Chuck Guarino and THECAST at 71 Orchard Street

Posted on: April 1st, 2010 at 6:18 am by

THECAST recently relocated from its self-proclaimed “dungeon space” at 119 Ludlow to an above-ground sliver of real estate at 71 Orchard Street. It sits in a precarious position, wedged between two mainstays – Howard Sportswear and A.W. Kaufman.  The move is part of a new phase in the battle for the Lower East Side; a battle for the heart and soul of the neighborhood.

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The tipping point has long been reached and this new skirmish is no longer between ethnic groups jockeying for political power. Instead, the fight is over style and image, and Tammany Hall has no say. If Chuck Guarino has anything to say about all this, you can bet that the young men and women trolling the bars, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques will be adorned in a style that evokes the gritty era of power chords, black leather, and chains.  Think Iggy Pop, not Vampire Weekend.

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[Chuck Guarino & Elisa Maldonado]

The neo prepsters thought they had secured stylistic hegemony around these parts, but they need to watch their backs now that Guarino’s THECAST shop has emerged from under Ludlow Street to it’s new digs at 71 Orchard Street.   THECAST is a narrow railroad tenement selling old school, authentic punk rock and metal fashion; not the cartoon stereotype, but the timeless, simple look that’s been a staple of American style since the idea of playing loud, snotty music in your garage first emerged out of the post-war suburbs and found its way to the once inexpensive precincts of the Lower East Side. These vintage boots, reasonably-priced handmade tees, and “Made in New York City” jeans and leather jackets are more Max’s Kansas City than Stanton Social.

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Chuck has lived in the neighborhood since 2001 and represents the last wave of artists and designers who arrived here before the tsunami of upscale dweeby decadence rolled over everything in sight. Instead of drowning in a sea of rarefied dandies posing in their yacht wear, Guarino has established an oasis of true grit to serve notice that the war is not over and the ghosts of the Blank Generation live on. Forget about the need to make a statement. Just check out THECAST to peruse the out of print records, books and bring your girlfriend to meet Elisa who will show you the sexy “Aloha From Hell” women’s line.

THECAST, 71 Orchard Street, (212) 228-2020, Open M-F 12 – 8 pm

[Written by Steven Gibaldi]

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