I love the East Village for many reasons. It’s the first place I ever lived in NYC that actually felt like home.
It’s not crawling with tourists. The people that live there really love it; it has a real sense of community on 6th and there’s a gorgeous community centre that offers yoga, where you donate what you can afford. They also have Yoga for the People, which runs on the same idea.
There’s lots of great organic/vegan/fair-trade independent cafés and restaurants; pretty much every resto there has something with Kale on the menu. The East Village has soul, real spirit, and is full of interesting people who are thriving on it.
My favourite thing about NYC is walking - I walk everywhere if I have the time. When I moved to the Village I started walking around each day finding new places. I would discover amazing smoothie bars, spas for manis, pedis and shoulder rubs and obviously outrageously good vintage clothing.
On one of these walks I stumbled across Enchantments (424 E 9th St (Between 1st Avenue and Avenue A), a spell store that lots of my girlfriends had told me about. It’s been around since 1982 and is an institution in the heart of the East Village. It’s part magical apothecary part spell store, its mission to help people empower themselves, heal and grow through spiritual practice.
As you walk into the store you feel like you’ve just stumbled into a witches’ workshop; there are sleepy black cats lying all around the shop.
The store is brimming with broomsticks, Tarot cards and sage. I went to Enchantments for a very specific reason, however; I was going to get a bespoke carved candle.
Their candles are something they are famous for - I was buying one for my mother as a gift, and so in my consultation with one of the super knowledgeable staff I told them about her: her birthday, what she’s like and what I wished for her.
They then select a candle and start carving mystical symbols into the wax. Then they rub a specific combination of oils and potions into the candle. After, they sprinkle fairy dust (coloured glitter) into the carved shapes. This then gets placed into a glass vessel.
It’s an interactive experience and takes at least 40 mins for the whole process. You take a taste of honey and add it to the candle to bring sweetness, then they instruct that the owner of the candle should write a note with all the wishes you have, and you meditate on it before lighting it. Then alacazam! and your wishes come true...
I also picked up some other goodies including a sage stick to smudge my apartment with. I love the smell of sage and how it empties all negative energy; magic and spells have always interested me, perhaps because I grew up watching Bewitched with the wonderful Elizabeth Montgomery or my love for Glenda the good witch in The Wizard of Oz.
Whether it’s hocus pocus or not, the place is buzzing with lovely people all there looking for that magic sprinkle of fairy dust that this store brings.