Shopping & Services

  • Best (Most Rewarding) Workout

    Habana Outpost

    At the end of a spin class, all you have is a rosy glow and a gym towel sopping with sweat. But at the end of a bike ride at Habana Outpost, you leave with a delicious, boozy cocktail. On weekends, this Fort Greene restaurant, which prides itself on being an “eco-eatery,” sports a blender powered by an exercise bike.… More >>
  • Best Shoe Store for a Gotti

    The Ravenite Social Club and Shoe

    From the legendary former storefront known alternately as The Ravenite Social Club and Shoe, godfather John Gotti once decided who should be fitted for cement shoes and who shouldn’t. Gotti and his crew are long gone, but you can still shop for shoes there—or at least for one particular brand. In the don’s old haunt, a pair of handmade Cydwoq… More >>
  • Best Secondhand Furniture Not on Craigslist

    Housing Works

    There comes a time in every struggling New Yorker’s life when—thankfully, finally—the days of ramen noodles, funky-smelling futons, and five roommates are over. Not that you’re on to luxury condos and Ethan Allen chaise longues, but if you’re celebrating the fact that you can finally afford to buy wine that doesn’t come in a box, you know what we’re talking… More >>
  • Best Store In Which to Get Felt Up

    Bra Smyth

    Not recommended for the shy (or the easily excited), the shopping experience at Bra Smyth is truly hands-on. Whether or not you choose to shed your top as you cross the threshold, the expert staff knows your rack better than you do upon first feel. Lopsided lady lumps benefit from custom fitting by an in-house seamstress, and bigger bazongas might… More >>
  • Best Fast, Cheap Haircut

    Astor Place Hairstylist

    Astor Place Hairstylist no longer has the celebrity cachet it did in the ’80s, when pictures of the New Kids with their freshly coiffed white-boy Philly fades adorned the walls. Once three stories with more than 100 cutters, Astor Place Hairstylist is now relegated to the basement at 2 Astor Place (8th Street and Broadway) with a staff that has… More >>
  • Best Jewelry Store for Fantasy Geeks

    Little King Ltd.

    You don’t like to admit it, but like all the other geeks, you played Dungeons & Dragons in high school and spent weeks on the perfect costume for the Renaissance Faire. The +1 armor probably isn’t hanging in your closet anymore, but if you’re still nostalgic for those days of make-believe, Little King Ltd. provides a subtle way to incorporate… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Gifts on a Budget

    Pearl River Mart

    Don’t be discouraged by the ceramic rooster and the “I [Heart] NYC” mugs—there are treasures to be found at Pearl River Mart, a Soho variety store with tons of Asian wares. On the first floor, past a small, unimpressive selection of clothing, there are shelves packed with beautiful ceramic bowls painted with cranes, dragonflies, and intricate floral patterns; sushi sets… More >>
  • Best Spice Shop

    Patel Brothers

    Should you long to bring a sweat to your brow without any physical exertion, we would recommend trawling the aisles of Patel Brothers and immediately serving up your findings. This family-owned mini-chain of sizable groceries in Queens offers more than a hundred powders, seeds, roots, curries, and masala mixes—to say nothing of the rows of chutneys, pickles, ghees, and incense.… More >>
  • Best Vintage-Clothing Store No One Knows About

    Eleven

    In the former Little Italy, now universally known as Nolita, small, quirky stores struggle to hold their own amid the encroaching chains. Among the oddest is Eleven, a Japanese-run vintage shop with a penchant for mid-century American work wear (worn and faded plaid shirts; bruised denim jackets; dowdy housewife dresses) along with battered old suitcases for hitting the road—all sharing… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You’re an Artist

    Pearl Paint

    Pearl Paint is populated by overeducated, underpaid employees: Most of the sales staff have BFAs and are making their own art when they’re not hocking paintbrushes, decorative paper, canvas stretchers, calligraphy pens, or plaster. Thankfully, though, the knowledgeable staffers don’t hold that against you. There is, after all, an Acrylic Paint Set for Dummies on display right next to the… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Rug

    ABC Carpet and Home

    ABC Carpet and Home, on the west side of the street across from the ABC main store on Broadway, may seem scarily expensive at first glance. But go downstairs to the bargain-basement lower level and you’ll find a remarkable selection of rugs in all shapes, sizes, and patterns (ranging from traditional Oriental to Scandinavian modern to acquired-taste op art), and… More >>
  • Best Reasons to Love Big-Box Stores

    Ladies Shopping Mile

    A hundred years ago, the cast-iron behemoths lining Sixth Avenue from 14th to 23rd Street—the erstwhile Ladies Shopping Mile—housed department stores with names like Siegel-Cooper and Hugh O’Neill. Now, these same edifices, remarkably intact, host Bed Bath & Beyond, the Container Store, and other brand names familiar to our suburban brethren, but until fairly recently in short supply in Manhattan.… More >>
  • Best Store With Unexpected Woodsy Interior

    Earnest Sewn

    The two branches of Earnest Sewn, the custom-denim store, share a love of planks and raw-brick walls—the better to show off their line of custom-made jeans (either disgustingly yuppie or indispensably sexy, depending on your point of view). Shoulder bags for rich lumberjacks, thick belts, cashmere undershirts, and even a selection of Repetto dance shoes from France round out the… More >>
  • Best Flea Market (For Now)

    Garage

    Hurry! The wonderful Garage flea market, in what was formerly known as the Chelsea antiques district—can we still call it that when most of the markets have been pushed out by high-rise apartment buildings?—is rumored to be shuttered in November. The great strength of the Garage is its variety—not just junky costume jewelry but Deco diamonds, not just kitschy paint-by-numbers… More >>
  • Best Penny Candy

    A nameless shop in Sunset Park

    By now you’ve loaded up on jelly beans at Economy Candy or eaten your weight in M&Ms at the Chocolate Bar—but if you want a more exotic bang for your dime, nickel, or quarter, you might enjoy the South American sweets on offer at a nameless shop in Sunset Park. Our favorite boîte is at 822 Fifth Avenue, corner of… More >>
  • Best Non-Art in Chelsea Art District

    Comme des Garçons and Balenciaga

    Tell the truth: Wouldn’t you rather contemplate a pullover than a painting? Why look at sculpture when you can look at skirts? On West 22nd Street, home to some of the city’s most well-respected art galleries, there are two wonderfully nutty, albeit really expensive clothing shops (well, art ain’t that cheap either): Comme des Garçons, with its utterly distinctive, oddly… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Weinstein & Holtzman Hardware

    In a long-vanished era, Park Row across from City Hall Park was the famed Newspaper Row. Then the fabulous J&R Electronics began its steady expansion, swallowing everything from the old diner on the corner on down. The lone happy survivor is the family-owned Weinstein & Holtzman Hardware store—and be glad it did. Now sandwiched between acres of CDs and flat-screen… More >>
  • Best Really Cheap Jewelry

    So Good

    Canal Street may be the place for fake watches, but a few blocks up Broadway, So Good has the rest of the ersatz-jewelry market covered—phony Van Cleef and Alhambra necklaces, frankly fake Chanel cuff bracelets, hippie peace symbols in DayGlo colors, pearls in all configurations; diamond initials to make your own version of Carrie Bradshaw’s famous nameplate. The staff insists… More >>
  • Best Taxidermy

    Obscura

    Looking for a dead goat’s head? Obscura, the wonderfully macabre antiques shop in the East Village, specializes in Victorian taxidermy—a recent visit turned up owls, woodpeckers, and what looked a lot like a stuffed rat in the window—but skulls, spooky broken dolls, wax-headed mannequins, and turn-of-the-century militaria are up for grabs, too.… More >>
  • Best Old-School Brooklyn Seltzer Man

    Eli Miller

    When seltzer man Eli Miller is out making deliveries in his gray station wagon, he often gets stopped by passersby who want to know two things: 1) What on earth are you doing?, and 2) Can you deliver to my house? Miller, who is in his seventies and has been hefting his ancient wooden crates of fizzy seltzer door-to-door in… More >>
  • Best Throwback Pharmacy

    Bigelow Pharmacy

    Not so many years ago, there was a hack stand on the east side of Sixth Avenue between West 8th and 9th streets to accommodate the cabbies who took their breaks at the old-style soda fountain and lunch counter inside venerable Bigelow Pharmacy. The counter is long gone, but Bigelow’s—allegedly America’s oldest apothecary—remains. Inside is an emporium of fine pharmaceutical… More >>
  • Best Hair Stylist

    Kyoko Motonaga - CLOSED

    Kyoko Motonaga has moved to Arte Salon (294 Elizabeth Street, 212-941-5932, artesalon.com) While there are hundreds of places to get your hair cut in the city, it’s rare to find a stylist with so much skill that months after leaving the salon, people are still asking if you just got it cut. Kyoko Motonaga at Ultra on the Lower East Side… More >>
  • Best Non-Emasculating Men’s Fashion Boutique

    A.P.C.

    The Upper West Side excluded, this city is one of the few exceptions to the general, countrywide men’s fashion-suicide pact (shorts, shirts with no collars, flip-flops, not showering, etc.). The local paradigms vary (suits, faux boating outfits, club wear), but “normal” turns out to be a surprisingly narrow niche. You might, on your journey to step your clothes’ game up,… More >>
  • Best Place to Re-Create Your Entire Video-Game Setup, Circa ’93

    We may now admit the following images into an entire generation’s collective memory: a dusty basement somewhere, eight-bit music blaring, controllers sticky with soda, and a Nintendo Entertainment System (or Sega, or Super Nintendo) on an altar, throwing off a red LED halo. Young professionals in this city are the first crop of people to be caught in a peculiar… More >>
  • Best Hat Store

    The Hat Corner

    The Hat Corner, a/k/a Young’s Hat Store, is no longer on the corner of Nassau and Beekman, but instead just a few steps down the block on Nassau Street. This is where the male half of the downtown crowd has shopped for head gear for generations. And while the new shop is just half the size of the old one,… More >>
  • Best Passage to India

    Layla

    For far less than an Air India ticket might cost, you can bedeck yourself in some of the loveliest merchandise that the subcontinent has on offer. Alayne Patrick—owner of Layla, a jewel box of a shop in Cobble Hill—travels to Rajasthan several times a year and returns with a beautifully curated array of jewelry, accessories, clothing, and textiles. The Hindustani… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Out About a Sale

    racked.com

    Given the general, almost fantastical unaffordability of basic consumer items in New York City, sales are a simple necessity, a market correction, a time when retail clerks in the city drop their con-man smirks and sell clothes for something in the ballpark of what they should actually cost. Entire classes of shoppers in the city bounce from one sale to… More >>
  • Best Mom-and-Pop Pharmacy

    Pasteur Pharmacy

    When you enter Pasteur Pharmacy on East 34th Street (they have a sister store on the UES), be prepared to suck in your gut and do a bit of a hopscotch: This store carries double to triple the inventory its small space can hold . . . and yet, somehow, they manage to stack everything in—all the way up to… More >>
  • Best Upscale Brooklyn Gift Shop

    Cog & Pearl

    We love Cog & Pearl. We really do. But there’s something about its delicate and serene aesthetics that make you feel like you’re not worthy—and, actually, kind of broke. When you take a peek through the front window, the dangling assortment of totes and purses in gorgeous earthy prints draw you in, but be prepared: This isn’t your typical gift… More >>
  • Best Inexpensive Chinese Massage

    Lilly & Raul

    Although Lilly & Raul offers no frills, it’s still pleasant, quiet, and clean. But be prepared to get seriously laid into by an older Chinese lady who will unwind you in that hurts-so-good sort of way. The place only offers one style of massage, called qi gong tui na, a cross between Shiatsu and acupressure—and it’s only for women or… More >>
  • Best Meet Market with a Meat Market

    Whole Foods

    Marrieds going to Whole Foods are probably unaware what a utopia it is for us singles. In an air-conditioned setting amid a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, people seem so much more attractive. It’s easy to strike up a conversation (about food, at least), and if things work out, that rendezvous might be continued over pasta, pizza, or salad at… More >>
  • Best Floral Jewelry

    Kristen “the Flower Lady”

    Soho is a real bloomer with Kristen “the Flower Lady” around. She’s a local vendor who usually stands next to a board tacked full of real flowers, seemingly frozen in time. But make no mistake about it: These aren’t lovely bouquets you put in a vase. They’re jewelry—earrings and necklaces made from real flowers encased in resin. Her biggest sellers… More >>
  • Best Hidden Japanese Beauty & Entertainment Store

    Raku-Za

    Raku-Za is a place that seems to exist solely by word of mouth, but if you’re in love with all things Japanese—beauty products and pop culture—this is a great little shop to check out. There isn’t a website, nor can you easily find the place by looking for any signage; you just have to find the address and, once you’re… More >>
  • Best Brooklyn Boutique

    Redberi

    Berries. They’re scrumptious, sweet, and tangy—and that’s exactly how you could describe the Redberi boutique off Flatbush. Sure, there are a lot of clothing stores that boast mouth-watering designs, but this one seems to bring out the extra juice. If you don’t want to be a carbon copy of the next gal on the street, store owner Suewayne Brown—who recently… More >>
  • Best Way To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth and Help Out a Girls’ Club

    Sweet Things Bake Shop

    Say that you’re roaming downtown, needing a sugar fix, and you want to be a do-gooder, too. The easiest thing to do is visit Sweet Things Bake Shop and start indulging. Since 1990, the store’s been operated by the Lower East Side Girls Club, where a dozen teenagers participate in a job-training program supervised by a pair of local community… More >>
  • Best Way to Teach Tots a Foreign Language

    Bilingual Birdies

    Many of us took language classes in high school, but studies show that it’s best to learn a foreign tongue at a younger age. Sarah Farzam’s Bilingual Birdies program has the right idea. Since November 2006, BB has taught some 250 children how to speak Spanish, Hebrew, or French. A typical class includes children from six months to five years… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Skateboard With Your Morning Coffee

    Homage

    Typically, when you’re running late for work, there’s no time to stop for a cup of coffee. But if you happen to be near the Brooklyn skate-and-coffee shop Homage in Carroll Gardens, not only can you stop in for a cup of delicious MUD coffee (one of the best brands in the city) and an organic muffin, but you can… More >>
  • Best (and least dusty!) booth at the brooklyn flea

    John Murphy

    Despite breathless coverage in New York and the Times, Brooklyn Flea, the weekly market in Fort Greene, turns out to be, well, a flea market. Don’t expect a transformative shopping experience. That being said, we love what Philly artist John Murphy is selling: color-saturated photos of archival pigment prints—birds, flowers, grass—set off in gloriously ornate and brightly hued, hand-crafted frames.… More >>
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