The East Village is a neighborhood in Manhattan that lies east of Greenwich Village, south of Gramercy and Stuyvesant Town, and north of the Lower East Side. It has traditionally been an immigrant, working class neighborhood, but has undergone rapid gentrification in recent years, prompting The National Trust for Historic Preservation to place the neighborhood on their list of America’s Most Endangered Places. It has a strong Jewish culture, a vibrant art culture, and an exciting nightlife scene, making it a must-see Manhattan neighborhood.
July Taymor’s film, Across the Universe, featured the East Village quite prominently as the New York home of Max (Joe Anderson) and Jude (Jim Sturgess). The neighborhood enjoyed a brief “Technicolor” makeover as the film transported the East Village to the Swinging 60’s and era of free love for the Beatles-themed movie.
Alphabet City is a neighborhood located within the East Village, earning its name from Avenues A, B, C, and D (the only avenues in Manhattan to have single-letter names). The neighborhood is also known as “Loisaida,” a Spanglish adaptation of “Lower East Side.” Recently, it has been home to an eclectic mix of Puerto Rican and African American families living alongside struggling artists and musicians, but gentrification in the 1990’s has taken away some of the neighborhood’s bohemian feel. Some famous landmarks include Tompkins Square Park, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and the Stuyvesant Town private residential community.
The film version of the Tony-award winning musical, Rent, featured Alphabet City prominently, although many scenes were filmed in San Francisco. The film starred Rosario Dawson, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, and Tracie Thoms.
In Marvel Comics, Alphabet City is home to District X (also known as Mutant Town), a ghetto primarily populated by mutants.
The fictional 15th Precinct in the police drama NYPD Blue covers Alphabet City. Law and Order: SVU makes frequent references to the danger of living in the neighborhood. Much of the independent film Supersize Me takes place in Alphabet City, near the home of director and star Morgan Spurlock. Flawless, featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robert De Niro, takes place in the neighborhood, as does 200 Cigarettes and Taxi Driver.
Tompkins Square Park
Tompkins Square Park is a 10.5 acre public park in the Alphabet City section of the East Village neighborhood. It is square in shape and is bounded on the north by East 10th Street, on the east by Avenue B, on the south by East 7th Street, and on the west by Avenue A. St. Marks Place abuts the park to the west.
This park hosts numerous events and festivals including the Howl Festival, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, and the New Village Music Festival dedicated to celebrating New York’s diverse music scene.
A scene from Martin Glenn’s film Sometimes It’s Fun to Be Left in the Dark was shot in Tompkins Square Park during the blackout!
Grab a bite at Katz’s Deli, located at 205 E. Houston in East Village. This traditional Jewish deli, popular among both locals and tourists for its pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs, is known for its appearance in numerous films and movies.
The deli has appeared in several Law & Order episodes, and was featured at the meet-up location for Pistone and his FBI control inDonnie Brasco (starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino). The diner is also recognizable from Across the Universe and Enchanted, when the squirrel Pip fails at making Prince Edward understand his game of charades.
Of course, Katz’s is most recognizable from the famous scene where Meg Ryan faked an orgasm for Billy Crystal in the popular When Harry Met Sally. The deli has played along and marked a sign on the table where Meg and Billy sat that says: “Where Harry met Sally…hope you have what she had!”
Explore the East Village for a great sightseeing experience and the chance to visit Katz’s Deli and have your own When Harry Met Sally moment or hop on the When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour to check out other famous locations from this iconic film.
* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.