East Village, Manhattan
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Other than geography, the East Village's most notable commonalities with Greenwich Village are a colorful history, vibrant social and cultural outlets, and street names that often diverge from the norm. Some notable examples are the Bowery, a north-south avenue which also lends its name to the somewhat overlapping neighborhood of the Bowery; St. Mark's Place, a crosstown street well-known for counterculture businesses.
CBGB, the nightclub considered by some to be the birthplace of punk music, was located in the neighborhood, as was the early punk standby A7. No Wave and New York hardcore also emerged in the area’s clubs. Among the many important bands and singers who got their start at these clubs and other venues in downtown New York were: the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Arto Lindsay, the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, the Plasmatics, Glenn Danzig, Sonic Youth, the Beastie Boys, Anthrax, and The Strokes.
Over the last 100 years, the East Village/Lower East Side neighborhood has been considered one of the strongest contributors to American arts and culture in New York. During the great wave of immigration (Germans, Ukrainians, Polish) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, countless families found their new homes in this area. The East Village has also been the home of cultural icons and movements from the American gangster to the Warhol Superstars, folk music to punk rock to hip-hop, advanced education to organized activism, experimental theater to the Beat Generation. Club 57, on St. Mark's Place, was an important incubator for performance and visual art in the late 1970s and early 1980s, followed by 8BC as, during the 1980s, the East Village art gallery scene helped to galvanize modern art in America, with such artists as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons exhibiting. Though parts of this culture remain, many artists have relocated to Brooklyn in response to the rising prices and homogeneity that have followed the neighborhood's gentrification.