Imagine a time when a store where everything was free could afford rent in the East Village. When mom and pops were more prevalent than chains. When a new counterculture scene was drawing enough attention that the AP sent photographers and videographers to the area to document the "hippies." (This was in 1967, likely around the time of "the Groovy Murders.")

That was the landscape, in part, of the East Village in the late 1960s. By the end of the decade, the New York Times reported on the changes in the area.

"On the corner of St. Marks Place and Second Avenue, the old Ukrainian women in black dresses contrast sharply with the long-haired hippies in dungarees and fur jackets. The contrast marks the changes that have come again to the area, which in the 1950s was probably the largest Ukrainian community in the United States. The Ukrainian flavor is still there, however, although Ukrainians who have been able to afford it have left to buy their own houses in Queens, Brooklyn, or Yonkers."

The paper went on to note the departing Ukrainian population "have been replaced by the hippies," as well as Puerto Ricans and Black New Yorkers, who were all attracted to the area "by the low rents — as low as $40 a month."

By the late '60s, The Diggers' Free Store was giving it all away from their ground-floor shop at 264 East 10th Street. The Dom (Andy Warhol's club) had a new upstairs neighbor, The Electric Circus nightclub. The East Village Other newspaper was operating out of a storefront next to the Fillmore East. And Louis Abolafia set up his campaign headquarters (he was running for president on the "Love Ticket") in the area, as well.

That's just some of what you'll see in the below portal to the past, nearly 9-minutes of B-roll footage from the AP taken in the neighborhood at a time when hippies had taken over the streets. Watch, as their videographer tries to find anyone with a flared pant, a bare foot, or hair longer than those squares up on Madison Avenue.

[h/t EV Grieve]