The 60s and 70s were filled with notebooks, guitars, cheap eats and a musical culture unlike any other. As a beat generation haven, and as gritty yet picturesque as can be, it's no surprise that the rise of the folk an rock genres happened in Greenwich Village...and made the neighborhood famous around the world.
The BLOCKS NYC Folk & Rock Music Walking Tour took place last Saturday, October 15th, and it was a whirlwind of stories and memories from the most iconic era in Greenwich Village history.
We began in Washington Square Park, gathering just as the guitarists and singers did to share their ideas and music with one another at the height of the Folk movement. Though it looked rougher and tougher back then, the park itself seemed to hum throughout the day as ballad and blues singers collaborated, creating sounds that would influence musicians for decades to come. To this day the park is filled with eclectic sounds and voices, keeping the legacy of music and love very much alive.
We made our way down West 3rd Street and went down McDougal, passing by legendary Cafe Wha? which is still open after all this time. Cash-strapped musicians like Bob Dylan would take turns on the open mic, and these musicians kept on performing long after rock n' roll took over folk as the neighborhood's main genre. We didn't forget about Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Havens, Little Richard, and the Velvet Underground who also played here over the years!
McDougal was also home to the Gaslight Cafe, a coffeeshop in a basement space turned one of the beatnik generation's most influential venues. Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac debuted legendary poems at 116 McDougal, and of course Bruce Springsteen got his start in the Gaslight and other small Greenwich Village gems. Though it closed in 1971, the bustling narrow street still gives off the feeling that history was made in neigbhorhood spaces like this, no matter how small.
One of the greatest parts of the BLOCKS NYC coloring book is its section filled with iconic album cover photos taken across the Village. We all know the image of Suze lovingly clutching Bob Dylan's shoulder while on a winter stroll down Jones Street, also known as the cover of his album The Freewheelin'. The street still has its original charm, and we were lucky enough to stroll down it ourselves while knowing the stories behind it all.
All of these incredible historic moments have been captured by the BLOCKS coloring book, stories, facts, and blank pages to create your own are included! Delving deep into the neighborhood and its triumphs, failures, and everything in between gives even more meaning to the gorgeous spaces we see everyday. Get your Greenwich Village coloring book for just $20 by clickinghere!