CMJ Neighborhood Spotlight: East Village

posted by Cultivora on October 02, 2013

Photo: Kingston Hall 2013 by Laura Baker-Finch

New York City -- The East Village distinguished itself from its southern LES neighbor in the 1960s, when it became the birthplace of a number of artistic movements, most notably that of punk rock centered around St. Marks Place and CBGB. This influence still permeates everything from the residents to the music venues and record stores. This Rock n' Roll haven now shares its home with young families and chain stores, but the area still keeps its edge by housing the highest concentration of bars in the city, a density matched only by its diversity.

Listed below is just a taste of what is available in our full Official Travel Guide to CMJ Music Marathon, which is loaded with information about city-wide hotspots. The guide is available for free at select venues throughout New York City, and if you can't pick up a physical copy, hop on over to CMJ for our digital guide. Physical copies will also be available in each CMJ registrant's gift bag. - Laura Baker-Finch

Baohaus (238 East 14th Street)
Baohaus serves melt-in-your-mouth Taiwanese-Chinese street food right off the 3rd Avenue L stop. This tiny eatery's signature bao, or glazed pastry similar to a donut, is filled with crispy fried chicken or pork belly before it's topped off with a condensed milk glaze.

Peels (325 Bowery)
Breakfast at Peels offers a taste of the South with dishes like grits or their Build-A-Biscuit option. While dinner tends to be quieter, it is no less delectable. No matter the time, make sure to save room for their home-baked deserts and pastries.

The Bowery Hotel (335 Bowery)
The Bowery Hotel brings a touch of luxury to this historically gritty neighborhood. The lobby exudes old NYC charm and style, lavishly decorated with overstuffed leather chairs and vintage-patterned couches, a style that extends to the rooms.

The Standard East (25 Cooper Square Place)
Floor to ceiling windows bring the outside in at The Standard East. Unlike its West Side counterpart that houses some of the city's most exclusive nightlife options, this Standard location is ideal for a laid-back, quiet stay.

Search & Destroy (25 Saint Marks Place)
Search & Destroy is definitely not for the faint of heart. In order to get your hands on their $5 t-shirt rack, army uniforms, 80s dresses, and leather goods ranging from jackets to boots, you will have to pass gas masks, bondage mannequins, and a collection of sex toys.

John Varvatos (315 Bowery)
John Varvatos has blended fashion with music by setting up shop in the now defunct CBGB. The space still maintains the punk venue's graffiti-laden walls, sells records, and 1970s hi-fi equipment, and features a stage for monthly performances.

Idle Hands (25 Avenue B, Downstairs)
"Bourbon. Beer. Rock." Their slogan pretty much says it all. Idle Hands doesn't just use rock as a gimmick, it fully immerses itself in the NYC music scene. Local music-lovers frequent the basement bar both for the after parties of local gigs and just for the company.

Kingston Hall (149 2nd Avenue; Upstairs)
Located above the frat-filled 13th Step on 2nd Avenue, this Jamaican-themed bar features a pool table, balcony, and fruity drinks served in coconuts. Although the Jamaican theme is apparent, Kingston Hall is far from garish.

Tompkins Square (Avenues A to B; East 7th to 10th Streets)
While Tompkins is less polished than its Greenwich Village and Union Square counterparts, its charm and liveliness makes up for the small size. The park is equipped with playgrounds, chess tables, handball and basketball courts, and many an impromptu musical performance.

La MaMa (74A East 4th Street)
If you're in the mood for something avant garde, there is always something going on at La MaMa. It's one of New York's oldest experimental theaters, where playwrights and artists like Sam Shepard and Philip Glass got their starts.

Venue Descriptions by Laura Baker-Finch and Maressa Levy

See Also:

Music Monday Playlist: CMJ Music Marathon 2013
CMJ Neighborhood Spotlight: NYU
CMJ Neighborhood Spotlight: Lower East Side