Explore: Alphabet City (part 2 of 2)

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Alphabet City—the sometimes-forgotten easternmost part of the Village, conspicuously tucked between First Ave and the East River, bordered by Stuy town at 14th to the north and Houston to the south—is home to various small restaurants, bars, cafes, as well as community gardens and squat houses. Less of a bohemian haunt than it used to be, Alphabet City has gentrified significantly over the course of the ‘90s and into 21st century. It’s a fun place to walk around, is less crowded and touristy than more frequented neighborhoods in lower Manhattan, such as St. Marks, Astor Place, and other parts of the East & West Village.

This post is second in a series of two giving recommendations for where to go and what to do in Alphabet city. The first can be found here.

Snack: Sigmund’s Pretzels

All they sell are pretzels, and every time I’ve been they’ve been warm, soft, and delicious. With several flavors of pretzels—such as salt, garlic & parsley, cinnamon raisin, truffle cheddar plus half a dozen others—and dips—i.e. herbed goat cheese, whole grain and honey mustard, raspberry jam, or simply cream cheese—it’s a fun interactive experience for a group. If there are several of you, and each gets a different knot & dip for $3, you can entertain yourselves playing with combinations as long as the pretzels stay warm.

Dine: Westville (East location)

Westville is a favorite brunch spot of mine when I’m hungry and in search of a simple, unpretentious environment. The staff is warm and friendly if busy, there is a grand array of vegetables on the menu, the kitchen actually knows how to cook vegetables, and they let you take your time. I went in recovery after a couple of burger and pizza and beer days, so I ordered four sides of veggies (fried plantains with cojita, soy sautéed bok choy, artichoke hearts & parmesan, and mixed mushrooms with leeks and herbs—enough to split between two people), two poached eggs, and whole grain toast. If you were to execute this plan with a partner it would cost you each $12.

Energize: 9th Street Espresso 

I love this place. I love everything about it’s emulation of trendy Manhattan minimalism—from the black and white two-tone cup and saucer logo to the limited menu options. There is no soy, skim, almond, or hemp milk. These are your choices: 3, 6, 9, 12-ounce espresso with milk; small, medium, or large pressed coffee; cold brew for a hot day, and Chemex brew at market price if you’re feeling snooty.

Also check out: Babel Hookah Lounge (heard decent things, haven’t been myself), The Barnyard Meat & Cheese, Casa Adela (Puerto Rican food), and Zum Schneider (Bavarian bar & restaurant).

Adriana Lucci is an NYC wanderer, aspiring writer & gastronomer whose other interests include gender studies, street style, and everything Italia. She is currently reconciling her culinary and liberal arts educations through food writing. In addition to studying at Sarah Lawrence and editing Wanderlust for SLC Speaks, Adriana interns for Spenser Magazine. One of her life goals is to eat sushi suspended in a zero gravity chamber. Tweet her @0gravitysushi

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