Before it was renovated in 2011 to become the private residence of TV personality Anderson Cooper, this firehouse was fully operational from 1907 until the Fire Patrol was disbanded in 2006. One of the men from House No 2 was a responder who passed away on 9/11. Built in 1906, this is a landmark building.
The New York Studio School occupies a space rich in history. After being purchased by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1907, the now-landmarked building was home to art studios, important exhibitions, and later, in 1931, the Whitney Museum. Founded by American artist and educator Mercedes Matter, the New York Studio School saved the space from being demolished and now perpetuates the creative legacy that was born there. Matter and her peers created NYSS as a place for alternative arts education. It retains the “old-school” focus on studio-based practice, where drawing, painting, and sculpture are at the core of its Master of Fine Arts and certificate programs. However, rather than instructing students on attaining fame and fortune, its mission is a more enriching one. “We teach how to be a lifelong artist and how art can be in your future forever, ” said Director of Development Alex Williams. To this end, the school also features several options that are free of charge and are designed to bring art education to the public at large. Anyone interested may attend NYSS’ evening lecture series and gallery exhibitions, which highlight unknown New York artists or uncover neglected art from more prominent names. One can even take a tour of Whitney’s old art studio, which was designated a National Treasure in 2014. A particularly exciting feature is an elaborate, twenty-foot fireplace in the room depicting plaster serpentine and mythological figures climbing the walls and other fantastical scenes that extend onto the ceiling.
Built in 1900 as a single room occupancy hotel, Marlton Hotel housed many artists who were in search of work in New York City. In 1987, The New School converted the hotel into a dormitory, but it recently opened its doors again returning to its roots as a high-end hotel. In the modern, yet classically elegant lobby is the Marlton Espresso Bar. This hip space serves up Ferndell Coffee (the only New York spot brewing it), considered the oldest known coffee brand in America, dating to 1862. The Espresso Bar also brews a signature raw almond cappuccino crafted from raw almond milk that they make in-house. In addition to coffee, they offer MarieBelle hot chocolate, a New York artisanal chocolatier, and Bellocq Tea, also a New York-based company featuring handcrafted blends. It is not only the hotel guests who are enjoying the new neighborhood addition – multiple rooms and large, sprawling furniture make this place enticing to locals and travelers alike. We visited again and there is no question that word spread rapidly about this establishment on 8th Street. From the small coffee bar set up on the far right, to the lounge area and tables set up in the back where the new Margaux Restaurant spreads itself... there were people scattered everywhere, engaged in conversation and sharing drinks, coffee, or a meal. The Marlton Hotel and all that it encompasses is definitely a place to check out. We headed even further back into the quieter section of the restaurant where we dined with friends and enjoyed brightly colored, crisp vegetables, including watermelon radishes and a mint tahini for dipping. The appetizers that we ordered to share were both inventive and delicious. Grilled artichokes were served upside down, dipped in whipped burrata with pomegranates and mint, and an assortment of quinoa tabouli, kale harissa, smashed sweet potato, avocado hummus and beets were all part of the The Farmers Board that came on a wooden board with buckwheat crackers for dipping. The fresh kale salad with lemon, chilies and pumpkin seeds was exactly what I craved, wanting to keep my meal simple and light. Others tried the mushroom risotto, a hamburger, and the scallops. Each entree was well-received and then we shared one dessert that was certainly rich enough for the four of us: the chocolate budino with chocolate crumble, olive oil, and sea salt was beyond decadent.
Built in 1860 as a Methodist Church that was later referred to as the Peace Church because it supported Vietnam War protestors (the Black Panthers and Gay Men's Health Crises were among a few others that were always welcomed here), the Novare was converted into eight stunning apartments in 2006. On two occasions now, we have walked past just as someone entered the big, red front doors. As we approached, though, we were too late and had to watch them glide shut via the "virtual doorman. " Someday we would love to just catch a glimpse of the lobby of this magnificent former church where we have read that there is a fifty foot tall atrium with the original stained glass. Next door at #133 there is a plaque that notes it is protected by a National Architectural Trust Easements where the Washington Square United Methodist Church Parsonage was. Today, this, too, is a residence.
Today, it is an historic New York recording studio, but since 1927 No. 52 has housed such diverse tenants as the 8th Street Playhouse (that boasted a decade run of midnight Rocky Horror performances), The Village Barn nightclub, and abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman's studio. In 1969, Jimi Hendrix forged the current incarnation of Electric Lady. The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Clash, John Lennon, The Dave Matthews Band, Kanye West are only a few of the many great musicians that have graced this studio.
Reed Adelson, owner of the American restaurant Virginia’s, was trained by the best in the industry. He learned about wine at Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, interned at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, then returned to his Manhattan roots to work under Jean-Georges to open the Mark Hotel, and finally worked at Locanda Verde. Riding in a car with industry legends Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, he was presented with the answer to his doubts about working in the restaurant business, "If this is what you’re passionate about, there is nothing else you can do. It’s more of a vocation than a job choice. "Reed brought all of this expertise to open his first restaurant in 2015. Named for his mom, Virginia’s has become known for its burger, with bone marrow aioli, cabot cheddar, and house-made pickles, but there are more sophisticated dishes that deserve equal praise including the wild king salmon with red cabbage slaw and golden beet puree. Reed focuses on consistency for his menu, with a few seasonal dishes, such as the corn ravioli with fontina cheese and crispy shallots. With his eye on the future, Reed is contemplating moving a little closer to the city’s center, while admitting, "there’s something romantic about the side streets. "
Kenkeleba Garden, named for an African healing plant, is simply magical. We followed the densely forested greenery around to the back, arriving at a clearing that transported us to another world far from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. We were completely surprised when we landed in front of the sculpture garden, which is only visible from 3rd Street. From large African sculptures to collections of scraps or bricolage, a specialty of the Lower East Side art scene, we could not help but linger before doubling back and re-emerging onto the concrete sidewalks of 2nd Street. It was not until many months later, when we had the pleasure of meeting Joe Overstreet and his wife, Corinne Jennings, that we learned that this is affiliated with their gallery next door, Kenkeleba House. It is their life-long dream to someday use these grounds to build a museum that would house their massive collection of African-American art. It has an entrance on both 2nd Street and 3rd,
Book Club isn’t just for the suburbs anymore — as a new bookshop, bar and coffeehouse gives East Village denizens and beyond a new place to pore over and pour over their favorite reads. Married proprietors Erin Neary and Nat Esten, East Village residents themselves, had longed for an independent bookstore to serve the Alphabet City area, they told the Manhattan Sideways team when we popped in to see dozens of happy customers enjoying a read and a latte one sunny Friday morning. “We always thought that the neighborhood needed another bookstore, ” said Erin, “and we also kept wondering, ‘Wouldn't it be so cool if you could drink wine while you were shopping for books? ’” They decided not only to open a bookstore and bar, but to additionally add in the day-to-night-element of coffee into the mix. While both Erin and Nat had worked in hospitality before, bookselling was new to them. “I started doing research in 2017 and worked with the American Booksellers Association’s consulting program to help new bookstores get off the ground, ” said Erin. “I met with them as well as other bar owners and bookstore owners in the neighborhood and did as much research as I could without actually doing it. ” The duo launched Book Club in November 2019, enjoying an enthusiastic community reception until COVID-19 forced them to pivot. “Nate started doing bike deliveries — as many as 20 miles a day! ” Erin told us. “He’d go out to Harlem to drop off books and then all the way out to Bushwick — so a lot of people learned about the store that way. ”Once they were able to reopen to the public, Book Club forged full steam ahead in engaging the community in “book club”-esque events — from author talks to poetry readings to creative writing workshops, with additional unique offerings like an adult spelling bee and a “drink and draw” sketching class. They’ve also recently received their full liquor license, and plan to roll out literary-themed cocktails like an In Cold Bloody Mary or the Murder on the Orient Espresso Martini, Erin told us. More than anything, she added, she enjoyed having customers back in the store to guide them toward their next favorite book. “Our staff are not just really good baristas, but they’re avid readers as well. So between myself and the rest of the team, we have a really good handle on the books here — it’s fun to be able to curate not just what we stock, but to get the right book into someone’s hands. ”