Our 10 Best Things to Eat on St. Marks Place in the East Village, NYC

Mamoun's may not look like much, but the falafel sandwich is terrific -- and cheap!

10. Falafel sandwich at Mamoun's The falafel sandwich debuted in New York at the Greenwich Village outpost of Mamoun's sometime in the early 1970s, and the evocation at the more modern East Village location is still something of a standard for the genre: crisp nutty balls roughly jammed inside a split pita, lathered with tahini, heaped with roughage, and optionally squirted with hot sauce. The E.V. location has outdoor seating, where you can watch the throngs pass, or sit and read a book, as the guys above are doing. 22 St. Marks Place, 212-387-7747

9. Tea-smoked duck at Grand Sichuan OK, there's no real barbecue available on St. Marks, but the tea-smoked duck at this upstairs Sichuan restaurant is every bit as smoky. This branch of the venerable Chinese chain is where they test out new recipes from Sichuan and Hunan provinces, and much of the food is every bit as spicy as you want it to be -- except for the duck, which is a cooling oasis of rich, flavorful meat and bronzed, crackling skin. 23 St. Marks Place, 212-529-4800

8. Chocolate egg cream at Gem Spa This corner newsstand, now obscured by stalls selling hats, piercings, and gewgaws, used to be the crossroads of the East Village, where early denizens stopped for newspapers, gossip, and excellent egg creams -- no egg, no cream, but a refreshing frothy beverage of seltzer, milk, and chocolate syrup, made by an age-old method at the tiny soda fountain by twirling a spoon in the glass with successive squirts of soda. 131 Second Avenue, 212-995-1866

The chocolate egg cream at Gem Spa is light and frothy on top, but gets progressively more chocolatey as you probe its depths.

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