The East Village has done as much to make craft the image of New York as the world’s cultural capital as anyplace in the city. From Andy Warhol to Don DeLillo and from The Ramones to the Beastie Boys, New York’s most recognizable ambassadors to the world made their names in the neighborhood that lies just east of the more sedate Greenwich Village. The East Village in which those icons became iconic is gone -- CBGB’s, the Bowery nightclub that played host to The Ramones, The Talking Heads, Blondie and innumerable other seminal bands has been replaced by a high-end clothing boutique, to take one especially representative example. But while the rough-and-tumble East Village of old has aged gracefully into a somewhat less-chaotic place, the neighborhood remains one of Manhattan’s nightlife capitals, and a great place to have a good time. More surprisingly, given the East Village’s history as something of an urban frontier, the East Village has also emerged as one of Manhattan’s most desirable residential neighborhoods.
Most of the apartments for sale in the East Village are in decidedly old-school buildings -- turn of the century walkups and brownstones. But a spate of new East Village condominiums have added some Manhattan glamour and architectural diversity to the neighborhood, and ensured that the formerly gritty Tompkins Square Park is now a family-friendly oasis filled with strollers and dogs. The neighborhood has evolved in other ways, as well, with elegant restaurants complimenting the unpretentious ethnic joints -- including a booming stretch of Japanese eateries on St. Mark’s Place -- that gave the neighborhood its culinary character, and swank cocktail bars opening around the corner from long-tenured dives. The East Village remains the capital of New York’s downtown cool, but it has grown-up gracefully into a neighborhood that’s much more than a place to spend a night out.