Shopping & Services

  • Best Hats


    Fashionistas love 'em; they're funky and well made. But that's the surface: Look past the great chapeaus at CASA DE RODRIGUEZ and you'll find David or Jody Rodriguez working the sewing machine, with friends around to shoot the shit. One stays with the kids, while the other minds the shop and creates the goods. A peaceful guy and gal, designing… More >>
  • Best Ubiquitous Fashion Faux Pas Turned Hot Shit


    If all major fashion magazines are to be believed, the jumbo-shirt-swathed, Starbucks-beverage-toting Mary-Kate Olsen, coke-addicted anorexic or not, is onto something. M-K's HOBO CHIC, coined by some awed columnist or another, comes distinguishable by leggings, cowboy boots, and layers of oversize tees. Word is that Keira Knightley's cramping the littlest Olsen's style or whatever, but point is, this time trashy's… More >>
  • Best Shoe Shine


    The size of a walk-in closet, YAKOV has a wall cluttered with an assortment of timeworn doodads seemingly for sale. You hand your shoes to an expressionless man and grab a seat, reading an ancient Us Weekly magazine ("Bennifer to Split?") in your socks. Five minutes later, the shoes you'd marked for death look like they're just out of the… More >>
  • Best Geek Chic Indulgence


    Contact lenses are a dirty word at SELIMA OPTIQUE, hip beacon of bespectacled beauty. Dedicated to the notion that glasses are fun, funky, and sexy, the trendy store stocks frames of every shape and color, and straightforward salespeople are quick to tell you if your current wire frames "suck" or what makes you look "absolutely fabulous." Boys, make your passes… More >>
  • Best Carnie-Inspired Vintage Clothes


    From frilly shirts to puffy tutus, GEMINOLA, located in a darling part of the West Village, presents a nostalgic look for everyone's inner carnie character. Buyer beware: Given such high prices, it seems unlikely that any self-employed tarot card reader could afford the place's eclectic-junk-fabric girly attire.… More >>
  • Best Prop for Baby Photos


    Little Lily and Jake sporting Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, and Tommy? Hey ho! The day we discovered SAM & SEB'S ROCK-AND-ROLL BABY CLOTHES was the day we had to get the little outfits for all the groovy parents in our lives and their kids about to rock. A Blondie onesie with a tutu (also available) makes an unimpeachable party ensemble;… More >>
  • Best Place to Score a Vintage Wardrobe for Free


    Tired of overpriced vintage? Check out the WILLIAMSBURG FREE STORE. Located just off Bedford Avenue, it is where locals dump everything they don't want to schlep to their new illegal sublets, and true to its name, everything is free for the taking. No matter what you find picking through bins of old jeans, fuzzy sweaters, and enough '80s fashion to… More >>
  • Best Way to Get Free Furnishings


    Buying furniture is a drag, man. So why not get free stuff and lighten the landfill load at the same time? FREECYCLE NYC has harnessed the power of the Internet to create a person-to-person recycling group where everything from a basic futon to a bed of nails can be found on any given day. All five boroughs are represented on… More >>
  • Best Sign the West Village Ain't What It Used to Be


    The former site of two gay bookstores—A Different Light and Creative Visions—has transformed into BELLY DANCE MATERNITY, a store for stylish moms-to-be. Just what those desperate Village housewives need: expensive maternity clothes to rival those $700 strollers. Pregnant mannequins pose in store windows once filled with queer books and rainbow flags. What's next? A Breeder Pride rally at a nearby… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Lamp to Match the One You Already Have


    If your pot-smoking uncle had spent the last 30 years hoarding old furniture in his garage, it would look an awful lot like GENERAL NITEMARE. This storefront on Columbia Street has more junk than your trunk, I promise. The store's colorful owner, Barry Jetter, died recently, and the store's fate is uncertain, but one thing's for sure—this is one garage… More >>
  • Best Antique-Globe Shop


    Antique stores tend to be run by antique proprietors, wizened old chaps with tufts of white hair poking from their ears. The GEORGE GLAZER GALLERY trades the creaky octogenarian for a tweedy ex-lawyer, but the shop still wheezes with dusty magic. Dotted with an impressive array of globes and celestials ranging from pocket models to massive Victorian orbs, it feels… More >>
  • Best Brooklyn Bookstore


    The staff at BOOKCOURT is both good-looking and well-read, the books are well displayed, and the children's section is appropriately in its own little nook, perfect for whiling away the hours. Singles say the store is excellent for date browsing as well.… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood for Thrift Shopping


    No, not the goddamn Lower East Side. It's the UPPER EAST SIDE, where all the rich old ladies go to die. That's when you get to paw through their amazing clothes, and buy them at a fraction of the cost. Don't be a snob—the shops might look full of mothballs from the outside, but once you get in the front… More >>
  • Best Concept for a Listserv


    Don't dump the old rug. Make an exchange (jeans for a toaster? teapot for a haircut?) with the clever barterers of NEW YORK FLEA MARKET, a listserv that founder Nicole Davis calls a "virtual yard sale for New Yorkers who don't have time for Craigslist nor patience for its wackos." It's OK to say it feels better than a trip… More >>
  • Best Website for Book Snobs on a Budget


    So you need to read every book by the most recent rediscovered Victorian wit, even her obscure first novel, but you're using tea bags twice and doing laundry seasonally. The solution? Search NYPL's monstrous catalog online, click, and soon the books will be in your hot little hands. All you need is a library card and a little patience. If… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy an 'Almost Famous' Jacket


    When Kate Hudson graced the silver screen with her angel hair and bohemian fur jacket in Cameron Crowe's little heart-warmer of a movie, young women everywhere brought back the '70s. Trouble is, these days vintage anything is both freakishly expensive and freakishly ugly. REMINISCENCE would offer no relief if not for its delicious collection of tawny, furry, cheap '70s jackets… More >>
  • Best Clothing-Style Names


    Where else can you buy a slinky gown called the "Get Lucky Dress"? (De-votees swear that it really works.) What about an "Italian Widow's Dress," "Sunday Cinema Pants"? Word nerds and clotheshorses alike are extended family at JILL ANDERSON's boutique. She offers well-cut wear and timeless designs, and her real-woman sizes make everyone happy. Check out the discounted Green Garb—gently… More >>
  • Best Renovation for Claustrophobics


    Loyalists see the addition of a second floor at THE STRAND bookstore as an unwelcome departure from its cramped, musty charm. But for bibliophiles who couldn't imagine spending more than five minutes crouched in the biography aisle without bolting for the door, the 2,500-square-foot addition is a breath of fresh air.… More >>
  • Best Cheap Shirts With Innovative Necklines


    Amid the sea of bargain tops available between Houston and Canal streets, the ones in MYSTIQUE BOUTIQUE are actually worth their $12.99 price tags. Shamelessly cheesy but surprisingly fashionable, the store bursts at the seams with everything from glittery halter tops to juicy-colored tube tops to those ubiquitous pregnant-lady shirts. Deserving of a stop—especially on a broke-but-have-a-hot-date-in-two-hours night.… More >>
  • Best Store for Dressing Like a Teenage Slut


    If you are 25 going on 15 and aching to hit the Lower East Side in something that sparkles, bumps, and grinds, look no further than your local MANDEE. For $8 you can get a shirt that says, "I'm a virgin. (This is an old shirt)," and for another $20 you can buy a skirt so short, they'll believe you.… More >>
  • Best Crowd Control


    At first THE 'LINE DIRECTORS' AT UNION SQUARE'S WHOLE FOODS seem a little extraneous. After all, their duties are limited to holding a walkie-talkie and telling customers which checkout station to use. But with 32 registers and lines of pushy foodies anxious to go home and try their new flaxseed oil, these herders streamline a potentially unbearable experience.… More >>
  • Best Scent Indulgence for Your Inner Goth


    The liquor may be illegal, but you can buy a vial of Absinthe fragrance from the BLACK PHOENIX ALCHEMY LAB website for 20 bucks. The brainchild of Coney Island native Elizabeth Moriarty, this online perfumery specializes in wicked scents like Embalming Fluid, Kali, Dragon's Blood, and Danse Macabre. BPAL (its name among friends) has a diehard following that waits upwards… More >>
  • Best Shop for Suspicious Husbands and Wives


    For healthy couples, there's honest and open communication. For the rest of us, there's SPYSHOP. A paranoid's dream, this store takes care of a cuckold's needs with everything from cameras hidden in alarm clocks to keystroke loggers (inch-sized data recorders that'll illuminate what's being typed in those late-night IM sessions). And if you're afraid that he's getting all Monica Lewinsky… More >>
  • Best Flyer Flickers


    Rather than simply thrusting their little white ads in your face, the flyer distributors at ANDROMEDA TATTOO on St. Marks Place spice it up by flicking the paper with their finger, making a loud "snap!" akin to the pop of a BB gun. The sound certainly gets the attention of unsuspecting passersby—you can see them startle from a block away.… More >>
  • Best Untapped Public Restroom


    Shopping in Soho is a pleasant experience until one has to use the potty. Instead of the vile "public" bathrooms at the obvious choices of McDonald's, Starbucks, or Barnes & Noble, try using CRATE & BARREL, whose second-floor bathroom is both spotless and equipped with a towel maid.… More >>
  • Best Mod Toothbrush Holders


    Past the aisles of overpriced grill pans and cheap bath mats, there is a treasure trove of cool at Bed Bath & Beyond—an entire wall of JONATHAN ADLER's Happy Home Collection toothbrush holders, soap dishes, and wastebaskets, in an array of delectable shades. I ran into a friend from high school on the subway after purchasing my very own, and… More >>
  • Best Place to Satisfy a Lutefisk Craving


    Though lutefisk is an unwholesome amalgam of jellied cod preserved in lye, there are those who enjoy it. These people also apparently treasure scary gnome dolls, canned fishcakes, and the rather obscene-sounding Firklover chocolate. Such outré desires can be satisfied at NORDIC DELICACIES, which also does a far more palatable trade in homemade salads and sandwiches.… More >>
  • Best Wrapping Paper


    Sometimes Rite-Aid wrapping paper doesn't do the trick—too shiny, flowery, and/or just plain lame. When you have a present that requires you to step up your game, head on over to ENVIRONMENT 337, where they sell wrapping paper so nice you hope the moron you're giving the present to doesn't throw it away. Some examples include cartoon squids expelling ink… More >>
  • Best Spot for Flowers That Are Pretty Without Being at All Girly


    There's no baby's breath at ROOT STOCK AND QUADE, an ultra-hip flower and plant shop in Park Slope. Instead, the store is packed with pods, branches, and unusual flowers that look like they came from another planet. Garden artist John creates beautiful urban gardens, while floral designer Kerry makes bouquets that are beautiful but edgy.… More >>
  • Best Place to Score a Deepwater Burrfish


    For some reason people pay good money to visit the meager aquatic displays at Coney Island. Little do they know that midtown is home to the far superior NEW WORLD AQUARIUM. And it's a store, which means that the two-tailed mutant boxfish, the big eyes, and the slipper lobsters are all for sale. You don't have to know that the… More >>
  • Best Sneaker Swap Meet


    On a forgotten block over by NYU, one sneakerhead's loss is another's gain. At FLIGHT CLUB NEW YORK, a just-opened consignment shop—you can check inventory online at—nearly all the stock comes from cash-strapped collectors looking to flip old pairs that have been sitting on ice, including limited-run Nike samples, shockingly rare special issues (Black Album AF1s in my size,… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Cheap Vintage Eye Glasses


    Frames appearing in The Aviator and Spamalot testify to FABULOUS FANNY'S impressive range of optical oddity options, from cat-eyes on. As their motto says: "If you have to wear them, make it fun."… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Live Goat


    Stumbling upon a concrete farm—or public slaughterhouse—seems more New Delhi than New York City. If you find selecting a living lobster unsettling, you may not want to brave VIVERO ONE-STOP LIVE MARKET. The less squeamish can handpick Thanksgiving dinner while unsuspecting turkeys scuffle about. Upon selection, butchers grab their legs and whisk them away upside down. Animal lovers and activists… More >>