The upscale department stores that gave the Flatiron District its onetime nickname, Ladies’ Mile, have been gone for nearly a century. Today, the area is peppered with chain clothing stores, bookstores, tasteful home-decor stores, including ABC Carpet & Home, and one of the best hat shops in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: Gramercy and Flatiron guide
There’s a rotating mix of astoundingly well-preserved designer and nonvintage clothing here, as well as one-of-a-kind housewares, shoes and accessories. We’ve found vintage Yves Saint Laurent blouses for $12, striped skinny ties for $6 and a pair of classic Salvatore Ferragamo pumps with bows on them for $10. Pretty much everything is a find, but you still get that thrill-of-the-hunt feeling.
This place is stocked with furniture from as far back as the 1800s. New pieces arrive weekly and through consignment, and the shop offers a service to help clean out your entire apartment. Period bedroom sets, vintage Persian and Oriental rugs and cheery Tiffany lamps are some standout finds.
This women’s boutique, stocked with flirty, colorful duds from the likes of Yumi Kim and Plastic Island, is the third location of the Project Shops chain (the first two are in Greenwich Village and Nolita), and it features the now-trio’s signature mod aesthetic: white walls, shiny white-tiled floors, hanging glass bubble lamps and black-and-white–patterned wallpaper. Four rolling racks feature adorable, affordable items like Dolce Vita boho strapless maxidresses ($106), Yumi Kim sleeveless floral rompers with drawstring waists ($196) and Plastic Island dresses with eye-catching back cut-outs ($189). A large table in the middle of the boutique is topped with warm-weather–worthy accessories like Jeffrey Campbell strappy wedges ($98) and Dolce Vita beaded sandals ($66).
Photographers of all skill levels can geek out at this Gramercy spot. Just like the original West Village locale, NYC’s second Lomography Gallery Store features snapshot-covered walls and shills all the necessary tools for creating your own artistic pictures. Scour the welcoming space for inexpensive plastic cameras, including the Diana F+ ($95), a reproduction of a model from the ’60s; action samplers ($30), which take a series of four shots with each press of a button; and color-splash models ($85) that can tint your photos with vibrant hues. You’ll also find accessories such as canvas shoulder bags with pockets for cameras ($65), T-shirts printed with Lomo graphics ($25) and books such as Don’t Think Just Shoot ($60), featuring photos taken with cameras sold at the shop. In addition to stocking film ($4–$10), the Gallery Store also develops it ($14–$30). Not sure what all the nondigital hubbub is all about? Attend one of the store’s frequent weekend workshops ($10) to learn how to use the funky cameras.
The Warshaw family has been helping city residents with their home improvement needs for three generations. And with good reason: Not only are they pros at helping you find exactly what you need, they’ll recommend the highest quality brands based on personal experience. They’re also a good source for one-time projects: You can rent expensive items like drills for less than what you’d pay full price, saving you money and valuable storage space. They also offer AC repairs and locksmith services—huge lifesavers on hot summer days and those drunken nights when your keys mysteriously disappear.
Jewelry designer Karen Karch relocated her Nolita boutique to a secluded Gramercy block with a neighborhood feel. Griffin-detailed gates and a dramatic entryway mural, painted by NYC street artist Bunny M (bunnym.com), greet clients. The sleek, minimalist shop boasts oversize windows and ample seating for one-on-one appointments. Sparkly baubles rest behind a few glass cases, since most of the fancy items are custom-designed. Couples tying the knot will find jewels for their engagement ($4,000–$60,000), from classic round-cut diamond rings ($6,800) to unconventional, tiara-shaped styles encrusted with sapphires ($3,200–$7,000). Wedding bands ($900–$8,000) include vinelike rings for women ($900–$6,000) and textured-platinum bands for men ($1,100–$6,000). Karch’s signature detailed jewelry includes jade-and-rose-gold necklaces ($3,400) and turquoise rosebud rings ($2,500), as well as onyx horn necklaces ($2,600) and faceted sterling-silver cufflinks ($500).
No need to venture out to Long Island City anymore for Spokesman Cycle’s ultimate biker haven. The family-owned business has set up shop in the heart of Union Square. The spacious store—more than double the size of its flagship—caters to everyone from the beginner rider to the advanced. Accessories include Chrome messenger bags (from $110), high-end performance saddlebags ($60–$200) and Velocity rims in all colors, including funky argyle print ($300 a pair). Owner Carlos Dall’Orso suggests the hybrid Bianchi Cortina ($429) for a “stylish and reliable all-purpose bike, great for commuting and recreational rides.”
Brooklyn's fromage-geek haven expands to Manhattan with this Gramercy outpost. The shop—which features old bottles and books displayed on rustic wooden shelves—boasts three temperature-controlled spaces and an education center (dubbed the Homestead) devoted to curdy delights.