How LoHo can you go: Past meets present in a hip section of the lower East Side
By Alexandra Morra
Published January 9, 2005
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January 9, 2005
LIFE IN THE CITY
HOW LoHo CAN YOU GO?
Past meets present in a hip section of the lower East Side
By ALEXANDRA MORRA
Yet another new nabe has sprung up in Manhattan. Rooted within the lower East Side, LoHo (Lower than Houston) possesses all the charisma and diversity we've come to expect from downtown, but rents are still low and you won't find a Starbucks on every comer.
Culinary options abound amid the chic boutiques and cafes that have opened alongside historic shops that reflect the area's rich (and continually evolving) immigrant history. Here's a guide to scouting out the best LoHo has to offer, from Guss' Lower East Side Pickles (still sold in sidewalk barrels) to Pop-art ballet flats at Forward - and everything in between.
East Broadway Kosher Deli wafts every favorite bread and cookie scent you've ever had the pleasure to whiff. Try the almond crescent cookie, which has just the right amount of crumbly sweetness, a chewy interior and earthy almond crunch.
Legendary Guss' Lower East Side Pickles
moved from its original
location on Essex St. (Ludlow St. was the city's first commercial pickle district), but still sells three-month aged sour pickles in barrels on the street, just like the old days. Also look far the Pickle Guys
, opened by a former Guss' employee three years ago.
World-renowned Kossar's Bialys has New York's No.1-you guessed it bialy. Shimmy next door to Doughnut Plant and savor a pistachio or strawberry doughnut; fresh .organic fruits and nut glazes with no eggs and all-natural ingredients put Krispy Kreme to shame. Tap it off with "the best coffee in the neighborhood" at Full City Coffee so you're fully pumping and ready to explore.
St. Mary's Church is an 1870 church of Corinthian columns, renovated frescos and illuminated stained glass offering mass in both English and Spanish. Next door, the national historic landmark Henry Street Settlement Abrons Arts Center offers instruction in dance, theater, art and music. All are welcome to partake in classes and performances.
Head north and walk west along Broome St. You will pass Bialystoker Place but don't pass up a visit to Bialystoker Synagogue. This 1878 historic relic is the most active synagogue in all the lower East Side. Its two-story wood and gold-leaf arch, originally constructed and brought from Italy, spans the height .of the main sanctuary. Chandeliers, stained glass and gilded ceiling paintings of the 12 zodiac signs shed light on this captivating window into New York's past.
LoHo Studios, above Delancey St. but still lower than Houston, has been serving major indie label and independent projects far 20 years. "We named it LoHo because in Chinese it means good Jelen, Phish, The Breeders; Rufus, Wainwright, Patti Smith and Keith Richards. "We also support a lot of local music. We‘re a mom-and-pop shop with a lower East Side mentality, that’s what got us here,” says Luke.
At Constellation Orion, funky girlie threads deck the window brightly but the store's star is Kim White. White uses '70s and '80s automobile interiors to design chic and funky fabric handbags that stop traffic. Picture yourself cruising through town with a 1975 AMC Gremlin "God's eye"-fabric shoulder bag ($185); or rev up with the 1983 Camaro "back seat fabric" clutch and feel those hairy chest and gold-chain memories•come alive ($150). I fell for the 1980 Ford Mustang yellow plaid optical bag ($160) - it was sunshiny high school on my shoulder revisited.
On Orchard St. below Delancey, the mix of tenements, edgy cafes like 88 Orchard, two-seat hair salon Fringe, and PC gaming centers are sure to keep you occupied. You wouldn't know it from its windows, but Klein's has been selling designer duds here for 30 years. Collections include Judith Leiber, Joseph Abboud, Les Copains, Barbara Bui, Rene Lazard, Etro, Zelda, Philippe Adec, Max Mara and Piazza Sempione. The quiet, private "fitting lounge," replete with flattering lights, also makes Klein's well worth your time and money. Bridge
(named after the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg spans), sells gorgeous leathers at
unbeatable prices. Owner Sol Einhorn, a concentration-camp survivor who came to New York as a student and landed on the block in 1950, has seen everything change. "Thirty years ago, Sundays were very important here because department stores were closed. Thousands of people came from all boroughs to shop; there were lines to get into Orchard St. stores, In the last 10 to 12 years, the operators came in, old-fashioned tenements became like new and were rented as living spaces; they used to have coal heating," recalls Einhorn. "Now the young people want to live where their grandparents lived - it's a comeback from the second generation," he says of the area that•in the 19th century was the most densely populated neighborhood in the world, and known as "the gateway to America." Time be damned, the man sells fabulous leather and suede jackets and coats for men and women. A $1,800 full-length Toscano fur-lined suede overcoat with rabbit cuffs and lapel would easily command twice as much uptown.
Next door at Michele Olivieri, aka the Gator Store, "skin shoes" tout pimp-daddy flair and steppin'-out finery. The $400 ostrich and alligator Adidas-inspired sneakers are as cool as they come; but at $750, the baby alligator dress shoes are the true hot commodity. Styles for men and women start as low as $59, and the variety is as large as the outback itself.
Artwear by Toni is a storefront gallery featuring 80 international jewelry designers. Semi-precious stones, silver, freshwater pearls and Oscar-night -worthy neckpieces light up this small shop where owner Toni McBurney splits space with artist Mark Miller, whose paintings are also for sale, "It has to be elegant, beautiful and fabulous," says McBurney of her merchandise. Her standards are as high as her jewelry is gorgeous; treasure troves of necklaces, earrings and bracelets ring of high-fashion exotica.
Looking for unique handmade bedding and beautiful silk duvets? Red Threads has got you covered. They offer contemporary bed linens and accent pillows ranging from $59 to $345. All bedding features hotel-like heavier gauge Italian cotton and exquisitely luxurious Indian silks done handsome and modem in simple yet artful graphic prints.
At Eggplant, hand-woven throws, toile shower curtains, slow-burn candles, and a folk-artsy
eggplant-purple theme fill 200 square feet charmingly. Owner Debbie Grogan's cold-pressed, no-dye, goat's milk soaps are her sweet-smelling best sellers ($7), and her tiny country shop touts only handmade crafts.
Fashionistas, go to Forward
. This designer's co-op is a boutique/showroom/fashion incubator'-that features a rotating group of up and-coming. talent and hipster aspiration. Every six months the merchandise (and cast of designers) switches, and along the way each designer represented takes turns working two-day-a-week store shifts. All clothes and accessories are either limited edition, one of a kind or handmade. Fluorescent tiered dresses, "metallic leaf” side-slung backpacks, harlequin-style sweatshirts, tattooed Pop-art ballet slippers, punk rock travel cases, rhinestone broaches, frou-froti cardigans, chic wide-leg trousers: Forward is a motley crew of tastes and styles - a reflection of its neighborhood home.
The Lowdown on LoHo
- East Broadway Kosher Deli - 363 Grand Street, (212) 228-1110
- Guss' Lower East Side Pickles - 85-86 Orchard Street at Broome Street, (917) 701-4000
- Kossar's Bialys - 367 Grand Street, (212) 473-4810
- Doughnut Plant - 379 Grand Street, (212) 505-3700
- Full City Coffee - (212) 260-2363
- 88 Orchard - 88 Orchard Street, (212) 228-8880
- Pickle Guys - 49 Essex Street, Between Grand and Hester Streets, (212) 656-9739
- St. Mary's Church - 440 Grand Street, (212) 674-3266
- Henry Street Settlement Abrons Arts Center - 466 Grand Street, (212) 598-0400
- Bialystoker Synagogue - 13 Bialystoker Place, (212) 475-0165
- LoHo Studios - 48 Clinton Street, (212) 979-8685
- Constellation Orion - 248 Broome Street, no phone
- Klein's of Monticello - 105 Orchard Street, (212) 966-1453
- Bridge - 98 Orchard Street, (212) 674-6320
- Michele Olivieri - 94 Orchard Street, (212) 501-3664
- Artwear by Toni - 92 Orchard Street, (212) 253-2116
- Red Threads - 81 Orchard Street, (212) 925-6519
- Eggplant - 85A Orchard Street, (212) 334-4342
- Forward - 72 Orchard Street, (646) 264-3233
- Fringe Salon - 96 Orchard Street, (212) 674-8383