Why I love NYC: Emily Rubin

The longtime East Village resident and author shares her favorite neighborhood spots.

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  • Photograph: Imogen Brown

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    Emily Rubin at Avenue A Laundry King

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Love Shine

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Love Shine

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Love Shine

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Zum Schneider

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Zum Schneider

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    East River Park

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    East River Park

Photograph: Imogen Brown

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Emily Rubin at Avenue A Laundry King

If you're jonesing for a local's take on the East Village, look no further than Emily Rubin, who's lived on East 7th Street since 1980. The Queens native has developed a following for her reading series, Dirty Laundry: Loads of Prose (dirtylaundryreadings.com), which began in a Laundromat on Avenue C and now takes place at washer-and-dryer havens throughout the country. "The Laundromat is kind of an equalizer," explains Rubin. "Everybody has to do their laundry. People from different backgrounds end up there together." On Tuesday 25, Rubin will gather friends and strangers to celebrate her debut novel, Stalina (released on January 18), with a party at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St between Delancey and Rivington Sts; 212-219-0736, dixonplace.org; 6--8pm; free). Instead of rumbling dryers and clanking coins, attendees will listen to indie duo Flutterbox and munch on pizza from Two Boots (a neighborhood staple since 1987). We asked Rubin to name her favorite East Village haunts.

Love Shine
"The proprietors are friends. I can go there on my way home from work to have a chat and shop. [Owner Mark Seamen] has bags that he designs and makes ($32--$96)—he's very influenced by Mexico and the Day of the Dead—and he also invites neighborhood artists to sell their things, and lets them [collaborate to design] his store windows. The proprietors have also helped a couple times with Dirty Laundry; if a Laundromat wouldn't let us do our show, he's opened up his door to Dirty Laundry in exile. I really want to be part of places that have a sense of community—even if it's just the bodega on the corner—and make sure that they know that I appreciate their efforts." 543 E 6th St between Aves A and B (212-387-0935, loveshinenyc.com). Daily 1pm--9pm.

Takahachi
"The restaurant's opening coincided with a big transition in the neighborhood, when there were galleries opening in the late '70s and early '80s. When I first moved to the neighborhood, I couldn't get food delivered to my building. It was too dangerous. When we started to get deliveries, that was a turning point. It was like, 'Oh, it's safe enough now for them to come to Avenue C?' Sometimes it felt a little bit like the outside world was encroaching on our world here—and there are some people who still feel like that is a negative thing. But it's New York. We all live in a very complex environment where there is anything from Swarovski crystals to porn shops within a block of each other." 85 Ave A between 5th and 6th Sts (212-505-6524, takahachi.net). Mon--Thu, Sun 5pm--midnight; Fri, Sat 5pm--12:30am.

Zum Schneider
"It's a traditional German biergarten with big tables where people can sit communally. I am a fan of the Klsch ($6)—it's very light and crisp. The soft, homemade pretzels ($3) are particularly delicious. [Owner Sylvester Schneider] uses his restaurant almost as his cabaret theater. Around Karneval, which is a big holiday in Germany, he produces a musical show and all of the people that work there perform in it—so many are waiters-actors-musicians—and he does a big Advent caroling event around the holidays. It's really important to him that those times are celebrated, and that these people who have many talents get to express themselves. I think it's why many of the same people have worked for him for years, and that gives the place a feeling of home and of family." 107 Ave C at 7th St (212-598-1098, zumschneider.com). Mon--Thu 5pm--2am, Fri 4pm--4am, Sat 1pm--4am, Sun 1pm--2am.

East River Park
"About ten years ago, the esplanade in the park was shut down, and there was no connection to the river. But [since 2005], it's all been redone, and the section from 12th Street down to Grand Street is all finished. It's a beautiful curve of the river, where you can see the 59th Street Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. I was out there with my dog Sebastian, and the river was glistening, everything was moving and fresh. They fixed up the field so there are people playing baseball and soccer, and it just feels like life has been put back in the park." FDR Dr between Montgomery and E 12th Sts (nyc.gov/parks)

Yoga to the People
"It's opened yoga up to people who can't afford a $15 class—to be able to exercise, and be part of that practice and that community. You don't feel like you have to wear a certain kind of workout clothing to go there. People are in their put-together things, there's no stare-downs, and the teachers really emphasize that it's not about comparing yourself to the person next to you. The vinyasa yoga classes kick ass." 12 Saint Marks Pl between Second and Third Aves (917-573-9642, yogatothepeople.com). Schedule varies; visit website for details. Suggested donation $10, mat rental $2.

La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez
It's one of the [community] gardens that I was involved in saving. In the '90s, there was a time when there was a lot of tension about whether or not the gardens would be sold for development. Bette Midler was a part of that movement to save the gardens, and she actually put up a lot of the money. It's a very beautiful, quiet place to go. Sebastian, loves to do a little loop around it, [and there are] all these secret paths, an amphitheater, and a gazebo where people can sit and gather. Another thing that's really distinctive about it is the outside: There is a chain-link fence around [the garden], but on top there are hundreds of flowers made out of recycled materials by an artist in the neighborhood." Ave C at 9th St (212-788-8070, laplazacultural.com). Hours vary; call for details. Opens Apr 1.

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