New York's best spy shops
We snooped out the city's top spook emporiums.
Mon Nov 9 2009
Founded by a retired NYPD officer more than twenty years ago, this is Manhattan's original spy shop. Pop in to request camera-installation services or just pick up unique surveillance items a. "We work a full range of offensive and defense," owner Bob Leonard explains. Those cameras you want installed? Yeah, you can watch their feed from home or anywhere in the world. Other neat equipment includes the store's Advanced Wire Tap Detector (starts at $400), which allows you to check single- and two-line phones, Miniature Covert GPS Trackers (start at $400) and the CheckMate Semen Detection Kit ($70)—the best-selling infidelity tester, which can find up to two-year-old semen on clothing. 224 W 4th St between Christopher and W 10th Sts, second floor (212-366-6466, spystorenyc.com)
Spy Tec International
Putting minds at ease for six years now, this sanctuary for snoops has much more than your basic cameras and recorders—you'll find gadgets with hidden cameras built into iPod speakers for ultimate musical and deviant pleasure ($4990$699). Additional amusing items include its Envelope X-Ray Spray ($25), which temporarily turns opaque paper transparent allowing you to view the contents of an envelope without ever opening it, and its Tactical Peep Hole Reverser ($90) to give your eyes access to the opposite side of a door. "Nanny cams are always popular," owner Jon Mark says. "Couples come in all the time—one wants it and one doesn't—but 80 percent of the time, people give in and go with hidden cameras" 262 W 38th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-957-7400, spynyc.com)
GM Security Group
"There's a doctor--patient relationship in this shop," owner Gregg Graison explains. "People are buying equipment because something happened or they think something will happen and want to talk it out." Offering full confidentiality and an open ear, Graison's professional and therapeutic environment is what's raised this shop to its upstanding level of service. Whether you're in search of a nanny cam or body-worn video systems, there's no job it can't tackle. Popular items include their telephone recorders (start at $295) and optimal bug detectors (start at $425). 901 First Ave between 50th and 51st Sts (212-421-3973, gmsecuritygroup.com)
Brick House Security
Ever wish you could read your boyfriend's text messages or check his call log? Yes, it's shady and borderline stalkerish, but Brick House Security has the answer. With its Cell Phone Spy ($150), you can easily follow his cell phone's activity using a portable SIM card. For less invasive items, grab hold of the shop's Child Locator ($170), which tracks wandering kids up to 600 feet away. With more than 18,000 security products you'll be sure to find what you're looking for—even a sneaky motion-activated tissue-box hidden camera ($400) with Wi-Fi for instant viewing from any computer. Call ahead to make an appointment. 980 Sixth Ave between 36th and 37th Sts (212-643-7449, brickhousesecuirty.com)
This store, which offers special devices that can catch a whisper at up to 15 feet away, has been working with private homes, schools, commercial buildings and even filmmakers for ten years. With new and innovative items like its button-hole body-worn cameras ($295) and car-tracking devices (start at $300) you'll be right up there with Bond and Bourne with the flip of your motion-detector switch. The boutique will even put together custom furniture (starting at $500) that can hold secret belongings or disguise hidden cameras. 131 Christopher St at Hudson St (212-633-1248, cyberspyshop.com)
Queens Spy Shop
"The stories we get in here are unbelievable!" CFO Barbara Jones admits. "We hear lots of wives convinced their husbands are cheating, but we always tell people to be careful; it's one thing to suspect a spouse of infidelity and another to get the proof." If you really want to know where your husband is, the purveyor has tracking devices of all types. Other items include a Coke can safe ($14) for storing valuable items in a discreet location, and video glasses ($400) that record everything you see while wearing them. 9805 Astoria Blvd at 98th St, Astoria, Queens (718-779-9580, queensspyshop.com)
Spy Shops Inc.
The world is an untrusting place: "We're literally busy every second of the day," owner Silvia Demeter says. "Even in my sleep the phone rings." New Yorkers call for hidden cameras for the body, and nanny cams with direct view on a BlackBerry (starting at $399). Also on hand: Night Owl All-View binoculars ($750) and Spyfinder hidden-camera detectors ($199). You can even attempt to beat the system with the newly renovated PhotoBlocker ($49) used on license plates to prevent a radar or red-light camera from snatching your plate numbers. 138 E 34th St between Lexington and Third Aves (212-686-8890, spy34.com)