The Village began attracting artists in the late 1800s. Many were drawn to the neighborhood because of its central location and relatively inexpensive housing. By the early 1900s, actors, playwrights, writers and artists frequented the area in ever-growing numbers.
One of the first gathering places was the Hotel Albert; famous guests and resident artists included Salvador Dali
, Phillip Guston
, Anais Nin, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Thomas Wolfe.
During the 1920s and 30s, performance artists dominated the Village's art scene. The Cherry Lane Theater
, established in 1924 and still in operation today, was founded by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Several other influential theaters sprang into life at the Cherry Lane.
At the same time, the Greenwich Village Follies were at the height of popularity. Performers such as Harold Clurman
, Martha Graham
and Cole Porter
got their starts here.
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney
founded the Whitney Studio Club as a venue for young artists to display their work. Over the years, it grew into the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, featuring extensive collections of American artworks.
The neighborhood became a center for left-wing culture, artists and the bohemian lifestyle through the following decades. Writers such as James Baldwin
, Dashiell Hammet and William Faulkner
lived in the Village during this time.
In the 1960s, abstract visual artists Jackson Pollock
, Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell called Greenwich Village home. The New York School of Poets frequented the neighborhood around the same time, as did dancers Murray Louis and Merce Cunningham, artist Andy Warhol and musician Lou Reed.