lasse – I’m glad you liked it! The map is great—it shows how much culture (and sub-culture) can be found in such a tiny area.

    Ellen – It’s very possible. A lot of the gardens in this area were the sites of demolished buildings. The city blocked these areas off and left them empty and bare, but East Villagers “seed bombed”—meaning that they threw compacted bits of soil/mulch and seeds into the lots to beautify them. MoRUS has a ton of info on that history.

  2. Lasse says:

    Excellent pickings. I took the liberty of connecting them on a map: http://rute.me/node/467

    It also has embeddable code in the bottom of the article just in case you like it.


  3. Ellen Levitt says:

    Nice article. I’m pretty sure that Parque de Tranquilidad was the site of a former synagogue. There are a few of these tiny community parks/gardens that are on the sites of former tenement style synagogues.

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