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SVA Guide to NYC 2017: Lower East Side and East Village

Though the Lower East Side is most commonly referred to as the area from the Bowery to the East River and East Houston to Canal Street, historically speaking the neighborhood has also included the area known as the East Village. With an established artistic tradition, and the SVA Ludlow Residence located right in the heart of the neighborhood, the Lower East Side is a cultural mainstay and one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in all of New York City. Here are some things to do, places to visit and restaurants to enjoy in the neighborhood, recommended by students and others in the SVA community.

10 Things to Do in the Lower East Side:

Stock up on writing essentials at CW Pencil Enterprise – 15 Orchard Street

Pencil-toters take note. As Bokyung Lim (BFA 2016 Design) testifies, CW Pencil Enterprise is "New York’s only shop dedicated to pencils, sharpeners and erasers."

Catch a flick at Landmark Sunshine Cinema and Anthology Film Archives – 143 East Houston Street (between First and Second Avenues) and 32 Second Avenue (between 1st and 2nd Streets)

The Landmark Sunshine, "a theater that plays a variety of art-house films," BFA Design student Katherine Murnion says, Sunshine screens new releases, repertoire picks and late-night cult classics. Around the corner, Anthology Film Archives focuses particularly on independent, experimental and avant-garde cinema, and "highlights the value of films as works of art," BFA Illustration student Ora Xu says.

Visit Tompkins Square Park – 500 East 9th Street (between Avenues A and B)

In a past life, Tompkins was known as a meeting place for squatters and anarchists, but now it's more likely to attract picnickers and shoppers at its weekly farmer’s market. And don’t miss the annual Halloween dog costume parade on Saturday, October 21!

Make color at Guerra Paint and Pigment – 510 East 13th Street (between Avenues A and B)

An artist-owned shop that specializes in raw pigment concentrates, Guerra Paint and Pigment is the perfect destination for any artist with exacting and particular taste.

Rock on at The Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey Street

The Lower East Side has been a hotbed for rock bands and musical acts since Lou Reed and John Cale formed the Velvet Underground out of their Ludlow Street apartment in the 1960s. Now there are numerous clubs and venues to check out established and up-and-coming bands, such as Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Berlin, Piano’s and Arlene’s Grocery.

Go highbrow at the New Museum – 235 Bowery

Since 1977, the New Museum has been New York City’s only museum dedicated to contemporary art. Admission is free for SVA students, faculty and staff with ID.

Raise your voice at Bluestockings 172 Allen Street

Bluestockings is a radical bookstore, café and activist center, where you can find books on topics like feminism and queer, political and race studies. They also host readings, workshops and other events almost every night. "It’s a great place for people with different backgrounds and identities to express themselves," Xu says.

Shred at the LES Coleman Skatepark – 62 Pike Street

Tucked away beneath the Manhattan Bridge overpass, this skatepark is "where everyone in NYC meets up to skate, including pros," according to Chris Miller (BFA 2016 Design).

Shop at Exit 9 Gift Emporium 51 Avenue A (between 3rd and 4th Streets)

A great place for uncommon gifts, Exit 9 Gift Emporium has something for everybody. Shop for yourself, someone else, or just look around to find inspiration and fresh ideas.

Get a sugar rush at Economy Candy – 108 Rivington Street

Founded in 1937, Economy Candy has just about every variety of candy imaginable. Don’t miss their selection of Halloween candy, with candy pumpkins, gummy brains, black licorice cats, and more.

Five Local Eats:

China North Dumpling – 27A Essex Street

On the cusp of Chinatown, China North Dumpling is a must-know for students. "Cheap and delicious dumplings—you can even order them frozen to take home for later," Gina Roi (BFA 2016 Design) says.

Miss Lily’s 7A Café – 109 Avenue A (on the corner of 7th Street)

"The reggae music is on point, and they sell the best tasting jerk grilled corn. It’s a great place to hang out with friends," Jisoo Kim (BFA 2016 Advertising) says.

The Organic Grill – 123 First Avenue (between 7th and 8th Streets)

"Good veggie burgers and a vegan-oriented menu that stresses organic and local ingredients," Kathryn Leung (BFA 2017 Illustration) says.

Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken – 28 East 1st Street (on the corner of Second Avenue)

Described by Alymamah Rashed (BFA 2016 Fine Arts) as "the Shake Shack of fried chicken," Blue Ribbon is not your typical bucket-o-chicken. Founded by veteran fine-dining restaurateurs Eric and Bruce Bromberg, Blue Ribbon has serious pedigree.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery – 126 Rivington Street

"If their banana pudding is wrong, I don’t want to be right," Alli Golden (BFA 2016 Visual & Critical Studies) says. The bakery also serves homemade cookies, cakes, cupcakes and other treats.

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