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New Arrivals: The Unicorn, Balanced Pilates, Insomnia Cookies, Tracy Williams Gallery, Chinatown Soup

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Jessica Delfino and Alex Smith of The Unicorn.
Jessica Delfino and Alex Smith of The Unicorn.

Here’s a roundup of new businesses on the Lower East Side. A version of this story first appeared in the June issue of our print magazine. 

The Unicorn (105 Henry St., near Allen Street) Longtime Lower East Side singer, songwriter and comedian Jessica Delfino has opened a music school, store and performance venue across from P.S. 2. Music lessons are offered for children and adults interested in playing such instruments as the guitar, ukulele, banjo, piano, autoharp, lute and even the dulcimer. Nightly performance events will be scheduled on a regular basis. Lesson prices start at $45 for a 30-minute private appointment with discounts offered for bulk purchases. The Unicorn is open Monday–Wednesday 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Thursday–Saturday 10 a.m.–10 p.m. and Sundays by appointment.

Balanced Pilates (17 Essex St., near Hester Street) A Pilates studio with an established location in Harlem opened a second storefront on the Lower East Side last month. Catherine DeLuce, the studio manager, says they’re aiming to cater to a wide audience—everyone from dancers and athletes to seniors. Group and private sessions are available. Initial hours will be Monday–Friday 7 a.m.–11 p.m. and weekends 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Insomnia Cookies (164 Orchard St., near Stanton Street) The growing chain bills itself as a “late-night bakery concept,” offering delivery of warm cookies right to your door. The retail location debuted in the former home of the Snack Dragon Taco outlet in late April. Insomnia Cookies was dreamed up in 2003 by Seth Berkowitz, a college student. The bakery is open 11 a.m.–3 a.m. daily.

Tracy Williams Gallery (55 Hester St., near Essex Street) The established gallery, which was founded in the West Village 11 years ago, opened up a new space on the Lower East Side this spring. Williams takes over the subterranean headquarters of Lu Magnus, an unconventional gallery that decided to give up a brick-and-mortar outpost earlier this year. The inaugural exhibition, on display through July 10, features sculpture and works on paper by Richard Dupont. The gallery is open Wednesday–Saturday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday noon–6 p.m.

Chinatown Soup (16 Orchard St., near Canal) Four friends who became disenchanted with the “growing sense of alienation and top-down development in their city” opened this gallery, shop and studio on lower Orchard Street. They’re aiming to create a space for everyone from “Lower East Side underground taggers to the Upper East Side Koons collectors—to participate in a new subculture of the art community that exists outside of ‘the art world.’”


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