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All the World’s a Village on Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday

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Provincetown Playhouse at 133 MacDougal Street (right) in 1992. Source: Museum of the City of New York.

Today marks William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, although some sources say his exact date of birth is unknown. He never set foot in the Village – he lived before it was developed by European settlers – but Shakespeare would likely be pleased with the neighborhood’s vibrant literary history. How many other places can celebrate such a wealth of theaters, poets, playwrights, novelists, and the like?

In honor of Shakespeare’s 450 years, we thought we’d share past Off the Grid posts that highlight just some of the literary figures who have called the Village home. Click on the link below each image to learn more about the person’s connections to the Village.


W. H. Auden

(W.H. Auden by Richard Avedon, bromide print, 1960. In the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.)


James Baldwin

(The New York Times)


Allen Ginsberg

(Allen Ginsberg on the roof of his apartment between Avenues B & C in the Fall of 1953. Source: National Gallery of Art)

Dawn-PowellDawn Powell

(photo via cleveland.com)


Jack Kerouac

(Jack Kerouac in the East Village taken by Allen Ginsberg)


Gore Vidal

(photo via The Independent)


Edna St. Vincent Millay

(Photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1933. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA)


Dylan Thomas

(Welsh poet Dylan Thomas at Gotham Book Shop, New York. Via www.allposters.co.uk)


E.E. Cummings

(photo via theawl.com)

Be sure to also check out past posts on the great theaters in our neighborhoods, including the Provincetown Playhouse (image at the top of the post; sadly now all but demolished by NYU), the Cherry Lane Theater, the Sullivan Street Playhouse (which was converted to a condo and given a glass facade), and the Public Theater.

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