Friday, March 26, 2010

Assignment #2: LES Pickle and Candy blowout!

Assignment #2: LES Pickle and Candy blowout!

So, for those of you non-New Yorkers who are not in the know, LES stands for "Lower East Side" and it's one of those charming transitioning neighborhoods near the East Village where you can see a synagogue, boutique hotel, spraypainted high school, rent-stabilized tenement buildings, and high-end salons, all on on the same block. Oh, and add to that list: an authentic pickle store and Economy Candy.

First up, was the pickle store, or more specifically, Pickle Guys on Essex St.:

Yeah, I don't have a glamor shot for you, because it's tiny and I was struck by shyness when I saw the long queue of people buying pickles and horseradish behind me. But the tiny store is filled with huge pickling barrels, an attendant gets your pickled items for you, weighs them, and sticks them in a brown paper bag.

Most amusing about my visit there was the fact that an attractive dark-haired man in tasteful business attire and dark trench coat stood in line in front of me, and the pickle guy kept calling him "Handsome." As in, "What can I do for you, Handsome?" and "Need anything else, Handsome?" (Imagine that sentence in a hardened Brooklyn accent.) I was having trouble stifling a smile, but Mr. Handsome looked very ill at ease indeed with his treatment from pickle guy. :) I purchased 2 pickles to sample: one Full-Sour and one Half-Sour. Oh, by the way, the guy with the grinder in the photo is grinding fresh Kosher Horseradish, since Passover is almost upon us. A serious-looking Orthodox Jewish man asked him dubiously, "Is your horseradish still Kosher?" To which the grinder replied: "Are you still Kosher?" I like the Pickle Guys. :)

Next stop, just a few blocks away, is Economy Candy, on Rivington St.:

I find it hilarious that Economy Candy is right across the street from an elegant, all-glass boutique hotel. You see how grimy that street is? Hilarious. Here's a full-length shot of the building for a better view of the neighborhood:

Inside Economy Candy is every type of candy you could possibly imagine, mostly American and European candies, because unless they were hidden, I didn't spot any Mexican candies. Again, I don't have a lot of shots from inside, because I always find it embarrassing to be "that person" carefully framing a shot in a crowded store on my silly little camera.

But I did snap this in the corner, because what better combination is there than comics and candy?

comics & candy

So I clutched my little plastic bag of pickles and brown paper bag of sour candies and walked over to Sunshine Cinema about 5-6 blocks away. To give you a clue of my fastidious appearance, here's a shot of what I was wearing: :)

I got myself a huge popcorn and coke and munched on my childish feast while watching The Runaways. It was pretty formulaic, but the music was good. The girls in front of me were splitting a delicious-looking bagel with lox and cream cheese. Also fun were the bathroom conversations after the movie in which one girl declared to another "I've never seen Kristen look at R-Patz that way! Oh she is so totally gay!" A fascinating conclusion to a fine evening, I must say. :)

Oh, and here's a shot of the 7th Ave subway, for good measure. I was asked about my favorite subway stops, and I have to say that every stop is my favorite - they're so oddly grimy, foreign, sad, and filthy. Often, I like going new places solely for the reason that I'll get to see another subway station.

So, there's Assignment #2, completed! This week's assignments were looking pretty lean - when that happens I'll just refer to my ongoing list. Maybe I should just ask you guys to chime in here to give me next week's assignment? Can't wait to see where you send me next! :)


Valerie said...

The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens --

Buy a macaron from La Maison du Chocolat or Bouley

Brooklyn Botanic Garden where everything is budding

walk across the Great Lawn at dusk

reilly said...

I think it is so cool that you do this! If I was in New York I'd want to get some vegan cupcakes and go to Candle 79.

camelama said...

Yay! Thank you for the first part, I loved it! I'm the pickle suggester, fyi. Hee. I'm drooling just thinking of all the pickled goodies there.... I think i'd better go grab me a kosher before I get wooyzy! :)

camelama said...

Some more "I know nothing about New York" suggestions: your favorite animal statue, art, or image in town.

Maybe ... a public clock you've never seen before!


Something to do with mirrors.

Somewhere underground that isn't a subway etc.

Kathy said...

Have you visited the Macy's flower show? It is going on until April 11. I would be especially interested in some photos of the window displays.

devorageller said...

I must say, I'm fascinated by the few subway stops I've seen in Queens, and how much they resemble, well ... the ones in Brooklyn. I swear some of the platforms at opposite ends of the N line are nearly interchangeable.

Anonymous said...

My favorite bagels and lox come from Russ and Daughters on Houston... maybe that's where those girls got theirs? I wish I had suggested it before your LES adventure! :( It's the best Jewish Deli. Ever.

Thinking slightly north, have you been to Crif Dog? (St Marks bwn 1st and A or A and B?) They have a large variety of hot dogs- bacon wrapped with avocado, bacon wrapped with pineapple and scallions, chili and cole slaw- they also have vegetarian options. Anyway, my favorite hot dogs in the city! And they have a secret bar that you have to go through a phone booth to get to.

Why do I only suggest foods!?

My friends always talk about the Rubber Stamp Man. I've yet to go myself, but I've seen some of the amazing stamps they've gotten- a kitten playing a tuba...

Metaliferous. This is my go-to place for jewelry supplies. They sell everything from jewelry making tools (pliers, drill pieces, wax carving stuff) to stamped brass charms, whistles, lockets, bells, wires, chain. But there's these metal file cabinets in the very back that they just dump old stock pieces into and you can sit and dig for hours and find brass lion heads or ponies or whatever for about a quarter a piece.

Anyway, sorry for the overly wordy comment!

Nancy said...

i am thrilled to hear that the pickle storefront is still going strong on essex street. those are the best pickles. i so adore your wonderful narrative of the les!

Naomi said...

Wow, the pickle store on Esssex street brought back memories! My grandparents lived around the corner, as did my great aunt and uncle. As a kid my grandfather bought me a pickle one day, and before I could take a bite, my great aunt grabbed it , threw it on the floor and declared it "Poison!"