Thursday, February 14, 2013

Prana, Ahimsa, 1st Ave. 1988-1989

Anyone remember PRANA, the health food store at 125 1st Ave. btwn E.7th & St. Mark's? They also had an affiliated small bookstore next door (the name escapes me), and a corner restaurant called AHIMSA on the southwest corner of East 9th St.

Prana is the place I had my first humus sandwich (on 1/2 pita w/ sprouts, tomato, tahini). Also the place I learned about Edensoy soymilk, the main brand of soymilk available in NYC at the time. This is back in Sep 1988. Believe it or not that first humus sandwich blew my mind!  I'm telling you, to a 15 year old kid from Brooklyn that had just gone vegetarian a few months earlier, but didn't really KNOW many vegetarians PRANA was a godsend. This is long before corporate chain health food stores like WHOLE FOODS. Health food stores were still the domain of true characters. Real freaks.

Also the place I was introduced to Sunshine Burgers and baked tofu sandwiches!

Anyhow, PRANA is long gone now, as is the Lower East Side in general. But for a brief moment in 1988-1989 those freaks on 1st Ave. were the cutting edge for real, healthy food in NYC. Loved it!



  1. Prana closed in June 2004... I guess (writing this in 2013) that is a long time ago. It had a long history, though -- it was going in 1983 when I first moved to the East Village. Prana itself was the successor to a truly old school (pre-hippie!) health food store which was before my time -- called "Franks" maybe. So people were buying beans and miso and other exotica for many decades. Except for a brief fun as a hookah bar, the place has been vacant for nearly 10 years.

    1. Greenberg's Natural foods, started in like the 1930's

  2. I remember that place, I lived around the corner from 1991-94. One of the small groceries that were the real,deal on that block. You could get anything you needed right in the neighborhood all good quality and fresh.

  3. I believe the bookstore was called Ayurveda

  4. I shopped at Prana too, early '90s. I'd like to hear more about Franks though. Is there anything out there? A quick online search didn't turn much up.