By Stacey Cervellino
The east village is where I used to go in my 20′s for cheap everything. Cheap eats: Dojo or Maryann’s, cheap clothing: 8th Street Vintage stores, and cheap drinks: 7B or the Holiday Cocktail Lounge. Tompkins Square Park is still full skaters and homeless folks, and you might find a few authentic punk rockers on St. Mark’s Place, but now that the giant cube on Astor Place has been removed, even the skaters and Goths are scarce.
Two friends and long time East Village residents were overjoyed last week after seeing two homeless men on their corner – a sign that gentrification hadn’t completely taken over. None-the-less, things in the East Village are getting pretty fancy.
This month I’ll start with East 7th Street, and in subsequent months I’ll bring you a new street packed to the brim with amazing boutiques. If department stores and chains or the thought of mass-produced clothing causes you to break out in hives…the east village is the place for you! Celebrate your unique sense of fashion and self.
Take the 6 to Astor Place or the N, R to 8th Street. Begin at Cooper Union (3rd Ave) and work your way down 7th until you hit 1st Ave.
15 E7th Street @3rd Ave.
Yes, McSorely’s is one of the oldest bars ever and it’s always overflowing with men. So if like beer and men who drink beer, stop by. You can also check out what beer drinkers have to say about this pub at http://www.mylifeisbeer.com. Enough said.
19 E7th Street
Ever get caught in the rain, or you’re having a terrible hair day, or your outfit just needs something extra but it’s ten o’clock at night and you’re stuck? Stop by the Village Scandal and try on one of their original hand made hats-anything from cowboy hats to fedoras, derbies, newsboy caps all in suede, wool, cotton, felt, straw-you name it-they have it and they’re open until midnight.
Fragrance Shop New York
21 East 7th Street between 3rd Avenue and 2nd Avenue
Lalita Kumut, owner of the Fragrance Shop, has been customizing fragrance for 15 years. She’ll spend some serious time with you – talking, trying out scents, helping you to find the combination that’s right for you. Prices range from $8 for 1/8 oz.- $30 for a 1/2 oz. of perfume oil. She also carries soaps, lotions from Burt’s Bees, Caswell-Massey, Crabtree and Evelyn, Inara organic body creams, and the decadent Babassu Body Cream infused with Olive Oil, honey, and Babassu oil for $36.
Via Della Pace
48 E7th Street @2nd Ave
This caffé/ristornate/bar with its rustic Tuscan feels like you’ve stumbled into a cafe in a small Italian village. Andrea Borio has married beauty, comfort, great table service and simple hearty and healthy Italian food. The best buy here are the huge glasses of wine and the gigantic salads from about $8-$10. They also host events in the downstairs areas. Check out the monthly reading series hosted by Isadora Productions. http://www.isadoraproductions.org
40 1/2 E7th Street
An east village staple since the 80′s, famous for Madonna’s lingerie inspired looks in the movie “Desperately Seeking Susan”, Enelra carries French and Italian designed lingerie, novelty eye masks-loved the rhinestone studded mask that said Diva for $15.95, and fun pieces like the feathered bra and thong set for $44 with matching feather slides for $60. A great place to find fun shower and bachelorette party gifts. Also check out the sexy and comfy belabumbum lace boy shorts in bright colors for $36.95.
64 E7th Street
A consignment store with a Japanese cool sense of style, offering pieces by Alexander McQueen (red vinyl skirt for $120), Marc Jacobs (tiered silk skirt for $100), Diesel Style Lab, Juicy, and a fab $300 D& G leather jacket.
84 E. 7th St.
Named after the Fellini film about sex and politics in a small Italian village, Amarcord is a veritable museum of lady-like vintage pieces. I fell in love with this store a few years ago after talking with its charming co-owner Marco Liotta. There are Dior wallets, 70′s suede boots for $195, a Valentino wool dress for $210, a-line plaid wool skirts, a mod Anna Sui cotton striped jacket for $110, and exquisite Yves Saint Laurent jacket for $315, all in perfect condition. The pieces are carefully chosen(almost all are hand picked in Italy), beautifully presented, and are fashionable without being overtly trendy.
There is also a store in Williamsburg carrying menswear as well.
223 Bedford Ave.
Blue and Gold Bar
79 E7th Street @ 1st Avenue
A family owned bar since 1958, the Blue and Gold remains a great neighborhood bar with reasonably priced drinks and a kick butt jukebox. The bartenders are friendly and efficient and the clientele ranges from 25-35. Play pool, board games, or just come to chat and sip some Blue and Gold Lager.
Next month 7th Street continued and Ave A exposed: what was once home of squatters and drug dealers is now playing host to new businesses like Croxley Ales and trendy boutiques. Is this new gentrified version of Avenue A a welcome change or has Avenue A lost its mojo?