In a move best described as "reverse gentrification" late 19th century immigrants arrived from Ireland, Germany, Poland and the Ukraine and deposed the Astors and Vanderbilts who had originally settled in the East Village. They left behind their mansions. Today the surviving structures house parts of New York University as well as Cooper Union and the Public Theatre.
The area today (East 14th Street to the north, Avenue A to the east, Houston Street to the south and West Broadway) still attracts the adventuresome young with experimental music and off-Broadway theatrical venues, restaurants and avant garde fashion boutiques.
Ethnic food abounds: It is said that there are more Indian restaurants in this section of the City than in any other. The East Village contains the most diverse assortment of ethnic restaurants in all Manhattan. While some are priced to attract the Astors, head over to the "Alphabet Streets" (Avenues A-D) for cutting edge places to eat, drink and shop at more affordable prices.
As mentioned above, three major attractions in the Village are New York University with a wide array of matriculate as well as non-credit classes and areas of study. The University also doubles as a community center with live concerts, theatre and other venues year-round.
Founded in the mid-19th Century, Cooper Union remains the preeminent design school in New York City. Its galleries host student art shows as well as the works of prominent, internationally known designers.
The recently renovated Public Theatre is housed in what had once been the Astor Library.
It rose to prominence under the direction of the late Joseph Papp in the 1970s and today is still known for its selection of forward, provocative new American plays by the Country's outstanding playwrights such as David Mamet and Sam Shepard.
While no seasonal events are native to this district, every day brings the promise of interesting sights, sounds and passersby. During the Holiday Season, the area's boutiques are a mecca for those seeking unusual, one-of-a-kind gifts of clothing, jewelry, leather goods, textiles and home furnishings.