NFT London Stoke Newington (East)

Stoke Newington (East)

Stokey has turned into something of a Notting Hill of the east with all-terrain buggies taking up the pavement while the MILFs do their organic grocery shopping. It's resplendent in dining options but try Testi first. Various abolitionists and Salvation Army veterans are interred at the nineteenth-century Abney Park Cemetery, which doubles as an overgrown nature preserve and cruising spot.


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Posted By:  Michael Kasparis
Photo:  Michael Kasparis

Stoke Newington International Airport
Back in the annals of NFT London history we dreamed about a time when us MOR, convservative losers would be blessed with a glimpse into what’s going on in the city's old industrial warehouses, old factories and abbatoirs. Romantic places that have been overrun with twenty something creatives and flannel shirts, where the ceilings are higher than the rents, where the offspring of the middle-classes let their imaginations soar. Well now, my fellow travellers, we have Stoke Newington International Airport, a genteel version of the two day raves draining the years from our youth up the road in Dalston. This being pram-pushin' Stokey, SNIA specialises in beatnikisms and DIY eccentricities - the emphasis is on the ‘erb, coffee, wine, young and retired children in berets rather than K-holes, Crystal Meth and trend paranoia. This also being Stokey, the prices are as high as those at an actual airport: I watched a cheerful resident pour me a £1 paper cup of lemonade from a cheap 89p 2 litre bottle. Anyway, that night we got a contrabassist and violinst performing some weird Baroque suites and William Taylor from Lambchop perform a set of glacial spiritualist guitar music in a charming, stapled-together kind of living room. I'd get there for the now-regular Magpie's Nest folk club and I'd BYOB.

Posted By:  Daniel Kramb
Photo:  Daniel Kramb

Even if you don't fancy jazzing up your living room with a fat ceramic fellow in uniform, proudly sporting Mao's little red book, this is quite a gem of a shop--and it's not communist memorabilia they specialise in at all, but wonderful pieces of original Chinese furniture (check the downstairs), mysterious lampshades, high-quality large-scale oriental prints and all sorts of other decorative items, both new and vintage, from very stylish to charmingly traditional. This is where the beauty of Chinese interior design in all its myriad forms comes to Stoke Newington (the shop is located just opposite Church Street). Ask the chirpy staff if you want to know more about the stuff they're selling (most of which arrives at this wonderland straight from China)--they have that caring and attentive attitude long gone in many other shops, these days. They even agreed to sell us part of their decoration when we last visited. Nice, eh? If nothing else, the buzzing, little place is a nice reminder that, when it comes to products, it's not cheap, contaminated plastic crap China should be famous for, really.

Posted By:  Jenny Wight
Photo:  Jenny Wight

Royal Sovereign
The man with the white trilby clasps my hand and gazes into my eyes. We'd said goodbye and shaken hands, which had turned into a clumsy embrace. Earlier he'd been showing us how to play dominoes. After a pleasant afternoon sipping pints in the beer garden of The Sov, discussing our planned street dance film, 'Too Ashamed to Stop,' we'd made our way inside, out of the autumn chill. 'I been coming here forty FIVE years, y'know,' he says leaning back and looking down his face at me. 'I seen four changes of owners in that time. And these boys, these boys are the best.'  His friend, the other domino guy, is talking to The Norwegian. 'If I had a wife like that...' he says. The Sov is a pub in Clapton, that's been taken over and refurbished by two local lads and has miraculously managed to maintain a mix of original drinkers and new locals. It still sells Fosters, but now has 'Nice Wine' and organic cider. It still sells crisps and nuts, but now does gourmet pies with mash and gravy. One may win out over the other, who knows, but for now it's bloody great.

Posted By:  Jenny Wight
Photo:  Jenny Wight

Abney Park Cemetery
Half nature reserve, half spooky overgrown Victorian graveyard and occasional cruising zone, Abney Park is a memorial festooned, ivy-clad masterpiece in Hackney's already impressive park's portfolio. This time of year--when the seasons change--is a fine time to grave spot. Highlights amongst the crumbling, wonky gravestones include a massive sleeping lion, headless and armless angels with cracked wings and a derelict chapel in the centre of the park. You may also spy the shirtless men enjoying cans of strongbow in the afternoon, sunshine lolling on the graves of Salvation Army founders, William and Catherine Booth. Are they homeless, you may ask? If so, would Will and Cathy mind them sitting there? As the nights draw in though, make sure you're not on the wrong side of the gates come closing time.

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