History of Gem Spa

Gem Spa is an NYC Institution and a landmark corner store that was in the heart of the East Village that remained in business for close to 100 years. It is the birthplace of the authentic New York City egg cream 1927 and has a storied history with so many iconic figures. Here are just a few:

Madonna filmed a scene of Desperately Seeking Susan at Gem Spa in 1984

Legendary artist Jean Michelle Basquiat paid homage to Gem Spa in a painting named after our store in 1982.

Poets Allen Ginsberg and Ted Berrigan both mentioned the stand in their works. Allen Ginsberg called it a "nerve center" of the city.

The New York Dolls (pioneers of Punk Rock) shot the back cover of their 1st Album here.

Robert Mapplethorpe (renowned photographer known for his controversial black and white erotic photos) bought Patti Smith (Godmother punk Who was inducted into the Rock ā€˜nā€™ Roll Hall of Fame) her first egg cream at Gem Spa.

Courtney Love walked out of GEMSPA WNA carton of cigarettes in the first few minutes of the movie 200 Cigarettes (starring Ben Affleck)
The long yellow vertical sign (with a list of the items we sell) and the white Gem Spa sign were both featured in that movie.

Madonna, The Ramones, Led Zeppelin, Debbie Harry from Blondie, Lou Reed, Jack Kerouac were regulars back then and more recently Leo DiCaprio, Chris rock, Sean Astin, Julian Lennon and so many others,

The Village Voice called it the "official oasis of the East Village we are regulars back then and today

Gem Spa was a gathering place for beats in the 1950s, it was a hippie hangout in the 1960s and Punk hangout in the 70s.

It has been featured in countless movies, books and tour guides throughout the world and inspired countless artwork.