Best Boutiques in the East Village

New Yorkers and in-the-know come to the East Village for its many independent boutiques.

A few decades ago, people gravitated to the East Village to buy recreational drugs in parks and on street corners. There were grungy bars, dilapidated tenement apartment buildings, and abandoned structures. Today all that's changed. Well, maybe except for the bars. Now New Yorkers and in-the-know Big Apple visitors come to the East Village for its many independent boutiques that flank the vibrant, narrow streets. You can pick up a one-of-a-kind dress, vintage denim jeans, unique wooden children's toys, and even an antique 19th-century wooden leg. Whatever you fancy, you can probably find it by doing a boutique crawl through one of Manhattan's coolest (and thankfully) safest neighborhoods.

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Dinosaur Hill

Selling cool handcrafted toys and musical instruments for kids since 1983, this East Village tot-centric spot is perfect for when you need a gift for a child's birthday or any other occasion. Puppets, glass animals, globes, teddy bears, and, of course, miniature dinosaurs are all for sale here.


The "duo" in question is sisters LaRae and Wendy Kangas whose highly curated collection of couture make their East 9th Street shop a must for any female shopper looking to nab idea casual wear. The focus here is on gender-neutral womenswear and staples for the wardrobe. Duo NYC also happens to be the spot to pick up some vintage denim jeans.


Vintage leather jackets, sports jerseys, loud 1980s sweaters. You can find them at this Third Avenue vintage clothes shop. But what really brings back the regulars (who include Iggy Pop, among other rockstars) are the vintage concert t-shirts. Still wished you'd bought that "Purple Rain" shirt at the Prince concert in 1985? You can probably find it here. Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, even Barry Manilow shirts are in stock – perfect for the favorite "fanilow" in your life.

Obscura Antiques

The name says it all. If you get a hankering for a 150-year-old prosthetic limb or an ancient taxidermied pet – and, really, who doesn't from time to time? – then this is the place for you. Obscura lives up to its name by trafficking in the obscure and the odd. Victorian bedpans, funeral ephemera, and 19th-century medical gadgets, among many other fascinating objects, are all here for your gawking and/or purchasing pleasure.


The East Village was once brimming with Ukrainian immigrants. If you look closely you can still see some remnants of those days – an old Ukrainian restaurant here, and Eastern Orthodox church there – and so it's fitting that Ukrainian-born model Vera Balyura opened up her first jewelry shop here. Ms. Balyura's style veers towards the charmingly whimsical so expect to find gold rings boasting dinosaur heads, earrings that dangle with mermaids or vampires. And if you're luck you just find spot regulars Amy Sedaris, Tilda Swinton, or Michel Gondry picking up a new set of earrings or a necklace.

Best Boutiques in the East Village | Culture