Best Chelsea shops: Where to find fashion, vintage and art books

Chelsea shops offer everything from cool vintage threads and designer menswear to bric-a-brac and arty tomes.

A longstanding gay hub, the neighborhood is also the location of the Fashion Institute of Technology, so it’s not surprising standout retail includes fashion-focused vintage and menswear boutiques. There are also some highly gift-friendly Chelsea shops. You’ll also find excellent bookstores and antiques emporiums, including flea-market fixture The Antiques Garage. When shopping fatigue sets in, retire to one of the area’s bars or grab a bite.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Chelsea, New York

Academy Records

Academy Records, Academy LPs and Academy Annex are known for their selection of hard-to-find and extremely rare records and CDs.

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Flatiron

The Antiques Garage

Critics' pick

It's aways a scene: Lower East Side bargain hunters compete with city antiques dealers for the best prices on all things antique and vintage. Hosting more than 100 vendors spread across two floors of an old parking garage, this market is perhaps the best-known in the city, and for good reason—while the prices aren’t the cheapest you’ll find, the merchandise usually hits the mark. It has its share of curio crap, but an early-morning trip through the stalls—best to get there before the postbrunch, hand-holding hordes—can be rewarding. It's run by the folks responsible for the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, and a shuttle can take you between the two spots for a buck.

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Chelsea

Behaviour

Fans of this boutique’s first branch in Chelsea (which opened in 2005) can find even more of the European duds they have come to expect from the fashion-forward men’s shop. The gorgeous 170-year-old townhouse has a gallerylike vibe, featuring high ceilings, wooden floors and plush seating, and showcases guys’ threads from labels like Obscur and Mauro Grifoni. Add some edgy pieces to your wardrobe with Gaspard Yurkievich slim-fit color-block blazers ($795) and cropped cargo pants ($398). Wooyoungmi down coats with leather shearling sleeves ($1,095) and military-inspired peacoats ($839) are splurgeworthy cold-weather essentials.

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Chelsea

Buffalo Exchange

Chelsea thrift hounds, get ready to rifle: This consignment chain, which buys, sells and trades its inventory directly with customers, has opened a third NYC location (the first two are in Williamsburg and the East Village). The high-ceilinged shop has a throwback vibe with aquamarine-and-yellow walls and decorative vintage travel postcards. The fact that it’s a mere block from FIT can only mean good things for the mix of designer-label and vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories, all handpicked by Buffalo Exchange’s stylish staff and priced much lower than retail cost. Retro lawn chairs throughout the space allow you to take a breather between discovering pieces like a pair of Tory Burch midthigh leather-and-tweed boots ($125), a Marc Jacobs mustard-yellow purse with gold studs ($75), and a Burberry men’s wool coat with resin toggle closures ($135)—you’ll need it after that much excitement.

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Chelsea

Mantiques Modern

Walking into this bi-level shop is a bit like stumbling upon the private collection of some mad professor. Specializing in industrial and modernist furnishings and art from the 1880s to the 1980s, Mantiques Modern is a fantastic repository of beautiful and bizarre items, from kinetic sculptures and early-20th-century wooden artists’ mannequins to a Russian World War II telescope and a rattlesnake frozen in a slab of Lucite. Pieces by famous designers such as Hermès sit side by side with natural curiosities, and skulls (in metal or Lucite), crabs, animal horns and robots are all recurring themes.

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Chelsea

Malin + Goetz

The line lauded for its green-leaning simplicity runs a streamlined store full of apothecary delights. Shelves are lined with simple skin-care solutions in the same no-frills design as the stark, futuristic store. You'll find products and treatments from its eponymous line, including its signature detox facial and body products, along with home fragrances and perfumes in unusual notes such as rum tonic, synthesized lotus root and mojito. Best-sellers include the lip moisturizer ($12), peppermint hair shampoo ($20) and vitamin B5 body moisturizer ($38).

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Chelsea

Nest Interiors

Husband and wife team Lana Sexton and Henry Stozek carefully pick every item for their reliably excellent home goods shop, so you’ll find everything from one-of-a-kind creations by small, local artisans—with a special focus on Chelsea photogs—to globally sourced objects and vintage treasures.

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Chelsea

192 Books

Critics' pick

Owned and ‘curated’ by art dealer Paula Cooper and her husband, editor Jack Macrae, 192 offers a strong selection of art books and literature, as well as memoirs and books on gardening, history, politics, design and music. Regular readings, signings and discussions, some featuring well-known writers, are further good reasons to drop by.

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Chelsea

Parke and Ronen

Designed by Parke Lutter and Ronen Jehezkel, the boutique’s namesake line of menswear appeals to the sporty, sophisticated male who likes his button-downs crisp and his swimsuits tight-fitting. Though you’ll find Parke and Ronen’s figure-hugging board shorts ($85–$105) and Speedo-esque bikinis ($85) at high-end department stores like Saks and Bloomingdale’s, only the West Chelsea flagship stocks the full collection of sportswear, including such wardrobe staples as cotton slacks ($180), vintage-inspired semi-sheer cotton tees ($45) and plaid shorts ($108). Since you’ll need a buff body to pull off the body conscious clothing, there’s also mesh workout tanks ($45) and gym shorts ($52) inspired by vintage photographs of men playing basketball at the West 4th Street courts in the 1970s. Complete your look with special-edition sneakers by Generic Man and New Balance.

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Chelsea
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Comments

1 comments
Walter S
Walter S

ROCK STAR CRYSTALS is the most AWESOME shop in Chelsea


If Lady Gaga shops at ROCK STAR CRYSTALS, you KNOW this shop is cool.  Blow your mind and get back in touch with nature at its most beautiful,  You can call them at 212 675 3065, but they are open  everyday  anyway at the subway is on the corner (a few block from Penn Station).  Or go to www.rockstarcrystalsmanhattan.com   You'll get information, but no chance to buy on the internet.   This store is real STONE AGE, and you can't get more Down to Earth than this!