294 Elizabeth St., Lower East Side | 212.941.5932
We’re obsessed with stylist Jonathan Van Ness (Gay of Thrones, Queer Eye) and his incredible ability to transform the way people look and feel. When the bicoastal stylist is in New York, he’s at this NoHo salon, where he, founder Joseph Artale, and a team of talented stylists do absolutely brilliant hair—perfectly sun-kissed highlights, razor-cut layers—that’s both easy to maintain and amazingly natural-looking.
Christine Chin Spa
82 Orchard St., Lower East Side | 212.353.0503
Christine Chin has been famous for years, and with good reason: She doesn’t mess around when it comes to facials, delivering the sort of cleaning that will have you digging your fingers into your palms (we know friends who have popped a painkiller before stepping in). In short: She will excavate every pore on your face. Chin knows what she’s doing, as evidenced by the glowy complexions that glow even more under her care (supermodels like Gisele Bündchen and Erin Wasson to name a few). If you have any sort of skin ailment, start here; if you want a more spa-like facial, stay away.
Gravity East Village
515 E. 5th St., #1A, East Village | 212.388.9788
As its name implies, Gravity East Village specializes in gravity-based colonics, which means that the in-flow and out-flow of water is simultaneous. Gravity also has a far infrared sauna, which is a nice complement for a full detox.
56 E. 4th St., East Village | 212.473.2047
Jin Soon Choi, the fashion world’s go-to for nails, has taken her tiny nail (and wax) salons to the next level. Each mani and pedi is more like a mini spa treatment for your hands and feet, with a menu of massages, essential oil, and hydrating treatments to choose from. Her technicians are great, the space is lowkey and blessedly low-tech (no vibrating massage chairs, here), and she has a five-free line of polishes, too (goop did a collab with her). She now has four locations, throughout the city.
Avenue B & 14th St., East Village
Not your run-of-the-mill intuitive, certified herbalist Deganit Nuur uses acupuncture, essential oils, and cupping to open the meridians before every reading, which means that sessions are restorative on multiple levels. Her readings are spot-on—and you might not see it coming. Nuur’s personality is so easygoing and bubbly, it at first feels like you’re settling in for a light chat. But when she starts channeling, it’s ka-pow. These days, it’s easier to book Nuur for a virtual session than in-person, but her growing practice of clairvoyants, aptly named Nuurvana, has two locations in NYC (Greenwich and East Village) and one in LA.
8 Stuyvesant St., East Village | 212.777.5415
Tucked away on the second floor through a hidden door in a Japanese restaurant, this speakeasy-style hideaway serves really great cocktails. The best part though is that they only allow a handful of parties in at once (and limited party sizes at that), meaning that it’s never crowded. (Never crowded does not mean that you sometimes don’t have to wait.)
300 E. 12th St., East Village | 212.228.2909
This is East Village granola heaven. In the frill- free space, you’ll find lots of rice-based dishes with all kinds of healthy combinations to suit your tastes.
125 E. 17th St., Gramercy | 212.253.2773
Tucked into a tiny (very tiny) space next door to Casa Mono, this U-shaped tapas bar by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich has been around for more than a decade. The crowd is typically neighborhood types grabbing quick drinks, lots of (stylish) first dates, or those swinging by for a nightcap post dinner next door. The pared-down menu, which is scrawled on the mirror behind the bar, includes pan con tomate, tortila, and jamon iberico—in addition to, obviously, great reds
Big Gay Ice Cream
125 E. 7th St., East Village | 212.533.9333
Big Gay Ice Cream hardly needs an introduction. This beloved soft-serve joint started off as a seasonal truck in 2009, quickly amassing a loyal fan base in NYC. Their first permanent shop was opened in the East Village in 2011, followed by a shop in the West Village the next year.
Black Seed Bagels
176 1st Ave., East Village | 646.484.5718
This newcomer is drawing big crowds, which we totally get: The hand-rolled, wood-fired bagel sandwiches are actually easy to eat (they’re much smaller than their brethren), and for the most part, they’re great—particularly for those times when the only thing that will satisfy is a bagel sandwich. Favorites include: beet-cured gravlax, a basic tuna salad, Tobiko spread, and the egg salad (though it’s heavy on the dill). There’s also a location in Battery Park City, in addition to the Nolita original.
Bowery Hotel Bar
335 Bowery, East Village | 212.505.9100
Ideally located where NoHo, the East Village, and Nolita meet, this hotel’s bright bedrooms and contrastingly cavernous bar attracts the rockstar set—for scene, but also for comfort. Downstairs, Gemma is a good spot for a drink (it’s also a good dinner option for bigger groups). There’s a great bar on the second floor that’s often rented out for events—and sometimes only available for hotel guests. But it’s always worth asking.
37 Canal St., Lower East Side | 646.649.3378
Even in a neighborhood full of charming restaurants, this bistro, named for the most famous Brigitte we know, Bardot, stands out. The intimate dining room is picturesque in the daylight—Carrera-marble bar, giant poolside print by Eduardo Cerruti and Stephanie Draime—and transforms into a beyond-romantic dinner spot at night. The menu fuses French classics with Mediterranean flavors like flourless crepes made with chickpeas and topped with eggplant salsa, and a seriously delicious charcuterie plate. Main courses are delivered on cast iron platters: The sea bream, roasted whole with rosemary and thyme, is delicious, and the octopus sprinkled with paprika has the perfect kick. The double-sided bar is brilliant for cocktail catchups with friends or first dates with potential lovers.
Clinton Street Baking Company
4 Clinton St., Lower East Side | 646-602-6263
There are often lines around the corner to get in but it’s worth it for the legendary pancakes. Plus, take-out is always available if you don’t have time to wait for a seat. They take reservations for dinner only.
61 Delancey St., Lower East Side | 212.925.5220
This is definitely one of the best soba joints in the city: We like the Nolita location the best, but this one on the LES is very cozy. Go for the Mera Mera Dip Soba, with minced chicken and a fiery broth: The noodles are packed with flavor, chewy, and perfectly al-dente. Don’t miss the homemade silky tofu, sprinkled with grated ginger, scallions, nori and bonito flakes, which is as creamy and delicious as a hunk of fresh burrata.
138 Orchard St., Lower East Side | 212.466.4633
New York’s new guard of young chefs are doing things differently at Contra. Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske (also of Wildair) are striving to create and define a new food identity specific to New York City alone, and given the packed seatings, awards, and consistently good reviews—their approach seems to be working. They serve a set menu self-described as “ambitious,” so expect everything from uni paired with verbena to skate with beets. The restaurant does not accommodate any changes to the menu, so be sure to check it ahead of the time if you have dietary restrictions.
Death & Co.
433 E. 6th St., East Village | 212.388.0882
New York is full of prohibition-themed bars, but this one stands out for its incredible drinks. The space, dark and intimate, is meant for small parties to enjoy their drinks and snacks over quiet conversation (make a reservation as seating is scarce). The drink menu is sorted by spirits, then by “shaken” or “stirred,” so you’re bound to find something that meets, and then exceeds, your very particular expectations. Don’t miss the incredible food, which justifies arriving with an empty stomach.
86 Allen St., Lower East Side | 212.228.7732
Fun fact: Amanda Cohen was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef America—and she also wrote the first graphic novel cookbook published in North America. Unsurprisingly, her restaurant is insanely delicious, whether you’re a veg or not.
180 Ludlow St., Lower East Side | 212.254.3000
Rich Torris’s restaurant group first got attention for Torrisi, a (now-closed) Italian joint that re-imagined classic dishes. As its name suggests, their second venture, Dirty French, does the same for French food. The thing to order is definitely the mille-feuille (it’s a riff on the original dish that substitutes paper-thin mushrooms for puff pastry), but the whole menu—and, by the way, wine list—is excellent. The quirky décor is imbued in every part of the experience, from Bruce High Quality Foundation sculptures to frilly antique serving trays. You’ll only need a group of 30 to justify an entire buy-out of the space, which gets really dolled up around the holidays.
Empellón Al Pastor
132 St. Marks Pl., East Village | 646.833.7039
There is nothing fancy or gimmicky about chef Alex Stupak’s third south-of-the-border-inspired restaurant. What separates Al Pastor from Taqueria and Cocina are the modest prices and super approachable vibe—everything is served on paper plates, the seating is first-come, first-served, and tacos start at $4. The taco al pastor is stuffed with spit-roasted, chili-spiced pork and pineapple, and the guacamole is really good, too. Plus, there’s a giant mural on the ceiling that’s essentially the East Village equivalent of the Sistine Chapel—a must-see if you’re into gigantic llamas.
88 Second Ave., East Village | 212.420.0106
This homey, neighborhood joint churns out delicious and affordable Italian comfort food. Frank Prisinzano, for whom the restaurant is named, developed a menu comprised of his family’s best dishes and continuously sources top-notch ingredients, which makes for a pretty excellent meal any day of the week. Plus, his wine cave downstairs boasts a vast array of regional Italian wines from Piedmonte to the Veneto.
Freeman Alley at Rivington St., Lower East Side | 212.420.0012
Nestled in a back alley that’s decorated overhead with twinkle lights and on the sides with greenery, Freeman’s is still going strong after all these years. The classically hipster interior (taxidermied animals and velvet floral couches abound) is dark and cozy, making it best suited to warm winter meals. Food-wise, the menu is simple but never boring, with options like a cracked wheat salad, house-made pork and fennel sausage, and seriously good Ipswich clam fritters. Sitting in the private wine room, tucked away in the back, feels a bit like eating a meal in a family member’s kitchen.
90 3rd Ave., East Village | 212.390.8685
The food here is full of flavor and spice (the dan dan noodles are particularly insane). It’s a no-frills kind of place, but the BYOB policy and reasonable tabs make it a great place to go with a group on a budget. There’s also a location on the Upper West Side.
119 St Marks Pl, East Village | 212.995.5010
While NYC has its fair share of Vietnamese restaurants, what’s great about this cozy St. Mark’s spot is the mix of inventiveness and authenticity: the pho is extremely rich and layered and served sans the traditional American side of lime, and the spring rolls have an unexpected crunch thanks to fried wonton shells. It’s also a great brunch option, if you’re looking for something other than traditional breakfast fare—crispy rice crepes, fried eggs, and salmon roe, all of which pair well with a pot of their hot Coconut Oolong.
65 4th Ave., East Village | 212.388.0088
The NYC Ippudo locations are the only branches in the United States. The noodles are hand-pulled on-site and cooked perfectly al dente. They’re known for the super-flavorful tomkotso version, but we love the Miso Ramen and pork-free Wasabi Shoyu. They have some more contemporary restaurant-style dishes here, but the traditional ramen bowls are really where it’s at. Prices are low, and it’s first come, first sit, so be prepared to wait. The other location is in Midtown.
25 Clinton St., Lower East Side | 646.678.3859
As its name would suggest, when it comes to ramen, Ivan and company know what they are doing (Ivan is actually a Jewish kid from Long Island who is obsessed with Japanese cooking). The Red-Hot Cold Mazemen is delicious, while the cold spicy sesame noodles topped with prawns are a great alternative on hotter days. If you go for dinner, they’re most famous for Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazeman and Four Cheese Mazeman, which they only serve at night—the Tokyo Shio Ramen, loaded with egg, pork chashu, and roast tomato is a bit lighter. If you’re not into noodles, the pork meatballs, garnished with bonito flakes, Chinese broccoli prepared in a sweet soy and garlic sauce, and the Tofu Coney Island, which is essentially an Asian spin on chili cheese fries are all insanely good. Heavy, but delicious. There’s also an Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Gotham West Market.
205 E Houston St., Lower East Side | 212.254.2246
A legendary Jewish deli, Katz’s originally opened in 1888 under a different name, and across the street from its current location on Houston and Ludlow. It was an institution long before the iconic orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally, although it didn’t hurt. Most people come for either the hot pastrami or corned beef sandwich, or the Reuben version, which adds Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Katz’s credits its slow curing method, which can last up to a month, for the meat’s superior taste. (You’ll also find matzo ball soup on the menu, along with everything else you’d expect/want, as well as less traditional offerings for a Jewish deli, like NY-style cheesecake.) For those outside of the city, note that Katz’s ships across the States.
104 Bayard Street, Lower East Side | 646.998.3408
The first thing to know about this airy, minimalist Mexican restaurant is that it’s a “no avocado zone.” Instead, you get chef Gerardo Gonzalez’s version of guacamole—chickpeas, moringa, pickled onions, and roasted garlic, a brunch dish named “This Is Not Avocado Toast.’ The second thing to know is that you won’t miss avocadoes for a minute: There are plenty of delicious options. (Take note of the agua frescas and the the vegan Caesar salad.)
177 Chrystie St., Lower East Side | 646.918.7189
A partnership between Taavo Somer (Freeman’s) and Carlos Quiararte (The Smile), the French-inspired food at Le Turtle is supposed to be great, but people are really coming for the experience: the wild interior (two-way mirrors, shiny surfaces, neon lights, and so on) seems like a sight to be seen.
19 First Ave., East Village | 212.420.4900
The team behind Frank bring the same homey, rustic appeal to this pizza and pasta spot, where you can grab a great Italian meal and wash it down with a regional wine. There’s a covered garden in the back.
179 2nd Ave., East Village | 212.533.2007
For years, the Lower East Side has played host to the New York dumpling craze, of which we were avid participants from the start. However, every time we picked up those steaming pockets of goodness from a LES hole in the wall that started it all (which shall remain unnamed), in the back of our heads we worried about the provenance of the ingredients. They were so good, but at what cost? Then, Mimi Cheng’s came along and began serving up delectable Taiwanese-style dumplings made with antibiotic-free, local meat and fresh veggies. And, their hole in the wall is beautiful, whitewashed and dotted with bright yellow stools. For a fun date night, sign up for a Monday evening dumpling making class.
63 E. 4th St., East Village | 212.253.0277
Tortas beat out tacos at this small, cozy, yet teeming market. Grab one of the delicious Mexican-style sandwiches to go (favorites include chorizo and egg) with an agua fresca to wash it down, or stop in to shop all good things that are hard to come by elsewhere: from traditional ingredients, like Oaxaca cheese and great Mexican coffee, to less traditional selections, like tequila- and mezcal-infused jams, and paletas (ice pops); also, authentic (amazing) salsas, chiles, masa, and other spices; and even beauty products, like the original, healing, beautifying Mayan clay mask from Tulum Spa. On a warm day, try the iced coffee with horchata (sweet rice milk).
172 Orchard St., Lower East Side | 212.254.2233
Making Mexican fusion that’s not gimmicky is no easy feat, but unsurprisingly, the team behind Mission Cantina have done so with brio, adding unlikely ingredients like ricotta, pastrami, kale, and quinoa to their tacos. They’re unlikely combinations, but it all works, and it’s served up in traditional no-fuss taqueria style.
8 Extra Pl., East Village
David Chang’s Ko is a multi-course gastro experience, while the Noodle Bar next door is its laid-back, no-reservations, ramen-specific sibling. Meanwhile, up the street, Ssam Bar, which is attached to Milk Bar, offers a wider range of options. Chang, who is now legendary, does pretty revolutionary food, whether it’s noodles or pork buns, meaning that if there’s just one must-try foodie experience downtown, one of his restaurants would probably be it. At Ko, the reservation policy is a bit tough (email at 10 a.m. EXACTLY for the same night, tables are gone by 10:03) but worth a shot.
Momofuku Milk Bar
251 E. 13th St., East Village | 347.577.9504, x4
While working at Momofuku in the early days, Christina Tosi—office manager at the time—started baking the occasional treat for the team. And her insanely sweet, totally novel confections quickly took off. Soon, she had her own shop next door (and now many more in NYC) where she and her staff crank out ridiculously complex layered cakes, the aptly named Compost cookies, and unusual soft-serve flavors—all simultaneously nostalgic and unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.
2 Rivington St., Lower East Side | 212.209.7684
This ice cream place is run by Nicholas Morgenstern, a classically trained pastry chef (he was formerly head pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern) who turned out to be a whiz at crafting elevated flavors. Using only the highest quality ingredients, if you’re craving a creamy and non-processed—treat, this is the spot. Beyond the scoops, the shop on Rivington is incredibly charming: The exterior is painted royal blue and the inside is set up like an old-fashioned parlor with counter seats and a window ledge. Note: It’s cash-only here.
Mother of Pearl
95 Avenue A, East Village | 212.614.6818
Mother of Pearl’s elevated take on the tiki bar is unapologetically vibrant. Couches are done in retro floral prints, and bright orchids and lilies sit atop teal-patterned tables. Long, gathered white curtains separate an open, airy front sitting room from the bar, which is outfitted with kelly-green-topped stools. The cocktails, likewise, are decorated with flowers (and fruit) and are just as festive. The bar snacks hold up, as well, and there’s a larger brunch menu on the weekends.
265 E. 10th St., East Village | 212.228.2022
The décor is nothing special, but the Middle Eastern dishes—standards from tabbouleh to falafel, plus their trademark oven baked “pitzas” (that’s a pita served like a pizza)—are more than a cut above your standard Turkish café. Plus, it’s really well-priced. We love this as a lunch option or as a crowd-pleasing take-away. There are also locations in the West Village and in Harlem.
304 E. 6th St., East Village | 212.253.5888
With its extensive tequila and mezcal menu, this bar intends to enlighten us all about the two great Mexican imports, and it works: They make some great cocktails from each. There’s also a surprisingly lengthy menu of inventive small plates, meaning that a trip here is an education in modern Mexican cuisine, too.
141 2nd Ave., East Village | 646.678.4018
Otto’s is part of the wonderful trend of casual taquerias sprouting up in NYC: Homemade corn tortillas, salsas, and marinades make it a step above your normal take-away joint (there are a few high-top seats for eating in). They also cater. There are also locations in the West Village and Hell’s Kitchen.
Please Don’t Tell (PDT)
113 St. Marks Place, East Village | 212.614.0386
Criff Dogs—a hot dog joint—was an institution even before PDT (Please Don’t Tell) came onto the scene. It’s one of the best bars in the city for fantastic cocktails dreamed up by owner Jim Meehan, whose book of recipes has brought good, old fashioned cocktails back into the modern lexicon. Plus, there are deluxe hot dogs on the menu to accompany your drinks. It’s a tiny, dark space, and the setting is intimate on purpose, so it can be hard to get a seat. Drop by early to put your name on the list—they’re great about giving you a call when a table is available.
54 E. 1st St., East Village | 212.677.6221
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, whose powerful memoir tells the story of how her beloved restaurant came to be, has garnered a lot of attention in the last few years, but Prune remains as tiny and as wonderful as ever. The charming blush pink bistro serves one of the city’s best brunches with a menu full of classics—from eggs benedict to huevos rancheros—and still manages to function out of a teeny tiny kitchen.
18 E. 2nd St., East Village | 212.335.0114
Considering New York’s reputation when it comes to Mexican food, it’s possible that Rosie’s was actually transplanted here from LA. Even the décor feels a little California, with pale-green, geometric chairs, string lights hanging above the bar, and sliding doors that open the corner space to the street in warm months. The menu has all of the classic craving-satisfiers, including tacos al pastor, queso fundido, and a tart, lime-ey margarita. The easy vibe makes it the kind of place that’s great for feeding a big group without a fuss.
Russ & Daughters Café
127 Orchard St., Lower East Side | 212.475.4880
While take-out from the 1914 original on East Houston is an unparalleled New York City experience, the new, wonderfully turned-out, old-world café is about a ten minute walk from the mothership, with waits that are two or three times that long. We heartily recommend the classic open-face sandwich, the super heebster nosh with wasabi roe, and matzo ball soup. Dying to try next: Chocolate babka french toast, along with their potato pancakes, which are topped with Gaspe Nova smoked salmon and a sunny side up egg.
Sundaes and Cones
95 E. 10th St., East Village | 212.979.9398
Sundaes and Cones relocated to the East Village after its first two decades based in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Here you’ll find all the classics, but most people come for their specialty Asian-influenced flavors—e.g. wasabi, ginger, and black sesame. They also make delectable ice cream cakes topped with fresh whipped cream.
The Butcher’s Daughter
19 Kenmare St., Nolita | 212.219.3434
Count on Joya Carlton, the former chef at Buvette, to help open up another stellar brunch spot. Set up on the corner of bustling Kenmare Street in Nolita, the Butcher’s Daughter offers the kind of vegetarian fare you can feel good about—their version of a breakfast sandwich features an egg, cashew cheese, kale, and tomato jam on an English muffin; their organic muesli is topped with fresh fruit and almond milk. The cold-pressed juices are easy to make a habit of—the honey bee, with grapefruit, turmeric, yuzu, kumquat, honey, and bee pollen is good for fending off colds. The minimalist (but Instagram-ready) decor includes big-picture windows, bleached wood, and exposed brick; produce hangs from meat hooks and herbal infusions are lined up behind the bar.
The Flower Shop
107 Eldridge St., Lower East Side | 212.257.4072
This ‘70s-inspired Lower East Side bar-slash-restaurant is one of our favorite spots. Upstairs there are comfortable booths to melt into after a long day, short day—or anytime you just really need a cocktail. The bar snacks are good, especially the cauliflower steak on a bed of farro drizzled with tahini. Downstairs feels like a tricked-out version of your cool neighbor’s basement—pool table, sunken fireplace, and jukebox included, plus walls covered with tapestries and kitschy-cool posters.
The Third Man
116 Avenue C, East Village | 212.598.1040
This Vienna-inspired cocktail bar—named after the classic 1949 British noir film—has a clandestine feel, with lots of iron beams, exposed brick, and dim lighting. Come for a well-mixed cocktail and Austrian small plate.
48.5 E. 7th St., East Village | 646.476.3865
Whether you’ve had Van Leeuwen on the streets of Brooklyn or parked up on Abbot Kinney, it’s instantly recognizable by its sunny yellow truck. They’re particularly famous for their vegan ice cream, a combination of cashew milk, coconut milk, cocoa butter, and carob beans that’s incredibly creamy and indulgent (and a major victory for the dairy-sensitive). They’ve got a few locations now: Greenpoint, Boerum Hill, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn; the East and West Villages in Manhattan; and the Arts District and Culver City in LA. You can always track their many food trucks on their website.
175 Orchard St., Lower East Side | 646.682.9065
What’s extra special about this Lower East Side standby is that they have a lot of respect for personal space—there are individual-sized tables lining the walls with just enough room for a laptop and a cup of coffee (a giant leather couch is also available if you’re OK with sharing). In the warmer months, the large French doors open up to create a garage-like indoor/outdoor space.
173 Ave. A, East Village | 212.677.2033
In the last few years, Westvilles have popped up all over Manhattan, which is probably a good thing since the original West Village outpost was way too tiny. You’ll find every variation of comfort food, from mac and cheese to the hot dogs that made them famous. Beyond myriad toppings and preparations, they offer vegan dogs, too. There’s also an outpost that’s very close to the Children’s Museum of the Arts, as well as locations in Chelsea and the West Village.
406 E. 9th St., East Village | 212.228.8011
Though they’re famous for the Juicy Lucy (two hamburger patties sandwiched around a dollop of pimiento cheese), we actually like the Turkey Burger best (fried egg on top optional). They offer pretty much everything else we’ve ever craved for lunch, including an excellent kale salad (along with requisite kale chips), sweet potato fries, and the perfect grilled cheese.
Hotel Indigo Lower East Side
171 Ludlow St., Lower East Side | 212.237.1776
A somewhat newcomer to the Lower East Side, Hotel Indigo stands out, literally, as one of the tallest buildings in its radius, which translates into unparalleled views of the neighborhood and beyond. Not surprisingly, the hotel has a rooftop bar (Mr. Purple) and a modestly sized pool—not necessarily for doing laps, but it adds to the atmosphere. The rooms are modern and the best ones have floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The duplex penthouse suite might be the biggest splurge, but the outdoor terrace room on the seventh floor is pretty special, too.
The Bowery Hotel
335 Bowery, East Village | 212.505.9100
Ideally located where NoHo, the East Village, and Nolita meet, this hotel’s bright bedrooms and contrastingly cavernous bar attracts the rockstar set—for scene, but also for comfort. The rooms feature classic New York apartment touches like marble bathtubs and hardwood floors—combined with high-end linens and plush velvety touches, this makes for an ideal stay. Downstairs, Gemma is a good spot for a drink (it’s also a good dinner option for bigger groups), though the hotel is so well-situated to some of the city’s best restaurants, consider taking your meals out.
180 Ludlow St., Lower East Side | 212.432.1818
From hoteliers behind the likes of The Bowery and Jane, The Ludlow hotel has become a favorite destination for locals thanks to the popularity of its excellent off-lobby restaurant, Dirty French. The hotel itself makes for a really lovely stay for visitors—particularly if you’re looking for a place to post-up during the day and get some work/reading done: The lobby is a gorgeous lounge space with a distressed limestone fireplace, cozy leather couches mixed with vintage furnishings, Moroccan-style rugs, and chandeliers with a romantic glow. Adjacent to the lobby is a bright garden space with ivy walls and hanging greenery that’s covered and heated in the winter so guests can eat/hang at the tables here year round. Up above, there are about 180 sophisticatedly decorated rooms across the 20-story hotel. The terrace rooms come with a 215-square-foot, furnished outdoor patio; and many others have balconies with views of LES and beyond. Some of the best views can be glimpsed from window-side soaking tubs in Ludlow’s chic bathrooms, which are outfitted with marble mosaic floors, industrial brass fixtures, rain showerheads, and bathrobes from Paris-based Maison Margiela.
The Standard East Village
25 Cooper Square, East Village | 212.475.5700
Like all of Andre Balasz’ hotels, The Standard East Village, a tall glass building looming above Cooper Square, is a haven for travelers as much as it is a local, neighborhood establishment. With Narcissa booked to the brim night and day, it’s become a central fixture of the East Village scene. Meanwhile, upstairs, hotel guests enjoy a little respite with rooms that boast picture window views, high above the city streets.
170 Ludlow St., Lower East Side | 212.253.5393
From owner/designer Greg Armas’ own line of subtly-destroyed basics to Acne and other, lesser known designers like Correll Correll and Feit, we rely on this boutique for a dose of luxe, deconstructed fashion.
158 Rivington St., Lower East Side | 212.432.7200
Ring the bell to enter the custom, dark wood-paneled interiors lined with a pretty amazing collection of sneakers from Nike, Adidas, Alife’s special collaborations, and more. For the sneaker head, this is a must-see.
Bonnie Slotnik Cookbooks
28 E. 2nd St., East Village | 212.989.8962
Bonnie Slotnick’s hole-in-the-wall bookshop stocks rare and out-of-print cookbooks from as far back as the early 19th-century, and she finds every single one herself. In fact, she’s a one man show, so store hours can be erratic, making it all the more special on the days when the shop is indeed open. You’ll find vintage cookbooks and kitchen paraphernalia appealingly displayed in the cramped little store, which is as entertaining for foodies as it is for design aficionados who love old books. If you’re looking for something in particular, Bonnie will track it down.
36 E. 2nd St., East Village | 212.414.8821
David Cafiero (as seen in House & Garden and Apartamento for styling Chloe Sevigny’s East Village apartment) is the interior designer behind Cafiero Select, the super inspired antiques shop in the East Village. There’s a mix of mid-century furniture, area rugs, mirrors, aspirational objects, and more.
CW Pencil Enterprise
100a Forsyth St., Lower East Side | 917.734.8117
As far as specialty shops go, CW Pencil Enterprise is downright granular. It’s shoe-box sized and therefore really easy to miss, so keep an eye out for the pencil drawing, which the owner, Caroline Weaver, put up in lieu of traditional signage. Inside, the floors are black-and-white checkered, and the shelves are lined with neatly labeled jars of pencils and on-theme art. Make good use of the pencil-testing station, which is set up on a Mid-Century desk and topped with vintage-looking sharpeners and old-school notebooks, while the staff (it’s usually Weaver herself manning the store) drop knowledge about each pencil’s provenance, history, color, and optimal use. CW carries amazing stationery brands like Craft Design Technology, Tombow, and Field Notes; and then there’s the Pencil of the Month club and custom pencil services, which the owner fulfills herself by hand with an antique hot foil press.
110 East 7th St., East Village
Our admiration for Lizzie Fortunato runs deep—back to 2008, in fact, when the jewelry designer launched her eponymous line of eclectic, wildly-unique, globally inspired jewelry, which she co-founded with her sister, Kathryn. The duo then extended their vision to Fortune Finds, an online shop that offers a considered assortment of global homewares and art, all of which mirrors their colorful aesthetic and expresses a love for slow-crafted pieces that boast great design and a story. Now through January, Fortune Finds has a physical presence in their East Village pop-up, which the sisters decorated with pieces from their favorite makers including Ash NY furniture and Andrew Neyer light fixtures. Here you’ll find brass candlesticks from one of our favorite brands, Skultuna, hand-loomed Portuguese rugs (the sisters carried them back from a trip), and framed art, as well as Lizzie Fortunato jewelry and accessories.
Lost City Arts
18 Cooper Square, East Village | 212.375.0500
James Elkind started out collecting refuse from New York City buildings that were being revamped in the 80’s, and now handpicks the Bertoias, Pontis, and Wegners, as the trend has gone toward the Mad Men era. It’s an always eclectic mix.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
123 Norfolk St., Lower East Side | 212.673.6405
Located in a gallery-like space in the LES, Maryam Nassir Zadeh is more like a gallery than a boutique. You’ll find totem-like objects arranged on the floor, really stunning jewelry that you don’t know if you should wear, or just display, and plenty of up-and-coming labels. MZN has put designers like Dieppa Restrepo, Bernhard Willhelm, Jacquemus, and Lizzie Fortunato on the map.
2 Extra Place, East Village | 212.228.1030
Off the beaten path on a Manhattan side street called Extra Place, fiancés Stevenson Aung and Angelique Chmielewski, have just opened a bricks and mortar showcase for their e-tail shop, full of off-the-beaten-path extras. In their careers as industrial and fashion designers, respectively, they’ve spent years amassing quite the collection of Japanese-inspired design—that mix of style, craft, function, and a little wabi-sabi—and finally have the perfect glass-fronted location to showcase it all, from Azmaya tea accessories to Sunao cutlery, to Fog Linen baskets.
328 E. 11th St., East Village | 212.475.0666
This is the place to source an entire men’s wardrobe: You’ll find Simon Miller jeans, Alex Mill buttondowns, and Common Projects sneakers, along with dressier suiting from Comme des Garcons. The guys behind Odin are fashion arbiters of men’s street style which is why whenever we need to pick up a guy’s gift, we head here first. There’s also a location in both Soho and the West Village.
St. Mark’s Bookshop
163 E. 3rd St., East Village | 212.260.7853
St. Marks is in NYU territory, so it’s no surprise that it stocks a bevvy of scholarly titles in cultural theory, film studies, and more. It’s a great place to find a great art and design book, zines, and small press publications.
206 E. 6th St., East Village | 646.590.3211
Emilie Irving’s East Village antiques shop specializes in 19th and 20th Century textiles sourced from Central and South Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East. The charming collection of worldly and eclectic goods also includes antique ethnic jewelry and lampshades made from vintage Indian saris. It’s the perfect place to pick up design flourishes for decorating or a gift for a friend.