East Village in New York
The East Village in New York is probably my favorite neighbourhood. Not without reason: This was the first neighbourhood in New York where I lived 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 characterized by its relatively low buildings and a lack of big chain stores and tourists. For you as a traveller, it’s exactly what makes the East Village a great place to discover. Usually 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 tailored to the many young people living there. The area is home to many NYU students, which makes it a very socially involved neighbourhood. When exploring the East Village there’s a big chance that you will come across some graffiti or posters supporting current social movements. Consequently, there are many small bistro’s, pubs and student bars where you can grab a bite or a beer for a great price. Especially along Avenue A there are many accessible bars and eateries. Walk down this street between 6th and 11th Street and you will come across all kinds of nice restaurants. Like Miss Lily’s 7A Cafe on 7th Street, an (in my opinion) ancient Jamaican restaurant with an interior that immediately makes you happy. At the corner of 2nd Avenue and E 9th Street you find Veselka, a busy Ukrainian restaurant that serves great food. Their menu combines authentic Ukrainian dishes, pierogi for example, with American food like turkey.
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 Park is also worth mentioning, it’s a great place to walk through and see the daily life of local New Yorkers. 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 go shopping in New York. You’ll 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!
Hotels in East Village
If you’d like to book a hotel in East Village, I recommend the East Village Hotel, which really has the East Village vibe. Other good options are The Standard East Village and Moxy East Village.