It’s been a busy couple weeks here in NYC. A few things that have happened:
- My office moved from Williamsburg to Union Square in Manhattan, meaning I can’t walk to work anymore. It’s a bummer, but now I get to hang out in Manhattan! So that’s a fair trade.
- Ted and I spent a weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. NYC is fun but we’re still ramblers at heart and we really missed the mountains and the sky.
- 2 friends visited us—one from Waco and one from LA—and broke in the pull-out couch.
- I went to a mobile filmmaking class in lower Manhattan a few nights after work last week and it was amazing. Did you know you can edit video right on the iPhone?? Watch out! I’ve been unleashed.
- The farmers market is now in full swing here in Williamsburg, and while it’s no riverside market in Waco—they have this epic mushroom stall with every kind of funky, stinky, scary mushroom you can imagine. Plus there’s a “succulent guy.” It is Brooklyn.
I was talking to a friend yesterday, and she told me that ^this^ kind of stuff, the lifestyle stuff, is what she wants to read.
That’s lucky because this week I wanted to share with you some pictures of a wonderful day I had with a friend a couple weeks ago in (mostly) the Lower East Side.
But here’s the thing. If you want to feel like a privileged asshole, spend 8 hours wandering around Manhattan without a care in the world, browsing fancy shops and eating brunchy food, and then look at the photos of it while listening to the news.
To be fair, everywhere we went was cruelty-free/vegan/all that. Still—what does it mean when some people in the world can just bum around deciding what to buy, and other people are wondering if they’re going to have a home?
I know, I’m a downer. But if you’re like me and this kind of afternoon is an option for you, we’re incredibly lucky. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I don’t think I can justify spending too many weekends doing this without doing something to “give back.” Do you know what I mean? If so, I’d love your ideas. I’d also like to know if ideas for sustainable, ethical, conscious lifestyle is something you want to hear about (I worry it will come across as didactic.)
Okay, on to the main event.
Here are all the spots you’ll see below. Most of them are in the Lower East Side, but we did stray a bit!
- Dun-Well Doughnuts (vegan donuts!) – 102 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
- The Bean (local coffee chain) – 147 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
- Tictail Market (women’s clothing boutique) – 90 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
- Orchard St in general
- Mooshoes – 78 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
- Orchard Grocer – 78 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
- Glossier – 123 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013
- The Butcher’s Daughter – 19 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012
- Rivington Guitars – 73 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003
- The Strand Bookstore – 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
You’ll notice we spent some time ogling over the plant shops (I hadn’t seen plants in a while, remember—winter), before heading south to Dun-Well Doughnuts, the best donut shop around, vegan or not. I got Maple, but my other favorites are Plain Glazed and “The Homer” (strawberry icing with birthday sprinkles).
Looking lovingly at my donut…
From there we wandered a bit, past a The Bean location. Even though The Bean is a chain, it’s my favorite place to stop if I want a granola bar or a latte (or just want to buy something so I can use the restroom) because the staff is always friendly and they let you bring your dog in if you order to-go. 🙂
Then we walked deeper into the Lower East Side, ending up on Orchard Street. If you visit the area, Orchard Street is a good starting place for just wandering around. We headed to Tictail, a pretty boutique that was selling only clothes designed by women for the month of March.
That shirt said “Girl Power!”
We were so close, we went to check out the newly opened Orchard Grocer, a 100% vegan deli. We weren’t hungry yet so didn’t buy anything, but the people were really nice! They let me take their picture.
Next door to Orchard Grocer is Mooshoes, a vegan shoe shop. They have the same owner and are connected inside with a door. It makes the shoe place smell a little sauerkraut-y but it’s no big deal. I’ve bought 3 pairs of shoes here now over the years and I get loads of compliments. No one knows they’re vegan!
Then my friend (the gorgeous model you see in half these photos) convinced me to head south and west into Lower Manhattan to check out Glossier, which I would describe as a minimalist makeup line (I know). They have just one of each item—one concealer, one blush, etc. You just choose one of 4-6 shades. Glossier is a mostly online brand, and they call this shop a “showroom.” You pick what you want and go up to a counter with a list of items that they pull from storage.
The entrance to Glossier doesn’t look like much, but there’s a pixie in a baby pink jumpsuit waiting to greet you at the door and tell you how to find the shop. Inside, it’s more pixies with the smoothest skin you can imagine, all wearing these pink paint suits that somehow look chic. Although I was a little grossed out by how liberally people were using the lipstick samples.
We weren’t obnoxious in there at all.
By then we were getting hungry, so we headed to nearby Nolita to The Butcher’s Daughter, a vegetarian place that I’d heard about for a while, and that Ted won’t visit because it has an all-white interior and seems too hip.
This place was pretty expensive, like $9 for a smoothie and $15 for an entree, and it’s cramped—mostly barstool seating. But! If you can swing it, it’s worth it—the food is so satisfying without being heavy. I got cauliflower grits and ate every bite, as you can see. The smoothie (cacao suave) was really good, but hard to drink through the paper straw. Next time I’d just bring my own metal one. Lol.
At this point we planned to go to Outdoor Voices, the cult-favorite workout line, but the thought of squeezing into stretchy pants under boutique lighting right after brunch wasn’t that appealing, so we skipped it. Plus I didn’t have the $$ to throw down on yoga pants, so why tempt myself?
Then we headed back north to the East Village and stopped at Rivington Guitars, a well-known vintage guitar shop, where I decided I’m a telecaster woman. They had a 1991 that felt sooo good. Something to save up for! And practice enough to justify buying…
We bounced around for a while looking for a coffee shop where we could sit down, but every single one was packed, so we ended up in the café area of Whole Foods on Houston.
If you follow this tour, you’re going to be pretty tired by this point, but I had brought some books with me I wanted to sell, so we headed north to visit The Strand, the only bookstore in America that probably doesn’t actually need your money. Every time I go here it’s packed.
We ended the day in a New Yorky way—drinks at Park Bar off Union Square, then noodles at the closest Chinese spot that didn’t have a wait. 🙂
Would you add any stops to the list??
PS – All the pics of me and some of the street shots are by the wonderful Stephanie Robalino!
The Waco Vegan is no longer updated. You can find me over at RandleBrowning.com instead.