East Village, Manhattan

Clémence Polès
November 17, 2023

This week’s guide is very special: we tapped East Village local and founder of the online magazine passerby, Clémence Polès for a custom curation. Since 2015, passers by from all over the world have welcomed us into their homes, offering honest looks into their lives—the unconventional paths, mistakes, and small victories that define their day-to-day lives. Dive into all of Clémence’s picks for one of the best neighborhoods to sit down and observe all of the passers by.


Pictured, clockwise from left:
Minca, MáLà Project, Veselka, Divya's Kitchen


No frills, just really really good ramen. The closest thing to the ramen I had that one time I went to Tokyo. 


Old school East Village sushi spot. Love their bar, great for solo dinners. Order the hot sake with your sushi.

MáLà Project

Excellent Chinese food. Highly recommend the dry pots, but also the house-fried noodles.

Horus Cafe on B

My favorite hookah bar in the city. A lot of solos zoning out whilst really good R&B & Hip Hop plays in the background. My kind of peaceful experience. I get the strawberry shisha with a side of French fries (which are excellent) and mayo.

7th Street Burger 

One of the few trendy foodie spots that actually hold up.

Divya’s Kitchen 

Been going here for years. Great place for vegans and vegetarians. Also great place for a little reset, I always feel incredible after eating anything here. A personal favorite is their Kitchari.


When I crave Iranian food, this is the next (insanely delicious) best thing. They have Kabsa which is one of my favorite dishes and Iranians have a version of this.


Great matcha spot in the neighborhood. Their onigiris are insanely filling if you’re looking for a quick lunch spot.

B&H Dairy

The matzo ball soup <3


Probably one of my favorite diners in the city. Have had such wonderful after midnight diners with friends here.


Pictured, clockwise from left:
Jane, East Village Postal, East Village Books, East Village Organics

Mast Books 

One of my favorite book curations in the city. The finds themselves are incredible — particularly for the artistically inclined and film buffs — and span everything from inexpensive, lesser-known titles by well-known authors to rare collector’s items with price tags that match.


For all things kitchen and home. Impeccable curation, hard to leave empty handed. They also have my favorite Morning Star Incenses

Il Buco Alimentari

Whenever I come back from traveling somewhere, this is the first place I go to. Probably my favorite Italian spot in the neighbhoord. Highlights include the Bernardo pizza, lattuga salad and the Bottarga pasta. Oh and I highly recommend buying your bread and olive oil here.

East Village Books

Great second-hand bookstores, also great place to sell your own books to!

A-1 Record Shop

I don’t really buy records anymore, but I consider this place a NYC landmark.

East Village Postal

If you’re into pens and notebooks, this is the spot, they have really good stationary. I’ve also been sending my mail through them for years, just a positive place.

East Village Organics 

After Abraço this is where you’ll find me the most (where one could ‘pass me by’, ha). My go-to spot for all things groceries, loose teas and spices (their selection is unreal), fresh juices, and delicious homemade soups (that’s under $6!)


Just opened up, the ready-made meals are beyond. Best place to buy your fish, it’s also quite a scene in that section.

SOS Chefs

Spice paradise


Pictured, left to right:
Abraço, Discovery Wines

Discovery Wines

Best wine shop in the city period. Great selection of low intervention wines.


The kind of coffee shop where you’ll speak to your neighboring coffee drinker for hours. If Cheers was a coffee shop. In my humble opinion, best coffee in New York City.


Pictured: Veniero's


A classic. The NYC cheesecake is not to be missed.

From Lucie

It’s been shockingly difficult to find a decent French-style patisserie in the city, so this is a very welcomed new find. Whenever I have a sweetooth/feeling homesick/want goûter, you’ll find me here.


I don’t love to experiment beyond the realms of vanilla ice cream, but this is the only spot that doesn’t make me regret doing so.


Pictured, clockwise from left:
Keisy, 6BC Botanical Garden

6BC Botanical Garden

One of my favorite things about the East Village is its community gardens, I haven’t seen anything like it in the rest of the city. The 6BC Botanical Garden is not to be missed, it’s otherworldly… truly a hidden paradise. There’s even a treehouse!


The one place I look forward to going to the most. $50/h for the best shiatsu massage. They’ve healed many body injuries I’ve had over the years.Each time, I walk out with an insane high, like I’m floating, all tension or pain I had going in, gone. They warn you on the call that it’s “no pain no gain”, so if you're into Swedish massages, this is definitely not for you.

Anthology Film Archives

One of the best places for avant-garde, experimental, and independent films. This place had such an important role in the independent film scene in NYC.


Clémence Polès

Clémence Polès is a Franco-Iranian photographer and creative director based in New York City. She is also the founder of passerby, an online magazine and community born from her curiosity about the women she encountered all too briefly while people-watching. She's been featured in The Coveteur, Architectural Digest, and Vogue among other publications.