East Village, New York City
Concierge.com's insider take:
From Houston Street up to 14th Street, and east from Broadway to Avenue C, the East Village has been home to 19th-century millionaires, waves of immigrants, and more recently, decades of counterculture. The Beat Generation arrived in the '50s, hippies in the '60s, punks in the '70s, and Madonna in the '80s. Today, gentrification has made it safe for the rest of us. The seedy drug dens of Alphabet City (Avenues A, B, and C) now house upscale restaurants and of-the-moment bars; Tompkins Square Park, where squatters incited by the police rioted in 1998, is now filled with strollers and dog-walkers; and an array of shopping choices means you can procure anything from New Age decoupage to a bustier designed by Chloë Sevigny or a garden gnome from the estate of Squire Van Tuyl, thanks to quirky auction house Everything Must Go (www.139norfolk.com). But don't worry, there are still plenty of places in the neighborhood to get a tattooor a haircut that will drive your parents nuts.