Greenwich Village Appeal As We Know It Today
What comes to mind when you initially think of Greenwich Village? Beat poets? Earnest folk-singers? The smoky wail of a saxophone? Bookshops, bongo drums, hissing espresso machines? Greenwich Village appeal includes its original architecture, winding streets and a long history of culture.
These images of Greenwich Village have been part of America’s cultural consciousness for decades. Thinkers, dreamers, and creative spirits of all types have been drawn here.
Though the likes of, say, Ernest Hemingway long preceded some of the later greats who would grace the Village, many of our most well-known creatives migrated to the Village during the post-World War II era, when the idea of boundless possibilities captivated many young people looking to find themselves and make their mark on the world.
During the 50’s and 60’s, the Village saw an explosion of avant-garde artistic brilliance. Allen Ginsburg, Jackson Pollock, Bob Dylan, Count Basie and many others would hold court at places like The Village Vanguard, Gerde’s Folk City (one of Dylan’s first major NYC gigs was played here!), and the City’s self-proclaimed “oldest rock club,” The Bitter End. These particular venues, along with many other legendary haunts amidst the Village are still very much alive and featuring big league talent, nurturing aspiring up-and-comers.
The Village Back Then
As it turns out, the “off-the-beaten-path” image we associate with Greenwich Village from the 50s and 60s, has been a part of the Village’s appeal since its beginning.
If we take a step even further back into Greenwich Village’s history, we find that the Village started out as a Dutch tobacco farm in the 17th century, a simple place away from the town’s center. It was only later that it developed into its own neighborhood, and ultimately, a quiet retreat from the ever-bustling upper Manhattan.
So, if you really think about it, the Village has always been a center of creativity, offering its inhabitants and visitors alike a unique alternative of theaters, galleries, museums, and of course countless colorful and wonderful eating and drinking establishments. It’s always acted as a sort of welcome respite from the crazy that can be Manhattan (don’t get us wrong—not that we don’t have our own crazy to speak of).
Reconnecting to Our Roots
In the spirit of the Village, Washington Square Hotel in association with The Village Trip is reconnecting with its past and putting on a new salon series one Sunday a month. ‘Village Nights’ will be hosted by Richard Barone, accomplished musician, and Villager. You can expect spoken word, jazz, folk, and of course, Village history.
Come see what it’s all about. Stay with us as your base of operations while you explore this fascinating little corner of the Big Apple. Take a break in Washington Square Park, read the Village Voice, stroll over to the Village Vanguard and take in the place that once presented the brilliant John Coltrane. It’s not hard to see how things have changed around here, as well as how they’ve remained so much the same; the heart, soul, and magic of this very special place are still true to its roots. Drink it in—and savor every minute.
Photo Credit: Village Vanguard by Yoshizumi Endo is licensed under CC BY 2.0