Murray’s Cheese, Bleecker Street, New York. September 2010

New York

New York is famed for it’s walking and while the subway is the most efficient and colourful way to get around the larger city, the individual neighbourhoods are best planned to allow several hours (or days) of exploration on foot. We spent a day in Bleecker Street in downtown Manhattan, and I’ve already planned another whole day on the same route when we return in a few weeks as I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Staying in East Village, our starting point for our east to west downtown stroll is one of the most revered historical points in New York city musical history, 315 Bowery. Originally the home of infamous CBGB’s punk rock nightclub of the 1970s and 80s, this much visited pilgrimage site is now the flagship store of contemporary men’s fashion brand, John Vavartos. With a huge nod to it’s punk rock heritage, the store sells vintage record players and rock history books amongst hipster tweed pants, grunge rock shirts and customised Americana Converse runners within the hallowed brick walls still adorned with ripped gig posters, graffiti and beer stains.

Crossing the Bowery we walk west along Bleecker Street, a classic New York one way tree shaded street, lined with laddered red-brick walkups, theatres, parks and clairvoyants. Vintage and mid century furniture stores are trawled, busy pastel coloured cup cake shops are very cute but are passed by for a Rocco’s authentic Italian pastry and coffee (243 Bleecker). High names in fashion line both sides of the street, indeed Marc Jacobs has three stores in one block). Bleecker St Records (and it’s very fat cat keeping vinyl crates warm since 1872 no doubt) is sadly no longer but Rebel Rebel records (319 Bleecker) is a life-long dream come true for this long term devoted Bowie fan. Funnily enough, I bypass all the Bowie memorabilia and walk out with the new Grinderman 12″ single on red vinyl – yes, this tiny collectors store is not just a second hand vinyl hangout but stocks new and great music too.

No walk along Bleecker Street is complete without some quality time spent in the specialty Murray’s Cheese store. This enormous collection of cheeses is available for tastings, for breakfast and lunch and is accompanied by wines, beers, coffee, small goods and fabulous dedication by very knowledgeable and attentive staff.





A New York walk from East Village to the Meatpacking District is not complete without a stop at Murray’s Cheese, or Rebel Rebel records, both situated on Bleecker St in Greenwich Village.