My Photo

December 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Blog powered by Typepad

« I Surrender | Main | Rest in Peace, Spud »

June 22, 2013



I always thought I lived in the Lower East Side, but over the years I started to think that that specifically meant below Houston (I was two blocks north).


For reference, I was on First Ave & 2nd from probably about 1990 on. I lived on St Marks Place & A before that, and I even thought that was the Lower East Side at the time...


The East Village Other started publication in 1965, fwiw

James Taylor

Though it is often folded into the East Village as a sub-neighborhood, whenever I'm asked where I live my answer is invariably "Alphabet City". It always throws people for a second.


I've lived in the East Village for 20 years and I've always thought it to be similar to one of the descriptions in your article, that being east of 3rd Ave to maybe Ave. D, south of 14th st and north of Houston. The East Village still remains a physical place but the original spiritual identity of it, for me that would be what it was from the late 50s to the late 90s, is becoming more and more a state of mind for those of us that lived here anytime during that period. For others that have arrived in the last 5-10 years it's something else. What that is I don't know, but the more I look around the more it looks like an area that resembles something closer to college rush week. How can something that possessed so much deep passion and energy be reduced to generic shallowness? Sad, unfortunate, but nothing any one us can do about it except deal with it or leave.


The "East Village" was always more of an idea than a location -- it's boundaries don't even matter -- and that idea was whatever best sold real estate, for better or worse. Its mythology has always been greater than its reality.


I move to E 6th Street and Ave C in 1981 and everyone I know called it the East Village. Alphabet City at the time was the more dangerous and rundown part of the EV and if you ever wanted to someone to visit you told them you lived in the East Village. I though the real Lower East side was Orchard, Delancey streets where you could still see the Jewish clothing and textile etc... stores which spilled out onto the streets. Still living in the Alphabet City but refer to it as East Village.


On borders, I’ll go with the standard Houston to14th, Bowery/Third Ave. to East River definition.
Associations go back to my being a kid of maybe eight, rounding a corner (Second Avenue and 6th Street, if memory serves) tight against the building, quickly and without looking where I was going. Suddenly my forehead bumped into the belly of a Hell’s Angel. I looked up and was sure I was a goner. He smiled. So I always felt safe there, even visiting friends on 10th Street between avenues B and C around 1979-80. Those boys grew up knowing how to handle themselves. (So did the girls.)
I remember being somewhat stunned to see the celebrated sportscaster Heywood Hale Bruin headed east of Avenue B on 12th Street. I greeted him and (somewhat rudely, I suppose) asked him what he was doing over there. “Visiting an old friend,” he said. Well, I hadn’t figured he was on the hunt for drugs, as I was.
There always seemed to be something of a communal spirit there. Not in the hippie live-off the-land sense, but more like “we’re all in this together.” And part of that came from the fact that hardly anybody had much money. Now, with the rampant development of madly expensive apartments, that spirit is sadly diminished.
(The term “Alphabet City,” by the way, always seemed to have a somewhat discriminatory air to it, meaning sort of “east of the park where the Puerto Ricans live.”)

Julius Klein

(I know obvious) All NOUNS can be referred to in different ways; his dog/ Canine/ Fido/ Thing that ate my homework etc. In the early 80ies,
if you paid low rent or no rent, you lived "On The Lower East Side"

If you paid what seemed to be high rent, you lived in "The East Village"

If you were of Hispanic origins, or given to poetry slams, you might say "Loisada"

The term "Alphabet City" always had a foreign or even silly taint, as in, "that bad place where we don't live"; or the title of a bad movie.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)