Modern Love in The East Village

PS122 was once THE hub of New York City’s avant-garde. One of its hallmark events is the bi-annual Avant Garde Arama, a festival celebrating the full spectrum of the downtown NYC arts scene. It is, however, currently “under construction.”

Dust, broken windows, and lots of scaffolding surround this once vibrant corner of the East Village. The dust is not only visible on the corner of 9th St & 1st Ave. It’s seen across all of the downtown arts scene, always shifting towards Bushwick and beyond the reaches of NYC. But we’re not lamenting how the spirit of the ever present possibility of creativity is dead in NYC. You can read about that on EV Grieve and other blogs.

We’re actually quite excited to usher in the singularity. It is be-fitting then that the PS122-in-transition-venue, once Blue Man Group’s initial home, now neighbors Amy Van Doran’s new store : The Modern Love Club. Located on 156 1st Ave, the store sells nothing. Mostly.

the storefront in Black & White

While running one of the most interesting and effective matchmaking services in NYC, Amy and Emily Lesser (her co-matchmaker) have also managed to open up the creative fire hose of the East Village.

Like PS122, and other homes of the avant-garde in the East Village, Amy enjoys introducing hope and chaos into the neighborhood. “In my past life, I was a clown mystic prophet. Running this store has been my dream since I started dreaming,” exudes Amy as she continues to paint the gallery’s floor in preparation for the opening. “The East Village is the home of New York’s weirdos. This is simply an evolution of what the East Village is. Intimate, creative, spontaneous, and most of all, loving.”

The theme of the upcoming show, as well as the store is deep, unabashed, joyful intimacy. While she’s running her matchmaking service during the day, her cohort of fantastically creative women are setting up the gallery space for a full on art show. Marina Press serves as the co-curator. The show features mostly women artists and was curated by an all woman crew. Marina replied before I could even ask, “We’re not necessarily feminists because we don’t even operate within the patriarchy. That’s so like 2015.”

The ladies of The Modern Love Club celebrate the gallery’s setup

She also has one of the hottest date spots in all of New York City. Two chairs, right outside her shop. From the moment she set up this spot for deep gazing, and joyful reverie, New Yorkers have been lining up to sit down for this Abramovich-on-the-street-type-experience.

NYC’s hottest date spot upon opening

Right before Amy & Emily Lesser took over this tiny section of 1st Avenue, the gallery was home to Bernie Sander’s East Village contingency. And before that? Amy bemuses, “While the East Village has a long memory, I do not. What was the question again?”

PS122 may be under construction. But The Modern Love Club is running in full gear. “Girls I Love” opens October 1st at The Love Museum, inside The Modern Love Club.

(left) Founder, Amy Van Doran (right) co-curator and love director, Marina Press