Though it’s filled with salacious prose, E.L. James’s novel has been widely criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of dominance and submission—not to mention questionable phrasing (does any woman actually refer to her “inner goddess” every other minute?). Pick up a more true-to-life tome at McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince St between Lafayette and Mulberry Sts). The indie retailer stocks genre classics, including Story of O by Pauline Réage ($10) and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy ($14.95).
Christian and sexual neophyte Anastasia bring their ice cream—vanilla, of course—to the bedroom. Whether or not you’re planning to mess up the sheets, head uptown for a refined take on the quintessential flavor, made with aromatic Madagascar bourbon vanilla, at West Village gelateria Amorino (60 University Pl at 10th St; 212-253-5599, amorino.com). The only thing that’ll be deflowered here is one of the signature rose-shaped scoops ($5.50-8:50), but that’s afternoon delight enough.
There’s no better place to find Christian’s favorite impact toys than 23-year-old fetish store Purple Passion (211 W 20th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; 212-807-0486, purplepassion.com). Proprietor Hilton Flax and his knowledgeable staff will help you find everything from cotton rope (32-foot length $13) and bondage tape ($7.95 per roll) to leather paddles ($22-$48) and braided-handle floggers ($75–$195). Don’t leave without grabbing Ana’s kink item of choice: a pair of Ben Wa balls ($15–$58).