Established in 1937, Economy Candy on Rivington Street is known as New York City’s oldest retail candy shop, and it’s no run-of-the-mill store but a child’s wildest dream come true.
Originally a shoe and hat repair business called Economy Shoes (or King’s Shoes) located half a block away, the shop started selling candy in a pushcart outside at the request of the owner’s little niece. Soon it fully developed into a candy shop, which proved to be a better business in the later days of the Great Depression.
Economy Candy stocks all kinds of candy, nuts, and dried fruits from floor to ceiling. As a matter of course, its inventory includes regular American brands like M&M’s and Snickers, as well as imported international candies of various flavors, such as Puchao, Droste chocolate, and Leone pastilles, and even authentic halvah and Turkish delights. There are also retro candy brands seldom seen elsewhere these days, from Cracker Jack to Christopher’s Big Cherry, Reed’s Candy to Sugar Babies.
Much of the stock is organized by color, and it’s not only Jelly Belly. Candy of every hue and shade imaginable paints the shelves in a vibrant rainbow, both vivid and pastel. In addition to these, you can also find a wide array of novelty miscellanea, including Pez dispensers, tin boxes, practical joke toys, and vintage trading cards.
Today, Economy Candy remains a popular family-owned business run by the founder’s grandson, Mitchell Cohen, and his wife, Skye Greenfield Cohen. Though it is not as well-known worldwide, it’s visited by many locals and tourists alike every day, especially New Yorkers seeking childhood nostalgia.
Know Before You Go
The shop is open daily from noon to 5:30pm.