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Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein. New galleries open up almost every day, and if you come on Saturday you’ll rub shoulders with New York’s intelligentsia. SoHo, which until recently was quite authentic, is now becoming too well known and overrun, just like the Village which in no way detracts from its charm. But young artists are already “thinking of moving out as the rents move up.

The East Village ist situated east of Washington Square. Purists claim it is the real Village, but in fact it is a rundown. somewhat depressing neighbourhood that still has enough interesting sights to merit a brief visit. On Lafayette Street level with Astor Place you can see what remains of a group of marble-pillared Greek Revival houses known as Colonnade Row. In the mid-19th century, this was the smartest address in town. The building opposite, which once housed the first public library, is now the headquarters of Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, a group of avant-garde theatres. The shows presented in the auditoriums here are always ofcvery high quality. Quite often a play will be tried out at the Public Theatre before moving on to Broadway.

Astor Place leads onto the Bowery, a street laid out by Peter Stuyvesant in the 17th century to his farm (bouwerij in Dutch). Last century this was New York’s grand boulevard lined with dance halls and beer taverns. These days it’s mostly given over to sordid hotels and drunks in the last stages of alcoholism. But there are some good rock and jazz spots and theatres have moved in. You needn’t be afraid to go there in the evening: the Bowery is much less dangerous than it looks.

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