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Rackage: The Sweet Life

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The shuttering of great long-time shops and retail pioneers is never a pleasant thing, but it does serve to remind you to check in on trusty old stores around the city that are still alive and kicking. With Easter coming up fast, it's the perfect time to pay a visit to The Sweet Life, a Lower East Side candy and gourmet chocolate shop that's been selling sugary treats for more than 26 years. Despite the changing tides of the neighborhood, the tiny store has continued to dip chocolate at the corner of Hester and Ludlow Streets. Part of the charm of the place is its understatedness: it's way smaller than Dylan's Candy Bar and a little less showy than recently-opened Papabubble.

A throwback to old candy shops, the store is crowded with goods lining shelves from floor to ceiling. Above little buckets of Jelly Bellys, bulk bins overflow with classic hard candies like gingers, chews, mints, and butterscotches.

It's not only old-school varieties, though. The Sweet Life also carries a ton of chocolate bars (we counted more than 50), imported treats, organic sweets, and unique fruit and nut mixes. They have truffles, teas and biscuits, smores sandwiches, jelly grahams, and will smother just about anything in chocolate using their on-site chocolate machines. Also important to note: the licorice is said to be the best in town.