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  • Best Place to Shop Drunk

    The Dressing Room

    It's a Friday night after a hard week of work and you feel you deserve a drink—and some new clothes. The folks behind The Dressing Room seem to understand the working girl's needs perfectly. They've created a bar and boutique that offers tasty cocktails you can sip (try the pomegranate martini, $10), while browsing two levels of clothing, shoes, and… More >>
  • Best Oddball Gifts

    Fred Flare - CLOSED

    It was another busy week and now you need to buy a gift for your friend's birthday party. Never fear—just head over to Fred Flare, the best place to find inexpensive, off-the-wall gifts your pal will love. Is she a tea drinker? Get the infuser shaped like a yellow submarine and the "Fisticup," a mug with a brass-knuckles handle. Does… More >>
  • Best Hot-Tub Paradise

    Spa Castle

    As the weather turns from fall to winter and visions of tropical-island vacations begin to dance in your head, the quickest and cheapest way to escape the chill is Spa Castle, a five-story, 100,000-square-foot Korean-spa sanctuary in College Point, Queens. For $45 on weekends ($35 from Monday to Friday), you can spend the entire day (it's open daily from 6… More >>
  • Dewey\'s

    Best Candy Shop

    Dewey's

    Warning: Knowledge of this store may be hazardous to your teeth. Opened in January by candy aficionado Alison "Dewey" Oblonsky, Dewey's stocks tons of great retro candies (remember Mallo Cups, Ferrara Pan's Atomic Fireballs, and Sky Bars?) as well as plenty of cool contemporary treats for the kids, such as candy tins that look like Wii controllers and the popular… More >>
  • Best Shop for the Urban Gardener

    Sprout Home

    A birdhouse made out of a cigar box, a vase shaped like a grenade, and a glowing bunny statue are just a few of the quirky treasures we fell in love with on a recent visit to Sprout Home, the best shop for the fun-loving urban gardener. Whether you have room for only a few houseplants or have an entire… More >>
  • Best Salvage Shop

    Build it Green! NYC

    You want to spruce up your home with some new furnishings, but don't have a ton of money? You can either start Dumpster-diving or take the N train to Astoria, to Build It Green! NYC. This 18,000-square-foot warehouse is stocked with everything from movie props to antique lighting to wooden doors—all materials that may have ended up in landfills if… More >>
  • Best New Vintage Store

    Mafalda

    Some vintage shops carry clothes that make you look like you're going to a '70s costume party. But Mafalda, a newcomer to the strip of boutiques on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, is all about timeless pieces that look just as chic and classic now as they did 50 years ago. The owner with the impeccable taste is Brooklyn native Christina… More >>
  • Best Tailor

    Nelson Tailor Shop

    Our friend was nearly in tears. Her beloved Marc Jacobs shirt, which she'd worn to death for five years, had messily ripped three inches in the shoulder. She took it to Nelson Tailor Shop, hoping that it could somehow be patched up. The very next day, she was able to pick it up and was astonished to find that her… More >>
  • Best Shop for Creating Your Own Dress

    Albertine

    You want a new dress that no one else has but, alas, you wouldn't know what to do with a sewing machine if you had one. That's where the expert staff at Albertine, a West Village boutique owned by the talented designer and seamstress Kyung Lee, comes in. From a rack of sample dresses, you can pick a style that's… More >>
  • Best Aura Reading

    Magic Jewelry

    Recently, a young woman was in Magic Jewelry, a tiny Chinatown shop stocked with myriad healing crystals and lucky gems, to have a photo taken of her aura. For the uninitiated, an aura is the electromagnetic field that surrounds a person's body, and its color can point to troubles with overall mental and emotional health. Placing her hands on two… More >>
  • Best Ben Katchor–Style Hobby Shop

    Red Caboose

    We don't know the actual best hobby shop in New York—it's been some time since we painted a camouflage pattern on a Messerschmitt Bf 109, or crafted a diorama of a Sherman tank giving a sniper's nest the ol' what-for. The best place to buy a model Studebaker Hawk? We're guessing that's somewhere on Staten Island, owned by a guy… More >>
  • Best Spot for Crafty Cruising

    Brooklyn Flea

    Sidling up to someone at a bar is just a little bit creepy, and whispering pickup lines over the froth of a Starbucks venti caramel latte is so '00s. What New York needs now is a reliable pickup spot, and you can't do much better than the Brooklyn Flea. Held on balmy Saturdays in the recreation area of a Catholic… More >>
  • Best Place to Boot Up

    Zapateria Mexico

    Perhaps you fancy yourself an urban cowboy—well, minus that whole embarrassing mechanical-bull-riding sequence. But where can you find the appropriate outfit? Well, take your jingle-jangling spurs down to Sunset Park and say "howdy" (or is it "hola"?) to the extraordinary Zapateria Mexico, which boasts the clothing and accessories to transform even the biggest city slicker into someone who at least… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Down on the Farm (in the Middle of the City)

    Brooklyn Kitchen

    When it comes to green space, New York is not found wanting—besides Central Park and Prospect Park, there are gardens, cemeteries, playgrounds, and a plethora of weedy vacant lots. Still, you wouldn't exactly call it bucolic. Nevertheless, there's a move afoot that has Flatbush Avenue looking a lot like Tobacco Road. Red Hook has sprouted fields of vegetables, Bushwick restaurants… More >>
  • Best Place to Look Like a Lady Who Lunches (On the Budget of a Lady Who Brown-Bags)

    Spence-Chapin Thrift Shop

    It's tough walking past the windows of Prada and Marni when your bank account limits your shopping sprees to Forever 21 and Target. (And, no, pronouncing it "Tar-zhay" doesn't render it any more elegant.) But a series of Upper East Side thrift shops just might satisfy your designer longings without putting too much of a dent in your Payless pocketbook.… More >>
  • Cafe Martin

    Best Caffeine Phoenix

    Cafe Martin

    Perhaps you thought that sibling squabbles ended in late childhood, once taunts such as "I'm rubber and you're glue!" and "I know you are, but what am I?" faded into fond memory. Think again. Late last year, siblings Richard, Martin, and Anne O'Connell had a very nasty spat that led to Martin's ouster from longtime Park Slope institution Café Regular,… More >>
  • Best Barbershop That Comes to Your House

    Hair Room Service

    Maybe you've found barbershops or even salons a bit stuffy, or you haven't bonded well with your barbers. Maybe it's time that they met you on your turf to service your hair instead of you dragging your mangy mane over to them. Michael Dueñas ran with that idea, creating Hair Room Service. Mind you: Dueñas and crew ain't barbers per… More >>
  • Best Place to Become One With Your Accordion

    Main Squeeze

    Look, if it's hip enough for They Might Be Giants, Los Lobos, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Astor Piazzolla, and hundreds of Cajun musicians, why resist strapping an accordion across your chest? You have even less of an excuse if you can buy one, service it, and learn how to play it all in the same place. The brainchild of German immigrant… More >>
  • Best View of the City for $200

    Century Air flight school

    There's nothing like watching the city from the air, but going up in a helicopter can set you back hundreds of dollars for just a few moments' glimpse. A much better option is to treat yourself (or someone you really love) to a gift certificate from Century Air flight school in New Jersey. Century is a renowned school for pilots… More >>
  • Best New Bookstore

    Greenlight Bookstore

    With the rollout of the iPad and each new version of the Kindle, the idea of opening a bookstore is akin to opening a typewriter shop at the beginning of the dot-com era. But to open a small, independent bookstore seems even more suicidal. Yet Greenlight Bookstore, in the heart of Fort Greene, has done just that: Converting an old… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon With an Open-Mic Night

    De Lux Gallery

    Customers come from all over Brooklyn to get their twists, wraps, and braids done up by the chic, chatty stylists at De Lux Gallery in Fort Greene, a destination black beauty salon specializing in natural do's. On the last Friday of the month, the place gets packed with people—that's when the salon hosts its monthly open-mic night. Sit under the… More >>
  • Best Manicure

    Sakura Nail & Spa

    With so many nail shops in the city, most people go to whichever one is most convenient, but a bit of extra travel may actually reduce the number of times you have to hang around to get a hangnail fixed. Sakura Nail & Spa has a particular way of doing a manicure that is advertised as being healthy for your… More >>
  • Best Global Fashion Trends

    Ibiza

    It's hard for an apparel outlet to stand out in this city, but Ibiza is managing to do just that. Ibiza Kidz is now at 830 Broadway—and the mini-chain has also gone adult: Across the street, at 825 Broadway, is Ibiza NYC, catering to women. Both locations sell stylish clothes and shoes from Europe, India, Japan, and elsewhere. You may… More >>
  • Best Place to Feel Like Don Draper

    Truman's Gentlemen's Groomers

    There's something about the Mad Men character Don Draper that makes us want to be a man like him—or be with a man like him. But since this fictional advertising exec from the '50s lives solely on the small screen, we can't ask him how he gets his perfect grooming, perfect hair, smooth face, and all. Real-life versions of Don… More >>
  • Best Way to Increase Your Cup Size Without Going Under the Knife

    Ripplu

    If we learned anything from the tragic, alien-looking Barbie doll that is Heidi Montag, it should be that plastic surgery doesn't repair every flaw. In fact, if a fuller and perkier rack is all you want, it doesn't have to be as painful and expensive as you might think. An extreme, yet natural, makeover may require only a new bra.… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    We Deliver Videos

    We've sort of had it with the online onslaught of movie rentals and download sites. Whether it's Netflix's "Stream It Now" option or Blockbuster's new kiosks or Hulu's offer of free movies only to charge you for the next, it does get rather annoying to watch a movie on your laptop or have to buy a cable to connect the… More >>
  • Best Wedding Cake Made Out of Meat

    Colette's Cakes

    Not sure about the chops of veteran cake creator Colette Peters? Check out the five-tier meat cake on display at Colette's Cakes. As seen in her shop window, it comes complete with bacon, kebabs, and a crown rib-roast topper. Tasty! Maybe we're a little biased because she's right here in the Village, but if you're looking to wow your friends… More >>
  • Best New Men's- Clothing Retail Alley

    Bleecker Street

    Summer in New York, as Derek Walcott once described it, is walking down Bleecker Street, "dusk in the nostrils and the smell of water" in the air. But in 2010, of course, Bleecker mostly smells like the exhaust from Russell Simmons's idling town car as he shops for a few more Polo sweaters: Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, and Sex and… More >>
  • Best Bed-and-Breakfast

    The Gracie Inn Bed & Breakfast Hotel

    This is not exactly Vermont, but that doesn't mean you have to put your guests up in an expensive hotel full of tourists or a hostel that caters to bedbugs and college dropouts finding themselves. Check out The Gracie Inn Bed & Breakfast Hotel, on the Upper East Side, smack in the middle of it all. Its location—one block from… More >>
  • Best Shop That Helps You Get Anything You Want

    Justo Botanica

    Do you believe that "if you wish it, it will happen"? Hey, good thoughts never hurt anyone. But for practical help in getting that one thing you want, Justo Botanica in Spanish Harlem is a huge help. With all the religious imagery around, it can be somewhat harrowing just stepping into the boutique. Call it voodoo or santeria, but Justo… More >>
  • Best Brazilian

    Great Jones Spa

    There's nothing quite like the feeling of the hairs of your pubic region being ripped out of your skin en masse. But since those curlicues have gotta go somewhere, the Brazilian bikini wax is still the best process for intimate hair removal. (Really, are you still shaving down there?!) Our vagina shopped around this year, and she picked a favorite:… More >>
  • Best Discounts for Local Businesses

    Groupon

    We were invited to a party earlier this year for Groupon's best customers. Several restaurants that pony up huge discounts on the daily coupon website gave out samples of their grub. After munching on vegan cookies, cheesesteaks, and tandoori chicken, one guy sitting at our table went back for seconds of seared tuna salad. He piled the truffle rice balls,… More >>
  • Best Art Supply Store

    Blick

    Even fine-art neophytes can channel the muse at Blick, a tidy and thoughtfully stocked find in the East Village. The two-level hub boasts an impressive array of professional painting, sketching, drawing, and crafting tools, as well as indefatigably helpful employees and a dizzying assortment of accessible starter projects for beginners. (We feel particularly grateful for the aisle-long array of unusual… More >>
  • Best Insider Method of Getting an Unfair Discount at Department Stores

    Show an out-of-state ID for an instant storewide 10-percent-off coupon

    It's one of the great mysteries of New York that so many tourists flock to our iconic streets only to head straight into big-box stores. Really, hordes of Midwesterners ambling with linked arms down our narrow sidewalks, you've never been in an Old Navy before? You can't miss the chance to purchase another $20 cheesecloth pair of underwear from Victoria's… More >>
  • Best New Coffee Shop

    Blue Bottle Coffee

    Blue Bottle Coffee in Brooklyn has terrific drip brews, yes, but it's also a uniquely spartan coffee experience. Since the Bay Area roasters expanded eastward this year, they've commanded the coffee scene in Williamsburg with a loftlike space to match. Leave the agitated busybody attitude to Manhattan; on Berry Street, the line extends to the door as patrons shift their… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Spur-of-the-Moment, Inexpensive Gifts for Virtually Anyone

    Exit 9 Gift Emporium

    Baby shower? Bachelorette party? Birthday party? Housewarming? Holidays? Just about any event requiring a present—spur-of-the-moment or otherwise—can be dealt with at Exit 9 Gift Emporium, a tiny East Village boutique with items ranging from the tiniest and cheapest of tchotchkes (bacon mints, anyone?) to games, housewares, kitchen goods, baby clothes, and adult accessories. The most random and amazing things are… More >>
  • Best Under-the-Radar High-Quality Nail Joint

    Galleria Nail Salon

    New York is filthy with cheap-as-dirt, duck-in/duck-out nail places, and at many of them you get exactly what you pay for: a dip in some tepid water, a trim, and a cursory cuticle push or two, followed by a new coat of polish and a quick-dry. The Galleria Nail Salon is different, not because it's ever-so-slightly more pricey than your… More >>
  • Best Street for Boutique Shopping

    7th Street

    From Second Avenue to Avenue A, 7th Street is sort of New York City's version of a quirky, independent mall in a two-block area—at least for women's shopping. There's consignment store Tokio7; bridal shop Angelo Lambrou; Fab 208, which features vintage budget finds, owner-designed dresses, and accessories; and AuH20, a boutique for "recycled and socially conscious style"—plus funky art/jewelry boutique… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    Discovery Wines

    If you love fruit of the vine, you will Love-with-a-capital-L Discovery Wines, a giant (for New York) or humongous (for the East Village) wine emporium that offers a range of bottles for all price ranges and palates, from pretty much every country that has ever had a vineyard, Japan included. A large portion (70 percent, in fact) of its wines—which… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Something New for a Date

    Anna

    You know how it goes. You've got a drink date with a new fellow, or maybe you've got a drink-and-dinner date with the same old fellow, but you are just bored to tears with your current wardrobe situation. You only need the perfect top, or maybe the perfect skirt—or even a dress—to put the swing back in your step and… More >>
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