If you are lucky enough to catch the gentleman who sometimes sits outside of this address during the day, he might introduce himself to you as Anthony, and you might get an invitation to peek inside, as we did. At first glance, Anthony's address looks like an overstocked antique store: old suitcases, a menagerie of chairs, a spectacular piano, cameras, photographs, and an endless surge of women's jewelry make this place a trip through time and memory - Anthony's life. It was not until we reached the bathroom that we realized, for certain, It’s Time on 7th was not a store at all. He has made his home here for thirty-three years and collected his memories on shelves, walls, and tables. Although this is, in fact, his residence, most folks call No. 102 either "It's Time on 7th" or "The Red Heart", because of two signs that hang in the window. And, when we paused to stare at a photo of a nude lady, Anthony asked us to guess who it was. After a few failed attempts at the right answer, he told us it was Lena Horn’s niece, who he used to "go with" and who passed away at age 24. "A big, big loss," Anthony said gravely. On our way back to the front door he invited us to come back some evening, around 6:30, "to see the place lit up, and next time stay for a cup of coffee." On the stoop Anthony settled back into his chair, where he can be found most nice days, the door wide open and a smile on his face. Truly, we have never met a kinder, sweeter and more genuine man. Don't you worry, Anthony, we will visit you often, we promise.
"The Two Faces of Italian Food" is the tagline at this restaurant and wine bar. The perfect blend they are referring to is tradition and innovation. The menu boasts homemade and traditional options - the wine list is not limited to Italian varieties, though the beer is. We stopped in briefly and relaxed with a glass of wine in their quiet back garden and spoke with one of the restaurant's partners as waiters set up for that evening's meal. When we asked him to describe the food that Giano served in a short sentence he told us humbly: "Italian food. No big deal. " Can't wait to try it!
Most business owners know how difficult it is to bounce back after being robbed. Makoto Wantanabe has done it twice and, ironically, has a thief to thank for the very birth of Tokio 7. Makoto was globetrotting in the early 1990s when he arrived in Southern California on what was supposed to be the penultimate stop on his tour. He befriended a homeless man and let him stay in his hotel room for the night, but Makoto awoke to find everything except for his passport was stolen. Stranded with no money and far from his home in the Japanese countryside, Makoto called one of his only contacts in the U. S., who worked at a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan. He scrounged up enough money for a bus ticket and was off. While in New York, Makoto felt that men’s clothing suffered from a lack of style. Having always had a knack for fashion, he knew he could change that but lacked the funds to open a store with brand new clothing. So, after several years of saving his wages as a waiter, he founded one of the first consignment shops in New York City. Tokio 7 now carries men’s and women’s clothes, with the overarching theme being, as Makoto says, that they are simply “cool. ” The clothes are mostly from Japanese designers and name brands with unique twists. In the store, clothing that has been donated with a lot of wear is labeled “well loved. ”Despite its importance in the community, the shop fell on tough times during the COVID-19 pandemic. To make matters worse, Tokio 7 was looted in the summer of 2020 and had 300 items stolen. When Makoto contemplated closing his doors permanently, longtime customers begged him to reconsider. Resilient as ever, he set up a small photography area in the back of the shop and sold a portion of his clothes online to compensate for the decline of in-person purchases. Reflecting on his journey, Makoto marveled at the whims of fate. Had he not been robbed all of those decades ago in California, he had planned to start a life in the Amazon rainforest
This small, old-world neighborhood barbershop is loaded with personality. Everything about Barbiere is unique: the whimsical wrought-iron gate out front, the retro hair and shaving products along the walls, and the high-quality, old-fashioned service. When we poked our heads in to chat with the barbers and their clients—all seated in vintage leather chairs—they were proud to tell us that James Franco is among the celebrities that drop by for a haircut or a classic shave.