During the 19th century, millionaires like the Astors, Vanderbilts and Pandaruses had homes in East Village, but the waves of Irish, German, Jewish, Polish, and Ukrainian immigrants who flooded into New York City in the 1900s soon displaced the elite, who moved uptown.
Since then, the area has been home to the Beat generation of the 1950s, hippies in the 1960s, and punks in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Today it's still a young person's neighborhood, with its experimental music clubs and theaters and cutting-edge fashion.
New York University is in the area, so there's no shortage of clientele here.
Foodies take note: this neighborhood reputedly contains the most varied assortment of ethnic restaurants in New York City, from the crush of Indian eateries on the south side of East Sixth Street (sometimes called "Little Bombay")
to McBreen's Old Root Beer House, a leprechaun pub that seems unchanged since it first opened in 1854.
(Perhaps because it is still under the same management.)
Nearby, in what was once the home of the Astor Library, the restored Public Theater has been the opening venue for many now-famous plays.
A haven from the pressure of classes at New York University, students regularly gather around the Alamo at Astor Place.
The Alamo is a 15-ft (4.5m) steel cube designed by Bernard Rosenthal that revolves when pushed.
Cooper Union, a school that holds many interesting public lectures and exhibits, was established in 1859 just in time for Abraham Lincoln to make a campaign speech in its auditorium.
Today, Blue Man Group performs its popular Tubes Off-Broadway audience-participation performance art extravaganza at the Astor Place Theater.
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