Only the freshest and healthiest eats are offered here to accompany you on your visit to the Great Jones Spa next door or on your daily commute. There is something for everyone in this takeout juice bar, as the menu consists of breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, wraps, vegan spreads, smoothies, juices, teas, and coffees.
The Manhattan Sideways Team was greeted with warm hugs by Nikki Schlanger, the marketing director, who brightly declared that she is “a hugger” and that she prefers to go by the title “lady of the house.” She was excited by the prospect of us trying everything and made it very clear that she believes in this store.Pure Green is not just a juice shop: There is a wide variety of yummy goodies on the menu, including smoothies. According to Nikki, the Banana Nut smoothie tastes like “Magnolia’s Banana Bread Pudding,” and the Blue Royale tastes like “a Girl Scout Cookie,” each for under three hundred calories. They also have a variety of nut milks - cashew milk, almond, milk, coconut milk, and a matcha green milk, which, we learned, can also be used for cooking.Nikki called out “Ladies, let’s do shots!” referring to the immunity boosting ginger shots, which are especially good for the fall and winter months. Everything is made in house - the nuts milks, the nut butter, and the juices themselves. There are no preservatives, and so each juice has a three day shelf life.Pure Green also offers juice cleanses. What impressed us and sets the business apart from other juice places is that they offer complimentary cleanse coaches. Kayla, the manager of the store and one of the “Pure Coaches,” told us that the store is “her baby,” while setting up some juices for us to sample. She spoke with us about the cleanses and the reasons to do one. We learned that they give the digestive system a rest from having to process toxins such as alcohol, fatty foods, and sugar. Each juice contains the equivalent nutrition of five pounds of produce. A cleanse also reestablishes pH balance: Kayla explained that the body is often too acidic which leads to lethargy, dull skin and hair. A cleanse will re-alkalize the body, and should ultimately be done once a month, like “changing the oil in your car.” “We are all about transitioning people from an unhealthy to a healthy lifestyle. We’re all about baby steps,” Kayla said. With the help of a “Pure Coach,” customers gets a personal cleanse based on flavor and intensity preferences. By the end of Kayla’s lesson, Manhattan Sideways members who had never considered doing a juice cleanse were starting to feel tempted.Each of the smoothies and juices we tried were equally flavorful. Nikki explained that Pure Green gets its açaí straight from the source, the raw cacao from Equador, and the rest of the produce from local and organic farms. She let us in on the secret, that zucchini is the key ingredient in many of the green juices, as it makes the flavor smooth and silky without any bitterness. Everything is gluten and dairy-free and there is no HPP, which stands for high-pressure pasteurization. “We don’t cut corners, cuz that’s how you kill people,” Nikki told us.Not only are they doing good things for the health of those who pop in, including the NYU student crowd, Pure Green donates 1% of their profits to charities that help bring clean water to the world. “We’re saving the world,” Nikki said with a grin.
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.