Astor Place Representative Ed Freiberg is a born-and-raised New Yorker with varied experience in real estate, nightlife, event planning and restaurants. “Being at Astor Place is like being at the central hub of downtown, the thru-street that gets you to all the best of downtown in a flash. Walk 5-10 minutes in any direction and you are smack-dab in the middle of Greenwich Village, Nolita, Noho, Soho, Union Square, the East Village or my favorite of favorites: the Bowery! I live 5 blocks from the office (on Bowery) and absolutely love it.”
1) Favorite place to shop
- Billy Reid on Bond – The clothes fit great and have a Southern, hip feel.
- Lord Willy’s – They have the best bespoke menswear, you cannot go wrong with their classic fits and beautiful lines for suits and dress shirts.
- Screaming Mimi’s on Lafayette
- Search and Destroy on St. Mark’s
2) Best place for a night out of the town
My favorite neighborhood spot for a night out is The Wren on Bowery. It’s a great bar with a fantastic vibe. It’s not trying to be anything fancy or different and that is what has made it a hotspot. I feel completely at home there, although I wish my home was always filled with such a cool, hip, beautiful crowd. They have a great gastro pub menu; I highly recommend the beef jerky and bacon and cauliflower soup.
The bartenders are also terrific; they make very inventive cocktails, but don’t pass judgment if you want to keep it simple with a beer or vodka soda. Also, The Wren gets extra points for being open while the power was out during Sandy week. They had 200 candles going and there was a great feeling of neighborhood camaraderie. We were all in it together. I was very happy to support them!
3) Where to dine
Restaurants are what make this area spectacular. From the newest hotspots like Acme, Saxon And Parole and Peels to old standards like Bond St, Indochine, or Il Buco, you don’t have to step foot out of the area to have a truly diverse and incredible gastronomical experience.
My current favorite is Bianca’s, a small Italian restaurant on Bleecker Street. Simple, reasonably priced courses and an expansive wine menu are the keys to their success. They don’t accept reservations so you have to get there by 7 to get on line for a table. It’s always packed, but well worth the wait! (Going early on a rainy day is your best shot for immediate seating).
Another hidden gem is this small block called Extra Place, a quirky street-within-a-street, on East 1st between Bowery and 2nd Ave. It’s a mini-mecca of restaurants with Veselka, Extra Place and the new L’apicio, which is owned by the same team that opened two of my favorite restaurants in the West Village, Dell’anima and L’artusi. It’s equally fantastic!!
4) Go-to for groceries:
- Whole Foods on Houston Street- it has the best produce and meat in the area.
- Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria– this Italian restaurant and market has the best extra virgin oil I have ever had and fantastic bread.
- Union Square Greenmarket– open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this farmer’s market has bountiful fresh, local produce.
- Think Coffee– when La Colombe’s line is 15 minutes long I grab a cup of coffee here.
5) Saturday afternoon must do’s