Monday, May 18, 2009

Howdy Do


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.


Alex in NYC said...

Oh man, this is really a shame. I love Howdy Do! Yet another genuinely unique spot.

Mykola Dementiuk said...

East Village has committed suicide and a long time ago...sad :(

Melanie said...

I have purchased a few cool things at Howdy Do over the years--especially my Bart Simpson character on a skate board. Will miss them.

EV Grieve said...

I walked by Howdy Do in 1998 on the day that George Michael was arrested for "lewd" behavior in the LA public toilet... And Howdy Do had
a Wham T-shirt in the window. So I bought it for Mrs Grieve (a birthday?) as a joke of sorts. (I forget the backstory why I would do this exactly...) It was $10 or $15. A lot but.... Anyway, the owners were like, "This is a great T-shirt!" And I was like, It's even funnier after what happened to him today.... They hadn't heard the news and were seemingly crestfallen. One of them said, "Had we known that, we would have charged a lot more!" I don't know whatever happened to the shirt. It was never worn in our household.

Jeremiah Moss said...

probably a collector's item!

Unknown said...

aw man. i have bought several birthday presents here. i always made it a point to try to buy a gift in person in the neighborhood, often on my lunch break, instead of just ordering something online or going to some dumb chain.

i really liked this place. :(


Tenn. said...

Oh well.. is ANYone suprised that yet another unique mom & pop business is forced from the East Village?
Everyone I talked to in Jan '09 was like "Hurray the Republikant Rule is Finally OVER"..

"Yeah, I replied , after they have shitrolled over & stomped on every last small business , restaurant, club & stores that made NYC so unique & a fun town to live/work in the 1st place.."
Can we have a moment of silence for everything I loved about the NYC I moved to 22 yrs ago?
Aggie's Diner
Sucelt Restaurant
Chez Jacqueline (space has sat empty now for 2 yrs )
Love Saves The Day
Wholesale Liquidators
Canal Jean
Antique Boutique
Howdy Do
Ludlow St.
the LES in general

These were establishments that to me were as important to NYC as the Statue of Liberty or Radio City , its what made this city different & unique from every other Mall of America ready made bullshit towns ..
I moved to NYC to GET AWAY from Starbucks , Staples & KMart. NYC was founded on rag merchants selling their wares in the streets, free enterprise.

To me , this whole pattern is part of the death of the American dream of owning your OWN business, working for self and is indictive of the SHEEP mentality this "better class of people" now residing in their newly built square box Trump Tower McMansions all too happy to pay 10 bux for a bowl of soup & demand a chain store within walking distance of residence bring with them..

The worst part is seeing your fave mom & pop store run out of business due to GREED and then have the former space sit empty for years
(see "Chez Jacqueline")

Another 4 yrs of that billionaire squawk box asshole mayor & this town is going to be reduced to an entire island of Starbucks, chain hotels & ATMs.. Just like Rudy & his cronies envisioned 12 yrs ago , a NYC fashioned after Monte Carlo, playground for the wealthy FUCK the poor.

Roseanne is right,Americans are addicted to BULLSHIT, Self righteous indignation & chronic masturbation ...

Oh well.. at least I have photos and memories to enjoy , change is part of life, some good , some bad, thanx for sharing all your stories everyone.

I met Boy George @ Howdy Do, & found so many one of a kind TV & showbiz memoriabilia there, thanx for memories...

Nathan said...

i loved Howdy Do.....always picked up cool vintage ties, or 7" singles, or kitschy gifts for friends. the owners were so sweet and friendly; it was always a pleasure shopping there. very sorry to hear that they are going. when love saves the day closed, i said "at least we still have howdy do" (which i always preferred anyway). now we don't even have that.

Anonymous said...

This store replaced the decades old egg store which was priced out of the neighborhood when Howdy Do was willing to pay the higher rent. Good riddance. What goes around ...

Unknown said...

Wait ... Howdy Do is now located at the egg shop????? Please confirm!!!!! Where is the egg shop!!!!