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Tompkins Square Park

Tompkins Square is the anarchic capital of a crumbling empire--the radical, often drug-fueled Bohemian East Village paradise of the 1960s, 70s and 80s--and has seen more than its share of civil -- and not-so-civil -- disobedience. Originally designed as a farmer's market, with a canal extension to serve Long Island farmers arriving at the East River, the sixteen-acre plot was the site of America's first labor demonstration in 1874, when a union of carpenters (including labor pioneer Samuel Gompers,...

Tompkins Square is the anarchic capital of a crumbling empire--the radical, often drug-fueled Bohemian East Village paradise of the 1960s, 70s and 80s--and has seen more than its share of civil -- and not-so-civil -- disobedience. Originally designed as a farmer's market, with a canal extension to serve Long Island farmers arriving at the East River, the sixteen-acre plot was the site of America's first labor demonstration in 1874, when a union of carpenters (including labor pioneer Samuel Gompers, later president of the American Federation of Labor) battled with local police. In the early twentieth century, the park was a municipal hub outfitted by the city with services designed to Americanize the immigrants who were then flooding the Lower East Side. (What has become the East Village was traditionally grouped with its southerly sister-neighborhood for their longstanding similarity in immigrant population, housing stock, and street-centered lifestyle; the neighborhoods were effectively divided by real estate interests in the 1950s and 1960s). The Sixties brought a new identity to the park. Radicals held "love-ins," impromptu rock concerts at the park's southern band-shell, and improvised au courant lectures on leftist politics. In the Seventies, the park fostered the birth and growth of the punk scene and served as the de facto headquarters of New York's anarchist movement--two radically disenchanted cultures that drew on the cynicism of the failed optimism of the Sixties.

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Tompkins Square
New York City, NY 10009
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Stories in the spotlight: Tompkins Square Park

I think Tompkins Square Park reflects a little bit of everything. This time it included a war rally,...

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Escape to TSK
By Tim
December 5, 2009
Travelgoaters at Tompkins Square Park
Have you been here? Share a tip, special thing to do, photo, or fun fact.
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July 12, 2012

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Zach Aarons
October 21, 2009
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