Thursday, May 10, 2018

At Dual Specialty Store


Dual Specialty Store is the subject of East Village-based photographer Gudren Georges' latest photo essay.

Gudren shared some of her images with me from the 30-year-old shop at 91 First Ave. between Fifth Street and Sixth Street.

As Gudren writes about the family-run business from proprietor Abdul Patwary, a native of Bangladesh:

One can find anything food and health related here: from spices to herbal teas to henna, perfume oil and toothpaste; fresh southeast Asian ingredients such as turmeric and green chiles; beer from all over the world too... Expert advise is available for free.



In 2005, a fire wiped out the shop. Patwary, with the help of his family and the local community, was able to keep the business alive. Here's Patwary talking about it in a 2012 interview with The Local:

It was a very bad year, but we rebuilt. The damage was bad so we had to throw away all our products. I had insurance. All my family helped out after the fire so we were able to survive. It was my brother, all my sons, my nephew, my daughter, my wife, my father. Everyone came to help and work here. The community helped too. People showed us how much they appreciated our work by helping. There was a lady next door who helped us set up a tent outside with spices and herbs while we rebuilt.

Gudren reports that the store is going strong — so much so that Patwary is in the process of opening a second location in Williamsburg.

Find more photos here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A spin through Downtown Yarns on Avenue A

Favorite East Village places: Ink on A

12 comments:

NOTORIOUS said...

This shop is one of the neighborhood's best kept secrets.

afbp said...

our favorite shop in the east village (sad news re:'east village cheese').......

Anonymous said...

Nice alternative to going uptown to Kalustyan's.

Anonymous said...

I love this store!

Gojira said...

One of my favorite stores in the EV. Best organic basmati rice, neem toothpaste, turmeric face cream, teas, spices - the list is endless. A true neighborhood treasure, and I never walk out of there for less than 50 bucks!

Eden Bee said...

Love that place...

Anonymous said...

And . . . Dual Specialty Store is the East Village's only source of Indian mangoes when Indiana mangoes are in season. There's usually a small handwritten sign on or beside the door when they have time. Expensive but worth it!

Anonymous said...

Remember when the sign used to say Dowel? - I always wondered when they changed it if it was always intended to say Dual.

Goggla said...

I remember that fire well. I was awakened by the sound of breaking glass and the smell of lavender and spices. Out in the street, a fireman told me, "This is the most fragrant fire I've ever attended."

One of the best shops in the city.

Giovanni said...

This is such a great little store packed with so many great items. They also sell some of the world’s hottest chilis you can find and freshest indian spices, all conveniently located in those baggies hanging on the walls. Glad to hear they are doing well, it’s like the Kalustyans of the EV.

shimmerstwo said...

great store and WAAAAAY cheaper than Kalustyan'snwhich is now a rip off tourisy trap

Ann said...

Dual is amazing! The best place for hard-to-find cooking and drink ingredients.