— Feathers and Wax

Glam and Grit: Walking Around The Lower East Side

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The Lower East Side is a part of Manhattan that’s very important to me and plays a big role in both my nostalgia and overall awe of the city. Just think about all of the incredible art and music that happened in that corner of the island and you’ll know where I’m coming from.

It’s also where I’ve set the novel I’m currently working on (albeit in the 1980s), so I just had to spend time there during my trip, even though it’s changed a lot since both the 80s and from the late 90s when I used to hang out there while I was growing up. I spent two days walking around and seeing what was up.

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Walking around I was struck by how many fancy boutiques and ritzy restaurants there were mixed in with good old mainstays like Trash and Vaudeville. And let’s not even talk about CBGB’s turning into a designer store – that brand might as well be called Voldemort instead of Varvatos.

I really felt torn – if these kinds of fashionable elements suddenly sprang up in an area that didn’t have much going on before I’d be really excited to go check them out. Who doesn’t love a good gourmet meal in a casual setting and a cocktail made with lavender-infused simple syrup, amiright? But contrasted with the grit of the neighborhood’s art-punk-and-restaurant-supply-store past it all feels really out of place and tacky. So, I became a tacky person and had a fancy cocktail at a hip bar while I sat there and thought about it.

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After I bought a Joy Division shirt on St. Mark’s Place and gawked at the fact that there’s now a Chipotle on that block (OK, I’ll stop), I took a quick subway ride uptown to get a rooftop view of this beauty:

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Screw it. I’ll always be a little bit of a tourist in New York, no matter how many times I visit.

Thanks for reading Feathers and Wax! x

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