"L A's fine, but it ain't home,
New York's home, but it ain't mine no more."
Lyrics from 'I Am, I Said', sung by Neil Diamond
The top photo is a storefront that was a record store, Bob's. I first went there in 1968 and did so until last July, when it shut it's doors for good. A frozen yogurt establishment was suppose to be there, but the site is still vacant. The middle photo was Papaya King, long a neighborhood staple. My wife and I found the place closed a couple of months ago. The bottom picture was formerly a Barnes and Noble.
These three establishments were a part of my youth in the late nineteen sixties. Greenwich Village was once an avant-garde neighborhood where artists, musicians, poets, and actors lived and honed their craft. Performers like Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, Lenny Bruce, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac made The Village their stomping ground.
Today, gentrification has absorbed many establishments. Profits are more important than creativity and community. I find many places artificial, somewhat elitist, and lacking any sense of diversity. It's more 'Look at me, check me out' rather than enjoying the music or poetry or acting. I have nothing against a neighborhood improving itself, but at the expense of losing its soul?
It makes me sad because the new denizens really lack knowledge of what Greenwich Village was about. I'm an old relic from a bygone era. A neighborhood without is like an empty tomb; there's nothing there but old dry bones.