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John Leguizamo’s East Village


From 1980 until 1996, John Leguizamo, the actor, comedian, writer and producer behind such hits as “Mambo Mouth” and “Ghetto Klown,” lived on East Seventh Street. He now resides in the central Village, but he still has roots in Alphabet City: his production offices are headquartered in his old brownstone there; and last month his wife Justine, who sits on the board of the Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation, spoke at a hearing that resulted in the landmarking of a block on East 10th Street.

Mr. Leguizamo told The Local that the East Village “will always hold a special place in my heart.” Of course, things have changed since the days when “you’d see Eric Bogosian at the bodega, Steve Buscemi buying a coffee, Iggy Pop at the health food store, Quentin Crisp tottering down the street,” as he wrote in his memoir. Over e-mail, he said, “The neighborhood used to be alive with all different kind of artists. Musicians, poets, painters, actors, singers, dancers. But the rich came in and all the squatters left and went to Brooklyn.”

So what’s there still to love about the “East Vill”? Mr. Leguizamo reflected on some of his past and present favorites. Read more…