The hippie spirit of the 1960s and 1970s marked a shift in social norms that changed the way we view and interact with the world. Whether it was a more open-minded attitude towards art, music and fashion or a more accepting view of diversity, the hippie movement made its mark on society.
50 years later, these changes can still be seen in our culture today; but what about in one of America’s most iconic cities? Can we use the hippie spirit to create an even better New York City?
by David Stone
Exploring New York Through Fresh Eyes
One of the hippies’ greatest gifts to society is their ability to look at things with fresh eyes. They brought a new perspective to everything they encountered, which allowed them to see beauty and value in things that had previously been overlooked or disregarded.
In New York City, this means examining all the city has to offer—from its unique cuisine and fascinating culture to its incredible history—from new angles. By doing so, we can discover hidden gems that have yet to be discovered by tourists or locals alike.
Some examples of eclectic experiences in New York City today are the small, independent art galleries scattered around the city. Most are collected in Chelsea along with larger galleries that are also worth a visit.
These are great places to find unique and inspiring works of art that you won’t see anywhere else. These are electric relative to the stagnation of the large museum displays.
There are also food tours that explore hidden hole-in-the-wall eateries serving up some of the best dishes in town. And for a more spiritual experience, there are meditation classes, yoga retreats and holistic healing centers to explore.
All of these bloomed and many began with the infusion of hippie spirit.
The Beauty of Acceptance in the Hippie Spirit
One of the key traits of hippies is their acceptance of others—regardless of race, gender, class or religion. This attitude shows off its potential in New York City. Acceptance creates a more welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in the city. The energy unleashed flows more freely.
Hoping to pitch in? You can start by celebrating diversity in all forms. Hosting festivals celebrating various cultural groups or simply supporting businesses owned by members of minority communities.
It’s also important to look out for those who are marginalized and advocate for their rights.
The Art of Radical Self-Expression
Another key aspect of the hippie movement was its emphasis on radical self-expression. The idea was that everyone should have the freedom to express themselves freely and without fear or judgment.
In New York City, this manifests in public art installations, open mic nights at local bars or just people dressing how they want. Sometimes, city streets become freedom festivals by default.
By exploring the different aspects of this unique and vibrant city, you rekindle some of the hippie spirits that once helped define it.
The hippies were also known for their open-minded attitude towards diversity. Despite being from different backgrounds and walks of life, they accepted each other for who they were.
This same spirit in New York City celebrates all its various cultures and ethnicities.
Examples of diverse NYC cultures and ethnicities include:
- Latin American culture – with its vibrant music and flavors of food, its colorful festivals like the Puerto Rican Day Parade, or the famous Afro-Brazilian Carnival held in Harlem each summer.
- Chinese culture – from Chinatown to Flushing and Sunset Park, exploring traditional dim sum restaurants or taking part in a tai chi class.
- Indian culture – from Kabab Houses and Bollywood performances to visiting a Hindu temple or attending an authentic Holi celebration.
- African-American culture – with its immense contributions to music, food, fashion and art, it’s one of the most important aspects of NYC’s cultural heritage.
There are countless ways to do this—from attending cultural festivals to sampling international cuisine—and doing so brings together one big community, reversing divisions.
Encouraging Creative Expression
A hallmark of the hippie movement was their passion for creative expression through art, music, fashion and other forms of self-expression. This idea thrives in NYC, inspiring people to express themselves freely through whatever medium they choose without fear of judgment or ridicule.
Conclusion: The Hippie Spirit in New York City Today
Exploring new ways of thinking and embracing diversity are paths along which we can rekindle the spirit of the hippie movement in New York City today.
By looking at our city through fresh eyes, celebrating all its cultures and ethnicities and encouraging creative expression, we make it an even better place for realizing a better world in the hippie spirit.
So let’s get out there and start embracing change. It starts with you.