Shopping & Services

  • Best Shop for Dressing Like a Princess

    Selia Yang

    Fate has yet to determine in what category I shall win my Oscar, but I have long since decided where I shall buy my dress. Selia Yang specializes in gowns for girls who never got over playing dress-up. Her femme-y creations shimmer with luxe fabrics (organza, raw silk, taffeta) and incredible detail work (hand beading, clever embroidery, playful hems). Colors… More >>
  • Best Shop for Dressing Like a Rock 'n' Roll Star

    Daryl K

    Bring on the big hair, the shiny guitar, the candy-apple lipstick, the multiplicity of bangles, and the mod-plus rocker togs of Daryl K. Amid the warehouse decor of the Bond Street store hangs a smoking assortment of supertight pants, leopard-print camisoles, and miniskirts—in colors like bright red, hot pink, punky blue. You'd call clothes like these positively trashy if they… More >>
  • Best Men's Clothing Shop For DJs (Or Those Who Just Want to Look Like One)


    What to do when you've outgrown the massive UFO pants and the chips on your skateboard? You go to Memes, filled with smart, unpretentious gear from streetwear labels like Generic Costume, Leftfield, and Soul Rebel. Owner Tetsuo Hashimoto borrowed anthropologist Richard Dawkins's term memesis, the interchange of cultural forms—an accurate name for a shop that caters to the generation of… More >>
  • Best One-Stop Rockabilly Shop

    Lawanna's - CLOSED

    For those with a hankering for studded belts, bondage pants, buckle bracelets, and plaid minikilts, the New Orleans­émigré owner of Lawanna's pretty much covers all the bases. Everything is conveniently sorted by style, down to colors and patterns, and the wall sports a selection of shoes favored by the postpunk set, from Doc Martens to Pumas. The shop kicks mod… More >>
  • Best Place to Shop If You're a Japanese Hipster

    Air Market

    Are you obsessed with Japanese style mags like Cutie? Head for Air Market, a tiny nook stocked with stickers, tchotchkes, and casual wear imported from the Land of the Rising Sun, all emblazoned with bizarre cartoon characters that kick Hello Kitty's furry ass. You know you can't live without a Mr. Friendly toothbrush mug, a Bolo-Dog cell-phone holster, or a… More >>
  • Best Shop to Overcome Your Fear of Rats

    Yellow Rat Bastard

    The Big Apple is home to an estimated 70 million rats, but to just one Yellow Rat Bastard. Located on Broadway, the store sells "cool clothes," like skirts with zips up the side, drawstrings along the bottom, or pockets in the front; sari tops; parachute pants; and T-shirts with dozens of imprint choices (among the most popular are "Fuct," "Porn… More >>
  • Best Place tor Clothes to Wear to Work

    Club Monaco

    The bitter pill of work clothes can be made more palatable with the purchase of some of Club Monaco's slightly twisted classics, which include tweed parkas, gabardine skirts, respect- able-looking jackets, and white cotton blouses. Whoever is designing this stuff has a shrewd eye for knocking off the best ideas of Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein and other far pricier… More >>
  • Best Place for Designer Bargains

    Century 21

    The toasts of the continent—Galliano and Gaultier, Valentino and Versace—end up at Century 21 after languishing unsold for months on the shelves of tony boutiques. (Fall '99 is on the racks now.) Wait on the endless line for one of the horse-stall-like fitting rooms, or better yet, take everything home, try it on, laugh, and return most of it.… More >>
  • Best Expensive Department Store for End-of-Season Bargains

    Saks Fifth Avenue

    Just when you can't bear your winter coat or bathing suit another second, the high-toned stores put their stuff on final, final markdown. So January and July are the months to venture uptown and peruse the sale racks at the surprisingly unintimidating Saks Fifth Avenue, a store with an added virtue: They will cheerfully take back anything you've changed your… More >>
  • Best Strip to Shop for Hoochie-Mama Gear

    West 14th Street

    There's plenty of the same mass-produced-in-Korea cheap fly-gear made from dubious man-made fibers on 34th Street. But that thoroughfare is overrun with northern European tourists and Midtown hustlers. West 14th Street, however, is imprinted with the hood's Latin flavor and civic-minded folks who blare the newest-latest salsa for your edification. Day-Glo orange cutout jumpsuits, silver PVC hot pants, leopard platforms,… More >>
  • Best Place for Cheap Non-Thrift-Shop Clothes


    H&M is ultracheap without giving you that "I'm poor, life stinks" feeling one often experiences at Kmart or Bradlees. Too bad it's so crowded you can't see the chic white walls or get near the comfortable fitting rooms. Oh, well. The prices make up for it—an endless variety of narrow coats, skinny skirts, fake Prada pants, Chloe-esque dresses, and even… More >>
  • Best Vintage Clothing Store If You're an Extra in an Austin Powers Movie


    Everything but the bouffant hairdo is provided at Cherry, which carries a groovy bunch of mod-tastic footwear like emerald Chelsea boots, faux leopard slingbacks, and gold lamé kitten heels. Felicity Shagwell could wear its fluffy pink mules in her boudoir, while the red, white, and blue pumps (with matching geometric purse) scream Quadrophenia. Plenty of boxy pastel handbags, go-go boots,… More >>
  • Best Shop to Acquire a Pristine Ossie Clark Dress

    Resurrection Vintage

    Since 1996, Resurrection Vintage has been the hip joint to acquire crocheted shawls, monkey fur coats, '50s bowling shirts, and well-preserved go-go boots. You can also nab designers like Halston, Courreges, and Rudi Gernreich, but the crown jewels are the Clark dresses, so sublime in their cut. Soon to come: McLaren/Westwood '70s punk clothing. The shop caters to stylists and… More >>
  • Best Foreign Newsstand for Delirious Magazine Addicts

    Asahiya Bookstore

    Brush aside worries of your inability to read kanji script once you step inside Asahiya Bookstore, a storehouse for Japanese expats looking for a literary piece of home. In their magazine section, you can find everything from manga comics to the latest Nippon Vogue. Style devotees on the hunt for how things are done back East can find armloads of… More >>
  • Best Men's Vintage


    God only knows where Jason would go to get a good deal on a golden fleece these days, but were he in the market for a vintage fleece-lined coat, he need look no further than Argosy. This narrow 9th Street storefront—sparsely furnished with an iMac, camouflage-print chairs, and a poster of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in The Cat Burglar—overflows… More >>
  • Best Place to Browse Artists' Books

    Printed Matter, Inc.

    I like to mosey around Printed Matter, Inc. in the afternoon, picking up odd little artists' books, glossier hardcovers, and attractive zines, rifling through the audio assortment, and looking at reprinted Fluxus games. This is a nonprofit organization and bookstore dedicated to the book as art form, and specializing in the distribution of artists' publications, books, periodicals, posters—any printed matter.… More >>
  • Best Sale Rack

    Routine Six

    Like potbellied pigs at feeding time, passersby come running to the clothes rack that stands in front of the thrift shop Routine Six. Unlike the sad cast-offs on most stores' sale racks, a funky array of great finds (for both sexes) awaits here, all at the unbeatable price of $5. Choose from vintage slips and frilly bed jackets, patterned polyester… More >>
  • Best Used Book Store

    Book Ark

    Upper West Sided but suitably subterranean, the five-year-old Book Ark offers an impressively deep collection, consistently offering titles more beautiful for being less obvious. As astonishing as the jewels-to-junk ratio is the fact that the jewels (there is no junk) are priced to move. And so, two-by-two I have purchased them, books I didn't even know I wanted: Gombrowicz's Pornografia… More >>
  • Best by-the-Pound Shopping


    Ever wonder what makes those hipsters in Williamsburg so hip? Wish you could achieve similar levels of hipocity? Well, grab your black-rim nonprescriptions and blaze a trail to Domsey, where you're sure to find plenty of cool stuff that you'll never see anyone else wearing. But a fair warning to those of you who think underwear and bras should have… More >>
  • Best Flea

    The weekend market at 26th Street and Sixth Avenue

    The weekend market at 26th Street and Sixth Avenue is still the best, though the rapidly changing neighborhood, which has already lost two lots to construction, may bite the dust any day now. As with flea markets the world over, the same rules apply: Get there early, bring cash, bargain (nicely). Make sure to visit the Garage, a dank two-story… More >>
  • Best Bookstore Doin' it for the Ladies

    Bluestockings Women's Bookstore and Café

    About a year old and as unlike Barnes & Noble as a bookstore could be, the comfortably ratty Bluestockings Women's Bookstore and Café stocks a collection of great old and new feminist-minded books of fiction, nonfic- tion (theory and politics mostly), poetry, and comics—like Ariel Schrag's brilliant high-school epic Potential and the Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist series. And while… More >>
  • Best Street-Vending Strip

    Brooklyn's Fulton Street

    Nostalgic for pre-Giuliani days, when street vendors beautified the concrete of 125th Street? Well, dream no more—outdoor shopping thrives on Brooklyn's Fulton Street, where flags of every black nation line the avenue. Side-by-side immigrants in traditional garb from Africa, India, and the West Indies offer an array of merchandise and culture, from CDs, electronics, phones, socks, and bags to incense,… More >>
  • Best Shop for Cheap Evening Wear

    Stuyvesant Square Thrift Shop

    Nothing to wear to the ball? Think of all the Upper East Side socialites—who wouldn't be caught dead in the same Dior twice—as your collec-tive fairy godmother. Although Stuyvesant Square Thrift Shop's generous donors are more chic than most, it's still a thrift shop (i.e., hit or miss), so plan ahead. If you hit, you'll end up with anything from… More >>
  • Best 24-Hour Copy Shop

    Village Copier

    Wonder why that execrable Canal Street copy of Gladiator had such professional packaging? The night contains your answer: In the hours before dawn, bootleggers, artists, DJs, writers, and stone-cold cranks are pumping out four-color hard copies of the zeitgeist on self-service color copiers that are not your father's Xerox machines. For 79 cents, you can gang up six CD covers… More >>
  • Best Way to Celebrate Inflation While Picking Through the Remnants of U.S. Imperialism

    General Rag

    Every good empire requires a vast army. And a fashionable one, too. Once our boys' uni-forms and boots are outgrown, they're sent to General Rag, a giant, two-story thrift store in Williamsburg. Any draft-dodger can scavenge through the rows and piles of old army fatigues and combat boots (average price: $15) in the dank basement. If you can't find your… More >>
  • Coolest 24-Hour Supermarket


    Just when you thought the whole Fort Greene/Park Slope vibe couldn't get any cooler, Pathmark supermarket takes grocery shopping to the next level. Just how cool can buying groceries be? Peep this. Around 1 a.m., the music changes from classical to Motown and hip-hop. Artists and other night owls stroll, conversing with each other about neighborhood goings-on while picking up… More >>
  • Friendliest Proprietor


    Cobblestones may as well be the basement of an elderly woman's home, where decades of clothes and shoes and bags and hats and books and jewels and music and odor have been obsessively hoarded. New York­born-and-bred Delanee Koppersmith, the proprietor, plays the loyal granddaughter, gliding around the baskets of cloth and lines of shoes, ironing an era dress or hanging… More >>
  • Best Minimart

    Fresco Market

    We've been invaded, but there's still hope. Among the gigantic mental-hospital-looking NYU dorm, the hideous Titanic-shaped Circuit City/Virgin Megastore complex, and Union Square's Wall Street­wannabe atmosphere, there's a place where you can still find rows of fresh produce nicely placed in country baskets, mango juice, tasty olives of all kinds and shapes, Bonne Maman marmalade, spinach pasta, and whatever other… More >>
  • Best Dressing Room


    The antithesis of all things cramped, fluorescent, and sterile, the well-appointed fitting rooms at Ghost exceed even the most elevated expectations. You will find a plushly upholstered chaise and an elegant vanity table atop which rest a three-way mirror and a vase of fresh flowers. And—as the wall-size mirror is surrounded by a halo of gentle, perfectly calibrated light—the fitting… More >>
  • Best Gourmet Food Emporium

    East Village Cheese

    East Village Cheese. What's all this then? An extensive—not expensive—cornucopia of cheeses from round the world. $2.99/lb. "superspecials" rotate often and may include Spanish tetilla, Hungarian tilsit, and Danish lappi, while Brie costs $2 per generous wedge. Assorted chevres and fetas, fresh mozzarella and ricotta, mascarpone, and crème fraîche also star. So it's a cheese store? Mais non! More like… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Pants If You're a Short Dame

    NYC Flava

    Our family gatherings are like pygmy assemblies. Everyone's short and has complexes. Like Meemaw, my tippling grandmother who thundered, "No more Gap Kids novelty pants," after a round of Blue Motorcycles and some bathtub gin. Still, the crazy lady's got a point. She also has an option—NYC Flava. Aside from its dim-witted faux hipstress name, this cheapie boutique is a… More >>
  • Best Lingerie Shop If You're Kate Moss


    When my friend Anna was 16, she bought her first bra (Calvin Klein—smallest cups of any major brand). For the next several years it was her only bra, despite tireless shopping, because she couldn't find any others that fit. If only she'd known about Ripplu, a Japanese establishment specializing in lingerie for the small-busted. Prices are a bit steep, but… More >>
  • Best Way to Force Yourself to Cook

    Urban Organic

    For about $29 a week, Urban Organic will deliver a big box of 16 to 20 kinds of excellent organically grown fruit and vegetables to your doorstep—whatever's good and in season, basically. (They always include citrus, lettuce, carrots, and potatoes, and for some reason they seem inordinately fond of kale and chard.) And then you have all this produce in… More >>
  • Best Accessory Store

    M Sonii

    If you skimmed the boutiques of Nolita for the choicest knickknacks, cut the prices in half, and added a pinch of exotic flavor, what you'd get is M Sonii, an Aladdin's cave of one-of-a-kind treasures handcrafted by local designers. Materials from Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines end up as raw-silk satchels embroidered with beads or '50s-style rickrack-edged handbags. Delicate beaded… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vegetable-Shortening Treats for a Quarter Downtown

    American Choice Deli - CLOSED

    Despite the guaranteed payoff bookending the days of urban itinerants contained in each package, Little Debbie, Linden, and their friends are hardly as ubiquitous as the gaudy, teasing lottery cards that enjoy unfair billing on store awnings citywide. A proper venue for buying 25-cent treats should be conveniently located, open 24 hours, have clear aisles and a wide array of… More >>
  • Place to Drop $100 on Japanese Candy for Your Nieces

    Sunrise Market

    My nieces in Oregon are dedicated followers of fashion. I am a food addict. To appease the demons in us both and anybody else like us, I suggest making a habit out of Japanese delight store Sunrise Market. How do I choose between the melon, lemon, or strawberry ice syrups? How many shapes of cookies that can be dipped into… More >>
  • Best Vintage Shoes

    Atomic Passion

    If you've been longing for retro-inspired Prada or Gucci shoes but can't afford them (tragic!), maybe it's time to appreciate the real thing. Vintage shoes could be the answer to all your fashion woes, considering that no one else will have the same ones and the cost ranges from $35 to $120, which cannot be said of anything on the… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Warehouse Wine & Spirits

    New York has more than a handful of great wine shops, but no great liquor store. True, there are plenty of places with wide selections of high-end tequilas and single malts and suchlike. But if your tastes run to mixology, to the careful construction of the cocktail, you've got problems. How are you going to perfect that El Presidente—1 1/2… More >>
  • Best Handbags You Can't Afford

    Jamin Puech

    Jamin Puech's penchant for combining patchwork, rhinestones, pinhole-perforated leathers, and plaids in combinations a lot less Stevie Nicks­ish than you would think possible will set even sad sacks saddled with briefcases off and dreaming about what possibilities a handbag may hold. Sadly, and not at all unpredictably, the drawback is the price: rarely under $200, but there are end-of-season sales.… More >>
  • Best Headshop Strip

    8th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues

    You'll have to blow past racks of Marilyn Manson tees, dog collars, and candy-raver accessories to get to the pot paraphernalia. But at least the half-dozen garish outlets clumped along 8th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues allow for easy comparisons and white lies 'bout prices negotiated next door. Must visit: Funk Plus Inc. (24 West 8th Street, 505-5016), where… More >>
  • Best Bags

    La Sirena

    Along with hundreds of traditional Mexican artifacts like painted clay dolls, decorated mirrors, and carved wildlife figures, the most stylish and practical bags in this city hang at La Sirena and sell for between $10 and $50. Owner Dina Leor Isaacson travels to Mexico twice a year to buy the handmade bags, some of hard plastic, others a cross of… More >>
  • Best Fake Designer Bags

    Canal Street

    As a general rule, the pickings on Canal Street get better the closer you get to Broadway, but give yourself a few hours to peruse every hole in every wall. She who is patient with the crowded and often smelly streets will be the one with the best "Prada" bag at the end of the day. The best knockoffs are,… More >>
  • Best Cigar Shop

    P.B. Cuban Cigars

    Suits perpetually hotbox P.B. Cuban Cigars with Havana-grade stogie smoke, the likes of which you'd otherwise find only in Miami. The Cuban-seed tobacco is grown in the Dominican Republic and superbly hand-rolled behind the counter in an array of traditional estilos. And cheap—$2 to 6 apiece! A friend found an as-good black-market smoke for less on a Havana street, but… More >>
  • Best Bizarro Fragrance Store

    Demeter Fragrances

    A modern-day Cerberus (a great big mutt with a studded collar) guards the gates of Demeter Fragrances, a heaven of strange scents. Alongside the fairly traditional flacons of damask rose and sandalwood stand bottles labeled "Angel Food," "Whiskey Tobacco," and "Mildew." These scents flavor eaux de toilette, lotions, oils, and gels. Precious few smell nice, but they're all suprisingly evocative,… More >>
  • Best Pet Store


    Remember that great-aunt of yours? The one with the smeared lipstick and the mothball smell who mercilessly grabbed your cheeks and told you how much you've grown since the last time I saw you, pet, you were this tall? Fed up with years of torture, you finally tell her not to call you "pet" and send her to hell, the… More >>
  • Best If-Money-Can't-Buy-Me-Love-It-Can-Sure-as-Hell-Buy-Me-This Establishment

    Creed on Bond

    Since 1760, the gentlemen of the Creed family have passed down the perfumer's secrets from father to son. Now that Olivier Creed, the sixth of his line, has set up shop in New York, Gothamites are making the pilgrimage to Noho for the privilege of imitating Audrey Hepburn, Oscar Wilde, even Napoleon III and having one's own fragrance created. At… More >>
  • Best Candy Store for Grown-Up Girls


    The sweet treats of beauty emporium Sephora may prove just as perilous to a girl's pocketbook as chocolates do to her curves and complexion. This palace of pulchritude offers seemingly every confection under the sun, from the shamelessly luxe ($160 for a bottle of Quelques Roses by Parfums Clare) to the unabashedly low-end ($3.50 for a crimson lip-liner). The beauty… More >>
  • Best Place for an Identity Change Without Having an Operation


    No need for a sex change in this era of convenience. At Ricky's, there are wigs, head pieces, hair dyes, and a plethora of hair-styling products stacked up along one mighty wall, plus fake eyelashes in every color and length, and face masks and eye pieces and plastic noses that offer a no-swell face lift. Long, sharp hand-painted nails hang… More >>
  • Most Congenial Tattoo Artist

    James at Daredevil Tattoo

    James at Daredevil Tattoo is very understanding about your pain, sympathetic, even (a marked difference from the guy who gave me my first tattoo, who explained how he had recently thrown a chair at a customer who was bitching a lot). He allowed me several breaks, kindly inquired after my general well-being, and even answered, with polite attention, my likely… More >>
  • Best Cheap Haircuts

    Atlas Barber School

    My son is 14, and he doesn't allow just anyone to cut his hair. He also doesn't like to spend money. His two requirements: (1) The person has to know how to do the job right; and (2) It has to fit his budget (cheap). So thank God I found Atlas Barber School, where all haircuts are only $5 for… More >>
  • Best Blowouts

    Chic Elegance / Astor Place Hair Stylists / Hair Mates Hair Salon

    On a continuum of bliss, the home blowout ranks somewhere between scabies and watching The Maury Show. So it was epic last year when, at the height of stick-straight-hair mania, our curly sisterhood dismantled to go the lemming route. For 30 minutes every other day, we'd sweat before mirrors, round brushes in one hand, blow-dryers in the other, tugging and… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy China and Flatware as a Twentysomething

    Fishs Eddy

    For well-nigh every young adult, the sad day eventually arrives when paper plates, plastic forks, and souvenir mugs from one's alma mater no longer suffice. Upon that fateful hour, fly to Fishs Eddy for its distinctive and reasonably priced selection of place settings, pie servers, and pasta plates galore. It has serving dishes rescued from the Taku Glacier lodge in… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Home Accessories for Your Commercially Zoned Loft

    Real Form Girdle Factory Mall

    Creatively twisting the notion of a "mall," entrepreneur George Mansfield came up with the brilliant idea of creating a hot little shopping plaza smack dab on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. This hipster mecca, known as the Real Form Girdle Factory Mall, comprises a comic book/toy store, yoga center, record store, art gallery, furniture store, glass and ceramic shop, and mini­computer… More >>
  • Best Source of Knickknacks and Collectibles for Kitsch-Crazed Queens

    Howdy Do

    Child, if you're like me, you probably see Barbarella, Michelangelo Antonioni movies, and old Aaron Spelling television miniseries occupying the same cultural hemisphere. Howdy Do, the cozy little collectibles shop in the East Village, would do much for that inner fishy child inside you. It's filled wall-to-wall with scores of fabulous little remnants of American junk culture. Weeble Wobbles and… More >>
  • Best Combined Business

    The Bee & the Buttercup

    While some East Village­ites still mourn the passing of Rescued Estates—a peculiar boîte that specialized in gourmet ice cream and preowned furniture—the cradle of gentrification still boasts a number of shops satisfying charmingly diverse consumer needs. There's a store on Avenue A where you can shop for gourmet goodies while your month's worth of laundry courses through its spin cycle,… More >>
  • Best Shop, Gallery, and Cult Rolled Into One


    "Is the Monastery a store, an art gallery, or a cult?" could be a question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. The sign outside that reads "This is a store" gives you a hint, but it's still hard to believe. With products ranging from vegetal soaps to healing-sound CDs, African jewelry, Indian handbags, primitive masks, and religious holograms, it… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Used Bike From Local Liberals


    On the third floor of a squatlike building in the East Village is Recycle-a-Bike. It's a nonprofit joint that employs kids and a professional mechanic to collect and fix up bikes. The kids learn how to be job-savvy and even acquire some useful business skills, and you get a decent bike— often for less than a hundred bucks. Just don't… More >>
  • Best Scooter/Minibike Shop

    John's Mini Bike Shop - CLOSED

    It hit the city like a virus. Seemingly overnight, everyone and their grandma's scoot-scoot-scooting around town on push (Razor) and motorized (Go-Ped) scooters. And the ultimate haven for "off-road" motorized and push machines is hands down John's Mini Bike Shop. For more than 30 years, John has been the premier candyman of motorized toys, selling minibikes, go-carts, mopeds, and pocket… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    Two Boots

    Sure they still stock a fair share of studio offal (The Other Sister, anyone?), but Two Boots pizza and video had Kieslowski's Dekalog months before I saw it anywhere else. In fact, the compact, brightly painted store overflows with cinephiles' picks. Two Boots kicks ass with its extensive "Great Directors" section as well as solid collections of foreign flicks and… More >>
  • Best Magazine Store

    Universal News - CLOSED

    When a friend told me his sculptures were featured in L'uomo Vogue (the Italian men's fashion rag), I combed the East Village trying to locate a copy. Ink on Avenue A had only last month's issue. Barnes & Noble? As if. In the end, I overcame my lazy ways and schlepped to Soho, where Universal News takes its stand. Overwhelmed… More >>
  • Best Store to Stock Up on Lifetime Supplies of Free Samples

    Kiehl's Since 1851

    Betrothed as she is to the yummy Frank, my fetching friend Keira still turns grown men into groveling sissy boys with just one toss of blond hair. Her slaying prowess being legend, I begged for a tutorial. She sent me to KIEHL'S SINCE 1851 instead, where I collected the accoutrements of torture every vixen needs. Pick the potions that catch… More >>