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The quirkiest stores in NYC

These unique stores offer everything from buttons to sex toys and superhero accessories—and we're all about them

By Jennifer Picht
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There are plenty of reasons why New York is the greatest city in the world and Gotham’s kick-ass retail scene is totally one of them. Some of the best shops in NYC come equipped with coffeeshops, serve complimentary booze or provide personal-shopping assistance, which is great (obviously). But do you want to know our favorite thing about shopping in New York? Stumbling upon off-the-wall boutiques and gift shops selling kooky merchandise and maybe even doubling as party venues. So if you're looking to fly your freak flag, find that magical piece of merch, or just looking for an out-of-the-norm shopping experience—welcome.

The weirdest shops in New York

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company

Shopping Toys and games Park Slope

This mysterious shop—where you can buy such novelties as capes, X-ray goggles and gallon tins of immortality—is actually a front (and money earner) for the nonprofit 826NYC, a kids’ writing, tutoring and publishing center (a chapter of the San Francisco outfit founded by novelist Dave Eggers). Hidden behind a concealed door, your antigravity elixir and sidekick cape are waiting.

Concrete + Water

Shopping Womenswear Williamsburg

This lifestyle shop in Williamsburg sells high-quality goods during the day, but will host occasional dance parties at night. The 1,300-square-foot boutique carries menswear, womenswear, and home goods from emerging brands and well-known designers such as Samantha Pleet and more. Shop eclectic and stylish wares from quilted bomber jackets by Hentsch Man ($400) to shearling stowaway bags by KARA ($360). But bargain lovers will be happy to shop here too, thanks to more affordable merch like Mazama glass mugs ($38) and printed tees by Deer Dana ($60). Our favorite part? The 600-square-foot backyard where the owners host cool events like concerts, trunk shows and those aforementioned parties.

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Enchantments

Shopping Kitchen and bath

Equally bewitching as a scene out of Hocus Pocus, this shop sells all things Wicca. Check out the incense-filled emporium for motherwort, frankincense tears, and oils and herbs. And be sure to check out the boutique’s wide variety of tarot cards—because the future doesn’t have to be unpredictable, right?

Evolution

Shopping Gifts and stationery Greenwich Village

A skeleton stands guard outside of this cavelike spot, suggesting that a jaunt here is not for the faint of heart. It’s true: The taxidermied animal heads and skeletal jaws lining the walls provide a frightening sight. Also check out the slightly creepy collectibles including replica skulls of wolves, hyenas and lions ($90–$395); bracelets crafted out of genuine beetles ($39); and man-eating piranha figurines ($35). But beyond freaky stuff, the natural selection can also include gorgeous curios, like displays of blue-morpho butterflies ($39) and eye-popping rock formations.

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Objectify 139

Shopping Design and interiors

Enter Maria Candanoza’s badass boutique, where she sells the coolest collectible books, prints and baubles in the city—affordably. The joint exposes the work of young artists like Candanoza, who aims to provide unique art and kitschy gifts like Statue of Liberty candles ($12), Sparkle Diva mink coozies ($35) and Leonardo DiCaprio tees ($30), which you won’t find anywhere else.  And you can meet the artists during in-store meet-ups scheduled each month.

Story

Shopping Gifts and stationery Chelsea

Most boutiques revamp their retail scene each season, but every four to six weeks, this Chelsea gem kicks it up a notch, shuts down and reopens with a totally new theme. Mirroring the editorial style of a magazine, the sore collaborates with guest curators and architects for each cycle. Past themes included “Cool Story,” which spotlights the Aros (an air-conditioner from Quirky), beach bags and more; “Love Story”; and “Your Story,” featuring products chosen from YouTube stars.

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Tender Buttons

Shopping Arts, crafts & hobbies Lenox Hill

This nifty Upper East Side shop is just as cute as a button—and bursting with them, too. From vintage to painted buttons that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, you can give your duds a killer makeover with these pieces of flair.

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