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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vegan MoFo in NYC, Day 11: the LES, part 1

Recently, I commented on someone's post that it's funny that certain areas are so concentrated with vegan goods and other areas are just...not (hello, Midtown.)
One area that I used to visit a lot more often than I do now but has since sprouted and grown wonderful vegan roots is the Lower East Side where I was actually born and lived until our ceiling collapsed, ha. My family moved to Queens in 1987 or -88.
The LES or Loisaida has always been home to radicals (and more dangerous folk...), which makes it fitting for its welcoming of vegans, although it's funny to see the gritty city becoming home to vegan boutiques and storefronts.
On a cold, rainy day off recently, I forced myself into the city to tour the fairly new 5-6 block radius of veganism on the Lower East Side.
First, a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge. It's no Brooklyn Bridge. It's grimy and punk and I love it:

                                                           "Leaving Brooklyn - Oy Vey!"
                                             J Train right below the walk on the bridge!
                                                         And now yr in Manhattan!

A couple blocks south and I finally reached what everyone else has been raving about, Babycakes:

It's super cute inside, but I'm pretty sure they don't allow photos, so. It's cute. That's all you need to know. The employees are also totally friendly for being, um, what I always assumed were straight vegan hipsters. I got a slice of a gluten-free, vegan pumpkin loaf:

and a non-gluten free (it was made with spelt) vegan veggie biscuit for later:


Both were really tasty. The pumpkin loaf was moist super light and and not all that sweet but it allowed the spices to shine through. The biscuit was perfect. It had roasted tomatoes, onion, and maybe some vegan cheese?  Very, very good. I had it with coffee and felt full and healthy. They also have sugar free options available!
I wandered about a block and a half away to MooShoes. I honestly do need waterproof, warm vegan boots for the winter, but suitable, inexpensive ones were not to be found. Yet:

I really, really wanted to buy something and support them. I was in a big manic, spending phase that day. These shoes were hot:

(The ones with the orange soles. I might still, once I deal with $$ issues. Hot ass vegan oxfords? Yes!) They also sell a small selection of wallets, bags, cookbooks and Herbivore shirts.
Also, store cats usually win me over. Hi, Milo!


Anyway, as is I am wearing my sister's hand-me-down shoes and feel pretty guilty but I opt for free and re-used over expensive vegan shoes. Am I wrong? Dumb? Not vegan? Have you all changed yr wardrobes to vegan ones? I have an intense sneaker lust/obsession and am way into Nike kicks and want to stop!
What are yr favorite vegan shoes??
Okay - more LES to come in a couple days!

29 comments:

  1. I've heard mixed reviews about BabyCakes so glad you had a good experience. Both the pumpkin bread and biscuit look great. Especially with coffee.

    I've slowly been replacing my leather stuff with vegan stuff as it wears out. Sometimes I'm self conscious about wearing the non-vegan stuff but I can't see the point of buying something new when I have something that still works. I've thought about maybe selling the non-vegan stuff to a consignment shop and using the money to buy items that I don't feel gross wearing. Anyways, it's a transition that's taken me a while. I love my boots and while I wouldn't buy a new leather pair, I haven't found a pair that's vegan and good enough to replace the pair in my closet.

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    1. Hm! I wonder what people don't like about Babycakes! I've only heard good reports.

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  2. LOVE this post! I really enjoy seeing pictures of other cities. It's like story time, with the travel option. :) Really great photos!! Both the biscuit and the bread look amazing, and sometimes a spice-rich pumpkin bread can beat a sweet version. The banana pumpkin muffins I made the last couple of weeks were on the sweet side.

    I think reusing clothes, shoes, furniture - everything but underwear - is totally awesome. ;)

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    1. Yeah, I'm trying to take photos of the city more than usual. I'm just a little self conscious.
      Oh yeah! Those banana pumpkin muffins sounded awesome. And yes - do you you know how skeeved out I get to see underwear at the thrift store??! Who buys that??

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  3. OMG I am obsessed with the Oy Vey sign! That is HILARIOUS!! How great that you finally got to Babycakes! I'm glad you were there when it was open, ha! That pumpkin bread looks AMAZING and so does the biscuit! Great choices!

    I guess I'm really lucky in that I was never into leather or suede or animal products like that in the past, even in my pre vegan days. I've always work canvas belts and shoes for the most part. I even have synthetic boxing gloves even though supposedly leather is supposed to be higher quality. Gross. I think it is totally fine to reuse items until you can find an appropriate vegan substitute. It's really expensive to exist in general, nevermind to be vegan. I think what is most important is what you spend your money on and clearly you aren't spending it on non vegan things :)

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    1. wore* canvas! Lol! I guess work could work too ;)

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    2. Haha, yeah there are different signs like that on all bridges out of Brooklyn. I think the one on the manhattan Bridge says "Now leaving Brooklyn - Fuhgeddaboutit!" I looked at the store hours at Babycakes - it looks like they're open 7 days a week; maybe you were just there early? Bummer.
      So cool you have synthetic gloves! Compassionate AND tough!

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  4. I totally believe in buying used before new even if they are leather.

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    1. Well, yes, ms. thrift store; you would! ;)

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  5. Those photos are great - I love this armchair travelling stuff! Agreed on the wearing out old non-vegan items then replacing them with vegan equivalents. If you chucked out functional non-vegan stuff, that would seem really wasteful to me.

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    1. Yeah, I totally wear my stuff until they fall apart. I hate wasting anything!

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  6. great looking shoes! love oxfords. expensive?? :((

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    1. Expensive for me, considering I don't spend more than 50 dollars on clothes for a year, haha!

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  7. I love the tour so far. Modcloth actually sells a lot of vegan shoes online as does lulus.com.

    xo
    kittee

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    1. Thanks for the tip, Kittee! I did find some cool ones!

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  8. I want the black shoes with the purple soles. Actually, I want to go with you on the tour. Yes, I've changed my wardrobe (and house) to vegan, but I've had a long time to do it. The only exception I can think of are two silk scarves that have sentimental value. I rarely wear them, but can't seem to part with them, either. It's not that hard to find non-leather boots anymore. Even mainstream brands have some. Look online then try to find them in person to try on.

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    1. I like those too! my shoes now have that same color scheme - I just want to switch it up. A vegan house, eh? You mean like no down comforters or wool blankets and the like?
      It is hard to buy stuff online since you don't know how the shoes will feel, but it's a much better shopping experience...and usually cheaper.

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  9. I didn't even realize you could walk over the Williamsburg bridge - so good to know. I mean, it makes sense, I just didn't know. I always huff about the lack of vegan in midtown - but something just opened up, right? One of the chains - blossom or candle, right? I went to babycakes once - because like you said, LES is just way over there where I wouldn't normally want to go. And I went to mooshoes once, but I didn't really know what area it was in. And I don't really have big feeling about shoes. I like them, but I usually end up getting them at payless. I end up buying cuter shoes for my kids. And I also don't have an opinion if a vegan wears second-hand leather shoes. I think one pair of secondhand shoes may be made of leather. It's not something obvious, either way, so - eh. IF I still owned my beloved silk jacket from highschool (it sounds kind of cheesey, but it wasn't), I'd still wear it.

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    1. I love walking over bridges for some reason. The water, the graffiti, the sense of space... it's nice. Though you do have to watch out for bikes.
      I know nothing about vegan midtown. If something new opened, good for them! It's about time.
      Haha, I wish you still had yr silk jacket too.

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  10. I dig used and vegan and I miss Brooklyn :(
    Latley I've been wearing Blowfish motorcycle boots, and another pair of cool Blowfish shoes, along with the old skool vegan standby of black chucks.

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    1. I will check out Blowfish brand boots, thanks. I used to love Chucks but I am old and they hurt my feet!

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  11. Excellent post. Can't wait for future 'parts'. Hope I get to Babycakes one day.

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  12. NYC looks so awesome for vegans, I cannot wait to go to Babycakes next year!!

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  13. I once walked over the Williamsburg Bridge, but that sign must not have been up yet because I totally would have gone apeshit for it being something of a "semitophile." I have a couple pairs of Moo Shoes that I bought online, but I have not been to the storefront. I love that they have store cats. I continue to wear my non-vegan shoes, but I will replace them with vegan ones when the time comes. I can also support buying non-vegan ones from a thrift store, but I have such a hard time finding comfortable (or at least non-painful) shoes that I doubt those pre-worn and shaped to others' feet would work for me.

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  14. Ha, yes, nice for "straight vegan hipsters." ; ) These vegan hotspots were totally on my list last time I visited NYC. We even flew cupcakes back to Minneapolis with us. : )

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  15. What a fun tour! I've been to Babycakes in LA several times. Their pastries aren't my favorite, but the atmosphere is super cute. When I visit NY, going to Moo Shoes is definitely on my list of things to do. It sounds like I should start saving up! :)

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  16. Ha ha ha, oy vey, that's awesome. Babycakes is definitely famous, I'll probably make a pitstop there when I visit Manhattan! And of course MooShoes! My wardrobe still has non-vegan things in it, more by necessity than anything else - I have a winter coat with wool in it that I've been using for at least 5 years, and it's still in great condition so why replace it? Although last summer when I was in Portland, I did buy vegan shoes! My old shoes were literally falling apart, so... glad I did, they weren't very expensive and they're super comfy!

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  17. I don't love Babycakes; hipster is right. It's kind of the bakery equivalent of Stogo. No one has ever been too friendly towards me there and the only thing I've ever liked has been the biscuit.

    I am patiently waiting for PUMA to fulfill their promise of phasing out animal products; their sneaks are so cute.

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