Best Of Shopping & Services
One day we'll all reach the end of the line, but until your time comes you can take the 4 train to its final stop in the Bronx and relax amid the 400 bucolic acres of Woodlawn Cemetery. There's a good chance you'll see a hawk wheeling above spreading willow...
Best Public Library
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Sure, the New York Public Library is a great institution overall, with several branches dotting the city. But if you need to catch up on your John Ford westerns or map the differences and similarities between the styles of Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, or get to the bottom, once...
Newark Liberty International Airport
In the past, Newark Liberty International Airport has gotten a bad rap — possibly, we suspect, because of its location in that great but much shit-upon state just to our west. But EWR, dedicated in 1935 by Amelia Earhart herself, is the best, in 2015 and forever, so let's set...
Best Public Restroom
Port Authority Bus Terminal
Figuratively speaking, the turd in the New York City punch bowl is our public restroom problem. (Just ask any Starbucks barista.) So it's both strange and wonderful that the best public restroom happens to reside in perhaps the last locale you'd imagine: the Port Authority Bus Terminal, that most cringingly...
Best Barber Shop
The Stepping Razor
Opened by Danny Baptista in January of 2010, The Stepping Razor advertises itself as a "traditional barbering service for the gentleman and the outlaw." True to its tagline, the Bushwick shop's aesthetic blends a hodgepodge of seemingly incongruent styles. The name comes from a song by reggae artist Joe Higgs,...
Best Neighborhood to Live When You First Move to NYC
Never mind that this is the neighborhood that brings to mind every exterior shot in the movie version of Rent. Alphabet City has plenty going for it. Pierogies, for example. Whenever you want them, whatever time of night. Little Ukraine standards like Little Odessa, set against a backdrop of beautifully...
Best Neighborhood to Live When You're Planning to Have Kids
So you're going to do it: Ravage your body and compromise the integrity of your sleep forever by giving birth to squalling, dribbling offspring. It's probably much nicer than it sounds. But there's your lifestyle to consider, because no breed of New Yorker is more reviled than the Williamsburg child,...
Best Neighborhood to Live When You're Old
First of all, if you're not anywhere close to actually being old, don't even think about it. Life is short! Beyond flossing and tucking away as much money as you can in your 401(k), thinking old will only make you feel old. But if you insist on flashing forward to...
Best Hotel (Manhattan)
The Bowery Hotel
The Bowery Hotel remains the cool living room at the heart of the East Village. You're gonna pay East Village rates to stay here — the base price is north of $500 for a one-night stay — but the amenities are commensurate with the nowness of the nabe, and like...
Best Hotel (Not in Manhattan)
As Captain Obvious might tell you, a great hotel in New York comes down to whether the locals can play nice with the tourists who stay there. At the Wythe Hotel, the door swings both ways. Literally: You can push or pull it, depending on your preferred method of motion...
Best Hardware Store
Crest True Value Hardware & Urban Garden Center
Need an air conditioning unit to counter the summer heat or a space heater to keep you toasty come wintertime? In search of advice for hanging your new flat-screen? How about a houseplant to improve your indoor air quality? Some boards and fitted pipe for the industrial-chic shelving system you...
Best Frame Shop
One Stop Framing Shop
Still hanging your posters and wall art with adhesive squares, dorm-room-style? Head to One Stop Framing Shop for an aesthetic upgrade: You won't believe what a difference a frame makes. Though the shop is relatively small, the custom options are plentiful and the superfriendly staff is always ready to help...
Best Art Supply Store
Jerry's International Palette Shop
When the folks who run the Jerry's Artarama chain opened Jerry's International Palette Shop in the East Village last year, they aimed to be the Whole Foods of art supplies. So far the store has made good, stocking artisanal and locavore lines alongside mainstream fare. A favorite is Chelsea Classical...
Best Stationery Store
JAM Paper & Envelope
Who hasn't felt a slight twinge of jealousy when back-to-school season rolls around? Not because anyone wants to time-travel back to eighth grade, but because new school supplies were basically the only good thing about the end of summer. If you've been wondering if you could pull off a Trapper...
Best Sewing Machine Repair
Gizmo Notion Shop
If you're new to sewing — heck, even if you're old to sewing — consider the benefits of picking up a vintage all-metal sewing machine on eBay (Singer, Kenmore, and Elna are three reliable brands). Unlike newer, computerized machines, they'll last forever as long as you keep them away from...
Best Furniture Store
Searching for furniture is a soul-sucking process. It takes days, weeks, maybe even months to find a piece that fits in your apartment, let alone one that looks good. That is, until Nadeau enters your life. This unassuming outlet is working to enliven homes everywhere with "furniture with a soul."...
Best Store to Decorate Your Entire Apartment
If you walk into Beam looking to add life to your apartment, chances are you'll walk out with something beyond your wildest imagination, mostly owing to the wise advice provided by owners Ali Arain and Greg Coccaro. The duo opened the cozy confines in 2013, bringing with them a background...
Best Thrift Shop
If you like your vintage goods clean and curated, steer clear of Green Village. Those whose hearts beat a little faster at the sight of shambolic piles: This is your new mecca. Owned and operated for nearly two decades by local resident Sidney Ober, this warehouse space is stacked to...
Best Used-Clothing Store
Buy the Bag
Let's set the record straight: Thrifting isn't shopping. Thrifting is an art. And you have to be willing to get your hands dirty — you definitely will at Housing Works' revolutionary Buy the Bag. The concept strikes a giddy pang in the heart of any serious style hunter: Pay $25...
Best Vintage Store
This vintage shop has been outfitting the East Village for 25 years, so the folks here pretty much have the selection process down to a science. The collection at Metropolis Vintage is curated to a T. Literally: Its retro music T-shirts are arranged like a sartorial record store, by genre...
Best Antiques Store
Eclectic Collectibles and Antiques
This Williamsburg wunderkabinett exists in a neighborhood loosely regarded as the "furniture district," but unlike many of its neighbors, it's still more garage sale than high-end boutique, at least in spirit. This past summer, the New York Times finally got around to profiling Eclectic Collectibles and Antiques, but the shop...
Best Gift Shop
Whether it's an awkward office Secret Santa, a baby shower for a cousin you barely know, or your mother-in-law's birthday, Pink Olive traffics in a most coveted commodity: cute, nonthreatening, and universally appealing capital-G Gifts. But that doesn't mean the wares at Grace Kang's East Village flagship are in any...
Best Toy Store
Mary Arnold Toys
With the closing of FAO Schwarz this past summer, Mary Arnold Toys became the oldest continuously run toy store not only in the five boroughs, but all fifty states. And while over the years the term "toy" has taken on an increasingly broad definition, the shop still puts a premium...
Best Place for a Kid's Birthday Party
Ample Hills Creamery
Pulling off a successful birthday party for a child means providing a simple activity that's stimulating enough to captivate microscopic attention spans in a space where it's easy to corral a herd of little people after they've gotten good and sugared up. The Gowanus outpost of Ample Hills Creamery provides...
Best Place for a Grown-Up's Birthday Party
Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
In this fun-lovin' town, someone you know is having a party every weekend...and every Thursday. And Monday. You get the picture. It's fantastic for the socialite/insomniac in us all, but making birthdays feel special can be a challenge. Though not at Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, because party games. Nothing screams...
Best Magic Shop
The first thing you'll notice is the elephant in the room: an old stage prop standing just inside the door. Unless you don't, which is what one Tannen's Magic clerk says happens when customers are just too eager to inspect the tricks lined up in glass cases around the room...
Best Tattoo Shop (Manhattan)
Fun City Tattoo
Don't be fooled by the St. Marks location — Fun City Tattoo is as professional as it gets. The well-lit interior is almost operating-room-clean, and the artists take great pride in their work. Fun City has been around since 1976, operating well through the New York City tattoo ban that...
Best Tattoo Shop (Not in Manhattan)
Black Square Tattoo
With its minimalist white brick walls and shelves of hip zines for sale, Black Square Tattoo feels more like an intensely cool boutique than a conventional tattoo parlor. The too-cool-for-school aspect ends there, though. "We wanted it to be really comfortable and fun to hang out in, regardless of the...
Best Sex Shop
On a leafy Williamsburg corner, the artfully decorated window display barely conceals the cozy interior of Shag, casually redefining the idea of seedy sex shops in favor of an artsy seduction emporium. The boutique's focus isn't merely on intercourse but also on discourse, offering options for intellectual foreplay — like...
Best Clothing Store for Men
Carson Street Clothiers
Keeping up with style in New York City means walking around Soho and seeing which smart trends the fast-fashion empires will inevitably take for their own. Shopping at Carson Street Clothiers means beating everyone on the Soho streets. Stocking everything from Ami to the familiar Visvim to the experimental Greg...
Best Place to Shop for the Witness Protection Program
Wigs and Plus
Walking past the plethora of garbage souvenir and "fashion accessories" stores on 14th Street, one often wonders how any of those places pay their sky-high rent. From the outside, Wigs and Plus looks like one of these inexplicable discount retailers — but what's inside will surprise you. The walls are...
Best Clothing Store for Women
It's three o'clock in the afternoon. You just got a last-minute invite to a gallery opening, but you've already spilled half a cup of Chipotle guac on your work clothes. A friend has two backstage passes to Drake, but you're downtown in gym gear with serious sweat damage. Someone stole...
Brooklyn Fox Lingerie
Underthings are rapidly catching up to their outward-facing counterparts in terms of variety and style — the best place to see this in action is Brooklyn Fox Lingerie. Stylish staples from Cosabella and Calvin Klein are beautifully displayed alongside directional and vintage-inspired pieces from emerging brands like Samantha Chang and...
Best Jewelry Store
Even if — especially if — online shopping is here to stay, New Yorkers owe it to themselves to patronize the smaller, independent, brick-and-mortar stores, places run by people who have spent time and care assembling an enticing array of goods just for you. That's Christopher 19 in a nutshell:...
Best Shoe Store
If you're a shoe person, you're probably familiar with the tradition of handmade shoes from Italy and Spain. But what about footwear made by hand right here in the United States? Cydwoq is a Burbank, California–based company that features handmade shoes designed by Rafi Balouzian, who comes from a long...
Best Record Store
Academy Records & CDs
Vinyl's making a comeback, but the format never left New York City, as evidenced by the many independent record shops that still exist here. Many boast the same basic virtue: a vast selection of new and used LPs from a wide variety of artists and genres. How to stand out...
Best Place to Buy Vinyl
Rough Trade NYC
For vinyl addicts everywhere, Rough Trade NYC may indeed be Mecca. Yes, the five boroughs are littered with old-school record stores and dingy garage sales where audiophiles can dig through dusty crates and hit-or-miss bargain bins. But at Rough Trade — housed in a sprawling warehouse by the Williamsburg waterfront...
Have you heard the novel is dead? Pretty inconsiderate to the places dedicated to selling them, isn't it? Either the flourishing Greenlight Bookstore is some sort of zombified curiosity — zombie lit does sell these days — or, more likely, it's on its way to becoming a New York institution...
Best Bookstore for Used Books
On Vanderbilt Avenue just a few blocks from Prospect Park sits Unnameable Books, a tightly packed yet neatly organized bookshop that's been around since 2006. Here you'll find the poetry section of your dreams — complete with mimeographed books from the 1970s — used books by Lorrie Moore and Haruki...
Best Comic Book Store
The Mysterious Time Machine
Located just below a Lenny's sandwich shop, The Mysterious Time Machine (formerly Roger's Time Machine) is a small but vital oasis for comic book and memorabilia lovers. While the store's cozy, longbox-filled Lower West Side location seems inaccessible from its subterranean doorway (use the stairs at street level), the Time...