villageCapturing the Past

5stars

 

 

By John Strausbaugh
ECCO, 624 pages, $29.99

“’When the geist moves, it never comes back to its old neighborhood’”

For many of the nearly 50 million travelers who flock to New York City every year, Greenwich Village is little more than a stop on the bus tour circuit. The (relatively) quiet and narrow streets, with an ever- changing array of commercial and cultural attractions, have brought visitors to the small area west of Broadway and below 14th Street for centuries. And while some tourists are drawn to the Village for the latest fashionable club, bistro, or boutique, others come to experience a little piece of its reputedly wild Bohemian past. Originally a rural outpost of Dutch New Amsterdam, the approximately 50 block area has also been the epicenter for transformational political and culture events in American history, ranging from the Triangle Shirtwaist fire to the outpourings of the Beat Generation to the Stonewall Uprising.  Although New York writer and editor, Strausbaugh believes the Village’s golden age is long past, he is still able to affectionately trace the rise and fall of a unique, fascinating and now very costly piece of Manhattan real estate. This is a substantial but thoroughly enjoyable account of the many different facets of an iconic locale.

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen

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