Posts Tagged ‘East Village bohemia’

“The affluent set invades the East Village”

December 7, 2011

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]