Built and consecrated in 1799, St Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery is Manhattan’s oldest site of continuous worship and the second oldest church building. It inspired the naming of nearby St. Mark’s Place and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, however, it might be better known as a community gathering place, thanks to the many plays, dances, poetry readings, avant-garde films and political events that have been taking place on the premises for decades. St. Mark’s Church also has a significant burial ground, housing the vault of Peter Stuyvesant along with other prominent founders of New York City. When visiting the Minthorne House on 1st Street, we learned that several members of the Minthorne family were also buried here.
Renowned architect Josiah Cady designed this 1867 building. Among his other Manhattan achievements are the American Museum of Natural History and the original Metropolitan Opera House. The Orthodox Church settled in this building in 1943, which is now the seat of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America.
When we crossed over the threshold of the Most Holy Redeemer Church we were instantly captivated by this hall of old-world splendor and beauty. The church abounds with marble, grandiose murals and intricate stained glass windows. As we visited during the holiday season, the already magnificent surroundings were draped with holly and ornamented pine trees. Founded in 1844 by the German-speaking Redemptorists, the actual building was completed in 1851 and became known as the "German Cathedral of the Lower East Side. " In 1914, according to one source, it became the first church in the world to implement an electric bell ringing system. No matter what your faith, take the time to step inside this truly awe-inspiring Cathedral of the East Village, and on your way out, look up and take note of the massive clock tower.
Originally known as the Memorial Chapel of St. Mark’s Parish, this impressive orange brick building was designed by James Renwick Jr. (also known for St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Grace Church, also on 10th Street) and constructed in 1882-1883. It was not until 1937, when the Orthodox Christian congregation purchased the building, that it became St. Nicholas.
With roots that can be traced back to 1872, St. Stanislaus holds the honor of being New York's oldest (and only) Polish Roman-Catholic Church. The parish has called its impressive 7th Street church home since 1900 and boasts congregants from all over the city. Accompanied by the church's secretary we managed to get inside to see the restored interior filled with original stained glass windows, each donated by a different Polish Catholic society. And she was kind enough to point out to us that every wall is adorned with molding, statues, devotional paintings, all overhung with a magnificent, domed ceiling. We loved her comment to us that "this church could probably fit into The Holy Redeemer on 3rd Street, but I like it, it's like coming home. " And, we too felt a quiet sense of welcome surrounded by the trappings of devotion and faith.
"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.