Wanderlust Wednesday: Favorite Local Shops


Last week I mentioned that I wanted to focus on kindness in some of these upcoming posts. One easy way to show a little kindness is to shop locally. When you purchase from a mom and pop store you’re keeping money in your community and you’re helping support a small business. I live in NYC so, on the restaurant front, this is easy to do. When it comes to shopping though we have the same chain stores that you’d find at most suburban malls. There’s nothing wrong with shopping at these stores, but I love supporting local businesses when I can. Here are a few of my favorites that are worth checking out next time you’re in the Big Apple.

Book Culture: (Morningside Heights & Upper West Side) I have a list of local bookstores I love, but this one is in walking distance of my apartment so I probably frequent it the most. They have readings and in-store events to appeal to every reader. They also have a great selection of gifts and items for the home. They have an online store too.

Dusty Buttons: (East Village) Most of my friends who live or have visited NYC have some story of me dragging them to go consignment shopping. Dusty Buttons is by far my favorite. They carry vintage and vintage style clothing and have items that are flattering for every figure. Their site looks like they’ll be offering online shopping in the future.

Fishs Eddy: (Union Square) This dish store is a great place to find quirky kitchen items that make fantastic hostess gifts. Aside from their own patterns which are fun they also sell vintage dining sets from old restaurants. If you don’t live in NYC they have shopping available on their website.

Habit: (Carol Gardens & Park Slope) I love this Brooklyn boutique. The prices are reasonable and the clothing is great. One of my favorite purchases is a fall dress with a golden rod floral print.

Hungarian Pastry Shop: (Morningside Heights) The hardest thing about visiting this New York staple will be deciding what to order. Everything from the strudel to the cream horns is to die for. It’s a great place to pick up an amazing dessert if you don’t have time to make one for dinner party.

Myzel Chocolates: (Midtown) These are the best chocolates in the city, but I also love the story of the family who started this store over 25 years ago. They still run it to this day and the recipes are ones they brought over from Eastern Europe. It’s a great place to buy candies for the holidays as gifts but it’s also a great place to duck into to get a little treat for yourself. I’m a huge fan of the fruits such as apricot, orange, pear, and even fresh ginger dipped in milk or dark chocolate.

Pink Penguin: (Greenwich Village) I am obsessed with this clothing and accessories boutique. I can’t go to Washington Square without visiting this store. Some of my favorite clothing items are from here including this amazing red opera coat. You can shop online too.

Serengeti Teas and Spices: (Harlem) I love going to this little cafe to enjoy some tea and read. This is also a great place to buy loose tea. They make it easy to put together a gift box if you’re looking to give a unique present. This is another store that also has an online shop.

Whisk: (Chelsea & Williamsburg) If you like Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table you’ll love this store. In addition to cooking and bakeware products, they also sell food and beverage items from local companies. Yes, you can shop online.

Zabar’s: (Upper West Side) This is so much more than a grocery store. They have an amazing kitchenware section too. If you ever need to order pre-made food for a party or send a gift basket this is also an excellent place. They do have online ordering.



Wanderlust Wednesday: Zen in the City

*This is another post from the archives that I’ve revived and updated.

Wave Hill

I love the hustle of living in the city that never sleeps, but even social butterflies with frequent flyer miles need a break from the din now and then. Here are a few of my favorite places for a quick breather in the city:

The Earth Room:  This is one of those only in New York type of places. Among the expensive shops in SoHo there is a loft apartment featuring this art instillation by Walter De Maria. It essentially is a room with a giant box of soil, but I love popping in there when I’m in the hood. Something about the smell of the earth and the quiet of the room makes for a great five minute breather when you need it.  

The Lotus Garden: I live on the Upper West Side and one of the advantages is being nestled between two amazing parks, Central and Riverside. However when I really want some solitude outside I head up to the Lotus Garden. This roof top oasis is community run. It’s open to the public on Sunday afternoons, but for a mere $20 you can purchase a two year subscription to the garden that comes with your own key. The flowers, trees, and goldfish in the pond make for great silent company when you need to tune the world out.  

Paley Park: Midtown East is known for corporate offices and crowds shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues. It’s not a neighborhood known for peace and quiet. Yet you’ll find just that with this little sliver of a park complete with a waterfall.

Radiance Tea House: It isn’t just the tea that keeps me coming back. This hidden gem of a restaurant and tea house is ironically in the heart of busy Midtown. It is a quiet place to grab a light meal with friends, but it is also the perfect place to take a book and enjoy a pot of tea in silence.

Wave Hill: I recently went to this conservatory in the Bronx for the first time. You’ll really forget that you’re in NYC if you go here. The property isn’t overwhelmingly large, but the trails, gardens, and views over the Hudson will keep you occupied and tranquil all afternoon.