SPOTLIGHT ON MERCER STREET
Mapping out a day on the historic and relaxing 12-block span:
In Middle English, the word ‘Mercer’ meant “a dealer in textiles, especially silks.” And in the midst of SoHo’s transformation from the original Garment District into a consumer playground, Mercer Street—which runs for 12 blocks from Canal Street up to East 8th—has managed to maintain its authentic roots while also providing a more high-end experience.
The street acts as a seamless fusion between being the home of young scholarly fervor, a semi-secluded family spot, and next-level retail shops. As you walk south along the street’s signature Belgian block paving, you’ll dip your feet into the waters of SoHo and realize you may not even want to get all the way in—the breathable sidewalks and abundance of shops and eating spots on Mercer may be enough to satisfy a myriad of NYC cravings.
Here are 7 spots that you must check out on Mercer Street.
Morrison Hotel Gallery, 116 Prince St.
Situated within an intimate and elegant SoHo loft, this 1400 square-foot photo gallery will satiate the inner pop culture lover in all of us. Known for its collections of iconic rock & roll photography, the gallery chronicles the rise of music heavyweights, and even if you don’t purchase any portraits or one-of-a-kind photographs, you can still walk the hallways which have housed the likes of legends like Tony Bennett, Paul McCartney, and Patti Smith. Find several gorgeous prints from the gallery, all done by photographer Terry O’Neill, on display in our Club Room.
Mercer Street Books & Records, 206 Mercer St.
For readers and non-readers alike, walking into Mercer Street Books & Records will ensure that everyone leaves with a special, brand new find. The bookstore has served as a New York institution for a whole generation of media lovers, and taking in that sweet smell of books—both new and used—will undoubtedly ignite a nostalgic eagerness to delve into a good story, or even an old song. Find both here.
agnès b., 50 Howard St.
NYC is home to thousands of designer stores, but just as it stands out in its collection of ultra-chic garments and silhouettes, the agnès b. SoHo location is a must-see in its conceptual retail atmosphere. The location is also home to galerie du jour, one of a few contemporary art galleries that company founder Agnès B. utilizes to curate her vision and add to the already beautiful shopping experience. Much more than just a high-fashion retail hub.
Angelika Film Center, 18 West Houston St.
Sure to turn just about anyone into a cinephile, the Angelika Film Center—also fronted by an inviting walk-up, a la Think—will make you feel like a true 1950’s New Yorker. Grab some popcorn and a freshly prepared dessert at the quaint and modern cafe, and enjoy a new indie film or even an avant-garde throwback in one of the six theaters. Who knows—maybe you’ll catch an exciting actor or director Q&A afterwards!
Lure Fishbar, 142 Mercer St.
Lure Fishbar is arguably more delicious than it is novelty, making for a fine dining experience that both residents and tourists should try at least once. With a tried and true menu of revamped seafood classics and a subterranean interior meant to resemble a yacht, there’s no wonder Lure has been a SoHo fixture for well over a decade and keeps those who have tried the food swimming back for more.
Fanelli’s Cafe, 94 Prince St.
Walking down Mercer, any hungry eye (and stomach) will fixate on “Fanelli’s Cafe,” its bright red sign lighting up the prime intersection. Go inside, and your hearty cravings are sure to be satiated with the cafe’s wide selection of traditional American classics—a club sandwich to die for, a veggie burger sure to bring on some enlightenment, drinks on drinks on drinks. Original owner Michael Finelli ran the establishment through prohibition, selling illegal liquor, and sold the place in the 1980s to new owners who vowed to not change a thing. Consider the promise fulfilled.
Words by Ivan Guzman