Tag: East Village

East Village Institutions Closing Their Doors

3 east village institutions closing by ari kellenIn the late 80s and early 90s, many of the bohemian types who turned the East Village into a hip and cool neighborhood began to lament its gentrification.  One famous piece of graffiti in the neighborhood lamented in plain words “the East Village is dead”.  Of course, this all happened before I was born, and there are still different institutions that have stood the test of time, such as Veselka and Ray’s Candy Store.  But there are also countless places that have closed shop in this unique and historic neighborhood, mostly due to rising rents.  And just recently, three true institutions of the East Village are now gone.  Let’s take a moment to think about them:

Clayworks Pottery: When Clayworks first opened in January 1974, owner Helaine Sorgen described the neighborhood as a different world, filled with empty storefronts.  The store, selling handmade stone and porcelain pieces, has been there through the neighborhood’s growth and development.  While the store still does brisk business, it was purchased by a predatory real estate investor who won’t renew the lease.  The business’s last day is expected to be September 15.

Jimmy’s No. 43: Jimmy Carbone is arguably one of the most well-known names in New York City’s bar and food scene, thanks to his gregarious personality, podcasting, and active involvement in local events.  His bar/restaurant, Jimmy’s No. 43, was known for its unique and frequently changing selection of draft beers since first opening in 2005.  Due to a decline in business, the bar is closing.  However, Carbone, whose bar has weathered temporary closures during both the East Village explosion and Hurricane Sandy, remains hopeful that he can find a business partner to help with the bills.  

Croxley Ales: After nearly 15 years on Avenue B., Croxley Ales, known for its selection of craft beer and wing specials, is finally shuttering its doors.  The reason for the closure is unknown, but their second location in Williamsburg remains open.  The bar will be taken over by the owners of the two Triona bars on Sullivan and Third streets.  

Best East Village Bars

Best East Village Bars by Ari KellenThe old vanguard of New Yorkers, who remember going to see the Ramones at CBGB’s and the days when Alphabet City was a no-zone, have often complained that the “East Village is dead”.  Maybe the neighborhood doesn’t have the “edge” that it did when it inspired the game-changing rock musical “Rent”, and the cost-of-living has gone up dramatically.  But that’s not to say that a good time can’t still be had in this neighborhood, with 585 active liquor licenses in the neighborhood, you can be sure to find plenty of places to hang out with your friends over a couple beers, a plate of pierogies or an arcade game and have plenty of fun in the process.  Here is a list of some of the top bars in the neighborhood, based off an article that I found online with some of my personal favorite places added in as well:

The 13th Step: If you’re looking for a super rowdy night, then this is the place to go.  It gets crowded here, but if you’re up for downing a few pitchers of Bud Light with your buddies, then you can’t get much better than here.  

Jimmy’s No 43: Located just around the corner from the famed explosion that shook the neighborhood last March, Jimmy’s is considered one of the top beer bars in all of New York, thanks to a pub-like decor, an excellent food menu and an ever-changing selection of delicious (and hard-to-find) craft brews.  If you stop by, be sure to say hello to Jimmy Carbone, the friendly and fun-loving owner who can often be found chatting with patrons.  

Proletariat: Located near Tompkins Square Park, Proletariat, like Jimmy’s, specializes in serving craft beers that you most likely won’t get anywhere else.  The walls are decked with punk art, and the bathroom features pages from a book of Russian prison tattoos.  The only problem is that the bar is a little narrow, so when it gets crowded it gets very crowded.  

Standings: Conveniently located right above Jimmy’s, this sports bar offers a solid selection of beer in a dive-y atmosphere covered with Mets-related gear.  The best bar in the neighborhood to watch a baseball game, there are a surprising number of TV screens to make the experience here truly immersive.  For diehard sports fans, it doesn’t get much better than this.  

Lois: Not too far from (and in the same group as) ABC Beer Co, where many of the bars on this list specialize in beer, here the name of the game is wine.  There are 16 wines on tap in this slick, chic and inviting space, making it a must-visit for any wine nuts.  

Alphabet City Beer Co: The cozy Alphabet City Beer Co offers an array of delicious craft beers, board games and notoriously comfy sofas.  Visit on a lazy weeknight, sit down on a comfy chair, drink a beer, catch up on a book, or maybe bring a friend and you can play a few rounds of “Guess Who”.  They also sell beer here, so be sure to pick up a few cans for your fridge at home while you’re leaving.  

The Wayland: Few New York bars are able to nail the “rustic” look both on the inside and the outside, but few New York bars are like the Wayland.  The cocktails here are something to write home about, using fun ingredients and interesting combinations that are hard to replicate at any other spot in the city.

Lovers of Today: While its underground location make it easy to miss, Lovers of Today is hardly a place that you want to miss.  A snug and dark speakeasy haunt, it features a great menu of specialty cocktails, many of them a couple dollars cheaper than other speakeasies around the city.  The only problem about this place is that on weekend nights it can get a bit loud and crowded.  

Collapsed Building in NYC East Village

Many around the country have heard about the tragic gas explosion that caused fires, as well as two buildings to collapsed. Many buildings were damaged in the historic East Village neighborhood including the residency of a New York City Mayor, as well as a vintage clothing store from a popular 1985 film called Desperately Seeking Susan. The affected buildings were given landmark status in October of 2012, along with an umbrella coverage of the East Village and Lower East Side Historic District.east-village-building-collapse-1-3262015_lg

The buildings within the neighborhood can be dated back to the mid 1850’s when New Yorkers with more money were selling property downtown to move up town. The ensuing properties were then turned into tenant living quarters. The community has seen a vast array of cultures and ethnicities. Immigrants began to pour into the city limits and the East Village in particular during the late 1800’s. I was considered for a time to be “Little Germany”.

The site of the explosion once had a house belonging to Mayor Fernando Wood. In a New York Times article there was a collection of musicians in front of the plot “serenading” near the mayor’s residence, this occurring in 1855.


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