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It’s the economy, stupid.

Candy nostalgia reigns supreme in the Lower East Side’s Economy Candy store. This circa-1937 Lower East Side staple is filled from floor to ceiling with retro and international confections, including innumerable  brands you never knew were still in production, or even existed from the get-go. Remember wanting to ‘smoke’ candy cigarettes at the corner drugstore like the big kids? Want a piece of Big League Chew after Sunday’s pick-up game? Imagine a rainbow colored array of chocolates, candy button, lollipops, taffies, collectible Pez dispensers, rock candies, gum-balls and every treat that’s meant to upset your dentist. New York Magazine’s review writes, “Rivington Street’s Economy Candy is pure over-the-top New York, a font of variety and abundance that would leave Willy Wonka weeping in his cocoa.”

That’s me, Keren, posing like Economy Candy’s mascot, below! See the resemblance?

Want an Economy Candy Tote for your finds?

Candies by the box

Zagnut bar? Here. Charleston Chews? You bet baby! You want thingamabobs? They’ve got twenty…It is literally impossible to feel depressed in this sucrose, dextrose neon colored dream. In usual NYC fashion, the store is three times smaller than it should be, almost like a Hoarders episode meets an encyclopedic, library-esque sweets store. The space can feel cramped pretty quickly, and lines of by-the-pound shoppers can get daunting during (sugar) rush hour but, don’t let that dismay you!

Baseball Cards and Candy Buttons

Kitsch Galore with Piggy Bank Tins

Fox’s U-bet Chocolate & Flavored Syrups are an original, Brooklyn-bred treat from the era of the soda jerk! Created in 1895, this liquid is rumored to be the only way to make a perfect New York Chocolate Egg Cream.

I will let Economy Candy explain the history of this institution, straight from the horse’s mouth, “Since 1937, on the Lower East Side Economy Candy is an old-fashioned, family-owned candy store that sells hundreds of kinds of chocolates, candies, nuts, dried fruits; including halvah, sugar free candy and of course all the old time candy you had when you were a kid.

When Jerry Cohen’s father opened Economy Candy in 1937, it was a typical corner candy store of its day. Bulk bins full of colorful hard candies enticed youngsters with their panorama of choices. Guys could buy their dolls a heart-shaped box of chocolates when they had trouble expressing themselves in words. Barrels in the back yielded a geography lesson of nuts from around the world. The hard times of the Depression were easing up, the grim specter of war-to-come wasn’t yet hovering over American shores, and television was a scientific marvel that was unlikely to have any practical commercial application.

Years later, the Dow Jones is soaring to previously unimagined heights, military actions are measured in days, and computer-literate three-year-olds are unnervingly common. And the former youngsters of 1937 still visit Economy Candy for a scoop of goodies, a bag of pistachios, or a slice of halvah like you can’t get anywhere else. And their children and their children’s children shop there, too. This old-fashioned candy store offers SOLID DISCOUNTS on everything from sour balls to upscale chocolates.”

Lollipop, Lollipop, Oh Lolly Lolly Pop!

My coffee cup is resting precariously on Old Fashioned Candy Sticks and Candy Canes so I could get this shot of the M&M wall. The confectionary utopia has common candies as well (and sometimes ever color coded), however its strength lies in the products of yore!  The whole space reads like a Pop Art painting.

My friend, Jeffrey J., exploring the endless possibilities in this parlor of sweets.

The Candy Man Can

Feel like a “Kid in a candy store”, yet? If buying in bulk is not your forte, trying living with these pastel, saccharine soaked products:

Candy is Dandy but Liquor is Quicker

Shop by the Numbers:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

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My Week in Snapshots: 4/23/2012 – 4/29/2012

I am surprised I did not need to be rolled to this computer in order to write this post. But really, this week was basically dedicated to gustatory delights and rich cuisine! Here are a few photos taken straight from my iPhone so that you can see the calories through mine own eyes. At the start of the week I was visiting my new nephew Zachary Fionn (and helping to change diapers, feed babies, empty the dishes, and make food for the family) , and during the rest of the week I was back in NYC at my new JOB.

  1.  My sister’s kitchen is simple, clean, and a little rustic. The layered candles, rattan chairs, and mirrored sconces help to create an inviting space. However, my absolutely favorite piece is the Mason Jar Chandelier, found HERE. No longer are canning jars just for pickling!
  2. We had not one, but TWO dinner parties, this week in the Chelsea walkup. Apartment 9 was bustling with the smells of the kitchen, the laughter of friends, and a lot of wine. On Saturday night, our guests asked if they could bring dessert – OF COURSE WE SAID YES. Lydia and Marcia brought this phenomenally decorate caked purchased at The Riviera Bakehouse in Ardsley, NY. My savory tooth is usually much stronger than my sweet tooth, but the icing on this cake was perfectly done – not too overly sweet. How adorable is that chocolate bee buzzing on a flower petal?
  3. While bored one night I decided to paint my nails in an ombre palette of colors – baby blue, navy, and Prussian blue. Inspired by THIS.
  4. Michael and my good friend Joanna is leaving the auspices of NYC in order to make it big in LA! She is going to be a a famous comedy writer! She also blogs, interviews, and was the Photo Gallery Editor for the New York Daily News. She is generally snarky, loves puppies, and is television enthusiast.  This Saturday morning was her going-away brunch at Esperanto! This $11.95 prix fixe brunch comes with coffee, a mimosa, and an entree (above is the Huevos Rancheros). YOU CANNOT beat that. Straight from Jo’s twitter account, she writes – “The last brunch (where’s Jesus?)”:
  5. For your viewing pleasure, my Benjamin Moore Paint Chalk-wall, side by side. Number 5 is Friday’s Shabbat Dinner menu: Russet Potato Medley, Red Snapper in Moroccan Salt Rub with White Wine Sauce, and Mustard Seed and Panko Crusted Shrimp (how kosher). We also played CRANIUM until the wee hours of the morning.
  6. Number 6 is Saturday’s menu: Charcuterie, Garlic Bread, Lemon Ponzu Asparagus, and Chicken Puttanesca! This dinner actually beat the dinner from the night before, according to unanimous voting.
  7. I have an olive addiction. Recently I have tried to cure my own olives (with salt not lye) but have failed miserably. Anyone have any good recipes and suggestions? The green olives in the forefront are my favorite varietal, Cerignola, from Italy.  Did you know that all olives are technically green and only change color (to black or purple) because of sun exposure, nutrient richness, and maturation? If you scratch off the skin of ANY black olive, you will find some green hiding underneath. ALSO, never ever ever eat a freshly picked olive…blegh.
  8. I don’t think I have ever turned down the chance to eat Nutella on anything. The giant jar in this photo is $90 dollars and is filled with 11 lbs of Nutella. These photos are from Bar Suzette Creperie.  They even have TRUFFLE CREPES.
  9. My sister was craving some major comfort foods so I made a tuna, mac, cheese, peas, carrots, and breadcrumbs casserole! It tasted like a take on a Shepherd’s Pie. Don’t you love those bright cast iron pots? My favorite is Le Creuset Cookware.
  10. This carved wooden artwork was part kitsch, part tiki, and part Coney-Island. It had a goofy sense of humor that kept me amused. In the East Village, Esperanto is  decorated colorfully, with Latin-themed pictures, ornaments hanging from the ceiling, and a faux sheet metal shack with random cruise-ship doors. I wish I knew what artist made this hysterical wall ornament!
What did YOU do this week?
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Downright Knotty

My mother, queen of all things craft, used to knot and braid macramé often in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I recently asked her to reteach me the craft, and although she remembered perfectly how to hem and crochet, she completely forgot the knotting techniques. She had not touched the hempen rope since the Carter Administration. It seems macramé is much harder than remembering to ride a bicycle.

Gracie, a graphic design student aspiring to be a print and pattern designer, makes some of the most beautiful knotted bracelets I have ever seen. Many more HERE.

This art is simply a form of knot tying. However, there are specific tying patterns and weaving lingo used: hitching, double hitching, half hitch, granny knots.  The knots were long crafted by sailors, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms, to decorate anything from knife handles and plant vases, to bottles to parts of ships. The word “macrame” is Arabic for “fringe,” named after the thirteenth century rug weavers who finished the edges of the loomed material (think rugs) with decorative knots. Based on Arabic conquests, and trade routes, the craft spread globally. Sailors, along routes and while bored, made macramé objects in off hours at sea, and sold or bartered them when they  were at port. Favorite creations were usually hammocks and bell fringes. These were sold in China however, did not catch on as the people already had Chinese Square Knotting.

The Eichler ranch house feels a little bit folksy, a little bit Godfather (thank you horsehead pillow). Hoo Hoo doesn’t love those macrame owls?  Image found via Retro Renovation, HERE.

Sarah Parkes is a designer who works with macrame under her label Smalltown. Above is a residential commission, The Griffin Residence, with a custom chandelier by Parkes. For the product line, go here.

Knotted objects eventually reached the English courts by the 17th century, but did not become de rigueur in the mainstream until the late 1700’s and 1800’s. Sylvia’s Book of Macramé Lace (1882), a  bestseller for the era, showed readers how “to work rich trimmings for black and coloured costumes, both for home wear, garden parties, seaside ramblings, and balls—fairylike adornments for household and underlinens …” Most Victorian homes were outfitted by these intricately tied knots.  Apparently, hippies, children, and other “free love afficianados” saw something utilitarian and inspiring in the knotting. The craft had a huge resurgence in the 1970’s as a means to make wall hangings, articles of clothing, bedspreads, capes, ponchos, shorts, tablecloths, draperies, plant hangers, and other furnishings. Now, every child sent to summer camp knows how to macrame thanks to friendship bracelets (often worn stacked up an entire arm). Sometimes going to overnight camp feels like living in the 18th century meets the 1970’s, so this revitalization makes sense.

Image found HERE.

Be sure that you are ok with feather dusting and steaming! Once a summer camp standby, macramé might be the next big thing found HERE.  Hanging in the lobby of the new Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, L.A. artist and designer Michael Schmidt wanted to shake things up. “I suggested we take the seventies macramé idea further by incorporating nautical and Japanese rope-knotting techniques,” he says. The curtain hangs from assorted pieces of antique hardware, ship’s pulleys and butcher’s hooks. 

Macrame – Knotted Milati Hanging Chair via Antrhopologie, HERE.

Fun and slightly kitschy 1970’s macramé window hangers are just lovely. With circular and triangular patterns, this is sure to allow unique light patterns to brighten up your day.  Made with wood and cotton, the large macramé can go in a window, a door or a wall to give personality. Image found HERE.

A wall hanging on view at Relish in Portland by artist Sally England of Mondo Macrame Product. I just love the fact that back in the day the knotting craze was not just for women, but that men, young boys and girls, teenagers, and the elderly were doing it too,” says England. “People were using their hands to make everything from rad macramé vests and belts, to whole macramé rooms and hanging pods.” 

More organic, eco, and soft Sally England modern macrame, HERE.  So how to use these hangings in a home? “Knotted rope can add some really interesting texture to a space, especially on a large scale,” says England. “Because I generally work with looser knot structures, my room dividers would be great in an open loft-like environment where flow and delineation of space is needed but complete separation is not.” 

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