“The affluent set invades the East Village”

So read the headline from a New York Times article. Was it from 2002? 1996? 1988?

It actually dates to November 1964, and the piece chronicles a familiar story: how the artists and writers who moved to the neighborhood when it was rundown and unsafe resented the onslaught of rich uptowners who came to live there—or just slum it for the night.

“The uptown rich, who popularized Small’s Paradise in Harlem and the Peppermint Lounge in Midtown, have discovered the East Village nightspots,” explained the Times.

“‘First there were the artists,’ [Stanley] Tolkin said.” Tolkin was the owner of Stanley’s, on Avenue B and 12th Street, a hangout for painters, musicians, and poets.

“‘Then there were the teachers and writers, and little by little, we had everyone—advertising men, doctors who live in walk-up tenements, lawyers just starting out, construction workers.'”

“‘They all seem to work at something during the day,’ Tolkin said. ‘But at night, they change their clothes and become Beatniks.'”

The owner of Slug’s, another Bohemian bar on East Third Street, had this to say about the uptowners:

“‘They’re bored, and they have no other place to go. It has to become a fashionable place. It always happens to places like this. I’m going to raise my prices then.'”

[Fred W. McDarrah photos from The New Bohemia, by John Gruen, published in 1965]

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6 Responses to ““The affluent set invades the East Village””

  1. The Day | Fred Armisen Appearing at Other Music - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com Says:

    [...] Ephemeral New York points to a New York Times headline, “The Affluent Set Invades the East Village,” that actually dates back to 1964, when the owner of bohemian bar Stanley’s said he had started seeing “advertising men, doctors who live in walk-up tenements, lawyers just starting out, construction workers.” [...]

  2. petey Says:

    great pictures!

  3. Ed Sanders on His New Memoir, ‘Fug You,’ and the East Village of the 60s and Today - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com Says:

    [...] funny, the blog Ephemeral New York just linked to a New York Times item from 1964 that referred to the changing demographic at Stanley’s. Did you feel that the bar and [...]

  4. Lynn Says:

    If you read the book ‘Terrible Honesty’ by Ann Douglas you get a sense of how the wealthy/famous have historically frequented the more eclectic & lively establishments (from Harlem to the East Village). The book “New York In The 50’s” by Dan Wakefield is a joy to read covering the Village during this same period of time.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks for the info about Ann Douglas’ book, I will look for it. I love New York in the 50s; it’s one of my favorite time periods when it comes to the Village.

  6. Is it time to leave the East Village? « NYC Real Estate News Says:

    [...] closing, here’s some perspective from a New York Times article (excerpted via Ephemeral New York here) titled “The affluent set invades the East [...]

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