Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New York City's 38 Essential Shopping Experiences


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Once again, it's time to update the Racked 38, our list of the city's definitive shopping experiences. Taken together, these 38 stores best capture the contrary mix of international fashion sense and local quirkiness and crazily high standards and crazily low prices that people look for when they take their credit cards out on the town. Because it's all about the mix, we tried to include a range of neighborhoods, price points, and merchandise, leaving out food shops (that's another list entirely) and anything that's been open less than six months.
Fashion might be cutthroat, but New York real estate is even tougher. So far, most of the stores that have been booted off the list since it debuted in December of 2009 have closed rather than fallen out of favor. This time around, we've lostInven.tory in Nolita and the lovely APC Surplus in Williamsburg. To replace them, we're adding INA's Noho location because the mini-chain is such a crucial stop for consignment, and Dolce Vita, because while the brand might not be a pinnacle of quality, it does seem to turn up on the feet of every fashionable girl in the city.
We've also, after much consideration, decided to remove IF boutique—it might represent avant-garde fashion in a way that nobody else on the 38 does, but commenters were right that it doesn't feel terribly current. What does feel current: Garment District menswear store Nepenthes, which has garnered nothing but praise since it opened last fall.
Are you readying the pitchforks because your favorite boutique isn't on the list? Wouldn't it just be more productive to nominate it for inclusion? State your cases for (or against) stores in the comments or email the tipline.

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1

Barneys

660 MADISON AVENEW YORK, NY 10065(212) 826-8900
Barneys had to be on this list; it sets the standard that all other designer department stores have to live up to. Barneys's decidedly unstuffy approach to high-end style
2

The Apple Store

767 5TH AVENEW YORK, NY 10022(212) 336-1440
The Fifth Avenue Apple Store flagship is underground, but you can't miss the 32-foot glass cube on top of it. The best part about the store is that it is open 24 hours a
3

Bergdorf Goodman

754 5TH AVENEW YORK, NY 10022(212) 753-7300
The Platonic Form of the luxury department store, Bergdorf Goodman is known for lavish window displays, world-class designer shopping and the 9th floor John Barrett salon
4

Nepenthes New York

307 W 38TH STNEW YORK, NY 10018(212) 643-9540
This relative newcomer manages to take advantage of menswear's current obsession with the past without losing track of the present. Instead of just pushing Ye Olde-Timey
5

ABC Carpet

881 BROADWAYNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 473-3000
This home decor mecca maintains a warehouse-chic aesthetic for decorators who like their high-end antiques to come with a bit of character. Check out the location across
6

Fishs Eddy

889 BROADWAYNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 420-9020
The perfect antidote to gorgeous but expensive houseware shops, Fishs Eddy is filled with piles of cheery, affordable dishes and kitchen goods. Look for standout vintage
7

Housing Works

143 W 17TH STNEW YORK, NY 10011(718) 838-5050
The Chelsea location is widely regarded as the best of the Housing Works thrift shops, which sell used clothing and furniture to benefit homeless New Yorkers living with
8

Moschino

401 W 14TH STNEW YORK, NY 10014(212) 243-8600
This exuberant Meatpacking District flagship houses the high-end Moschino line alongside its siblings: Moschino Cheap & Chic, Love Moschino, and the men's line,
9

Diane von Furstenberg

874 WASHINGTON STNEW YORK, NY 10014(646) 486-4800
Diane von Furstenberg's Meatpacking District flagship really embraces the idea that a boutique's design should reflect the message of its clothes. The shop is a bright,
10

Leffot

10 CHRISTOPHER STNEW YORK, NY 10014(212) 989-4577
Leffot sells hip but sturdy men's shoes from brands like Alden and Wolverine under the watchful eye of owner Steven Taffel, who seems to know everything there is to know
11

C.O. Bigelow

414 6TH AVENEW YORK, NY 10011(212) 533-2732
A West Village destination for those who prefer their retail laced with history instead of topped with buttercream frosting, this 171-year-old pharmacy is notable for its
12

The Strand

828 BROADWAYNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 473-1452
If the idea of 55,000 square feet of books sounds attractive, you must visit The Strand. The over-80-year-old establishment houses thousands of discounted new and used
13

Ricky's

44 E 8TH STNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 254-5247
Ricky's has 23 store locations, mostly in Manhattan, but this one near NYU stocks all of the hair dye, cheap sexy french maid outfits and glittery eyeliner that students
14

Trash & Vaudeville

4 ST MARKS PLNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 982-3590
Trash & Vaudeville is the anti-Hot Topic: A real-deal punk store that's been operating on St. Mark's Place since before anyone had heard of the Ramones. It's actually
15

Tokio 7

83 E 7TH STNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 353-8443
The East Village is filled with tiny, well-stocked resale shops, but this is our favorite for its excellent designer collection. Think Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Prada,
16

Partners & Spade

40 GREAT JONES STNEW YORK, NY 10012(646) 861-2827
Andy Spade's design-studio-cum-novelty-store is the strangest boutique in the city, and we mean that as a compliment. The merchandise displays feel like art
17

Oak

28 BOND STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 677-1293
Arguably the spot for cutting edge designers—think Acne, Henrik Vibskov, and Surface To Air—Oak is something of a trendsetter haven. This is where you head
18

Bond No.9

9 BOND STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 228-1732
Here, you can get perfumes that smell like New York City. Well, sort of—they don't smell bad, but bottle the energy of the neighborhoods. This jewelbox of a store
19

John Varvatos

315 BOWERYNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 358-0315
Purists and punks went into a tizzy when word spread that CBGB would be turned into a east side John Varvatos outpost. But let's be honest—the space could've been
20

Patricia Field

302 BOWERYNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 966-4066
Pat Field's eponymous shop is kind of like a Complete Idiot's Guide to New York Fashion For Beginners—a required stop for affordable and unique glitz and glamor
21

INA

15 BLEECKER STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 228-8511
When Sex and the City(the TV show) ended, INA got the wardrobe. That's the kind of power wielded by this mini-chain, which offers high-quality designer consignment in
22

Prada

575 BROADWAYNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 334-8888
Of all the Pradas in New York and the US, this store, designed by Rem Koolhaas, makes the strongest impression. It's a pure shopping experience as you descend down the
23

Uniqlo

546 BROADWAYNEW YORK, NY 10012(917) 237-8811
Believe it or not, this branch of the popular Japanese juggernaut chain is the only location in the country. Uniqlo combines comfort, trend, technology (most recently
24

Resurrection Vintage

217 MOTT STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 625-1374
Name-checked about a billion times by celeb stylist Rachel Zoe on her reality show, Resurrection is experiencing a renaissance. But before the tourists streamed in, New
25

Odin

199 LAFAYETTE STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 966-0026
The NYT once called Odin's style "spiffed up workwear," which is a perfect descriptor so long as you don't actually plan to do any work. High prices come with high
26

Topshop

478 BROADWAYNEW YORK, NY 10013(212) 966-9555
This chain of trend-focused stores, like an expensive H&M with direct-from-the-runway copies, was once a reason to travel to London. Then they changed the game
27

Muji

455 BROADWAYNEW YORK, NY 10013(212) 334-2002
The name of the game at Muji is logo-less goods. From the moment this first US location for the Japanese brand opened in 2007 (to be followed later by locations in
28

Opening Ceremony

35 HOWARD STNEW YORK, NY 10013(212) 219-2688
Currently the destination for it-labels like Alexander Wang, Band of Outsiders and Erin Wasson x RVCA, Opening Ceremony has benefited from major publicity in magazines,
29

Steven Alan Annex

103 FRANKLIN STNEW YORK, NY 10013(212) 343-0692
Steven Alan won over hipsters in the blingy pre-recession era with his classic low-key Americana. His Tribeca Annex is filled with plaid shirts for men and gamine looks
30

Dolce Vita

149 LUDLOW STNEW YORK, NY 10002212-529-2111
If you're young, female, and stylish and you don't make a banker's salary, then there's a good chance your closet contains at least one pair of Dolce Vita shoes. The
31

The Dressing Room

75 ORCHARD STNEW YORK, NY 10002(212) 966-7330
On the ground floor of The Dressing Room, you'll find a co-op boutique for up-and-coming designers, a high-end consignment section (think Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang),
32

Gargyle

16 ORCHARD STNEW YORK, NY 10002(917) 470-9367
Gargyle is a smartly curated boutique dedicated to reviving its vision of a vintage country club culture that is sporty, artistic and always devastatingly fashionable.
33

Century 21

22 CORTLANDT STNEW YORK, NY 10007(212) 227-9092
A cross between Daffy's and an Ultimate Fighting tournament, this gigantic discount department store rewards aggressive shoppers with designer bargains. Don't expect to
34

Fred Flare

131 MESEROLE AVEBROOKLYN, NY 11222(718) 349-1257
The perfect stocking stuffer and gag gift e-shop finally opened a brick and mortar location—it just happens to be out in Greenpoint. If you make the trip however,
35

Beacon's Closet

88 N 11TH STBROOKLYN, NY 11211(718) 486-0816
This isn't the cheapest resale shop in the city, and it might not be the biggest, but we're pretty sure it's the best. The wide selection encompasses everything from
36

Moon River Chattel

62 GRAND STBROOKLYN, NY 11211(718) 388-1121
A furniture store for the mustache-and-Edison-bulb crowd, Moon River carries antiques, architectural salvage, and home goods. Imagine the Boardwalk Empire props closet
37

Bird

203 GRAND STBROOKLYN, NY 11211(718) 388-1655
Jennifer Mankins' Brooklyn mini-empire has three outposts, but the Burg location is the biggest. The big, warm, LEED-certified space carries Alexander Wang, Isabel
38

Brooklyn Flea at One Hanson

1 HANSON PLBROOKLYN, NY 11217
This weekend event from the Brownstoner folks is the mother of all hipster flea markets. Go for the antique vendors, the delicious snacks, and the building itself, a


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