Bob Dylan has loads of fans all through the world, and many come to New York City each year trying to find the stomping grounds of the legendary musician. Bob Dylan got his professional start in music while living in Greenwich Village, NYC during the early 1960’s. Many of the places that Bob Dylan had set foot upon are still available for visitation. Except for the apartment of Bob Dylan and New York girlfriend Suze Rotolo which has now been converted into a sex shop. Read on and discover the places that Bob Dylan once called home. If you have any other places you feel should’ve made the list, or any stories about one of the places listed, please comment them below!
The Hotel Chelsea
The Hotel Chelsea was a breeding ground for artists and musicians back in the day. Among the greats that have stayed here are Patti Smith, Sid Vicious (notoriously), William Burroughs and of course Bob Dylan. Bob is said to have written the famed song “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands” here. The song is about his then wife Sara. Bob later mentions this in his song “Sara” within the lyric “staying up all night in the Chelsea Hotel writing Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands for you.” The hotel still can be visited although last year it was reported the hotel would be under new management and would be closing for a year due to repairs.
The Cafe Wha? is a must for any Dylan fan and music fan in general. This is one of the many cafes Dylan is said to have played as he was starting out in NYC. This cafe is still running and is still accepting new acts, permitting the musician is at least 21 years of age. The Cafe Wha? is located at MacDougal Street and Minetta Lane in NYC. It is rumored that visitors can also purchase some Dylan merchandise and see a few photos of him on the walls. Either way, it’s still worth a visit.
Jones Street is home of the iconic album cover to Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. In the album cover Bob and then girlfriend Suze Rotolo are walking down the street on a winter day. Although the times certainly have changed this street is still pretty similar to how it was when the photo was taken. As seen in the photo the buildings still look relatively similar, the main changes are the fashion of the people and the cars. This location is a great spot for some Dylan inspired photos!
The Gaslight Cafe
The Gaslight is perhaps the most famous of Dylan spots in New York City. This is the cafe where Dylan basically became famous. Dylan along with other performers like Tiny Tim held the audiences for many nights during the early 1960’s. This cafe was known for it’s strange acts, poetry and music and would become a legendary spot in later years because of it’s musical history and connection to many popular performers. The Gaslight is however closed, and a new bar called The Wreck Room is now in it’s place. It’s worth a visit because the new bar is still in the same location that the Gaslight used. Dylan fans can use their imagination while visiting this one. The bar is located at 114 MacDougal Street between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets.
Izzy Young’s Folklore Center
This space is iconic due to the effect it had upon Dylan’s career. Dylan became friends and was sort of mentored by Izzy Young who ran the Folklore Center. Bob used this location to expand his knowledge on many things and also promote his music. Izzy is now auctioning off some never before seen lyrics of Dylan’s that were given to him during his time at the center. The Folklore Center was essential to the development of the Bob Dylan we all know now and is mentioned in his book “Chronicles Vol. 1.” The Folklore Center is now sadly a falafel restaurant. However, it may still be neat to visit just to get a feel of the building itself. This location may also need some imagination on the Dylan fan’s part. It is located at MacDougal Street and Minetta Lane.
94 MacDougal Street
This is perhaps one of the more notorious spots on the tour because it is attached to a story that nearly every Dylan fan knows. This used to be where Dylan and his family had lived. It is also rumored to be the site of the fight between Dylan and A.J Weberman after Dylan caught A.J looking through his family’s garbage cans after requests that he stop made by Dylan. As usual, there are two sides to every story. A.J most certainly can tell it much better and Dylan fans will also have a different version. Either way, this is the place where it all happened. After living here Dylan and his family set their sight on California. Dylan and family also lived in Woodstock NY around the same time. This house has obvious reasons for a visit, although you may not be able to see the inside you may be able to snap your own “garbology” photo and have a good laugh.