Shopping & Services

  • Best shop for burlesque performers looking for glam trim


    Any diva worth her salt in vaudevillian show business knows that when it's time to make a set of killer pasties and a pair of bejeweled knickers, you can't skimp on the glitz. Donning unforgettably original ensembles helps separate you from the flock. That said, tassel-twirlers hoping to invent a showstopping masterpiece can nab a plethora of eye-popping materials at… More >>
  • Best spot to grab a used book and a corn dog

    Freebird Books & Goods

    Books and coffee go hand in hand. "But books and corn dogs?" you ask. Don't be silly—of course they do. Freebird Books & Goods, with its lovely secluded patio, extensive collection of used and new books, and, yes, corn dogs, is the perfect place to make a lazy Sunday afternoon of it. (Coffee, tea, wine, and beer are also sold… More >>
  • Best quirky gifts

    Daily 235

    You're in a hurry to get to a party, but you're a creative lad or lass, so bringing wine or flowers simply won't do. That's when it's time to stop in at Daily 235, a small, brightly colored wonderland of gifts that's heavy on the kitsch, oddball gags, and zany treats ("Frenching" gum, squirting cigarette lighters, astronaut ice cream) for… More >>
  • Best used bookstore that's not the Strand

    Alabaster Bookshop

    Of all the legendary secondhand bookstores that once lined Fourth Avenue, there is but one spiritual descendant, and it's straight out of central casting: the Alabaster Bookshop, which has faded carpets, a resident cat, and even a vintage lamp whose base is a stylized stack of tomes. Though just around the corner from the Strand, the Alabaster is in many… More >>
  • Best boutique to buy designer jeans in the East Village

    CoCo & Delilah

    We're not ones for spending lots of money on clothes, but something about CoCo & Delilah makes the bills part from our wallets like waves in the Red Sea. Though they have lots of lovely tunic tops, delicate party dresses, and finely crafted standout blouses with glittery gold stripes, they specialize in designer jeans. The store, which "opened" in 2004,… More >>
  • Best little auto shop that fights big oil

    Urban Classic Auto

    Urban Classic Auto is a little one-story shop with three bays sitting at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Heights. David Goldsmith does a nice job repairing cars, classic and otherwise. He is also most certainly the only New York City auto mechanic to go on national TV blasting Dick Cheney's pals in big oil. It started this… More >>
  • Best mechanic

    Kenny Lee

    There are two things you can be certain of on Smith Street these days: a precious new restaurant or crapatorium going up every other month, and Kenny Lee of the Lee Brothers auto shop. When you're using the words "best" and "auto mechanic" in the same sentence, it usually comes down to degrees of getting ripped off. The eternally cheerful… More >>
  • Best funky haircut under $30

    Top Model Salon

    Nestled in the heart of Chinatown, Top Model Salon caters mainly to an Asian clientele, but for anyone with straight hair, $30, and a penchant for a Hong Kong or Tokyo style, this is the place to go. The stylists aren't afraid to tell you that your hair is boring, and they're itching to liven up a lame 'do. While… More >>
  • Best bike shop you can't afford

    SBR Multisports

    If you're one of those people who don't think living in our fair city is tough enough and who enjoy battering themselves numb on the weekends, SBR Multisports might be your kind of joint. SBR is one of those rare bike shops that caters specifically to triathletes. Owner Christophe Vandaele, 34, a seven-time Ironman finisher, says he switched careers… More >>
  • Best place to wine and dine your dog

    Dream Dog

    Feel like doing something special for Tinkerbell? Take her to the Dream Dog spa at the Benjamin Hotel. Inside the suite, a stuffed-animal dog toy and a welcome card with Tinkerbell's name on it await. If you go out on the town, Tinkerbell can just lounge about in the room in her terrycloth bathrobe with "Dream Dog" embroidered near the… More >>
  • Best reason to cut the Netflix cord

    New York Public Library

    They're not proud, all those movie nerds checking out DVDs from the local public library, but they are smart. Instead of handing Netflix a monthly $16.99 plus tax for three DVDs at a time, they're hauling home films by the half-dozen—for free. The New York Public Library offers something like 23,000 titles, from wide-release blockbusters to obscure documentaries. You can… More >>
  • Best department-store bathroom

    ladies' room at Bergdorf Goodman

    Just south of Central Park, a few yards from the Pulitzer fountain where a near-nude Zelda Fitzgerald famously frolicked, is an unheralded New York treasure: the ladies' room at Bergdorf Goodman. This sanctuary, open to all (well, all females) and located in the cosmetic department on the lower level, is a bower of pink marble, bright mirrors, and comfy boudoir… More >>
  • Best place to buy a fake designer bag besides Canal Street

    Fifth Avenue from 14th to 18th streets

    If the rigors of Canal Street are too much for your faint heart, you can still buy a wonderful fake designer bag from one of the friendly vendors around town. The stretch of Fifth Avenue from 14th to 18th streets invariably offers a fine selection of convincingly rendered padlocked Chloe Paddingtons, thorny-handled Fendi Spies, and giant-size fringed Balenciagas. If it's… More >>
  • Best way to handle the stress of shopping at Century 21

    Buy whatever you're even remotely interested in, try it on in the luxurious confines of your own home, and then dump it all—or at least most of

    What people won't endure to buy a designer outfit for a few bucks off! At the once-lovable Century 21, the current draconian security measures would make even Mother Teresa feel like a thief, provided she wore expensive clothes. The clothes are wired and locked to the racks, requiring you to locate a surly salesperson (sure, the job sucks, but still… More >>
  • Best cheap designer store

    Marc Jacobs

    The genius of Marc Jacobs—his stewardship of Louis Vuitton, the way he manages to be the toast of two continents and yet still be found making out with hot guys in louche watering holes to this day—is further evidenced by his boutique on Bleecker Street, an accessories emporium where, instead of the $1,500 Jacobs cashmere pullovers and $400 mouse shoes—his… More >>
  • Best place to study vintage clothes

    Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show

    Three times a year, the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show sweeps into Manhattan, featuring 100-odd dealers selling 100-odd years' worth of vintage clothes. The $20 admission is admittedly steep, but in exchange, you get to examine everything close up—from 1950s Mainbocher gowns to 1970s Missoni caftans, 1940s Lili Ann suits to 1980s Louis Vuitton satchels. The Met hides its old clothes… More >>
  • Best salon for African-American women to get their hair done

    Turning Heads Salon & Day Spa

    Sistahs, listen up. If you've ever been horrified by hairdressers who have singed your tresses with hot combs or ripped out chunks while cornrowing, Turning Heads Salon & Day Spa is worth checking out. Not only are they super-gentle (no matter how knotty that 'fro is, they'll practically massage it clean and tangle-free), they use only Aveda products to wash,… More >>
  • Best alternative to a real movie theater in Williamsburg

    East Coast Aliens

    As the debate rages on about who's gonna do what to the developing waterfront areas in B'burg and G'point, one idea always in the mix and yet to be actualized is a movie theater. History books (or, um, Google) tell us that Greenpoint was once home to a bevy of theaters, many of them born out of vaudeville, then turned… More >>
  • Best super-vegan- restrictive-diet bakery that still tastes good

    Babycakes NYC

    Got one of those friends (maybe you?) that's kinda like John Travolta in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble? You know the type: the pale, possibly anemic, allergic-to-everything sickee who must abide by the strictest dietary requirements or else puff up like that blueberry-gum-chompin' kid from Willy Wonka from even the smallest portion of wheat, dairy, or sugar. Alas, whether… More >>
  • Best Williamsburg shopping for guys' clothes


    Dude, I feel ya, bro: Sometimes even the most die-hard fashionisters (the male counterpart of fashionistas, natch) need a respite from the trucker hat and the ironic pink unicorn tees. At this point, the irony overload has you so fuddled you can't even remember if you grew that Magnum, P.I. 'stache like "for reals" or for "wink-winks." But sometimes getting… More >>
  • Best cheap stuff for home renovations

    Build It Green NYC!

    Considering the harsh statistics—such as the fact that around 13,000 tons of construction waste are generated every day in the five boroughs, and that around 2 percent of the world's global climate change is credited to landfill-generated methane gas, nothing less than high-fives and bear hugs go out to the green-minded folks at Build It Green NYC!, which salvages and… More >>
  • Best bedding-supply store

    Sleep - CLOSED

    It's kinda funny—and a sign of how things change—that the swanky, über-female pamper parlor Sleep popped up right across the street from the infamous (and now-closed) testosterone-fueled punk bar Sweet Water. It's sort of fitting, in a yin/yang, right brain/left brain kinda way. Sleep excels at high-minded impressions and soft sensations: Exquisitely decorated in the style of a French boudoir,… More >>
  • Best black-metal/ extreme-noise record store

    Hospital Productions

    Looking for the newest jams from, uh, Hair Police, Ahlzagailzehguh, or Bloodhammer? Thank you, Hospital Productions! No longer do we have to fly to Bergen, Norway, or drive to Providence, Rhode Island, or deal with sketchy websites in order to satiate our jones for extreme noise—you know, of the musical variety. (At least to some ears.) HP (almost) exclusively peddles… More >>
  • Best flea market in Brooklyn

    P.S. 321

    For years now, all year round, P.S. 321 gets transformed every Saturday and Sunday into a thriving flea market for knickknacks, antiques, and furniture—good, cheap furniture, even (this writer found a killer wood dresser in near-perfect condition for a measly $60)—as well as loads of coffee and end tables, bookshelves, and magazine racks (and even the occasional bed). Not to… More >>
  • Best yoga studio for practitioners seeking more than a firm ass

    Greenhouse Holistic

    These days, when it's become much more common to find yoga classes that have degenerated into your basic cardio workout, serious yoga practicers looking for bona fide Sadhana "teachers"—not just Vedic-tinged aerobics instructors­—should check out Greenhouse Holistic. Offering classes daily according to various skill levels and in five different styles (Ashtanga, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Prana, and Vinyasa), Greenhouse is known not… More >>
  • Best vintage boutique turned book publisher

    No. 6

    On a typical day at the vintage gold mine No. 6, '60s bohemian styles imported from Paris and classic YSL and Alaia mix with must-have shoes, bags, and dresses by contemporary designers. But last fall, something altogether different appeared: small burgundy-colored books filled with the artwork of musician Devendra Banhart and the poetry of writer Dana Kline. Titled Perhaps in… More >>
  • Best hipster movers

    The Good Move

    Moving is one of the most miserable experiences in life, even if you're one of those overly organized weirdos who doesn't do everything at the last minute. The best-case scenario would involve having some cute guys do the moving for you—and not your boyfriend and his friends, who are sloppy and resentful. The guys from The Good Move actually like… More >>
  • Best hairdresser for long layers plus Japanese food advice

    Kelly at Lotus Salon

    I used to have a hairdresser come to my house and (depending how drunk he was) give me great haircuts while I watched TV. When he got deported, I didn't know what to do. I hate sitting in the chair and staring at myself while carrying on boring small talk with some super-dumb gay guy or super-trendy mean chick. Kelly… More >>
  • Best pharmacologist

    Daniel Cohen

    We know what you're thinking, sicko: This Dr. Dan guy must dole out the happy pills like jelly beans, right? Well, no. Clearly, he believes in pills—that's his job—but we never get that creepy "wouldn't you like to be even happier?" feeling from him either. Daniel Cohen will give it to you straight: why the generic version of one drug… More >>
  • Best dog-walker who can also introduce you to your future spouse

    David Shernoff

    Well, sort of. David Shernoff, the man behind Dogs by Dave, a dog-walking, pet-sitting service in downtown Brooklyn, is responsible for at least one gay marriage so far. When a disgruntled client talked about being unsatisfied with life as a bond trader, Shernoff—who is quite satisfied with life as a dog-walker—told the man to quit his job and go to… More >>
  • Best spooky old jewelry


    If you're like me and break or lose things easily, the chances of Great-Aunt Edith's ring collection winding up in your careless hands are pretty slim. Swear you're going to take care of your things better and fill that empty jewelry box with snazzy heirlooms from Pippin. Though the store recently moved from the Lower East Side to a smaller… More >>
  • Best place for my mom to cruise for young gay men

    The Container Store

    My mom really gets along with the gays. In fact, it runs in the family. She also really likes to have the perfect container for everything: tiny little ones for leftover bacon fat, pretty glass ones for homemade ginger syrup, square ones for flour and sugar, and so on. These two passions are united when she hangs out at The… More >>
  • Best place to get grown-up kitchenware

    Bowery Restaurant Supply

    The fear of shelling out $350 for a frying pan is enough to keep some of us in a state of culinary arrested development. And although your apartment might be about the same size as your college dorm room, there comes a time to toss those dollar-store plastic spatulas of youth and buy a decent frying pan, paring knife, and… More >>
  • Best free stuff that doesn't involve getting in a dumpster


    Let's face it—secondhand store Beacon's Closet isn't going to take your ill-advised Forever 21 dresses from two summers ago. Plus, getting coolly rejected by them and the equally discerning Buffalo Exchange nearby is enough to make anyone believe that the stores are in cahoots to make you feel like crap (it's possible). Spare yourself the paranoia… More >>
  • Best therapeutic ass-whuppin'

    Village Chinese Therapy Center

    Ever wonder why painful tension in your neck lives on despite that weekly visit to the massage parlor or acupuncturist? It's because touchy-feely body rubs and pins in the eyelids don't cut it when your life sucks and you blame your boss and your spouse—and your boss again—for inflicting the pain-inducing stress that has you seized up like Quasimodo. Turns… More >>
  • Best overall shopping experience—full workout included

    Aqueduct Flea Market

    What happens when you dump the merchandise from Kmart, Target, Wal-Mart, H&M, and those handy gadgets sold via late-late-night infomercials in the parking lot of one of the biggest racetracks in town; split up the goods among 500 neatly lined merchants peddling out of stalls, vans, and boxes; and sprinkle roughly 80 food, fruit, and smoothie vendors from every ethnic… More >>
  • Best proof that Mom and Pops are still the No. 1 providers

    The Hardware

    Fuck Home Depot! The so-called "You can do it. We can help" hardware super-franchise doesn't vibe with the needs of urban homeowners. What's up with closing stores between 9 p.m. and midnight? Any home-care provider worth its weight in salt knows that major shit doesn't break down until the wee hours of the morning in this tenant-packed city. Plus, the… More >>
  • Best liquor tastings

    LeNell's - CLOSED

    At first blush, LeNell's doesn't seem like a liquor store run by alcohol aficionados. Though billed as a wine and spirit boutique, it offers none of the prim organization and informative descriptions of an Astor Place Spirits or a Vintage New York. Rather, the proprietors have organized one wine display with all the bottles that have pictures of cats on… More >>
  • Best baubles

    Erie Basin

    Next to Fairway in Red Hook lies the Erie Basin, a sludgy inlet boasting the remains of several boats, rotting docks, and no little amount of refuse. But a much nicer place to dock oneself is the shop just a few blocks away that borrows the Erie Basin name, but reeks of no such corruption or taint—in fact, it positively… More >>
  • Best needle exchange

    Brooklyn General Store

    Most New York ladies are experts at bitching, but as home economics is banished from the high-school curriculum, many of us aren't nearly as adept at stitching. How will we ever make our trousseaux? Thankfully, the women who run Brooklyn General Store can remedy this gross defect. They offer classes—limited to eight students—in knitting, sewing, quilting, crocheting, embroidery, even spinning.… More >>
  • Best way to feel like a (drunken) kid again

    Drinky Shrinky Dinks

    As a child, I always felt vaguely cheated by the concept of Shrinky Dinks. I would cut out the pictures of the Smurfs and Scooby Doo, color them in assiduously, place them on a cookie sheet, put them in the oven, and watch excitedly as they . . . got smaller? Where's the fun in that! I wanted them to… More >>
  • Friendliest menswear

    Hollander and Lexer

    Too often, a high price tag occasions an accompanying hauteur—the more chichi the boutique, the chillier the sales associates. But even those frigid shopgirls and shopboys would thaw amid the costly goods and contagious warmth at Boerum Hill's Hollander and Lexer. Owners Hicham Benmira and Brian Cousins have stocked it with Paul Smith jeans, Steven Alan shirts, Rogues… More >>
  • Best incipient retail phenomenon


    New York cool hunters getting their shop on in Tokyo, Paris, and London have long made a beeline for MUJI, the Japanese retailer whose affordable, super-minimalist, environmentally conscious product lines have developed a global cult following. Short for Mujirushi Ryohin, meaning "No-brand quality goods," MUJI is the place to go for the perfect pair of flip-flops, notebooks of Platonic simplicity,… More >>
  • Best Zen frenzy

    Trader Joe's

    Regulars have their reasons. Thai lime & chili peanuts. Chocolate-covered pretzels. Instant spicy chai latte mix. Personally, I queue up at least once a week for the outrageously cheap pomegranate juice, $4.49 a quart, about half what you'd pay for an over-designed bottle of Pom. If the mobbed aisles and massive checkout lines intimidate, a trip to the… More >>
  • Best place to get lit

    Remains Lighting

    With the recent demise of one of the city's most delightful specialty stores, Just Bulbs, those in search of odd or hard-to-find bulbs probably will either be left in the dark (figuratively, if not literally) or will be forced to buy their antique, Edison-type hairpin-filament lamps at specialty vendors like or practical (if rather prosaic) sites like But… More >>
  • Best place to plan that little getaway to Northern Germany (circa 1877), Palestine and Syria (circa 1894), or Mexico (circa 1909)

    Complete Traveller Antiquarian Bookstore

    If your present financial situation is such that you can't afford to cross the street—much less the Atlantic—indulge your inner wanderer with a couple of red-backed, vintage Baedeker travel guides from Complete Traveller Antiquarian Bookstore. Since 1837, these astonishingly comprehensive volumes, offering well-researched, accurate (at the time of publication) information about travel and customs in various foreign lands, have been… More >>
  • Best place to find that coveted vintage keyboard

    Two Lines Music

    Music gearheads beyond the fledgling stage know that New York City is not the best place for finding bargains. That's really what touring is for: Troll through enough pawnshops in Boise (or Biloxi, or Bellingham) and you'll probably find that clavinet or MiniMoog in decent shape and at a reasonable price; then—here's the downer—you'll have to lug… More >>
  • Best place to get inked and otherwise adorned by real artists

    Hold Fast Tattoo

    In Shel Silverstein's deliciously vicious ABZ Book—A Primer for Tender Young Minds, there's a coupon that readers are invited to cut out and present to the nearest police officer in exchange for a real live pony. But the youth of today, with few exceptions, probably don't want mere ponies: They want expensive electronics and all the other cultural impedimenta… More >>
  • Best place to savor the sweet smell of American capitalism


    The firm that would eventually become the legendary apothecary Caswell-Massey opened its quaint colonial doors in Rhode Island in 1752 (the New York branch began trading in 1833), making it one of the country's older extant retail establishments. That's probably all kinds of fascinating to economists and their ilk, but for the rest of us, it's all about the product:… More >>
  • Best place to celebrate the fact that your waist size now equals your age

    D.L. Cerney

    If those twiglike days of youth are long past (or if they existed only in your dreams), then, gents, hie thee to that timeless oasis of masculine finery, D.L. Cerney. The proprietor—the dapper, charismatic Mr. Cerney, who is his own best advertisement—will help you choose a perfectly wrought pair of his Hollywood-waist trousers in supple tropical-weight wools, snappy gabardines, or… More >>
  • Best place to plot the perfect murder

    Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers

    Whether you're in the market for a handy how-to guide to regicide, parricide (either matricide or patricide), deicide, democide, mariticide, uxoricide, infanticide, and the related filicide and fratricide, or you're simply looking to brush up on your knowledge of garden-variety homicide or suicide, the Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers is your one-stop shopping haven. Step down into this semi-basement of… More >>
  • Best place to buy ukulele picks (and toy glockenspiels, padded guitar cases for your tenor electric, and other needful things) on a Sunday

    First Flight Music

    It's the same old story—hell, it's probably happened to you too many times to mention. But: It's Sunday afternoon, and as you're only mildly hungover, you've managed to get up in time to get to rehearsal (or practice, if you're in that sort of band) on time when you realize that you're fresh out of . . . something you… More >>
  • Best custom hats for cheap

    Village Scandal Hats

    I first discovered tiny, utterly adorable Village Scandal Hats just before a late-summer thunderstorm broke, on my way across town to a silly art opening. I was also sadly underdressed for what was likely to be a tony event, so I was hoping to find something that would not only 1) keep my head dry in the ensuing downpour, but… More >>
  • Best place to celebrate the fact that the printed word, after all, is not (or not quite) dead

    Printed Matter, Inc.

    Art is where you find it, and for many that means where you can afford it: in the studios of friends, in galleries that show the works of those hopefuls euphemistically known as "emerging," and sometimes even on the street. Point being that good, reasonably priced art is out there, and if your taste in such things tends toward the… More >>
  • Best magazine store in the Village


    Desperate for a copy of Namaste? Craving an issue of Juxtapoz? Checking something in The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs? Channeling Lilipoh—the Spirit of Life? Diesel Power? Zink? Semiotext(e)? All these, and more than 2,000 other publications, hug the narrow aisles of Nikos, a Village institution for three decades. And what's that distinctive aroma? Believe it or not, it's that… More >>
  • Best way to get a bottle of seltzer

    Walter Backerman

    Walter Backerman says he gets followed all the time—by reporters, that is. NPR, The New York Times, and, most recently, a TV crew from Japan are just a few of those curious about his anachronistic occupation as a third-generation seltzer man. "It's like I live in a movie," he said. "People think I shouldn't exist, but I do exist." And… More >>
  • Best vintage store in need of dressing-room mirrors

    10 ft. Single by Stella Dallas

    Brooklyn vintage spot 10 ft. Single by Stella Dallas is pleasantly affordable (most dresses are under $35), has an impressively ungrazed T-shirt section (most were $15, including a classy tee stating "I’d Rather Be 40 Than Pregnant"), and accessories galore ('70s mint-condition aviators for $13). But all of this too-good-to-be-true-ness comes at a nasty price: no dressing-room mirrors. Where are… More >>
  • Best place to buy and Enjoy a excellent handmade cigar in the company of men who look like ex-cops and extras from The Sopranos

    PB Cuban Cigars

    Despite the serious medical, legal, and social issues that surround cigar smoking, New Yorkers have long cherished their stogies and those hazy bastions of casual male bonding, the corner cigar store. (Edgar Allan Poe's 1842 thriller, "The Mystery of Marie Roget," was based on the brutal, still-unsolved murder of Manhattan "cigar girl" Mary Cecilia Rogers, whose legendary beauty attracted more… More >>
  • Best place not to get nicked

    The Art of Shaving

    To many Americans, beardy equals weirdy at best; at worst, beards equal something truly heinous, such as "terrorist," "revolutionary," "hippie," "radical," "anarchist," "redneck," or "rocker." And despite a fairly game—if ultimately pointless—effort by Al Gore to revalidate facial fur prior to the 2004 election, the U.S. hasn't had a bearded chief executive since the administration of Benjamin Harrison (1889—93), though… More >>