Simply by walking down the streets, one can feel the difference in the vibe of the East Village versus the Upper East Side, for example. Vintage dresses, old lace-up boots, and battered brown purses accent its young inhabitants. The music scene in the East Village is also thriving; singer songwriters who are either about to be big or are already big and are coming home to try out new stuff perform at the many venues in the East Village and Lower East Side. Check out the beautifully renovated Stage 2 at Rockwood Music Hall, legendary Arlene’s Grocery, and Bowery Electric to hear the latest up-and-comers in the music scene.
If you’re new to New York, don’t confuse the East Village with the The Lower East Side, which is directly to its south. The East Village is South of Stuyvesant Town, East of the NYU and bordered on the East by the East River. Within it are several smaller neighborhoods, including Alphabet City, St. Mark’s Place, Loisaida and The Bowery.
There are so many good bars and restaurants in the East Village that you will never get to try them all--but a good place to start is with the cozy Bourgeois Pig for fondue and fine wine, Momofuku for the best ramen you’ve ever had, and Empellon Cocina for tasty Mexican and seriously spicy salsa.Find East Village apartments
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The plethora of young people also means that the area is slam packed with bars. Unlike the fratty bars of Murray Hill, however, even bars directly next to one another in the East Village can have completely different identities, which is pretty awesome. Death and Co makes a great date spot, and Please Don’t Tell is famous for its hidden location behind a telephone booth.
In addition, Alphabet City, which was riddled with crime and drugs in the eighties, is now safe and full of cool bars, shops, and restaurants. Ravenous partiers feast on delicious bites at restaurant Avenue A late at night, and Avenue C has a new bar on the “hottest new spots” list practically every week. Alphabet City also has a plethora of community kept gardens, which are quite lovely respites from the concrete and noise of the city.
A lot of people identify the East Village with NYU, as NYU has its home base surrounding Washington Square Park, and many grads live there in an effort to extend college life a little bit longer. But aside from being a big post-grad community, the neighborhood also lives off of its popularity from when it was a haven for artists, hippies, Beatniks and a hub for protests, riots and counterculture movements.
Also make sure you don’t miss the farmer’s market on the weekends, hosted in Union Square.