17 Feb THE MAPPETITE MILE: BONDED IN NYC
From Broadway to the Bowery, the two block stretch that is Bond Street spans a mix of urban old world New York and 21st century moneyed sophisticate aspirant.
With a yawn inspiring hodgepodge of retail there’s not much to Bond Street where it hits Broadway. Look upward though and you’ll see that there’s no mediocrity with the array of beautiful cast iron buildings – gems of the city’s architectural heritage that date back to the late 1800s.
Have a gander eastward and the skyline opens out above rectangular roof lines of low scale industrial buildings and tenements, most no more than a half dozen stories high. Except for the slew of recently sprouted apartment towers, the terrain appears much the same as it did in olden days – squint a bit and it could easily be a backdrop for a scene from “Time and Again”.
Not too long ago these sleepy out-of-the-way blocks hosted light industry, artists in lofts and down-and-out stragglers from the nearby shelters and SROs. Nowadays, while still quiet in comparison to the see-and-be-seen thoroughfare that is the Bowery, there’s clearly a hipster edge to this New York City street.
There’s not much to the working-class storefronts from Bond Street’s past – D&D SALVAGE, GIURDANELLA CONTRACTING CO & ETNA TOOL & DIE – but they do give a glimpse into the street’s history.
For more interactive shopping feed your creative side with a stop at BLICK ART MATERIALS (aka DICK BLICK’S – gosh is that a great name or what?!) or thumb through some photography pages at DASHWOOD BOOKS. Get a sensory splash of eau from parfumerie BOND NO. 9 and transition into a bling moment at the jeweler MISH.
Unless you’ve got junior budget frocks on your mind skip over JOCYE LESLIE and stop at the nefariously named but relatively tame E. VIL when the girl in you is hankering for irreverent and clingy tees. Cross over Lafayette
for designer-leaning duds at OAKS and for that au courant American workman dandy-edged style head to BILLY REID’S. Shoes take on an architectural dimension at UN | UNITED NUDE, a collaboration between architect Rem D. Koolhaas and 7th generation cobbler Galahad Clark of Clark’s fame.
Furnishing one of the newly minted residences on Bond Street is a 20th century affair at LOBEL MODERN and the very Scandinavian MODERNLINK. If space is tight and simple style is more your speed (or lack thereof) then step up to VITSOE for defining design in shelving units – think of it as Elfa couture.
The streetscape is wide and cobblestoned and the building stock interesting – Bond Street is quiet and cool, a bit of calm from proletariat Broadway and gets-to-be-too-hip Bowery. Also helps that its an artery between the Village, NoLIta and Soho.
On your way through, in addition to the period buildings, take a look at the new condos – a couple smack a bit of Dwell Magazine and that can be an interesting thing. Ian Schrager’s questionable interpretation of graffiti has a quirky Gaudi-esque inoffensiveness at No. 40 and there’s green-appeal to the bluestone facade and gardened window boxes of No. 41. Compared with the color-sheathed high rises popping up in the not too distant Lower East Side, Bond Street is an architecturally discreet New York city block.
No polish but some bright lights to the enduring performance space of the GENE FRANKEL THEATRE. For your Off-Off Broadway repertoire it’s performance time at this weathered and worn thespian stage.
If you’re hungry on Bond Street then head to THE SMILE. At this themed “general store” the posturing may be 19th century America via a hipster, if contrived, Williamsburg vibe but the kitchen puts out topnotch sandwiches and the barrista rolls out satisfying espresso brews.
More of a meal in mind? Lucky you there’s IL BUCO – one of the city’s beloved destination dines. The onetime antique shop exudes rustic villa style while the chef plays to the Slow Food credo with locally sourced Mediterranean inspired fare (for an all-day taste of IL BUCO head around the corner to Great Jones Street and its newly minted and delicious salumi-centric Alimentari e Vineria).
After years and years the hipster sushi house BONDST still rolls out great Japanese plates – with its pricey menu this tri-level eatery is not your neighborhood sushi house.
Skip over the less than mediocre noodle house called HUNG RY and Bond Street becomes East 2nd Street and your onto the Bowery along the MAPPETITE MILE.