Bohemian Greenwich Village

A Historical Mapping Project

Lisa Hirschfield
Geospatial Humanities, May 2019

As a “scene” in all senses of the word,  Greenwich Village has, for nearly two centuries, been a source of excitement and an object of derision, a generator of cultural myths and stereotypes, a home for artists and exiles, and a center of economic and cultural change. From the late 19th through mid-20th centuries, the cultural activity in the Village took place within a diverse social network that was anchored by homes, offices, studios, restaurants, and other commercial establishments. Although much of the Village has changed, some of those locations are still recognizable. Geospatial visualization is an ideal format for exploring this history of place, because (borrowing terms from linguistics) it can allow for both a diachronic view of how a place changes over time, and a synchronic view—-an interpretation of how it was at any given time. This map is an evolving visualization of the places, people, and events that shaped the mythology of an iconic neighborhood, one which has been undergoing geographical and cultural redefinition for centuries.