Robert Heide met playwright Edward Albee at Lenny’s Hideaway, and the two eventually became close. “Edward and I would take long walks,” he said. “We would say nothing. Later he told me that there were characters running around in his head that he was thinking about. We would drink at Lenny’s Hideaway ’til four in the morning, then maybe we’d go back to his place, like in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Wandering around downtown late at night, the couple sometimes stopped by Bigelow Drugs on Sixth Avenue, between West Eighth and Ninth Streets, to have a black-and-white ice cream soda with seltzer. The streets were much quieter in Greenwich Village, compared to the bustle of today, and it felt as though everyone knew each other. “You would run into people that you knew,” Heide recalled. “I’d run into Sam Shepard at a coffee shop. You could have a hamburger and apple pie and coffee for ninety-five cents. You have to remember, everybody’s rent was low, like that song ‘Bleecker Street,’ by Simon and Garfunkel, that goes, ‘Thirty dollars pays your rent on Bleecker Street.’ Ha! Thirty dollars!” Even though they lived in a big city, it felt like a small town. This self-contained metropolis even had its own directory, Greenwich Village Blue Book, which was published from 1961 to 1968 and contained listings for stores, doctors, churches, theaters, and other establishments in the area.
From Chapter 1 of The Downtown PopUnderground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore