Wander south of Union Square and you’ll find yourself in one of the most iconic neighborhoods in New York City. The East Village burst to life in the 1950s as a center for counterculture, becoming a home to celebrated artists like Andy Warhol, W.H. Auden, Joey Ramone, and Lou Reed.
East Village Neighborhood Guide
Take the 4/5/6, N/Q/R, or L train to Union Square and head southeast. You’ll find an NYC landmark and bibliophile’s paradise at the corner of Broadway and 12th Street – The Strand boasts 18 miles of shelves with new, used, and rare books on every subject you can imagine.
Keep with the reading them and upgrade your reading glasses at Fabulous Fanny’s on 9th Street between First and Second Avenue, a store dedicated to the design of bifocals.
For more out-of-the-box purchases, check out Obscura Antiques and Oddities on Avenue A; selections from their stock include vintage coffins, morticians’ plugs, and shrunken heads.
Hungry? Skip Artichoke and eat at Luzzo’s on First Avenue, where you can get the same slice of namesake pizza without waiting on a 45-minute line.
For a taste of East Village history, have a meal or a drink at Sidewalk Café. Open since the mid-80s, it’s hosted countless underground punk, indie, avant garde, and jazz shows over its lifetime. Join their ranks by taking the stage on Open Mic Night every Monday.
Thirsty? Some of the city’s longest-standing bars can be found in the East Village, most notably McSorley’s Old Ale House on 7th Street. This NYC institution has been slinging just two types of beer since it opened in the 1850s: house Blonde or Dark brew.
Jimmy’s No. 43 down the block is haven for hops enthusiasts, boasting a huge mix of ales that proprietor Jimmy Carbone lovingly selects.
For cocktails sans-cloak-and-dagger, try Death & Company on 6th Street; their book of 50+ drink recipes changes with each season, so you’ll have return every few months to try them all.
Stroll down St. Mark’s Place, and you can get more than a cheap tattoo or piercing. Classic Trash and Vaudeville might’ve closed, but Search and Destroy serves up awesome vintage finds from the area’s punk rock period.
When you reach the end of the road, take a walk through Tompkins Square Park on Avenue A.
The East Village has the most community gardens of any NYC neighborhood. You can find them on nearly every block, but check out the Miracle Garden, Children’s Garden, and Parque de Tranquilidad for an eclectic mix of landscapes.
Some of NYC’s more unique museums are here as well, like the Anthology Film Archives on Second Avenue, Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on Avenue C, and the Ukrainian Museum on East 6th Street. There’s also the Museum of the American Gangster on St. Mark’s.
Make sure to stop at Vazac’s Horseshoe Bar after, a tavern featured in “The Godfather.”
Lift your spirits with an improv show at Upright Citizens Brigade on 3rd Street, or get inspired by the spoken-word artists at Nuyorican Poets Café. Both of these venues have been the starting point for some of the most talented performers of our time.
Despite claims of its cultural demise, the East Village is still alive with artistic spirit. You just have to know where to look.
So concludes the East Village Neighborhood Guide. Check out our other New York City neighborhood guides below: