Volume 73, Number 50 | April 21 - 27, 2004

New boutiques and bistros

Depending on your point of view, the new designer fashion boutiques at the west end of Bleecker St., above, may or may not represent progress. Regardless, their number is proliferating. Some local merchants say they have observed that these stores seem to be increasing local shopping traffic, bringing in new shoppers from areas like the Upper East Side. However, the new crowd doesn’t seem interested in more than browsing in the Village’s traditional small, offbeat boutiques, according to anecdotal reports.

Meanwhile, where gluttons for punishment once fed their appetite in the Hellfire and J’s Hangout sex clubs in the Meat Market’s Triangle Building, diners are now chowing down at Steve Hanson’s one-week-old Vento, an Italian restaurant serving wood-oven-fired “pizze” (as in pizza) and other hearty fare, below. Also at the corner of Washington and Little W. 12th Sts., diners will soon be digging in at a new restaurant at the site of the former Mineshaft, the city’s most notorious sex club in its day. The pink building has been empty since 1985, when it was closed down as part of the wave of club and bathhouse closings under former Mayor Ed Koch during the AIDS crisis. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is requiring a historically accurate exterior renovation befitting the new Gansevoort Historic District.

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