A Vietnamese sandwich shop, Xe May is creating some special Banh Mi. Even in such a small space, the kitchen is cooking up big flavors – grilled pork, curried lamb, as well as lemongrass chicken, grilled meatball and beefsteak tacos. Some tasted their Super "Cub" Classic with an assortment of meats on a baguette, but I have been back three times for their vegetarian sandwich, The Mean Green. With soy glazed portobello, spiced tofu, and a cauliflower spread, it has hit the spot for me each time. A meal at Xe May tastes fresh and healthy with some added Vietnamese spice to kick your pallet into gear.
Yen IS Madame Vo, but as she and her husband, Jimmy told me, the name is to honor the other women in both of their lives. "We have even incorporated our mother's recipes into our menu. " Their mothers were born in South Vietnam, but Yen's parents were refugees, and she was born in Thailand before coming to the States when she was a baby. Yen grew up in Mississippi, while Jimmy was born here in the city. The two were introduced by mutual friends in New York. While Yen was involved in the fashion world, Jimmy always worked in the food industry. Combining their knowledge of retail and hospitality, the two decided to try their hand at opening their first restaurant. As they shared, "We wanted to offer something that we were use to eating our entire lives. " Surrounded by family at almost every meal growing up, Yen and Jimmy described a warm, loving environment with amazing food. "We grew up with aunts, grandmothers and other family members always gathered together and we had a feast. " One day the two decided that it was time for them to share their knowledge, passion, and recipes. "We had all the resources surrounding us. "After opening at the beginning of 2017, Yen admitted that it "all seems like a dream. " We could never find the Vietnam comfort food that we had both loved as children, and now we are able to offer this to our customers. "Noticing that almost every table was filled on a weekday afternoon towards the end of March, Yen told me that they are already finding that they have repeat customers. "When it's cold or rainy, they come back for their comfort food - our version of chicken soup. "
As Hamlet would say, “This is one of the places you come to the village for. ” Walking through the door, a small white pooch runs up to greet you, then leads you back through the racks of coats, pants, hats, and other accessories. As the owner, Hamlet, emphasizes, the inventory here is vintage clothing (not a second-hand shop), that dates from the 1940s to the 80s. The selection is sourced through various vintage collectors from all over the world. Hamlet credits his eye for fashion to his mother, who, he says, was a fashion designer in his home country of Dominican Republic. He is very proud of his collection and iterates that the store is not for “80s party” accoutrement, rather it is a resource for historic elegance and style. And if you stop in, you may even get your picture taken, as Hamlet will often have his customers model his new acquisitions.
Every nook and cranny of this tiny storefront's space is full of an extensive and eclectic collection of musical instruments from around the world. Instruments hang from the ceiling just as haphazardly as they are stacked on top of one another from the floor. Located at this same address for over fifty years, Music Inn has an impressive sitar selection from the 1960's, a rare 100 year old sarinda from Afghanistan, as well as adorable little child guitars and mini pianos. I had a quick throwback moment when I spied an autoharp. Do you remember music class in elementary school back in the 60's?
62 East 4th Street has had a fascinating history. At its inception in 1889, it served as a social hall housing a musician's union known as Astoria Hall, as well as hosting meetings of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. In the 1930's, the ballroom was revamped as a theater and television studio and renamed Fortune Theater until Andy Warhol discovered it and left his legendary stamp here. In 1969, he rented it out to showcase a series of infamous porn films and called it Andy Warhol's Theater: Boys to Adore Galore. Over the years, the Yiddish theater had performances here, and many well known television shows used the space to film. Since 1987, the Duo Center has been here having raised the funds for renovations, and then remaining throughout construction to become home to what is now Duo Multicultural Arts Center and Rod Rogers Dance Company and Studio. Today the building is part of Fourth Arts Block (FAB) and operates as a center for film, dance, art, theater and music and is among New York's designated cultural districts.
Pageant Print Shop’s entirely glass storefront bordered by light blue is instantly eye-catching and proudly displays the treasure within. Inside its bright, buttercream interior, an immense assortment of old prints and maps line every wall and fill neatly-labeled display racks. This sanctuary of beautiful historical pieces was created by Sidney Solomon and Henry Chafetz in 1946. It was originally one of the many second-hand book stores on Fourth Avenue, an area that was then known as “Book Row. ” Now under the leadership of Sidney’s daughters, Shirley and Rebecca, Pageant Print Shop primarily sells old prints and is thriving at its current 4th Street location. Having worked with historic pieces her whole life, Shirley knows how to get the best prints. She has amassed her impressive collection from antique book auctions as well as other various sources that she has built up over the years. Roger, who has been working at Pageant Print Shop for over a decade, told Manhattan Sideways that “what we are looking for are old books with the bindings broken that are really not in very good shape on the outside, but still have good quality prints, maps, or illustrations on the inside. ” Although they search for old books based on the contents within, the shop also sells the old bindings for creatives looking to make decoupage and other fun art projects. Pageant Print Shop is definitely a fixture in the East Village, and in the words of Roger, is “one of those neighborhood jams. ” They enjoy “a loyal group of people that have been coming here for eons, " tourists looking for something authentically New York City, and neighborhood people walking by. He told us that newcomers are often “surprised that they are able to buy a piece of history, ” and return for more of their authentic, beautiful, and historic prints. Pageant Print Shop is unique in its extensive, high quality, and affordable selection. Roger affirmed that “It’s going to be hard for you to find someone who has this kind of a collection at these kinds of prices — it’s just true. ”
After moving to her current location from East 7th Street, Lalita Kumut is pleased with her new address for selling aromatherapy products. On one of our recent visits, we stood by while a delighted group of girls were creating their own fragrances. From the variety of custom blends, soaps, oils and other smell-good body products, to the lovely women who have been in this business for over twenty years, the Fragrance Shop offers a memorable experience for the senses.