New York's old counterculture mecca is now a lived-in neighborhood
The East Village was once New York's hip, alternative neighborhood; still the home of thriving Ukrainian and Polish communities, it has seen artists, Beatniks, Goths, hippies, punk rockers, drugs, riots, and more, over the years. Once upon a time, the East Village was always ahead of the curve, ebbing and flowing according to what was most avant-garde at the time, but it also struggled - the musical "Rent," set in the East Village, captured problems such as poverty, drugs and crime that have often plagued the neighborhood. But these days, the East Village is one of the most pleasant neighborhoods in the city. Having settled into itself nicely, it is unique in its truly livable, local atmosphere; though restaurants and bars attract patrons from all over NYC, the East Village manages to be the kind of place where you can be on a first-name basis with a bartender or run into someone you know on the street. Eating and drinking here is a highlight, but so is simply meandering through shady streets or sitting in Tompkins Square Park.