East Village in New York
The East Village in New York is probably my favourite neighbourhood. Not without reason: I lived here for a while. And I’m not the only one who is fond of this place: Madonna, Lady Gaga, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop – they all lost their heart to this part of New York City. The East Village is characterised by its relatively low buildings and a lack of big chain stores and tourists. For you as a tourist, it’s exactly what makes the East Village a great place to discover. The East Village is considered to be the area east of 3rd Avenue and the Bowery to the East River, between 14th Street and Houston Street.
Food and Drinks in the East Village
The East Village is a trendy neighbourhood that’s tailored to the many young people living here. Meaning there are the many small bistro’s, cozy pubs and student bars where you can grab a bite or a beer for a great price. Tree Bistro is a cozy place but what really stands out is its personal touch. The family that runs it just loves it when you come up to the bar to have a chat. But the true charm of Tree Bistro, where you pay fifteen to twenty dollars for a main course, is its beautiful patio. Another unique dining spot is Ikinari Steak, a Japanese steakhouse. Here you eat standing up at a tall table. I have had one of the best steaks that I have ever eaten here, and the sauce is also delicious.
East Village Food Tour
If you want to explore more of the culinary delights of the East Village then I recommend taking the East Village Food Tour. On this 2.5-hour guided tour you’ll learn about the history of the neighbourhood, but more importantly be able to enjoy hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, cupcakes and New York’s famous egg cream. Tip: Skip breakfast (and probably dinner too!)
St. Marks Place
St. Marks Place is basically the heart of the East Village. This street, with its alternative shops and lively music scene, really sets the vibe for the neighbourhood. Here you’ll find a lot of record shops with rare records for a good price. Tompkins Square is also worth mentioning, but you don’t need to spend a whole day there. It’s mostly a place to grab a coffee before you move on. Alphabet City, formerly known as ‘Little Germany’ might sound familiar, but is in fact just a residential area, where you will get bored quickly if you spend too much time there. In any case, keep this in mind: the more you head towards the waterside, the less inspiring (and safe) the area is.
The East Village is the place to discover many original little specialty shops as opposed to larger chain stores. Toy Tokyo, for example: a shop packed with Asian toys where you’ll really get a taste of Japan. And if the sun starts shining unexpectedly? Head to Fabulous Fanny’s! This mini-shop sells sunglasses in nearly every imaginable shape and size. Whether you more of a Brigitte Bardot or a Kanye West – this is the place to find the right pair of sunnies. In case it doesn’t work out: the helpful staff will happily customise any of the frames for you. They can even add Swarovski crystals. Bike fanatics definitely need to check out Landmark Vintage Bicycles, where rare models can be found alongside bikes from the 1930’s. I know it might be hard to take a bike home as a souvenir, but there are also lots of accessories.