Before visiting Brod Kitchen, I was curious how it would be treated by the New York University (NYU) students across the street, having replaced the Campus Eatery at that address. I had my answer as soon as I walked in the door: the tables were filled with young people chatting, working, and devouring the Scandinavian inspired food for which Brod Kitchen is known. Monette de Botton, the co-owner and creative director, agreed that the students appeared to really like the new addition to 4th Street, adding that they are delightfully vocal about the food. “They are approachable, they want to be part of it,” she told me. “They say, ‘More like this!’” And Bröd seems to be very receptive to all critique. As Monette puts it, “We’re not a restaurant. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We just want to give people a new experience, a new way of eating.“
Because of the difference in clientele between the original Brod on the Upper East Side and here in Greenwich Village, Monette says she is able to try a lot of new things at this location. The students are eager and willing to allow Bröd to experiment on them. Their first new concept was the pizza and flatbreads station. The kitchen has also been offering additional breakfast dishes, since the downtown customers have been mentioning that they would like more hot and fast morning options. “There’s constantly something new in the works,” Monette said, sharing stories from her adventures during the development process.
Along with the college students, Scandinavian ex-pats make up an important part of Brod’s customer base. Monette says the eatery often gets praise for providing food from people’s homelands that are not usually represented in the culinary world of New York. She was pleased to tell me that the Danish population has been requesting ebelskivers (sort of like pancake-doughnuts), and that Bröd is hoping to churn out savory ebelskivers soon. Monette is no stranger to swapping sweet for savory and vice versa. The eatery is known for its smorrebrod, Danish toasts that act as open-faced sandwiches. Not only does the kitchen prepare many traditional flavors such as smoked salmon, roast beef, and roast chicken, but there are also dessert smorrebrod, unheard of in Scandinavia. As Monette proudly announced, “Savory smorrebrod are Danish. Sweet smorrebrod are mine.”
I had the opportunity to try a couple of the dessert smorrebrod, served on slightly sweet biscuits rather than savory toast. One was topped with goat cheese, blueberries and lemon zest (a very Nordic touch, I learned), whereas the other had a light nutella spread and strawberries. Both were delectable. Olivia, a member of the Manhattan Sideways team, tried Monette’s favorite savory smorrebrod, the roast beef with horseradish and gherkins. She understood immediately why Monette preferred it. The bread was crispy around the edges, but soft and fluffy in the center with a perfect balance of toppings.
“I could be here all day and eat,” Monette declared. We did not think it was hyperbole: There are so many types of cuisine offered, from burgers to pastries to salads, that it would be easy to eat three diverse square meals. And the best part about the cuisine is that everything is made fresh using high quality ingredients. That, we learned, is where the Scandinavian influence comes in. “It’s a new way of eating,” Monette said. “You can really taste the flavors.” The Nordic world, she explained, has been practicing techniques like foraging and farm to table long before they caught on in the south and west. Monette hopes to share the Scandinavian food ideal with more neighborhoods by expanding. She hopes to have a Bröd in the suburbs, soon, so that more people can “pick up real food to take home.” Brod has already begun catering different events, including NYU campus functions. While expanding, however, the kitchen is always improving and making sure the food is the best it can be. As Monette asserted, “What we make, we make well.”
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. Rodger, 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 Rodger, 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. Rodger 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. Rodger 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.