The East Village, east of the Village on Manhattan, was traditionally considered part of the Lower East Side, and constitutes the portion north of Houston St., south of 14th St., and east of Broadway. Although increasingly gentrified, with former crack dens that are now modern apartments so hip you can't afford them, it remains an ethnically diverse area of students, young professionals, immigrants, and older longtime residents. This colorful neighborhood is full of good values in food as diverse as its population, and there's always something happening on St. Marks Place, 24/7.
East of 1st Av., encompassing the area from Av. A to the East River, is a sub-neighborhood often called Alphabet City or Loisaida (Spanglish for "Lower East Side"); Av. C's alternate name is "Loisaida Avenue." Parts of Alphabet City still have a Hispano-Caribbean feel, especially on Avs. D and C, but since most of Alphabet City is similar to the rest of the East Village now (diverse, somewhat gentrified, stylish), the separate designations are less used than was the case 2-3 decades ago. The area between Broadway and 3rd Av./Bowery, on the other hand, is sometimes called NoHo, for "North of Houston St." by analogy to SoHo to its south.
The neighborhood now called the East Village was part of the hunting and gathering lands of local Native American tribes for thousands of years before the white man arrived. What's probably the oldest street in the neighborhood is now called Stuyvesant Street (with a listing in "See" below). Before it was a path during the time when Peter Stuyvesant, the only governor of New Netherland, owned a farm there (starting in 1651), it was a Native American trail. Stuyvesant continued to live in the area after New Netherland was ceded to the British, and his body was buried at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery (q.v.).
In the 18th and early 19th centuries, some lovely multi-story buildings were built for wealthy pillars of New York society in the neighborhood. Many such buildings still stand, including the 1804 Hamilton Fish House at 21 Stuyvesant St.
Waves of immigration
Following the failure of the 1848 democratic revolution in Germany, thousands of Germans immigrated to New York City and set up shop in what's now the East Village, the Lower East Side and Chinatown, and the entire area was known as Kleindeutschland ("Little Germany") until the early 20th century, when disaster struck. In the incident that caused the worst lost of life in New York of any single disaster prior to 2001, a ship called the General Slocumb, which was ferrying Lutheran parishioners including most of the leading local German-American citizens to Long Island for a picnic in 1904, caught fire in the East River, killing over 1,000 people and essentially decapitating the community, many of whose remnants went uptown to Yorkville. If you look carefully, especially on St Marks Place, you can see relics of those days, including the Deutsch-Amerikanisch Schützengesellschaft (German-American Shooting Club) near 3rd Av. and the German (now Korean) Evangelical Lutheran Church just east of 2nd Av., as well as the Ottendorfer Library on 2nd Av. between St Marks Place and 9th St. — and the Sixth Street Community Synagogue on 6th St. between 1st and 2nd Avs., which was once the St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church that had rented the ill-fated ship. In the same period, refugees from the Irish Potato Famine arrived in the U.S., and some of them set up shop in the East Village as well, including John McSorley, who is said to have opened McSorley's Old Ale House in 1854.
Starting around the 1880s and continuing apace until the immigration laws were tightened in the 1920s, the neighborhood, as part of the Lower East Side, hosted a large number of Eastern European immigrants, including Polish Catholics, Ukrainian adherents of Eastern Rite Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and Yiddish-speaking Jews, and also many Italians. Second Avenue on the Lower East Side — as it was then universally known — became synonymous with Yiddish theater, with Jews streaming into the area from other parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and beyond to hear the biggest stars from the U.S., Poland, Romania and other areas with active Yiddish theaters sing musicals in their language. Many of those theaters still exist, though they've been repurposed as movie theaters (as on 12th St. and 2nd Av.), English-language theaters (as in the case of the Orpheum Theatre on 2nd Av. between 7th and St Marks Place) or for other more prosaic functions. Unfortunately, Yiddish theater died an unnatural death in the Nazi extermination camps, combined with younger generations of American Jews ceasing to speak the language. However, there are still a large number of very active Polish and Ukrainian Christians in the neighborhood, replenished by new immigration in more recent decades, and their churches can be seen, though most of the inexpensive Polish and Ukrainian restaurants and shops that used to be a mainstay have been forced to close their doors one after the other, due to gentrification.
From bohemia to riches
Starting in the 1950s, the East Village was a very bohemian neighborhood that bebop saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker (his residence, on Av. B across from Tompkins Square Park, is memorialized with a plaque), Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and many other members of the counterculture called home. It was also, starting in the 1960s, a focus of alternative rock, electronic music, and multimedia and performance art. Sadly, during and since the 1990s, an increasing number of venues for live music were forced to stop the performances or close their doors outright, including the world-famous CBGB; however, there is still quite a lot of live performance in the neighborhood, including at the grand 1880s-vintage Webster Hall, now host to many rock performances; a strip of theaters on E. 4 St. between the Bowery and 2nd Av.; and the Bowery Electric and other venues on the Bowery.
Another important change for the neighborhood was a wave of immigration by Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, starting around the 1960s, which was felt particularly strongly in Alphabet City/Loisaida. Like the rest of the neighborhood, that area of the East Village has gentrified considerably in the last couple of decades, but it still has some Latin feel, especially further east.
The neighborhood fell on hard times along with the rest of the city in the 1970s and 80s, when the East Village was a very gritty high-crime area, full of crumbling buildings, empty lots and homeless people, plagued by crack and heroin, and ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. Many abandoned buildings were occupied by squatters, Tompkins Square Park was the site of encampments of homeless people, and empty lots were cleared of rubble and turned into community gardens, some of which still exist, but the crime remained a problem for a long time. The year 1988 marks a turning point for the neighborhood. The police surrounded and attacked the homeless people camped out in Tompkins Square Park, their supporters and some people who were simply watching. Many people in the neighborhood believed this was due to pressure from the first wave of gentrifiers — wealthy people who moved into a poor neighborhood and then found it inconvenient to have to witness the poor conditions that predated their arrival.
Fast forward to 2016, and you'll find some homeless people on the street, but the neighborhood, like the rest of New York, is way lower in crime — but it is also too expensive for many people to live in. Although quite a lot of relatively high-rise luxury construction is taking place, much of the area is now part of one or another "historic district", thus preserving at least a good chunk of its substantial remaining architectural heritage from the wrecking ball. However, the vaunted edginess of the neighborhood is now mostly a memory, and especially on weekends, the East Village is instead overrun by well-to-do, slow-moving young people, many of whom drink to excess and can't hold their liquor. If you'd like a quieter experience of a neighborhood that for better and worse is no longer very edgy but still has charm, a visit on a weekday and walks on side streets other than St Marks between 2nd and 3rd Avs. may appeal to you more than barhopping on a Saturday night.
The best subway line for getting into the heart of the East Village is the 6 train, which stops at Astor Place, just one short block from St. Marks Place. You can also get out at Bleecker Street for more southerly East Village locations between Houston and 4th Streets.
The and R and W trains run under Broadway along the western edge of the neighborhood, stopping at 8th Street NYU station near Astor Place.
The L train is a rare crosstown train that runs along 14th Street, the northern edge of the East Village. The 3rd Avenue and especially the 1st Avenue stations can save you some steps if you're headed for more northerly or easterly destinations. The L can also take you to Greenwich Village or Brooklyn's Williamsburg, for a tour of bohemias of the recent and more distant past.
There are also trains that run along the southern edge of the neighborhood, under Houston Street - take the B, D, F, or M to the Broadway-Lafayette station. The F also runs to the 2nd Avenue station.
There are many trains that stop at Union Square, which is just past the northwest corner of the East Village - but it's something of a hike to the center of the neighborhood. Take the 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R, W or the L.
Numerous MTA bus routes serve the neighborhood. Of particular note, however, are the crosstown buses. The M8 travels east on 8th St., then turns north on Av. A and travels on 10th St. the rest of the way. The M8 travels west on 10th St. and then starting on Av. A, on 9th St. The M14 14th St. crosstown is also notable because after going crosstown on 14th St. from the west side, the M14A bus turns down Av. A, whereas the M14D turns down Av. C and travels down Av. D starting at 10th St. You can also try your luck with the M21 Houston St. crosstown, though it doesn't run very frequently most of the time and like the 14th St. crosstown and most other crosstown buses in Manhattan, it can also get caught in slow traffic.
This is absolutely the best way to catch all of the East Village action. If you are coming from uptown on the West Side, take the West Side Green Path down to 14th Street. Cross east on 12th, or any street with a bike lane that runs east! If you are coming down from the East Side, there is an East Side bike path that is interrupted by the United Nations. Simply cross over to Second Ave. and ride south until you cross 14th St.
If you don't have your own bike, one option is the very popular CitiBike bike sharing service ($6/half hour), which has numerous locations throughout the neighborhood.
Parking in the East Village can be difficult. If you plan to park on the street, be patient and opportunistic, and take care to observe posted parking regulations and avoid parking in front of houses of worship and funeral homes, lest your car should be ticketed or towed. There are also some parking garages in the neighborhood, if you don't mind paying.
If you are within walking distance of the East Village in decent weather, walking to the neighborhood is the most interesting way to go, and certainly the best way to get around.
There are usually many taxis in the East Village. It is easiest to flag down a cab on avenues, rather than side streets, but if you are on a side street, look for cabs, anyway, while you walk toward an avenue. Be warned that at peak times and in bad weather, it can be hard to find empty cabs.
- 1 Alamo. A sculpture at the center of Astor Place. This steel cube actually rotates as you push on any side, though you may need the strength of two or three people for a complete rotation. One of its sister cubes resides on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This sculpture was removed in 2015 but returned to an enlarged pedestrian area in the fall of 2016.
- 2 Cooper Union, Cooper Square (Astor Place and 7th Street). Cooper Union was until recently the only private, full-scholarship college in the United States dedicated exclusively to preparing students for the professions of art, architecture and engineering. They recently started charging tuition for regular classes but still give free extension courses. The college, established in 1859, occupies several buildings, but the most recognizable and famous is the Foundation Building, which is situated on the block to the south of Astor Place between the two branches of Cooper Square (one being the southward extension of 3rd Av. and the other, an avenue that connects the Bowery with 4th Av. at Astor Place). The college, the legacy of Peter Cooper, occupies a special place in the history of American education.
- 3 East River Park, Montgomery St. To E. 12 St., FDR Drive. Most of this park is on the Lower East Side (and indeed the part of the East Village this far east is often also still called the Lower East Side or Loisaida), but the portion of it in the extreme East Village contains one or two baseball diamonds, some basketball courts, a playground or two and a well-tended path along the river that provides very worthwhile views in good weather. Popular with joggers, roller bladers, picknickers, ball players, kids, and people taking a stroll.
- 4 Grace Church, 802 Broadway (at 10th St.), ☎ . A lovely neo-Gothic Episcopal church, seemingly inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Free guided tours every Sunday at 1PM, or just walk past and look. Of course, there are also masses, and a concert series is given, too.
- 5 Ottendorfer Library, 135 Second Ave (between St Marks and 9th St), ☎ . M, W 10AM-6PM, Tu, Th 10AM-8PM, F-Sa 10AM-5PM. The oldest continuously existing free lending library in New York, it was originally designed in 1884 as a "Deutsches Bibliothek" when this neighborhood was part of Kleindeutschland (Little Germany) and now serves as a branch of the New York Public Library. Another part of this lovely red brick building, constructed as a "Deutsches Dispensary," features reliefs of heroes of German culture such as Goethe but stopped functioning as a clinic several years ago and now functions as the offices for an innovation consulting company called ?What If!.
- St. Marks Place. The eastward extension of 8th St./Astor Place past 3rd Ave. There are many bars, restaurants, and shops (many with a street vending presence) on the block between 2nd and 3rd Aves. There's always quite a mixture of folk walking up and down the street and within the area not to mention the slew of students from Cooper Union and NYU, which has plenty of dormitories and facilities nearby. Be warned that it can be unpleasantly crowded with slow-moving tipsy people at times, but it is a good place for people-watching.
- Stuyvesant Street. The only street in Manhattan that actually runs due east to the compass. There are several 18th- and early 19th-century buildings along this street, which runs from a bit south of 9th St. and 3rd Ave. to 10th St and 2nd Ave. At the corner of 10th St. and 2nd Ave. is 6 St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, a historic landmark and a very active church today, with an old and lush graveyard to the north, on and near the corner of 11th St. and 2nd Ave. Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of the colony of New Netherland before the British took possession and renamed it New York, is buried in a crypt in the east wall of the church. On the other end of Stuyvesant St., at the triangle between 9th St., Stuyvesant St., and 3rd Ave., a small garden and a compass fountain were constructed a few years ago for beautification and in order to show that Stuyvesant St. does go due east to the compass.
- 7 Tompkins Square Park, btwn 7th St., 10th St., Avenue A, and Avenue B. Not much to see, but a nice park nonetheless and historically significant for its long reputation of political demonstrations and radical thought. The Grateful Dead played their first East Coast show here in 1967, and the first Hare Krishna gathering outside of India took place here in 1965. The park has a curfew — it closes at midnight.
- Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS), 155 Avenue C. A very small museum, that illustrates the history of activism in the neighborhood. Tours of legendary historic neighborhood sites and of community gardens are proposed every Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.
- 1 Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave (Subway: F to 2nd Avenue). A varied program of unique films, both repertory and new, most playing for only one or two screenings. Many of the films shown here can't be seen anywhere else (for better or worse). It also plays host to several film festivals yearly.
- The 2 Public Theater and the adjoining Joe's Pub at 425 Lafayette St, are part of the lifeblood of the East Village. You can see shows, events, art, and Shakespeare, and hear some excellent performers of jazz, world music and so on at Joe's Pub.
- 3 Blue Man Group, Astor Place Theatre, 434 Lafayette St, ☎ .
- 4 Russian & Turkish Baths, 268 E 10th St. Enjoy a day of self indulgence with a very authentic Russian feel. Then nosh on bagels and cream cheese, or an authentic Russian meal in the restaurant. Maybe after all that shvitzing (that's Yiddish/New Yorkese for "sweating"): a huge bottle of seltzer, or fresh carrot juice is the thing you'll want most.
- 5 STOMP at Orpheum Theatre, 126 2nd Ave (between 7th St and St. Marks), ☎ . The Orpheum Theatre, which has hosted STOMP, the well-known show of percussion produced with everyday objects by actors with audience participation, since 1994, used to show the musical Rent in the 1990s, before it was a hit on Broadway. Much earlier, the Orpheum was one of several Yiddish theaters on 2nd Av. in what was then universally known as the Lower East Side.
Many souvenirs, articles of clothing, and new and used records are on sale on St. Marks Place between 2nd and 3rd Avs. in storefronts that open onto the street and indoor stores.
- 1 Sunrise Mart, 29 3rd Av. (actually on Stuyvesant St., on the 2nd floor - accessible by elevator), ☎ . Japanese grocery store extensively patronized by Japanese residents of New York.
- 2 Moishe's Bake Shop, 115 Second Ave (just south of 7th St), ☎ . 8AM - 9PM; closes before sundown on Friday; closed Saturday and Jewish holidays. This is an old-fashioned kosher bakery. Among their excellent offerings are their strudels, mandel bread, rugelach, black & whites, danishes, almond horns, cinnamon sticks and kichlach (big crispy sugar cookies), and their challahs are also very popular. Their hamantashen are also good, though sometimes a bit salty. The Chinese almond cookies are good, but some of the smaller cookies are not too consistent in quality. The counterwomen are always willing to help you select items that were baked that day. Items that are in individual portion size, like black & whites, danishes, and almond horns, cost around $2.50-$3 apiece, but rugelach and mandel bread are quite a lot more expensive and must be bought by the quarter pound (minimum) or as an entire large piece, respectively. The staff will be happy to cut you a piece of strudel, and they will also slice challah for you without extra charge. Wednesdays and Thursdays are particularly good days to visit, as they have fresh chocolate and sometimes also cinnamon babka those days, and with any luck, you can get some that's still warm (unfortunately, they no longer sell it by the slice; you'll have to get half a babka or an entire one). There is no place to sit, so all business is for takeout, and they do not have napkins or utensils to give you.
- 3 John Varvatos, 315 Bowery (at Bleecker), ☎ . A rather vivid example of the gentrification of the Bowery, this store is noteworthy for being the former home of CBGB, an underground nightclub that was famous for being the center of the New Wave and hardcore punk scenes in the 1970s and 80s. Today, it's a high-end men's fashion store popular for the many rock stars among its clients. Though the punk crowd is gone, the flyer-covered walls from CBGB have been preserved and rock memorabilia sits beside the store's designer jackets and shoes.
- 4 The Shape of Lies, 127 East 7th St (between 1st Ave & Ave A), ☎ . Wed to Sun. One of the last live/work artist store fronts in the East Village. Morphing from window art dioramas in the 80's they now showcase only local jewelry designers and artists along with their own museum replica jewelry and paintings. Screen door and original tin ceiling complete the authentic East Village look. $28-$300.
- 5 Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway (corner of 12th St.), ☎ , fax: . M-Sa 9:30AM-10:30PM, Su 11AM-10:30PM. One of the foremost used bookstores in New York, reportedly housing over 18 miles of shelf space, all of it crammed to capacity. A recent renovation has opened up the space tremendously, though that will be a surprise to any newcomer, who will marvel at the wall-to-wall crowds.
There are hundreds of eateries in the East Village, which is among the best neighborhoods in Manhattan for sampling a variety of different cuisines and has lots of good values at a wide spectrum of price points. That said, with the rise in real estate prices, there has been a proliferation of upscale restaurants, with several budget restaurants having closed in the last couple of years, and prices have gone up palpably almost everywhere. In this neighborhood, nowadays, a meal that costs $30-65 or so per person before tip is mid-range. The "splurge" category starts no lower than the $70s.
- 1 Crif Dogs, 113 St Marks Pl #2 (between Avenue A and 1st Ave), ☎ . Su-Th noon-2AM, F-Sa noon-4AM. Widely renowned by hot dog lovers for their pork and beef, deep fried frankfurters. Perennial favorites include the Spicy Redneck and any of the bacon-wrapped dogs.
- 2 Mud, 307 E. 9th St., ☎ . 9AM-12AM. A real neighborhood hangout that offers terrific coffee and light meals.
- 3 Somtum Der, 85 Ave A (Between 5th and 6th Sts), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily, Noon-11:30 PM. This is a branch of an Isaan restaurant headquartered in Bangkok. Expect spicy food unless you request for it to be made milder, and also be aware that items marked on the menu as including fermented fish have a very strong rotten-fish taste, which is authentic but may or may not meet with your approval. Among their best items are the gaeng om kai (Isaan-style chicken soup in a large bowl with cabbage and herbs, though you may want to ask for it with "less salt"), sa poak kai tod der (Der-styled deep fried chicken thigh), moo ping kati sod (grilled coconut milk-marinated pork skewers) and tum mangsavirat (vegetarian papaya salad). The restaurant is mellower at lunch, when the lights are on and Quincy Jones Band albums from the 1960s play on their sound system. At night, the low lights, techno music and crowds of young customers may make you think you should be dancing at a club. The restaurant is more crowded now that Michelin gave it a locally-controversial star, but if you are a small party, you are unlikely to have a long wait except perhaps at peak hours on Saturday night. Lunch specials: $10-12; Tum (papaya salad): $8-11; Deep-fried: $7-12; Larb/spicy salad: $8-13; Grilled: $10-12; Soup: $10-13; Rice & noodle dishes: $10-13; Side dishes: $3-4; Desserts: $6-7.
- 4 Ukrainian East Village, 140 2nd Ave (in the back of the ground floor of the Ukrainian National Home between St Marks Place and 9th St.), ☎ . Mon-Thurs:Noon-10PM; Friday-Sunday: Noon-midnight. This big dining room has a pleasant, somewhat faded Old World elegance, with parquet floors and chandeliers, and unlike most other restaurants in New York, it has high ceilings and somewhat of a sense of spaciousness. Tango classes are offered in an adjoining room in back of the restaurant twice a week. The most expensive dish on the menu is trout for $15.95.
- 5 Veniero's, 342 E. 11th St (between 1st and 2nd Aves.), ☎ . A fun little Italian pastry shop. You can eat in the dining room or purchase items to go at the counter.
- 6 Veselka, 144 2nd Ave, ☎ . 24 hours. Half-century-old Ukrainian diner now has a snazzier decor and hipper clientele but still offers traditional Eastern European fare like pierogi, blintzes, stuffed cabbage, etc.
- 7 Xian Famous Foods, 81 St. Marks Pl (just west of 1st Ave.), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sundays-Thursdays: 11:30AM-9:30PM; Fridays & Saturdays: 11:30AM-10:30PM. At peak times, this place is absolutely thronged with people who enjoy the unique cuisine of Xi'an and want their noodles spicy and inexpensive (although since there's been a falloff on the spice, some patrons ask for "extra spicy"). If there's room, you can sit down, but this is not really a restaurant: you wait on line, tell the person at the counter the number(s) of the dish(es) you want against a menu of pictures and descriptions on the wall, pay, and then collect your food when your number is called. There are counters lined with seats. Hip hop plays on the sound system. You can order to eat in or take out, but they do not deliver and no-one will take your order over the phone. Noodles: $4.50-8.00; Vegetable salads: $4.75; Salads with lamb: $10; Other specialties: $2.50-10.00.
- 8 Yakitori Taisho, 5 St Marks Place (East of 3rd Av and down a short flight of stairs), ☎ . Sun-Wed: 6 PM-2 AM; Thu-Sat: 6 PM-4 AM. This restaurant specializes in yakitori - Japanese-style grilled items on skewers. They sell other food items, but in general, it is best to stick to yakitori and similar items, and definitely do not get things like ramen there, because the further away it is from being grilled, the worse it is likely to be. Most of their yakitori is dependably good, and it's definitely a great value. They also sell pretty good sake for about $8 for a large carafe, and the servers are knowledgeable about the sakes. Because the restaurant is cheap and open late, it gets all kinds of freaky, drunk customers, and the aisles and seating are definitely at close quarters. Just consider it an experience and enjoy. Yakitori: $1.50-2.50 per portion, $13.50 per set (10 skewers).
- 9 Zabb Elee, 75 2nd Ave (between 4th and 5th Sts.), ☎ . Sunday-Thursday: 11:30AM-10:30PM; Friday-Saturday: 11:30AM-11:30PM. This arguably used to be one of the better Thai restaurants in Manhattan but may no longer be, though it is one of three or so in Manhattan where anyone can get very spicy food. They have a 1-5 spiciness index, and anything 4 and up will seriously challenge most people (3 is already robustly spicy). Zabb specializes in Isaan cuisine from the Northeastern part of Thailand near Laos, so get specialties like larb, yum, som tom, and toam. If you want your food less sweet and more sour, ask. You might not get it exactly the way you want, but it's worth a try. $7-14 per dish.
- 10 Bruno Pizza, 204 E. 13th St., ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 6PM-"closing", according to their website. Does not close early. This innovative pizzeria, which opened in 2015, is trendy lately. The wood-fired pizza is thin-crust like a Neapolitan pizza, but the toppings are a bit offbeat and use some strong flavors, including peppery, smokey, perfumy, funky, salty and fatty. All the ingredients are of a very high quality and the combinations are interesting. Their wines are also excellent. If you buy no drinks, your meal could cost less than $30, but you risk missing part of the experience. The wait staff is very helpful, and the sommelier is enthusiastic and glad to provide tastes of a few open wines to help you make a selection. The sound system plays classic rock at a moderately loud but not deafening level. 20% service charge is included in the bill; no tipping allowed. Online menu shows no prices, but pizzas are in the teens and apps are almost as expensive. Wines are mostly in the teens by the glass and about 4 times as much per bottle (so a $16 wine by the glass is sold for $64 per bottle).
- 11 Cafe Mogador, 101 St. Marks Pl (between 1st Av. and Av. A), ☎ . Serves Moroccan, French, and Middle-Eastern cuisine, all dependably good. The cafe is especially popular for weekend brunch, but a very good breakfast/brunch is available every day of the week. More dishes are on the brunch menu on weekends, but you are likely to wait a half hour or more for weekend brunch during peak hours.
- 12 Caracas Arepa Bar, 93 1/2 E. 7th St. (just east of 1st Av.), ☎ . A small restaurant specializing in arepas, the Venezuelan answer to empanadas. They also serve Venezuelan empanadas, salads, desserts, etc., and very good fresh-squeezed juices. You may have to wait on line for a table at peak hours, but it is a very relaxing place to eat at the bar on off-hours. Prices have increased substantially ($7.25-10.75 for one arepa, as of 2015), but the lunch specials are still the best value.
- 13 Haveli, 100 2nd Ave (just south of 6th St.), ☎ . Lunch Sat-Sun: 11:30AM-2:30PM; Dinner every day: 5:30PM-midnight. Haveli costs more than the few remaining anonymous Indian restaurants on 6th-St. between 1st and 2nd Av., which used to be wall-to-wall Indian restaurants a couple of decades ago, but it's better and has some decor. You can get food there that is rich, spicy, and complexly flavored. $30-40 for a sizable meal.
- 14 Hot Kitchen, 104 2nd Ave. (at the corner of 6th St.), ☎ , fax: . Mon-Thurs: Noon-11:30PM; Fri-Sat: Noon-Midnight; Sunday: Noon-10:30PM. This Sichuan restaurant is very crowded and may require a wait on weekends for dinner but otherwise has enough space to accommodate all its customers. Many Chinese customers go there for hotpot, but there are many other good dishes. Prices are not bargain-basement but portions are humongous. They also do a lot of takeout and delivery business. Also, their lunch specials belong in the "Budget" category and are one of the best deals in the East Village, as there is a wide selection and most are genuine Sichuan dishes, and their hot and sour soup, which comes with the lunch special if you request it, is quite good except when there's too much corn starch in it. Lunch special: $7.50-10; cold dishes: $5-9; appetizers: $2.50-10; soup: $2.50-14; main dishes: $12-28; noodles and fried rice, $5-10.
- 15 Ippudo NY, 65 4th Ave (between 9th and 10th Sts.), ☎ . Lunch:Mon - Sat : 11AM - 3:30PM; Sun : 11AM - 5PM; Dinner: Mon - Thu : 5PM - 11:30PM; Fri - Sat : 5PM - 12:30AM; Sun : 5PM - 10:30PM. This is a branch of a ramen-specialist chain that's well-known in Japan. They are best known for tonkotsu ramen, but also make nice spicy ramen. Some of their appetizers are really good and very much worth getting. No reservations, and there could be a long wait; your best bet is to show up, give them your cell phone number, and hang out at a local bar while waiting for them to contact you. Lunch - Appetizers: $6-9; Ramen: $14-17; Desserts: $6-10; Dinner - Appetizers: $5-15; Specialties: $9-20; Ramen: $15-17; Special: $10-13; Desserts: $6-10.
- 16 John's of 12th Street, 302 E. 12th St. (near 2nd Avenue), ☎ . 4PM-11PM. This old-school Italian-American red-sauce place has friendly service, ample portions, loads of atmosphere and a century's worth of history. Expect to pay around $40-50/person for a 3-course meal with a glass of wine. Appetizers are often served family-style.
- 17 Malai Marke, 318 E. 6th St (Between 1st and 2nd Aves), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon - Thurs: 11AM to 3PM, 5PM - 10PM; Fri - Sun: 11AM - 11PM. This Indian restaurant has the most complex flavors of any Indian restaurant in the neighborhood, and your food can be spicy, but depending on your taste, you may find everything too sweet. Two main dishes plus bread or rice feeds a couple amply, and one main plus a "small" plate and bread or rice would probably be adequate for a couple with a moderate appetite. Small plates: $5.95-11.95; Mains: $11.95-23.95; Breads: $3.75-4.50; Rice specialties: $3.50-7.95; Lunch specials: $11.95.
- 18 Momofuku Ssäm Bar, 207 2nd Av. (corner of 13th St.). Lunch: 11:30AM-3:30PM every day; Dinner - Sunday-Thursday: 5PM-midnight; Friday/Saturday: 5PM-1AM. Walk-in only except for the large-format rotisserie duck or bo ssäm (includes a whole slow cooked pork shoulder, a dozen oysters, white rice, bibb lettuce, ssäm sauce [Korean BBQ sauce], kimchi and ginger scallion sauce) meals, which are for groups of about 6. However, even at peak times, you probably won't have to wait more than 20 minutes or so for two seats at the bar. This is a serious, eclectic restaurant, part of a small chain of highly respected restaurants cheffed by David Chang, but the atmosphere is quite informal and convivial. You can get food at this place that's better than at places where you'd pay twice as much or more for white tablecloths and the like. A regular meal (not one of the large-format dinners) costs about $50-70 including an alcoholic drink, tax, and tip. The big-format meals are a splurge.
- 19 Oda House, 76 Avenue B (corner of 5th St.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Sunday-Friday: 11AM - 11PM; Saturday: 11AM-midnight. This restaurant serves Georgian food - not barbecued ribs or grits, but khinkali, pkhali, khachapuri, and other food from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, accompanied by good Georgian wine, if you so choose. The food is generally flavorful and pleasant, but may be oversalted. The place can get crowded on weekends, so if you are sure of when you plan on coming, you might want to get reservations. Expect to pay about $30/person, not counting drinks or tip, for a sizable meal.
- 20 Hearth, 403 E. 12th St. (corner of 1st Ave), ☎ . An upscale American restaurant strongly influenced by Italian cuisine. Hearth is open for dinner only. Expect to pay roughly $80/person, including wine. Reservations recommended.
- 21 Kyo Ya, 94 E 7th St (just east of 1st Av., down a set of outdoor stairs), ☎ . This restaurant is easy to miss; the only sign you will see from the street, if you look for it on the downtown side of 7th St., is an "Open" sign at the top of a set of stairs. Nor does Kyo Ya have a website. Before their New York Times 3-star review, they were content to have a reputation by word of mouth, as a very civilized, artisanal restaurant with the gracious service you'd expect at an upscale Japanese restaurant. This is a kaiseki restaurant, which specializes in meals of many courses. You can order a la carte, but if you have the money, you really are best off letting the restaurant shine by doing what it does best. Reservations are more or less essential, especially if you want kaiseki, which requires a couple of days' advance notice. Excellent sake list, too. 8-course kaiseki: $95; 9-course: $120; 10-course: $150; a la carte cold appetizers: $9-28; hot appetizers: $9-16; large plates: $29-35; rice and noodle: $4-42; chef's seasonal dish: $9-22.
- 1 B Bar, 40 E 4th St, ☎ . Restaurant and bar, this place caters mostly to the bar and club crowd.
- 2 Booker and Dax, 207 2nd Ave (entrance on 13th St. just west of 2nd Av.; next to Momofuku Ssam Bar). Sun–Thurs: 6PM – 2AM; Fri/Sat: 6PM – 3AM. A great cocktail bar in an informal setting. Some of the drinks involve fancy techniques like using liquid nitrogen, but the important thing is that they get the blend of flavors just right.
- 3 d.b.a., 41 1st Ave (between 2nd and 3rd Sts). 1PM-4AM daily. Has a good selection of beers including many from microbreweries, as well as a bunch of single malt whiskeys, and prices are slightly high for the neighborhood but not outrageous. It can get crazy on Saturday nights, but it's a pleasant, relaxing place on weeknights.
- Holiday Cocktail Lounge, 75 St. Marks Place (Between 1st and 2nd Avs, north side of the street), ☎ . Old-timers to the neighborhood may remember this as a no-frills bar that had booths with torn upholstery and was presided over by a friendly old Ukrainian bartender/owner. After he died, the bar remained shut and vacant for several years. The new owners had it renovated and somewhat redesigned, but it still has the feel of an old-time room. However, to afford today's expensive rents and follow the new trends, they now specialize in excellent cocktails and also have a menu of small plates. However, one thing hasn't changed: The bartenders are still personable.
- 4 The Immigrant, 341 E 9th St (at 1st Ave), ☎ . Su-Th 5PM-1AM, F-Sa 5PM-3AM daily. Wine bar with great list and some microbrews. Cozy, elegant without being pretentious. Great place to meet with friends or bring a date.
- 5 International Bar, 120½ 1st Ave (Just north of 7th St), toll-free: . Daily 8AM-4AM. This might be one of the few bars left in the East Village that isn't overrun by frat boys, sorority girls and loud drunken youths from New Jersey. It usually isn't crazy even on weekends. They are not whiskey specialists but have a pretty good and relatively well-priced selection of whiskeys and ryes (though prices have started to creep up, and Sophie's, listed below, is cheaper), among the rest of their drinks. The sound track tends toward country and classic rock, the bartenders are personable and helpful, and the clientele tends to be a quirky, friendly motley crew of various ages.
- 6 KGB Bar, 84 E 4th St. A hard-drinking literary bar.
- 7 McSorley's Old Ale House, 15 E 7th St (between 2nd Ave and Cooper Sq), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 1PM-1AM. The oldest pub in continuous operation in New York, this small pub packs up fast. Sawdust on the floors, McSorleys beer (light or dark) only that comes in pairs, this place is a favorite with tourists and locals alike. The ancient chandelier above the bar has turkey wishbones dating from WW1 when a turkey dinner was thrown for the departing soldier and the wishbone was hung up till he returned. Abraham Lincoln drank there and Teddy Roosevelt's signature graces the walls. Boisterous atmosphere and cheap food too!
- 8 Otto's Shrunken Head, 538 E 14th St (14th and Avenue B), ☎ . 2PM-4AM daily. A fun, boozy reimagining of the once popular post-war American tiki bar. Yeah it's pretty tacky, that's the idea. Grab a sickly sweet Hawaiian-styled cocktail, or just get a basic beer. Sometimes hosts live bands with more of like a Punk/Country/Rockabilly vibe. No cover. Drinks $5-14.
- Sophie's, 509 E 5th St (Between Avs A and B, north side of the street), ☎ . Daily, 3:00PM - 4:00AM. This is one of the few authentic East Village dive bars remaining. Their drinks are probably the least expensive in the neighborhood, and the selection is good. Lots of interesting decor including a large papier mache model of a blimp. Pool table and jukebox in the back.
- 9 Vazac's Horseshoe Bar (7B), 108 Ave B (at 7th St), ☎ . A rock 'n' roll hangout that dates back to Prohibition, 7B has been featured in numerous movies for its classic Manhattan atmosphere.
- 10 The Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery (at 2nd St), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Good local music club (the music room is in the basement). There is usually a cover charge of at least $8 to get in, and drinks are marked up (e.g., $9 for Stoli and soda). Good acoustics. You might get lucky and get a seat (if that's what you want to do), but most of the crowd stands for the entire performance. Bring earplugs in case the volume is pumped out louder than you like.
- Webster Hall, 125 E 11th St (Between 3rd and 4th Aves), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Open 24 hours. This large, beautiful, landmarked dance and event hall with three performance venues dates from 1886, but its lineup of performances is very much in keeping with the times, featuring popular rock bands. Lines for tickets and entrance are often quite long and events sometimes sell out, so if you know in advance that you want to go to a concert and have the chance to buy tickets in advance, do.
- 1 The Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery (between 2nd & 3rd Sts), ☎ . Fabulously dark and moody, this newish old-school hotel is cool and charming in a low-key way. Rooms are spacious with plenty of light and dark hardwood floors, and the more expensive ones come with fantastic bathtubs. The bar and lobby are popular hangouts. From $350.
- 2 The Standard, East Village, 25 Cooper Square, ☎ . Pet-friendly boutique hotel.
The East Village is a residential neighborhood. Visitors are of course welcome. But please do not block the sidewalk, entrances to residences, or intersections where people may want to cross the street on green or red lights, and do not make a lot of noise outside at 3 in the morning. Remember that local residents have places to get to quickly day and night, and though New York is called the "City That Never Sleeps" (a name that's particularly apt in the East Village), most residents above a certain age do need some shut-eye before 5AM, even on St Marks Place.
There is a Starbucks on Astor Place right near the exit from the downtown 6 subway, with other East Village locations at 9th St. and 2nd Av., 3rd St. and 1st Av. and 13th St. and 1st Av. Starbucks gives customers free Wi-Fi, and many people spend hours working or surfing there. Van Leeuwen ice cream shop, 48 1/2 E. 7th St. (just east of 2nd Av.), which also serves coffee, et al., provides free Wi-Fi, too. There are also some New York Public Library branches, such as the Ottendorfer Branch (see "See" above) and the Tompkins Square branch on 10th St. between Aves. A and B, where patrons can use the library's terminals to surf the web for 30 minutes, free.
- The Lower East Side, just across Houston St. from the East Village, though perhaps even more crushed with young clubbers, is in many respects a continuation of the East Village, or vice versa.
- A bit further south but still at most a moderate-distance walk away (15-30 minutes) for a reasonably able-bodied person is Chinatown.
- To the west is the West Village.
- To the southwest (Lafayette St. and further west, south of Houston) is SoHo.
- To the north are Gramercy Park and Murray Hill, including the small but vibrant and interesting sub-neighborhood of "Curry Hill."
- Williamsburg, Brooklyn is as little as one stop away on the L train, and is an interesting counterpart to the East Village, as a happening neighborhood with excellent eateries and a very active night life.
|Routes through East Village|
|Midtown East ← Gramercy Flatiron ←||N S||→ SoHo (6) → Financial District|
|END ← Chelsea/Greenwich Village ←||W E||→ Williamsburg, Brooklyn → East Brooklyn|