New York’s Lower East Side used to be the spot for shopping, with vendors in business for generations. Most of those shops are now shuttered, replaced by condos, real estate offices and fancy children’s boutiques. I’d hoped to write about a famous New York pickle shop in the neighborhood, but alas learned I was too late and it too had closed. So when I hit upon an old school lower east side shop that is actually still in business, I wanted to write about it before it too disappeared.
Economy Candy has been in the same location on Rivington Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 1936. Economy Candy has never caved into the pressure to modernize like the latest trendy Willy-Wonkaesque candy shops. Nope, this shop couldn’t be more jumbled, crowded and haphazard. Stuffed to the rafters with candy with no fancy displays, Economy Candy offers that rare feeling of discovery– that at any moment you might stumble upon that long forgotten childhood favorite.
Economy Candy has all sorts of candy– the newest trendy candy, loose candy by the pound, European fancy chocolates, pretty much every kind of candy you can think of. But what sets Economy Candy apart is their huge selection of nostalgic candy– those candy bars once popular in decades past that are still somehow being manufactured.
If you are a licorice fanatic (I have several friends who are) you will appreciate the “economy aspect” of buying your fix in bulk, in no-nonsense clear plastic bags. Bulk purchasing is definitely the best deal here.
My favorite section was this table of old-timey candy bars. I bought a bunch I’d remembered as a kid and several that well pre-dated my time.
Economy Candy works that nostalgia angle by also selling new (but vintage inspired) toys. I might have walked out with an old school slinky. You’ll also find actual vintage items (board games, records) scattered throughout the store.
Have you been to Economy Candy? What’s your favorite childhood candy?