There are certain places in NYC that people rave about as being “so unique” and “must see.” I’m trying to think of good examples, but the only one that’s coming to mind is Magnolia Bakery, bakers of cupcakes whose recipe consists entirely of ludicrous amounts of sugar, butter, and flour. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good, but are they really worth standing in a 15 minute line for? It’s one of those things where you’re waiting, and you look around and see that the ratio of tourists to residents is about 5 to 1, and everyone is talking excitedly about the Sex and the City episode they saw it on, and how charming the 1950s-esque interior is, and eventually, you have no choice but to quietly excuse yourself from the line.
For some reason, I always thought Economy Candy was in the same ballpark. I’d heard the same ravings about it from friends, and avoided it for presumptuous reasons. I visited today for the first time, and I feel like an idiot for not going sooner.
I was scouting the Lower East Side today, where the store was founded in 1937. You can check out their website here.
As is obvious, the entire focus here is candy. Candy, candy, and more candy. Chocolate, fruity, gum, jelly beans, old-fashioned, hard to find, whatever it may be, there’s a pretty good bet they have it. The windows alone should give some indication of this:
Inside, the place is literally stacked floor to ceiling/wall to wall with candy. You can even buy it in 5 or 10 pound bags.
I mean, pretty much everything imaginable…
…including 1986 Topps baseballs cards that still have the gum inside. I think I’ll try some one day when I’m feeling particularly suicidal.
I didn’t buy any of these, but I wish I had:
Bags of Gold Mine nugget bubble gum. Pretty cool, and only 99 cents.
After I bought some Pez and chocolates for my girlfriend, I went out, passing a delivery that would make Willy Wonka salivate.
Down on Allen St, there’s a park that divides the road in half, and you can always find cobblers from Chinatown at work. It’s pretty amazing to see them attacking leather with hammers and nails. It’s also amazing that there are still people who regularly require the assistance of a cobbler. I’ve passed these guys several times this week, and they always have business. Note that everything this guy needs is on his cart, complete with a generator to keep it all running.
Finally, I was heading back through Soho when I noticed this interesting sign above a door…
Humane Police Equipment, right below the picture of a gun. Awesome.