Pop Karma has a home! We are on the Lower East Side at 95 Orchard Street (south of Delancey Street). I’m thrilled with our location. The Lower East Side (LES) pulses with energy and is a spicy mishmash of history and today. The LES is historically a Jewish area, immigrants have congregated there for a long time. Chinatown is right next door on a very porous border. New blood has steadily moved in so the LES has become an fascinating melange of old-time Jewish businesses, great bars and restaurants, and unique shops.
The area is definitely in transition, as detailed in this NYT article. We love our neighbors! A world class museum on New York City’s immigrant roots, The Tenement Museum, is right next door. On the other side of us a kitchen store, then Sam’s, who has been in business for over 50 years. Across the street is Great Beer, which sells and serves a dizzying selection of beer from around the world. Earnest Sewn is on the corner, and 88 Orchard is a buzzing coffee shop down the street. Our space is the former Il Laborotorio del Gelato, which has moved to a much larger and location a few blocks away at 188 Ludlow. Hopefully some of their karma will rub off on us!
Looking for a space became a Sisyphean task that took six months. I thought it would be easy – just think of the perfect location and sign a lease, right? Turns out there are availability, price and space constraints. After several brokers, an obsession with the Village, and a couple false starts, I finally took to walking the streets by myself in desperation (and sometimes with my friend James) and calling numbers in windows.
A friend suggested the LES, which I’d never considered, and when I went down there it just felt right. I called about another space, and Jack at Misrahi Realty just happened to show me 95 Orchard. As soon as I walked in, it felt like Pop Karma had a home. Happystance.