By Amy Smith
Downtown New York is brimming with history and diversity, but few can compare to the tight-knit, funky community that resides in the East Village. From Bowery Lane to Alphabet City, this small pocket of our city is a cultural treasure trove, held together by a network of independent store owners who strive to keep the creative spirit alive. Whether you’re looking for a stiff drink or the perfect antique to add to your collection, the shops featured here—and those that didn’t make the list—all strive to keep the boho spirit alive. Not to mention that you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list this holiday season. Happy holidays and happy shopping.
315 E. 9th St., 917-353-3885
Independent jewelry designer Vera Balyuria’s line of handcrafted, eco-conscious jewelry is not for the hemp-wearing hippie set. Coveted by the likes of Amy Sedaris and Miranda July, her quirky collection ranges from dinosaur claw rings to necklaces featuring a bust of the unofficial company mascot, Fred (a pint-sized French bulldog, of course). Vera Meat is carried in stores throughout the U.S. and Europe, but you can visit her flagship store (and Fred) at her East Village location.
Dinosaur Claw Hug Ring, $90-$120 (depending on material)
Obscura Antiques & Oddities
280 E. 10th St., 212-505-9251
The aptly named treasure trove has been an East Village staple for years. Owners Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson have amassed a collection of oddball items like no other. From shrunken heads to Victorian armor and crystal balls, you’re sure to find something to add to your weird aunt’s stocking this holiday season.
Obscura Souvenir T-shirt, $25
424 E. 9th St., 212-228-4394
Considered one of New York City’s largest “Witchcraft/Goddess supply stores,” Enchantments has something for the witch or wizard (or is it warlock?) in all of us. The incense and essential oils are the perfect addition to your Christmas list this season. Just remember, anything you do will come back to you threefold—at least, that’s what they told us in The Craft.
Custom candles, $28
Patricia Field NYC
302 Bowery, 212-966-4066
She caught your attention with Carrie Bradshaw’s seemingly endless assortment of designer duds, but Pat Field remains a staple of New York fashion with her flagship stop on Second Ave. A disco playground brimming with sequins, studs and sky-high platforms, there’s no way you’ll leave the shop empty-handed.
The “Carrie” necklace, $270
439 E. 6th St., 212-473-2870
Chock full of everything from soul to hip-hop, A-1 Records is a one-stop shop for any music lover. With albums averaging $15 a pop, you’ll come out with something for everyone in your family—just don’t ask for the latest collection of Stravinsky or Schubert in this classical-free zone. I’m sure Dad won’t mind if you switch out Bach for the blues.
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