2. Gem Spa (Founded in 1922)

gem-spa-st-marks-place-east-village-james-and-karla-murray-storefront-photography-nyc-001Photo by James and Karla Murray, as seen in the book Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York

In early May, we were saddened to hear of the permanent closing of Gem Spa, a century-old beloved East Village haunt for egg creams that was located on the corner of St. Mark’s Place and Second Avenue. The corner store first opened in 1922 under a different name and became Gem Spa in 1957.

Gem Spa was one of the locations on our Historic East Village Food Tour, led by renown photographers James and Karla Murray who are long-time residents of the neighborhood. Guests tasted delicious specialties from at least 6 different tasting stops, including Gem Spa, where they sampled the egg cream, said to have been invented in this shop in the 1920s. Earlier this week, the iconic yellow signage awning and black and yellow signage have been taken down.