Favorite Area of New York: the East Village

New York City is a magical place with so much history and culture. I want to illustrate each of my favorite neighborhoods for you inhabitants of the wonderful island as well as the non-New Yorkers. The East Village neighborhood was the center of counterculture in New York and that culture still remains. It could be my favorite neighborhood in the entire city. Its diversity and old New York beauty captivates me in a way that not all of the streets can do.

The East Village makes me believe in dreams and fame. I just finished Patti Smith’s Just Kids and it is truly inspiring to read her recount of the city as it once was and then to walk the same streets hoping for the same reality.

Now the East Village is crowded with privileged NYU college students instead of musicians and artists who starve for their craft, so naturally, the feeling is different, but the spirit that once was still remains.

East Village - 2nd Avenue

The East Village is made up of smaller neighborhoods including: Alphabet City, St. Mark’s Place, and the Bowery. In St. Marks Place, you have to try $1 pizza and Pho 32 & Shabu, which is an amazing Japanese Shabu restaurant in the middle of tattoo and piercing parlors. This street is one of the few that still resembles the grimy nature of the old East Village.

That cannot be said for the Bowery, which once was known for ts many homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation centers and bars. Now the Bowery is an extremely expensive, trendy, and chic street.

Some of the culture remains as both the Bowery Ballroom and the Mercury Lounge continue to run playing music. With these concert halls, the vibe of this less industrial and more creative New York also remains.

My favorite store in the East Village is Foley + Corinna and my favorite restaurant is ‘inoteca, which would go unnoticed but they have the best anti-pesto collection in the world.

If only everyone looked as cool as this chick nowadays.

Photographed in 2006 by The Sartorialist

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