Elizabeth Charles is a really cute botique located in the heart of Soho. They don't have tons of merchandise but the clothes, jewelry and accessories that they do stock are fun and have a certain playful coherence to them. They have a little dog who frolics in the store, the mascot and keep the store scented through candles. The staff is really helpful, I bought a great bag as a gift here that went over really well and was totally due to the recommendation I received from the staff.
PROS: Great service
CONS: Could use more merchandise
With CBGB's allegedy closing down next month the number of survivors from the heyday of Punk is dwindling down t nothingness. Trash & Vaudeville has been selling Punky woman's clothes for as long as I can remember. You know the look, safety pins, black on black on black etc. Go check them out if you having any feeling for the Punk astethic for I'm sure as St. Marks Place keeps gentrifying eventually they will become a Krispy Kreme or Blockbuster.
The little department store that could. Zitomer's has been an upper East Side institution for quite awhile. The main componenets are the Pharmacy and candy section on the first floor and upstairs some clothing and an excellent toy section. A quick convenient way to shop. If you open an account they will take telephone orders and deliver within reason a few hours later. Not just prescriptions like the average pharmacy but if your child is going to a birthday party the to section can help you select a gift, gift wrap it and send it. Want to gorge on a box of Godva chocolates or just need some toiletries, they have it all covered. An excellent place to shop.
The Russian Bookstore 21 is a very interesting place filled with books about Russia, in Russian or by Russian authors. It's all here from Gogol in English to travel guides for Russian to thousands of books with Cyrillic lettering on the spine that I have no idea what they are about as I can't read Russian. Don't let the Russian books throw you there is enough English material here and if you are in the east twenties it's worth sticking your head in for a look.
Coliseum Books is probably the largest independent book seller left in New York that sells new books. They have a new large store across from Bryant Park and the crew that works there are all top notch book lovers. You can spend hours browsing if you are a book lover and the strange thing is when you realize how big the average Barnes and Noble is you realize how much they do not carry after shopping here.
I'm not particularly religious so obviously this store isn't really my cup of tea but I do have a friend who is born again and I've shopped here for gifts for her. I'm always amazed at the breadth of there inventory. There is a whole world of Christian childrens books, fiction, self help books and of course lots of books about scripture. By the way all of the gifts I've purchased here have gone over real well.
Bluestockings is a bookshop with a fair trade cafe that carries material from a leftist perspective. Of course feminism and racial equakity shouldn't be left/right debates but human rights debates but unfortunately it doesn't always work that way. They are open pretty late 10pm and hold lots of interesting events that are free or cost very little to get into. An interesting place to visit.
The Black Orchid Bookshop is a basement store devoted to mystery and suspense books. If it involves detectives they probably have it. The service is pretty good and the staff are friendly and can really help by making good recommendations.
At Bauman Rare Books they carry the heavys of the book world. First prints with the dust jackets intact for thousands of dollars. Signed copies of books and other autographed material. They are very knowledgeable about the book scene. They are also strong buyers of expensive good quality items so if you come up with a real find give them a call.
The Bank Street Book Store is located a couple of blocks south of Columbia University. It is an amazing children's book store with an excellent selection of books for kids. the staff is great and they realy know there stuff. They have books for infants on up to teens. They also have some child rearing books for adults to. If you live uptown and have kids this shop should be a regular destination for you.