We launched the Love New York Awards to find out more about the local businesses that make your part of the city awesome. The nominations came so thick and fast they were almost overwhelming, with everything from expensive boutiques to tiny pop-ups nominated for a shot at glory.
Now, after an intense voting period in which more than 10,000 of you had your all-important say, it’s our great pleasure to reveal the independent stores you guys love above all others. There were a few close calls (and a few freakin’ landslides), but through it all one thing was absolutely clear: New Yorkers are truly passionate about their neighborhoods.
All of which just leaves us to say congratulations to all of this year’s winners and runners-up, and happy shopping to everyone who voted. Now get out there and show your local businesses some love.
Top local stores
A Gucci men’s suit for $300? A Marc Jacobs cashmere sweater for less than $200? Stella McCartney sunglasses for a scant $40? No, you’re not dreaming—you’re shopping at Century 21. You may have to rummage to unearth a treasure, but with savings from 25% to 75% off regular store prices, this is a goldmine for less-minted fashion addicts.
A literary oasis in the 5th Borough, Every Thing Goes Book Café and Neighborhood Stage is Staten Island's largest independent bookstore. Not just a purveyor of used books, Every Thing Goes also sells records and functions as a gallery space and performance venue for local artists.
This men's clothing boutique features styles inspired by the Harlem Renaissance.
It's cool to donate your old duds and furniture to Housing Works, so the shelter-oriented charity's thrift stores are among the city's best. The prices aren't the lowest, but the stock is quality. If you're lucky, you can score designer pieces (in clothes and furnishings) you'd never be able to afford new. You just have to do a little rummaging.
This quirky home decor shop features items collected by owner Pam Shelala's travels to India mixed with vintage and locally-made furnishings. Look for home goods and gifts and more from labels such as BDI, Jorhn Derian, Gail Garcia Pottery, Votivo Candles and more.
The old-timey feel of this gift shop—tin ceiling, coffee-colored damask-print wallpaper and shelves made from wood and black plumbing pipes—adheres to its general-store theme. Owner Keri Cavanaugh handpicks the products, which are all locally made, sustainable or Fair Trade, including stationery ($3–$16), clothing ($35–$90), housewares ($8–$50) and bath products ($4–$6). Send your dear grandmother a note using Pepper Press letterpress postcards featuring Brooklyn neighborhoods ($3) or Night Owl Paper Goods cards made from sustainably harvested wood ($5). Outfit yourself in Brooklyn label Cora dresses with subtle animal prints ($60–$80) and carry Dirty Kren handmade yoga-mat bags ($15–$20). You’ll also find Sea Grape shampoo bars ($7), Bird Craft colorful beeswax candles ($8–$11), and McClure tasty pickles ($10) and potato chips ($1).
Clothing organized by color and lots of open space between the racks make shopping at this thrift store a breeze. Brooklyn native Lynette Kirchner’s second boutique (she also owns Two Lovers, a fancier vintage haven seven blocks away) offers truly affordable threads with everything priced between $6 and $70. Expect consignment goods from brands like Banana Republic and Theory, as well as vintage pieces from the 1950s through the 1980s. Try on a preworn striped knee-length skirt ($34) or snag an Ecote comfy cotton dress ($38). Other standouts include a John Meyer floral maxiskirt ($38) and an Aqua bright printed peasant top ($34).
Opening Saturday 20, this Bed-Stuy boutique is all about showcasing womenswear and lifestyle items from emerging brands and hard-to-find international designers. The clothing skews toward the higher end (a Karla Spetic lace top is $300; a Carly Hunter navy jumper is $442), but you’ll find lower price points in the accessories and home-decor section. For example, nail stickers featuring the NYC subway map are $12, and Abeni bud glasses are $30. Make sure to grab a drink while you shop: The in-store coffee counter serves java from Irving Farm.
Yes, this accessories store is in the heart of Times Square, but it’s worth the hassle—and it might even relax you (really!). Step inside where the ambience channels the seaside village on the coast of Denmark. The space pays homage to the infamous Skagen beaches in the form of modernized pebble-shaped tables, natural gray wood surfaces and digital displays telling the story behind items in the shop. Standouts include Skagen watches ($95–$275) and jewelry ($30–$100), as well as a new collection of leather bags ranging from backpacks ($195–$355) to satchels ($225–$295) for men and women.
Owner Lee Chan claims this is Chinatown’s first design store. Instead of the usual Chinatown staples, Uniqulee focuses on one-of-a-kind finds. Look for locally designed dish towels ($15), Selenite candle holders ($39), cast-iron piggy banks ($89), hand-crafted banana fiber bowls ($34–$69) and more. Just about every visit to the shop will feel like the first time as Chan plans to reset the layout and displays every couple of weeks.