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Best shops in East Village for design, vintage, books and more

The best shops in the East Village echo its bohemian reputation with prime spots for vintage, books and arty items for the home.

Though retail is less concentrated than in the West Village or on the Lower East Side, the East village has a growing number of great shops. Reflecting the neighborhood’s young, hip demographic, vintage and resale emporiums are strengths, and it also boasts standouts for home design, books and music. Our guide to the best shops in the East Village points you to our local favorites for fashion as well as one-offs selling everything from Japanese toys to eco-conscious goods. When shopping fatigue sets in, retire to one of the many bars or grab a bite.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to East Village

Azaleas

Catering to girls who just want to have fun in the bedroom, owner Cindy Kahng handpicks each frilly number to grace her store’s racks (before they grace those of her customers—har). The result is a collection of bathing suits, lingerie, loungewear, clothing and jewelry that strikes a balance between playful and sexy. You might like Elle Macpherson’s Cupcake contour bra ($68) or Stella McCartney's Marguerite riding contour bra ($110), though be sure to sift through the bargain basket up front for items at 50 to 70 percent off. Slightly more practical: double-sided Flash Tape ($8) for keeping plunging necklines in place.

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East Village

Buffalo Exchange

Critics' pick

Want cash back without having to charge up a storm on your credit card? Bring your unwanted garb to the new East Village outpost of this popular buy-sell-trade clothing shop and leave with padded pockets. The best part is that they won’t turn up their noses at Forever 21—all brands are welcome. Score a pair of 7 for All Mankind jeans for $25, current-season Manolo Blahniks for $250 or unload some designer goods for major dough.

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East Village

Fabulous Fanny's

Critics' pick

Whether you’re searching for rhinestone-adorned 1960s cat-eye frames or Kanye West–style shutter shades, Fanny’s specializes in one-of-a-kind eyeglasses. Moderately priced in-house brand Spectaculars features everything from posh sunnies to cosmetic frames, all starting at $135. It isn’t unusual to find four or more staffers (all willing to give you an honest opinion) crammed into this pint-size shop, which displays its specs on antique wooden dressers. Fanny’s also vends such vintage items as ladies’ pillbox hats and suspenders for lads looking to channel the 1940s (or maybe just Larry King).

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East Village

Gabay's

This family-run shoe and bag specialist gets most of its goods from fine department stores’ surpluses (the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs and Chanel) and slaps them with 50% to 80% discounts.

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East Village

John Derian

Critics' pick

World-famous for his eternally popular decoupage plates and platters depicting everything from turn-of-the-century love letters to mating donkeys, Derian’s old-world-feeling shop is chock-full of great gifts like papier-mâché votive holders, canvas totes printed with images of whales , and Moroccan poufs in gold and hot pink. The adjacent dry-goods shop features a slew of covetable linens, such as delicately printed pillowcases and imported suzanis.

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East Village

Jutta Neumann

Jutta Neumann’s Alphabet City studio and showroom is a leather junkie’s dream: Picture every color leather under the rainbow, masterfully melded into belts, wallets, sandals and more.

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East Village

Landmark Vintage Bicycles

A goofy old bike is a must-have accessory for any bourgeois bohemian. If you're the type who loves taxidermy and old books, you would do well to stop by Landmark, if not to romanticize your mobility, then to browse the shop's selection of three-speed cruisers and Raleigh beauties, not to mention Schwinn Breezes of many colors and rare, hard-to-find models from as far back as the 1930s. Whimsical horns, baskets, chains and other accessories are also available.

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East Village

La Sirena

Critics' pick

This store is jammed with all sorts of fun and colorful Mexican craft wares, from wearable treasures like serapes and sombreros to knickknacks, home-decor items and religious idols. The name, meaning "the mermaid" reflects the little shop's folkloric bent.

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East Village

Love Shine

Designer Mark Seamon’s funky gift shop sprang to life in 1997, and while his hand-sewn bags—fashioned from colorful printed canvas and oil cloth—are still a big draw, casual shoppers fall hard for the world traveler’s Haitian and Mexican imports, and Day of the Dead decorations (skulls, faux flowers). Ken Brown postcards cost just a buck, and you’d be hard-pressed to leave without at least one Mark Seamon for Love Shine creation (like a tattooed messenger bag for $52).

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East Village

Obscura Antiques and Oddities

Critics' pick

This East Village staple, which hawks antiques, rare taxidermy and freaky novelties, has moved down the block into a 450-square-foot space that was once a funeral home. The spot has the same dark and twisted feel as the previous location, with creaking wooden floors, old-school hanging globe lights, and enough strange and unusual artifacts to earn owners Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson a show on the Discovery Channel, aptly called Oddities. You’ll find jarred piranhas ($25) and trays of preserved butterflies and beetles ($250–$350). A large oak case from the turn of the 20th century houses one-of-a-kind costumes, such as a hooded black robe embroidered with a skull and crossbones ($150). Adorn yourself in macabre accessories, including brass skull rings ($60) from Renfield Novelty, Zohn and Michelson’s new jewelry line.

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East Village
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Comments

1 comments
Margaret Fried
Margaret Fried

I stop at Mink Vixen for most of my consignment shopping but its nice to see a few others I've never heard of listed here