To understand Greenwich Village today, it is important to know something about its history of counter culturists who initially chose to live there. Today, this square mile of real estate in Manhattan is still a magnet for activists, writers, artists, musicians and academics. It has been the Bohemian culture of alternative lifestyle anti-establishmentarians for the past 200 years.
The culture and lifestyle of a “Bohemian” helps an important movement become the catalyst for historical change. A cycle of events is peculiar to every movement and it occurs in three steps:
* Disapproval from members of mainstream culture
* Movement becomes chic and members of mainstream join voluntarily
* Acceptance as part of historic change of mainstream culture
Bohemian identity begins with participation in daily repetitious events, which emerge as common belief within a counter culture group. This activity moves from one generation to another. Tendency toward group rebellion (that we recognize today as Bohemian culture) traces its roots to 19th century Paris and London.
Greenwich Village Bohemians
London Bohemians and their Parisian counterparts had only two differences. London Bohemian society did not allow women and Grub Street hack writers were the literary force behind Bohemian culture. Hack writers had a source of income writing journalistic news and were able to enjoy freedom from Victorian societal rules.
Then came the decade of the 1950s and a population of writers, artists, musicians and philosophers alive and well in Greenwich Village. The Beat Movement led to the vocal 1960s and radical changes in America. Greenwich Village, a natural site for America Bohemia, had the right gathering places catering to Bohemian lifestyle and culture.
Greenwich Village Impact on Bohemian Culture
Bohemia is a state of mind for the rebellious counter-culture eventually ushering in cultural changes influencing mainstream lifestyles. Bohemia became Beat generation and, eventually, the culture of Hippie Rebellion and the Flower Children. Through it all, the Greenwich Village impact on Bohemian culture was its willingness to welcome the next generation of idle anti-establishmentarians.