Field trip to Vernon Boulevard, LIC
There's plenty of great shopping to be found under Long Island City's infamous thirst-inducing Pepsi-Cola sign.
Thu Jul 16 2009
Nook n' Crannie
Photographs: Lizz Kuehl
1 Nook n’ Crannie
Don’t feel guilty about shopping for vintage and antiques here—all the proceeds are donated to Betel of America’s residential program for drug addicts and alcoholics. All of the furniture, clothing and home decor is divided into category-specific nooks (hence the name), so you can easily ferret out the perfect pair of thin-framed vintage sunglasses ($25) or ponder how a hand-carved Victorian bookcase ($1,275) would look in your studio apartment. 47-42 Vernon Blvd between 47th Ave and 47th Rd (718-706-6477)
2 Just Things
A trip to Ann Caporusso’s 25-year-old consignment shop could redeem your faith in the greenback—there’s plenty on hand for just 100 pennies. Although you’ll have to weed out the typical thrift-store junk, there are treasures afoot. Look for relatively inexpensive jewelry like a handmade turn-of-the-century mourner’s pin ($185), and quirky-cheap finds like vintage dolls ($10--$40) and one-of-a-kind pastel-pink leather zip-up travel slippers ($18). 47-28 Vernon Blvd at 47th Rd (718-786-3675)
This railroad-apartment-turned-boutique boasts six chandeliers and the smell of warm flowers and herbs wafts through the air. “I try to soothe all the senses,” says owner Adriana Ron, motioning to the free gum-ball machine and long-stemmed sunflowers brightening up the storefront. Ron specializes in unique clothing and accessories from cool, contemporary labels; our current favorites include a Betsey Johnson--esque green embroidered dress ($275) by Ashley Michaelsen (of the reality show True Beauty) and a silk Lycra peekaboo butterfly top ($112) designed by the store owner herself. 47-38 Vernon Blvd between 47th Rd and 48th Ave (718-182-8884, etherealnyc.com)
At this shop, art and fashion collide in the sculptures, paintings, clothing and accessories made by sixty different designers and artists, most of whom reside in the neighborhood. “I always wanted a shop where people could create new concepts,” says co-owner Virginia Mason-Martinez. Standouts include Joel Voisard’s Perched Bird sculpture ($550), made from cement and wood, and Feral Childe’s handmade two-tone gray skirt ($110). 48-18 Vernon Blvd at 48th Ave (718-482-1899)
5 Spokesman Cycles
Expert riders know to head to this full-service shop for high-end road and hybrid bikes, but they’ve got lots in store for beginners, like the sleek Commuter 3.0 Hybrid City bike ($550). ”It’s even light enough to carry into the subway,” notes sales clerk Gum Ramos. In addition to accessories like seat cushions and saddlebags (both start at $20), they offer bike rentals for just $6 an hour. 49-04 Vernon Blvd between 49th and 50th Aves (718-433-0450, spokesmancycles.com)
Pit stops Manducatis Rustica (46-33 Vernon Blvd at 46th Rd, 718-937-1312), a family-owned restaurant, offers the proper shopping fuel. The menu changes daily, but it’s always offering its signature paper-thin homemade Rustica pizza ($14 per pie) and pistachio gelato ($2.50 for a small). But who are we kidding? Consummate shoppers subsist on vodka (like Lucille Bluth) and should head into P.J. Leahy’s (50-02 Vernon Blvd at 50th Ave, 718-472-5131) to enjoy daily drink specials (beers and mixed cocktails are $4--$5) before jumping back on the 7 train.