Religions and Spirituality

Elizabeth Residents Living Differently: Modern Day Hippies

Shain Vitukhnovsky spinning poi. Credits: Shain Vitukhnovsky

ELIZABETH, NJ - Elizabeth is a hot pot brewing with diversity. Although the multicultural population may be evident, there is also diversity among the lifestyles of residents. There are those who choose to live in accordance with the mainstream as well as those who choose not.

Sitting in a Cherry Street studio apartment with Trap music playing in the background, former roommates Shain Vitukhnovsky and Joe Exarchakis are two young residents who choose to stand with the counterculture and identify as modern-day hippies.  

“I’d say modern-day hippies are a counterculture just not flowing to the normal flow of society or conforming to it,” said Exarchakis. “The rebels of today’s society like the old ones were in the sixties.”

Sign Up for E-News

These Elizabeth modern-day hippies may be similar to their predecessors in the aspects that they consider themselves rebels but  in comparison to the characteristics of the hippies of yesteryear such as activism, communal living and even questionable personal hygiene, they greatly differ.

“It’s not like no one showers and smells, the world has modernized,” said Vituknovsky.

His former roommate described the government as a lost cause that they’d rather stay away from then try to change via protest.

Where the hippies of the sixties often drew enlightenment from the East via Buddhism, these modern-day urban hippies turned toward sacred geometry and spinning poi like the Maori people of New Zealand to deepen spirituality.

One aspect that does connect the hippies from the sixties to their modern-day counterparts is their appreciation of and enthusiasm towards music. Both men boasted about going to see well over 20 live concerts a year. Phish being one of their favorite bands. Exarchakis, a musician himself, worked on his music full-time while Vituknovsky maintained a regular nine-to-five.

“Music is the most important thing,” said Vituknovsky. “It moves people not just physically but also emotionally and mentally. Nothing else can do that.”

Are you an Elizabeth resident or native that lives an alternative lifestyle? We’d like to hear about it! Contact:


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21, 6:00 PM

Vauxhall Library, Vauxhall

Club Teen: Painting Class

Arts & Entertainment Education

Wed, February 21, 7:00 PM

Congregation Beth Israel, Scotch Plains

Course on Biblical Interpretation Taught by ...

Education Religions And Spirituality

Union County Freeholders Partner in Two Upcoming Hiring Events

February 17, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders have announced two hiring event opportunities coming up with Griswold Home Care of Union County and the United Airlines “Summer Assist” youth program.

The first event is with Griswold Home Care of Union County. They are a privately owned, non-medical home care company and are looking for Certified Home Health Aides ...

“Hidden in Plain Sight” - A Presentation Centered Around a Teen’s Bedroom 

ROSELLE, NJ - Elizabeth Parents, grandparents, caregivers, when it comes to your children and drugs, do you know where to look? Do you know what you are looking for? You may be surprised at what is "Hidden in Plain Sight."

The Roselle Everett Hatcher Prevention Coalition and Prevention Links invite all parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and other adults from the city of ...

Summit resident Nancy King will be honored with a Lifetime Service Award from Elizabeth Organization

ELIZABETH, NJ - Summit resident Nancy King will be honored with a Lifetime Service Award as Family and Children’s Services of Elizabeth, celebrates its 125th anniversary, hosting the organization's sixth annual Red Carpet Party March 1, at Canoe Brook Country Club.

King is the founder and benefactor of "Nancy’s Place," a Covenant House ...

At Westfield High School, Student Says ‘It’s Almost Normal to Juul Here’

February 16, 2018

Editor’s note: This story about the rise in teen e-cigarette use, written by Westfield High School student Greta Frontero, originally ran in the Jan. 8 edition of WHS student newspaper Hi’s Eye.

WESTFIELD, NJ — A 12th-grade Westfield High School female said she doesn’t bring her Juul to school, but will use someone else’s if the opportunity ...

Another Holiday, Another Encounter with Marine Life along Jersey Shore

February 19, 2018

SPRING LAKE, NJ — In neighboring Spring Lake, a baby seal made its way onto the beach near the north end pavilion early this afternoon.

Photographer Nancy Orlowski discovered the harbor seal pup near the jetty situated just south of the pavilion on Ocean Avenue at Ludlow Avenue.

The seal’s Presidents Day appearance on February 19 comes one day after a whale was spotted off the ...

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

February 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Mintz & Geftic Secures Class Certification for Drivers in Wage and Hour Case

February 16, 2018

Is your employer failing to pay you time and a half for working more than 40 hours/week?

Is your employer misclassifying you as an independent contractor rather than an employee to avoid paying overtime premium pay?

These are some of the allegations being made by the plaintiffs and their attorney Bryan Mintz, of Mintz & Geftic LLC, against Big City Automotive and its ...