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    Greenwich Village New York: an itinerary between rock music and counterculture

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    Martí Micolau

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    New York is a city in constant transformation and the changes, even for those who return after a short time, can be seen visibly. The direction that Manhattan has been taking for some time now is to become, in the words of the New Yorkers themselves, "an island for the rich", where you have to pay very high rents to live, an aspect that often forces you to displace children. traders and companies alternatives to the mainstream circuits.

    Yet, as is well known, this has not always been the case. One of the most classic examples is that of the famous Greenwich Village, a popular, extravagant and bohemian neighborhood, which since the early twentieth century has been able to establish itself as a synonym for art, alternative music and counterculture in New York.

    Well, even this historic district, which over the years has seen artists, writers and musicians of all kinds converge (from Jimi Hendrix to Jack Kerouac), is not immune to the new trend that is transforming the great American metropolis. Mind you, the Village in Manhattan, with its narrow cobbled streets and picturesque alleys, it still remains one of the most pleasant neighborhoods to visit in the city, but would anyone interested in breathing its historical and more authentic soul still find some reason of interest? What remains of the old Greenwich Village di New York?

    Here is an itinerary that aims straight at the soul of the district.


    • Greenwich Village New York: Route Map
    • Washington Square Park
      • Street performers in Washington Square Park
    • I locali del Greenwich Village a New York
    • Memories of a time that was ...
    • Tips for sleeping in Greenwich Village

    Greenwich Village New York: Route Map

    Washington Square Park

    This park is the central point from which all the vitality of the Village radiates: street performers of all kinds, chess champions and strolling people converge here in large numbers making of Washington Square Park one of the liveliest centers in all of Manhattan.

    The park was a refuge for beatniks and political agitators and its most representative symbol is it Stanford White Arch (known more simply as Washington Square Arch), a 22-meter-high white marble arch, built to celebrate the centenary of George Washington's election, but best known for the extravagant feat of artist Marcel Duchamp, who in 1916 climbed to top to publicly declare the park "Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square".

    You could also spend an entire afternoon in the park, listening to the street artists of remarkable quality who alternate (many of them are students of the neighboring New York University) and who explore repertoires of all kinds: from classical music to reggae, to folk and numbers. scenographic of various types. In short, there is no Greenwich Village in New York without Washington Square!

    Street performers in Washington Square Park

    Here are some photos taken of the street performers of Washington Square Park. From left to right: a jazz band, a poet who composes on request, a classical pianist and a "creationist" intent on proving the groundlessness of the theory of the evolution of the species.

    I locali del Greenwich Village a New York

    One of the most characteristic streets of the Village is Macdougal Street where, among the many neon signs, you will find one of the historic rock clubs: those who love this genre can never have heard of Cafe Wha? (115 Macdougal St). Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, these are just some of the names that have appeared in this historic venue, which in its long history (since 1959) has seen practically all the great characters of rock music perform and beyond.

    A few steps on foot you will notice Panchito's (105 Macdougal Street) a Mexican restaurant that might not tell you anything, but if you look at one side of the facade you can still see the faded sign on the wall of the previous restaurant, the Fat Black Pussycat, which in 1962 was simply called Commons; it was here that in that year Bob Dylan performed Blowin 'in the wind for the first time. Lovers of Bob Dylan's New York will be pleased to know that a few steps away (110 Macdougal Street) was the Folklore Center, the meeting place for folk artists founded by Izzy Young in 1957.

    Take advantage of it to make a leap even to the historical one Minetta Tavern (113 Macdougal Street), a bar-restaurant opened as a clandestine liquor store in 1922 and once beaten by one of America's most eccentric and bohemian writers, Joe Gould.

    If you are a music lover in the area you will find other interesting places, for example the Groove (125 Macdougal Street), which certainly boasts a more recent and less glorious history than Cafe Wha?, But is the only place to offer quality Rhythm & Blues, Funk and Soul music 7 nights a week.

    A few steps away, then you will find a veritable New York jazz institution, the Blue Note (131 W. 3rd St), where an impressive array of internationally renowned jazz artists have continued to perform since 1981. Fans of the genre cannot miss the opportunity!

    Memories of a time that was ...

    Wandering around New York, Greenwich Village is then able to offer authentic surprises: not only the nearby Whitney Museum of American Art, but also all those small independent shops that are now disappearing all over the world: well here something still resists ! I point out 2 shops where you can still breathe the air of how the neighborhood must have been long ago.

    House of Oldies Records (35 Carmine Street) is an old record shop (opened in 1969), specializing in rare and out of print vinyls from the 50s, 60s and 70s. A visit to their website will be enough to be greeted by an unmistakable cry: "Long live rock'n'roll!"

    PS: unfortunately the store has recently announced its upcoming closure to devote itself to the sale of its precious online catalog.

    Right in front of this old-time music shop, you will find Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books (34 Carmine Street), a bookshop that professes to be independent, anti-imperialist and anti-oppressive, and which boasts a department full of books dedicated to Bob Dylan, as well as numerous titles outside the mainstream circuits.

    Tips for sleeping in Greenwich Village

    If you have chosen the Village for your stay in New York you will be able to stay overnight in a neighborhood that will make you feel like a real New Yorker, finding low prices is not easy but the charm of the area is definitely unique. To find accommodation, I recommend that you take a look at this page.

    In case you decide to fall back on other areas of the city, take a look at our recommendations on neighborhoods to sleep in New York.

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