Greenwich Village is not the same Village from when we started. Certainly not a new dilemma, and change is not new to the city. But, perhaps because we are biased, we feel the changes much more deeply now.
When we began in 1998, the village was edgy. It was still possible to find affordable apartments. It was in transition, but it was still a vibrant community that was in touch with it’s roots: art, sub culture, music, creativity, writing, theatre.
There are still hints, but it’s tucked away as the Village rapidly evolved into a high end, homes of the Hollywood East Coast, corporate elite, reality stars….
Classic case in point, it went from being the neighborhood you moved to Because of Chumley’s, and now it’s the neighborhood that aggressively fought the re-opening of Chumley’s.
From 2000-2001 we watched as every week another mom and pop, local store on Bleecker Street was closed down, sat empty for awhile, and re-opened as a high end boutique. We watched as restaurants closed down and remained empty for years- all due to the tax benefit gained by staying empty and demanding higher rents, rather then renting at potential market value.
As one Village resident wrote: The Times They are A’Changing.
And yet through it all the Village maintains its magic. Much of this is due to the re-zoning as an historic neighborhood, and the constant vigil of groups like the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. It’s kept it’s magic via the few bars, restaurants and clubs that almost stubbornly persist- generally by being fortune enough to own the buildings they reside in rather than pay rent.
And we’d like to think it’s kept alive by the work we do. We’re not just churning out legends and story highlights that populate all too numerous neighborhood guide books. We’re constantly digging deeper. But more importantly; We want you to be inspired. Inspired to read, inspired by their innovation and spirit, we want you to feel that spirit and energy. We want you to hear the words alive. We want you to read the books, listen to the albums, support the artists. We want one of you to revolutionize literature as we know it.
We want to spend a little time together as we all share the spirit, energy and artistic magic that shaped so much of the neighborhood, city and nation.
And thus, we stubbornly persist as well. And we hope you’ll come see why, or come see why again. #getlitwithus