This weekly feature spotlights a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side. If you know someone you would like to suggest be featured in “My LES,” please email us here.
What do you do?
I am a full time art educator in a Southern Westchester K-12 public school. I also work with local non-profits and charitable organizations through my company, Marijke Briggs Consulting. These organizations include: Little Missionary’s Day Nursery (the oldest continuously running non-sectarian nursery school in NY), The Lily Fund, Inc. (Dedicated to Bringing Hope and Happiness to Children with Brain Tumors), and CF on the LES (a Great Strides team raising money to fund medical research for Cystic Fibrosis).
How long have you lived on the LES?
My husband and have both lived in the area off and on since the mid 1980s from dorms, to apartments, to Williamsburg lofts, to Stuyvesant Town and finally the Grand Street co-ops. We found our dream spot in Seward Park Housing Co-op. in February 2004 while I was pregnant with my youngest son. We moved in eight months later after gutting and renovating the apartment.
Favorite block in the hood?
There is always a sense of lingering on Orchard Street between Grand and Delancey streets. The fabulous boutiques, coffee shop, cafes and Tenement Museum make you feel as if you’ve almost stepped back in time to where your parcels will be wrapped in paper and twine when the shop owners would address you by name. The sense of intimacy is tangible and the finds can’t be beat.
Favorite date spot in the hood?
I absolutely adore the French fare at Antibes Bistro on Suffolk Street. It is like spending a cozy evening in a friend’s dining room with the benefit of divine food, drink and service, yet no need to take any focus away from the eye candy across the table. In this warm, low-lit, exposed brick hide-away, we are transported to another world in which we may linger for hours…
Favorite coffee in the hood?
My husband George’s fabulous Fair Trade espresso at home and Roasting Plant Coffee on Orchard has truly turned me into a coffee snob. Having a fresh roasted, ground and brewed cup is a coveted treat any time of the day.
Favorite slice in the hood? (or favorite “cheap eats”)
Rosario’s Pizza on Orchard at Stanton is the most authentic and delicious traditional NYC pizza. The owner, Sal, has been there since he was a teen when it opened in 1963! He always promises me, “I’ll make you a pizza like you’ve never had before!” Now there’s love in a pie!!
Where do you take your visitors when they’re here?
It’s always nice to take a stroll along the East River on the LES with our visitors. It’s an incredible view that includes four bridges, Brooklyn, Queens, and of course the rushing current and light reflecting off of the river. It’s a favorite spot! Also, Essex Market is such an amazing piece of shopping history in our hood. It’s great fun to introduce friends and family to the incredible little shops and their owners at Essex Market like Saxelby Cheesemongers, Heritage Meats, and Pain D’Avignon. It’s a neighborhood gem that will hopefully be preserved for generations to come. The Tenement Museum transports its visitors back to an authentic LES over the past two centuries through their many tours, docents and actors.
Favorite bar in the hood?
My favorite bar in all of NYC is Clandestino at 35 Canal Street. The vibe is laid-back with a serious side of warmth from the owners, bartenders and patrons; like our second living room. It’s a wonderful neighborhood spot to spend quality time with friends, unwind and have loads of fun.
What sort of changes have you seen in the neighborhood in the last few years?
Great yoga at Yoga High on Clinton opened a few years back and has been my go-to studio ever since. New restaurants continue to open and flourish. It’s great since many of us like to walk to our neighborhood destination.
Favorite LES memory?
We moved in on Halloween 2004. My three-and-a-half-year-old had on a fantastic pirate costume and my four-month-old was snuggled up against me when the doorbell rang. It was our next-door neighbors welcoming us to Seward Park Housing Co-op with a delicious housewarming treat from Doughnut Plant. Their kind, inviting way of welcoming us into our new home was one of the most precious memories here. These two women have since become a close part of our family.