After more than 15 years in the East Village, Howdy Do is closing. "Lost Our Lease" is the reason written in the window and signs went up yesterday announcing a big STORE CLOSING sale.
Opened in the early 1990s by ex-club kids and drag divas Michael Torres and Ryan Lance, the tchotchke store moved into a space on 7th Street formerly occupied by an egg shop. Since then, they've expressed their creative touch and love of kitsch with thoughtful window displays filled with vintage goods.
Michael and Ryan opened the place because, as they told The Villager in 2006, "We were tired of working for large companies and having them make money off our ideas and creativity and wanted to work for ourselves in an environment where we could make our own hours, dress code, and rules."
Since they moved to the neighborhood, they have weathered its evolution toward mediocrity. As they said in the Villager, "The East Village has changed dramatically. We originally moved to the East Village because we wanted difference. Now, New York University has acquired so much property for housing due to their popularity... Hotels have opened up left and right, including a Howard Johnson Hotel on Houston Street. There are more and more chains like Starbucks opening up..."
After the closure of Love Saves the Day and the ongoing assault of 7th Street (recently dubbed an upscale culinary hub by the Times), it is distressing to lose yet another piece of what once made the East Village different. As more of that lost neighborhood slips away, be sure to hurry by and pick up a Charlie's Angels lunch box or a Culture Club t-shirt--and bid adieu to Howdy Do.