The Asiastore is the bookstore/giftshop of the Asia Society Museum. You can enter the gift shop withoug paying to get into the Museum and it is a good place to pick up nice gifts or something for yourself. They have many books on Asian Art and Culture. They also have reproductions of some of the items in the Museum's collection. This is a nice friendly, hassle free place to shop and if you crave more Asian culture just pay your admission and take a look at some beautiful art.
The Argosy Book Store is 4 stories of great books and prints all cobbled together in an old building across from Central Park. They have tens of thousands of out of print books and are not as stuffy as some book sellers but not a wild mess like The Strand either. They manage to tread a fine line between the two points which makes shopping fun. They also have some autographs and some very nice prints. An excellent place to shop and since they've been selling books for over 75 years you know they are doing something right.
The American Indian Museum used to be way uptown but a few years back they moved down to Bowling Green. They have a mind bending collection of artifacts from the peoples who inhabitated America for thouands of years. The displays are interesting and this is a great place to bring kids for a visit to supplement what little they learn in school about Native Americans.
Down in a gloomy, musty basement sits Action Comics . The store is a bit messy and many of the baseball card holders have started to fade with age but they have old comics. Real old comics not just left over books from the last 5 years like you find in most stores but runs of books from the 1960's and 1970's. They also have most of the new comics and a decent smattering of comics from the 40's and 50's. Lots of old baseball cards to. They have irregular hours so call before heading there to confirm they will be open.
PROS: Great Selection
CONS: Bad Hours
Academy Records & CDS is a prettty good used music shop. They specialize in Jazz and Classical Music CDs and have an exceptional selection of both. They also carry everything else from Rock and Folk to Pop and Broadway Showtunes. Although CD cases are stacked up everywhere they are better organized than most similar stores and the clerks really know the music they sell. I like shopping here and come three or four times a year.
The A I D S Thrift Shop has a decent supply of items for sale. They are entirely dependent on contributions so the inventory constantly changes. I drop by all the time but they don't ever seem to have anything really interesting and the furniture seems to be a bit highly priced although the books, CD,s and clothing are all fairly priced. Worth paying a visit if you are a few blocks away but not worth making a special trip for.
Revolution Books is owned by the Revolutionary Communist Party and they sell books from a leftist perspective. You may not like there politics, best I can figure they think Chairman Mao was a swell guy, but you have to appreciate the wide selection of books that are available. Everything from books about armed insurrections of the past to the women's liberation movement of today. The staff is friendly and doesn't attempt to proselytize although they seem to get a little excited if you layout a dollar for the latest issue of the Party's paper. This is an interesting place to shop.
St. Mark's Bookshop has been serving up books in the East Village for over 25 years. The selection is great and they carry a varied supply of books covering everything from leftist politics to womens issues to psychology. Of course they also have a great fiction section. I have shopped here dozens of times over the years and have always enjoyed my experiences here and in the old store, they moved to the present location a few years back. THe aleshelp has always been great to deal with. This shop is a very positive shopping experience.
Balthazar is a top notch restaurant but I'm reviewing the bakery that is attached to it. This is top notch stuff. The fruit tarts are amazing and much of the bread is up there in the uppper echelons of New York baked goods. The Rosemary Foccacia is stupendous and they make a mean ciabatta. Not real expensive for the bread and it will enhance any meal you make.
PROS: great bread
CONS: none that are apparent
Across the street from Lenox Hill Hospital this place almost always has a line. They'll toss a salad anyway you want it and have a nice variety of spreads. The secret about this place is not only do they make probably the best black and white cookies in New York but you can get them in all chocolate or all vanilla the only place I've ever seen that has them this way.
PROS: decent bagels best black and white cookies in New York