BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
What’s On… Chrystie Street? (Part 1)
Chrystie Street has two lives. During the day the bustling food markets of Chinatown and lumber and electrical suppliers reign king. Sara D. Roosevelt Park, spans the entire length of this seven block street and is a bustling community of its own while the sun shines with playgrounds for children and even hosts the city’s best location for bike polo, The Pit. At night, the scene changes as stores close and the park becomes home for some of New York City’s homeless. The lively Chrystie Street becomes admittedly desolate and a more subtle kind of life comes into play. Bars, clubs, and restaurants open their doors as night falls and the young hipster crowd flood the street.
We’ll split Chrystie into two. This month, Chrystie below Delancey and next month, Chrystie north of Delancey. Proving that the barrier between the Lower East Side and Chinatown is still a prominent one.
49 Chrystie Street – Yoshi Wine and Liquor
Stop by Yoshi Wine and Liquor for a last minute bottle of something tasty before you hop on the Lucky Star to Boston boarding just a few doors down. Prices are fair and the owners pleasant – what more could you want from a neighborhood liquor store?
51 Chrystie Street – Yaya Tea Garden
Bubble tea, iced tea, hot tea, tea jelly, you name it and they’ve got it at Yaya Tea Garden. The menu is complete with tea combos sporting fancy names like “clean clothes” or “Better Life” and snacks. Stop by for their Onigiri, or rice balls and nearly any mix of tea you can imagine.
55 Chrystie Street – 9 to 9 Happy Store
This recently opened convenience store, conveniently located just about where the Lucky Star bus doors open and shut is the perfect place to grab a snack for the sometimes very long trip to Boston. 9 to 9 carries a variety of interesting dehydrated Chinese and Japanese snacks as well as your reliable American convenience store nibbles.
55 Chrystie Street – T Baar
Head to T Baar for smoothies and bubble tea. Dedicated patrons claim that T Baar is best in the business while the cheap Chinatown prices keep the rest of us coming back for more. Check out one of T Baar’s other five locations in Borough Park, Brooklyn or on the Lower East Side on Eldridge Street in Manhattan!
73 Chrystie Street – Kung Fu Tea
Yet another tea spot on Chrystie, Kung Fu Tea carries the basic milk and bubble teas. The menu allows you to specify your desired amount of sweetness, ensuring that every order is customized just the way you like it, every time.
77 Chrystie Street – C & L Dumpling House
Stick to the dumplings at C & L Dumpling House – and at $1.25 for 5 of them, who wouldn’t want to? Granted, you’ll get what you pay for here (read: service, decor, cleanliness, ingredient quality) but the dumplings still manage to be tasty in a pinch at this relatively under the radar dumpling house.
79 Chrystie Street – Wah Fung #1 Fast Food
With one of the cheapest meals in the city Wah Fung seldom has a day when, come lunchtime, there isn’t a line out the door. The $3.00 (and seeming to rise) roast pork and chicken over rice is heaped into a container and certainly won’t leave you hungry. Although prime times are busy and lines can be long, it’s worth it to come then and scoop up some of the freshest meat and rice.
79 B Chrystie Street – Tao Hong Bakery
Beautiful cakes line the display case at Tao Hong Bakery, a lovely little bakery that takes pride in each detail of their sweet treats. Order a cake for a special occasion, or grab smaller cake or rice ball for a treat on the go.
81 Chrystie Street – Lucky Plaza
Lucky Plaza is known by their American clientele for their two person lobster deal – appetizer, lobster, and a main course for just about 20 dollars – and known by the Chinese locals for their Hong Kong style clay pot rice. While decor may be minimal and service gruff, the lobster was alive just before it came to your plate… and there’s always the karaoke room at the back of the restaurant to sing your sorrows away.
83 Chrystie Street – New Kim Tuong
Another great place on Chrystie Street for a cheap Chinatown lunch. The $3.50 roast BBQ pork over rice can’t be beat in these parts. If you’re up to your neck in the area with roast pork over rice, the Pi Pa duck rivals many others‘ in the city and is a must try.
131 Chrystie Street – Home Sweet Home
Crossing Broome Street from the South slowly brings you out of Chinatown and into the nightlife haven of the Lower East Side. Home Sweet Home is a subterranean dive that can get all too cozy as the night progresses. It’s your parents… or grandparents basement complete with taxidermy, knick-knacks and ugly lamps. The crowd is young, drunk, and sweaty so if that’s your bag grab a spot in line and hope for clement weather while you wait!
131 ½ Chrystie Street – Fig. 19
The owners of Home Sweet Home have opened a more intimate, grown up version of their rowdy good time downstairs. Fig. 19 is set behind a gallery space just up the stairs from Home Sweet Home, making it a part of the speakeasy style bar resurgence that has flooded New York. Fig. 9 comes complete with more taxidermy and serious bartenders mixing serious drinks. The door can be tough unless you know someone, so get to schmoozing to get behind Fig. 19.
139 Chrystie Street – Panda NYC
Part art gallery, part coffee shop, and part dance club Panda is the it spot for many LES hipsters who dig the DJ and art combo. Though the party at Panda doesn’t usually get off the ground until the wee hours, it can also double as a decent alternative when the line for Home Sweet Home is too long. Strap on your best pair of Nikes and get to breakin’ it down!
141 Chrystie Street – Chrystie 141 aka Mystique
Also known as Mystique, Chrystie 141 is a multi level club space complete with DJs, dancing and karaoke on the second floor. The vibe is a little space age, the door tough, and the scene not there yet, so most are saying it’s not worth the hassle.