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Do the shops south of Houston still exist?  I used to go clothes shopping there in the 70s when the area was the last stop for the production of the Garment District.  The idea being it was better to get something than nothing; "something" meaning "not very much."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 12:39:33 PM EST
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Is that the street you're thinking of? Some of the old stores are still there, but they seem to be giving way to the kind of weird but entertaining boutiques you used to see in Soho and Alphabet City. Also several of the trendiest, hardest-to-get-a-table-in restaurants in town, including one very, very pricy place where, as one reviewer has it, "Much of the cooking challenges diners to break with their food-pairing constructs." (Foie gras topped with quince yogurt? Why not! Or do you have a craving now and then for a pork belly stuffed with papaya? You'll find it there -- and your meal won't cost you and your companion much more than $300.)

Actually, it's still a great neighborhood, but the gentrification is a little scary.

by Matt in NYC on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 01:40:53 PM EST
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Sounds familiar, been a while ya' know, but it was several streets not just one.  Sigh  "The Old Days will never return" & etc. etc. etc.

My experiences in Alphabet City (in the 70s) doesn't quite reach to include boutiques and snooty culinary establishments purveying undigestible meals.  I presume the local HQ of the NYC Hell's Angels has re-located from 2nd St?  ;-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 03:19:15 PM EST
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Yes, "Orchard Street" is sort of shorthand for the whole area, but it was the street for "ladies' fashions." Stanton Street -- immortalized in Dave Tarras's "Chasidic in America" -- was where there were at one time 50 men's discount stores "fun Attorney Street biz Forsythe Street." And there was another street, whose name I forget, that sold interior and upholstery fabrics at incredibly low prices as late as the late 1980s.

But still, it's food -- not slashed prices on paisley mumus and 1960s-model SupHose -- that draws everyone to that neighborhood now. And lest you think it's all "indigestible," besides WD-50, there's also Schiller Bar and my current favorite cheap eaterie, Zucco: Le French Diner.  

Alphabet City is a little rich for my diet these days. And I've wondered for years whatever happened to the Hell's Angels down there. They added such caché to that neighborhood.

by Matt in NYC on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 04:36:01 PM EST
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They weren't bad neighbors, all things considered.  From time to time we'd meet on the street, chat about motorcycles, I'd (very politely) decline the opportunity to purchase heroin, and they'd beat the snot out of anyone mucking with their turf.  Petty street crime dropped to zero.  

As long as you remembered they were completely batguano gonzo-crazy ... no problemo.  ;-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 12:59:53 PM EST
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