Established in 2001 by community members who wanted to preserve the lively art culture that is represented on this truly fabulous block, FAB is an organization that supports all of the theaters, rehearsal spaces, offices and artist residences between Second Avenue and the Bowery, including the well-known Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Interestingly, FAB purchased the buildings on this block for $1 each in 2006. It is in this storefront office that we found out about the history of every establishment here. And you can too.
There are both residents and businesses at this historic address marked by a plaque that reads "Minthorne House 1868. " According to a conversation with a gentleman who lives here, this entire area was once farmland belonging to the Minthorne family. Apparently, the building was the very first constructed on the plot although none of the Minthornes actually lived at this address. After contacting author and historian, Oliver Popenoe, we also learned that No. 72 1st Street "survived the 1811 grid that cut up Minthorne farm. " The farm once ran "west to east from the Bowery to what is now Orchard Street and south to north from present day First Street to Fifth Street... When the Minthorne farm was later divided up among nine heirs a tiny parcel was left over on First Street just east of the Bowery, " known as Extra Place. A highly developed, ever-changing part of Manhattan, it is amazing to think that the streets of the East Village were once vast farmland. In addition to the plaque that we discovered on 1st Street, we also found this one on a brick home between Second and Third Avenues that reads: Established 1831Constructed 1842
Self described as "a physical theater company, with a social consciousness, a global view and a sense of humor" and recipient of a MacArthur Award, the Bond Street Theatre combines their love for the arts, social awareness and crossing cultural boundaries to generate performances. The theater was founded in 1978 and has been pioneering pieces addressing current global issues as well as helping to initiate arts programs in communities around the world. Bond Street Theatre works with women in Afghanistan, Burma, and Haiti. The office head quarters can be found on the 4th floor of #2 Bond.
If you live in one of the following neighborhoods - Tompkins Square, East Village, Lower East Side, Chinatown or Two Bridges - you are welcome to attend the board meetings and be a voting member when decisions are being made about issues concerning your community.
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.