For as long as I’ve been regularly visiting my brother in New York City, he has lived near the East Village. Offering a welcomed alternative to the tourist-choked streets of Soho and the student-choked streets of Greenwich Village, the East Village feels legit. Here you can find cooks, hipsters, artists, junkies, punks, designers, skaters, curators, musicians, and thugs, many of them falling into more than one category. There also happens to be a superb selection of unique shopping opportunities and enough restaurants (Dumpling Man, Murray’s Falafel and Grill) and diversions (Giant Robot, Tompkins Square Park) to make it an experience. I threw this together to highlight the best of the best the East Village has to offer. Enjoy.
Famous Friends/FF The Showroom:
Famous Friends is owned and operated by an extremely warm, enthusiastic and helpful individual named Richard. His cutting-edge inventory features designers such as Mjörn and Snooz as well as a plethora of other promising design talent.
Two storefronts down from Famous Friends is FF The Showroom (watched over by a friendly Japanese fellow) which exhibits full collections of both casualwear and dressier items while their main location offers a similar experience. From time to time, Famous Friends also holds sales, which take place in The Showroom, where you can find items significantly marked-down.
I expressed to Richard that I was interested in opening a boutique in Miami to bring a lot of the more fashion forward labels to the 305. He suggested I start with A.P.C. Fair enough. Be sure to check Richard's ill shop out.
Famous Friends is located at 616 East 9th Street
Finding Den randomly was probably the most pleasant surprise of my trip as I it happened on a day I was feeling particularly homesick. Odin has two locations, one in the East Village and one in Soho, and stocks everything from designer denim to Oliver Spencer shoes to Comme de Garçons fragrances to Lomography cameras.
Den, an expansion of Odin located right next door, seemed to be in flux but altogether I liked the vibe more (props to Mike). Originally meant to showcase one brand at a time (a really awesome idea), their first featured brand was Cheap Monday. This is unfortunate as Cheap Monday jeans can now be picked up at your local Urban Outfitters. When I went back to the store a day or so later, it had become a clearance room.
Still, of all the shops I visited, Den offered clothes which most appealed to me.
Den is located at 330 East 11th Street
These two stores are so similar that I find it hard to believe they are not affiliated. You’ll often hear a lot of vintage storeowners complaining about how the Japanese are buying all the best pieces, as they are willing to pay higher prices and pay students to find them. Well no doubt some of the pieces end up here.
Both shops feature the best collection of pre-loved tees I’ve ever seen as well as vintage jeans, western shirts, collared shirts, jackets, sweaters, and kicks. Prices are reasonable and just straddle the line between high-end boutique and Flamingo Plaza.
Also, across the street from Argosy is a thrift shop more like the latter, if that’s your thing. Bobby 2000 also stocks some solid-color Alternative Apparel tees that are so soft, they might as well be vintage. Bypass St. Mark’s and head for these shops.
Argosy is located at 428 East 9th Street
Bobby 2000 is located at 104 East 7th Street
Also be sure to check out Seven New York, located in Soho and one of the only shops to carry Pleasure Principle, the illest underground label on the scene and a 2LL favorite: