Wednesday, July 30, 2008

East Village 1988: "A Neighborhood of Vigorous Opinions"

[Photo by dmax3270 via Flickr]

Gertrude Briggs, 77, has been selling used art, dance, and literary books at her store, Books 'n' Things, for 41 years, most recently from a stuffy little shop on East Seventh street that has books stacked to the ceiling or in boxes.
''Most of the creative people have been displaced,'' she said, as she closed a sale with a customer from the Bronx. ''Of course it still attracts a lot of freaks, because it's still a place you can be free. For a lot kids, coming here is a way to get away from the choking atmosphere of suburbia.''
''It's almost like geographical determinism -- he gravitates here because he has no choice,'' offered the customer, who identified himself only as Carlos. ''That's what attracted me in the first place when I was going through my Marxist phase. The flyers, the posters, the cracking peeling walls -- it's a glimpse of Old Amsterdam, of Old New York.''

(From an Aug. 13, 1988, New York Times article titled The Talk of the East Village; A Neighborhood of Vigorous Opinions)

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