Lower East Side (Brady Street now)
Change is in Brady Street’s DNA but the pandemic has picked up the pace. I have lived in the neighborhood for most of the past 50 years. Here are some things I notice while walking down the street today.
The eastern part is the heart, so let’s start at the five-point intersection of Brady, Farwell and Cambridge. CVS with its new Minute Clinic is a real medical center with indoor and drive services. Kitty corner, the huge windows of the long triangular building, formerly Fed Ex and Kinko’s, house “For Lease” signs.
What could the future hold for us? The boarded-up corner building across Farwell, once a Starbucks, announces in an upper-floor window: Psychic Visions—Walk-ins Welcome.
The little mall next to our trusty Walgreens has the new Taco Stop for Mexican takeout. A prominent wall sign in the Supercuts hair salon next door reads ‘Please don’t cut your hair today’. Sorry, Supercuts; this is one of my pandemic money savers. To boot, my longtime hair salon, Live Gallery, has moved to the west end of Brady, so coming or going, I feel a little guilty.
Shocking losses: Brewed, the cozy cafe that helped the street recover from its hippie days, has closed. Likewise, Fazio’s dry cleaning, part of the street’s strong Italian heritage. The Up And Under Pub is gone. A new club named Nashville North will soon take its place, says in large letters on the facade.
New food and drink venues, all now occupied: spacious Pete’s Pub; the clever Saint Bibiana with her naked angels; and the dazzling German-flavored Wurstbar with indoor and outdoor video screens, mostly tuned to sports channels.
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Walking Brady Street at night actually feels like I’m in a movie (mostly sports themed). I counted a sizable 77 video screens in the three-block stretch from Warren to Franklin.
Also new: Mac Shack offers a variety of “wood oven macaroni and cheese” dishes. Black Ink is an intriguing tattoo parlour. Golden Grizzly Tattoo is stylish. I will buy and sell used clothes at Bandit Vintage and Modern. I’m going to outfit my feet at the Ground Up Sneaker Shop.
Nomadland: The Nomad World Pub is at the base of Brady Street, a must for visitors, and now in four parts. 1) the original bar; 2) the colorful train-shaped compartments in the street along the sidewalk; 3) the large open driveway behind the original building with a bar, stools and tables, tree stump seating, video screens, outdoor sound system, burger stand, restrooms; and 4) a brand new indoor cafe-bar in the building next door.
Last summer, and hopefully next, Nomad teamed up with neighbor Club Brady to create “Brady Beach.” They persuaded the city to close the intersection to Warren and Brady, filled it with tables, and threw a long street party over the summer. You could sometimes hear the music from the blocks. I didn’t mind.