Spring 2017 - Support NYC - Shop Local
Some of the coolest shops in Manhattan are hidden in plain sight. Many of us love our Amazon Prime and Fresh Direct- but now that spring is here, give yourself an excuse to get outside and keep some notable, iconic local shops in business. The independents are being squeezed by rapacious landlords all over town- empty storefronts are abound- so let’s do our part to keep NYC a place of creativity, and diversity. One of a kind treasures and non-chain stores and cafes are closing left and right- and we are losing some of the local flavor our neighborhoods are famous for. I’ve highlighted some of my favorites below…so take a visit and let me know what you bought!
219 Thompson Street, 2 Blocks South of Washington Square Park
An entire store devoted to Chess- a veritable landmark. You will find hand-painted chess sets from all different eras, wars, and themes- perfect gifts for the players in your lives. Each one is a work of art. And in the back of the store you'll find tables and opponents ready to play- stop by to watch the action. Crowds are known to form as world famous players compete. My favorite game backgammon is played and sold here as well. Keep Chess Forum alive…
140 9th Avenue, Between 18th and 19th Streets
Owner Ramsey weaves together a tantalizing mix of affordable and decadent housewares, décor and incredible gifts at Maison 140. Mixing vintage with new items- no one has a better eye than Ramsey- and it’s all incredibly chic. You won’t leave the store empty-handed.
East Village Cheese
80 East 7th Street - Between 1st and 2nd Avenues
East Village Cheese carries rare and high-end inventory you won't find anywhere else, at great prices that will make you wonder how they stay in business. So let’s keep them in business. And if you're not well-versed on your cheeses don't worry: your fellow customers are likely to advise you with as much passion as the staff themselves. Note: This spot is cash-only, and has a 1/2lb minimum for all cheese purchases.
Trash and Vaudeville
96 East 7th Street, Between 1st and 2nd Avenues
Newly relocated from their St Marks perch that they occupied for 30+ years- Trash and Vaudeville is the store where NYC punk was born. Before Doc Martens were sold at Walmart- yes it’s true- this was where suburban and city punks would scrape together their few damp bucks to buy their Docs, spikes and Sif Vicious bondage pants. They’re increased their wares to include tamer options as well. I bought my first Docs here in 1984. Sigh.
If you're digging the vibe at Trash and Vaudeville, make a trip over to Search and Destroy (25 St. Mark's Place, Between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) and you'll unleash your inner Bowie or Gaga. You’ve been warned.
414 6th Avenue, Between 8th and 9th Streets
An original from the year 1838. At Bigelow Pharmacy you will feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Floor to ceiling mahogany shelves hold lotions and options that you’ve never heard of- that you will have lots of fun selecting. My favorite is the Bigelow coconut liquid soap. Stop here before you visit Duane Reade to keep this Village landmark around for its third century.
Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies
149 West 28th Street, Between 7th and 6th Avenues
At Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies, you'll find everything you need to stage your urban garden paradise…even if you don’t have a garden. From stone Buddhas to boxwood balls- and every kind of planter, candle holder and pot you can you think of- you’ll have a lot of fun exploring this much loved destination for designers and party planners.
Lexington Candy Shop
1226 Lexington Avenue, at East 83rd Street
Very sadly- the New York archetypal diner is on its way out- they are closing all over the city. Pretty soon, we won’t be able to order an egg cream, malted, club sandwich or “chop” and we will be all be drowning in gourmet meatball salons, burrata cafes and poke bowl karaoke joints. Luckily Lexington Candy Shop is still going strong! The windows feature a world class collection of coke bottles from all over the world throughout the years. Get a grilled cheese on me…
Another classic further down the East Side is Andre's Hungarian Strudels and Pastries at 57th and 1st. Make of trip of this- it's totally worth it!
Stationery and Toy World
125 West 72nd Street, between Broadway and Columbus Avenue
Years ago- before Staples and the mega drug stores that are devouring our city, NYC was teeming with shops that sold pens, paper, toys and assorted doodads that keep our lives running smoothly. Stationery and Toy World is family run, and is one of the best. Need helium balloons for your next party? Check. Shipping supplies? Check. Fountain pen refills? Yup. Shop here now. A local UWS treasure. Let’s keep showing them the love that they deserve.
209 West 96th Street, Between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Apart from the West 28th Street flower district, Plant Shed offers an incredible array of indoor and outdoor plants and flowers. Great gifts too. Every time I see their forest of trees and exotic plants lining the streets it brings a smile to my face…
My work as a real estate broker brings me all over town, and I love discovering and exploring our incredible, mysterious city, as much as I love helping clients with real estate decisions on buying and selling homes from themselves, friends or family. If you have any real estate questions, or any tips or ideas for neighborhood spots- please reach out and share- and say hello.
Here’s to an awesome spring.
Copyright 2017 Mike Lubin, Original Content, All Rights Reserved.