best of new york 2019

The Best of Shopping

British boxers, plywood vases, and Thonet chairs.

From left: Row 1 (top), Watches of Switzerland, BKLYN Clay (ceramic by Alyssa Cammarata), McNally Jackson. Row 2, FAO Schwarz, Love House, Relationships. Row 3, Depop, Arcade, 10 Corso Como. Row 4, Love House, Caron Callahan, Sunspel. Photo: Suzanne Saroff
From left: Row 1 (top), Watches of Switzerland, BKLYN Clay (ceramic by Alyssa Cammarata), McNally Jackson. Row 2, FAO Schwarz, Love House, Relationships. Row 3, Depop, Arcade, 10 Corso Como. Row 4, Love House, Caron Callahan, Sunspel. Photo: Suzanne Saroff

Whether we’re ordering copper pots from Amazon Prime, pho on Caviar, or grenache from any one of those subway-advertised wine-delivery start-ups, New Yorkers are really just a couple of apps away from being complete shut-ins. And yet there’s still so much to do in this town — like sampling garam-masala-spiked lamb chops in Long Island City, trying on leopard-print Alaïa coats in the Seaport, sipping fresh-pressed sake in Industry City, and scrambling up the city’s tallest rock-climbing walls in Bushwick. (You’ll find those and more in our yearly best-of review, rolling out this week.) This year’s best-of list in the shopping category includes women’s clothing, toddler athleisure, vintage furniture, and more.

Gen-Z Garb

168 Mott St., nr. Broome St.; 646-609-4311

The front of Depop — the brick-and-mortar iteration of the popular-with-the-kids resale app — is dedicated to vintage wares from a curated group of vendors, which currently includes Nicole Saldaña, a shoe designer who sells secondhand on the side. The selection here is small but reasonably priced — and filled with treasures. One visit unearthed a vintage pearlescent Oscar de la Renta top for $110, a bright-yellow beaded purse for $65, and a smattering of narrow Prada and Armani sunglasses (from $95). The back of the shop is something different altogether: a fully functioning studio where Depop sellers can photograph their wares against a white brick wall or, if they prefer, paper backdrops in pretty much any color. And since it’s 2019, several Instagrammable features are scattered throughout the store, notably a massive pair of clay sneakers (by artist Diana Rojas) that shoppers can stick their feet into for pictures.

Depop. Photo: Courtesy of Depop

Women’s Clothing

Caron Callahan
243 Elizabeth St., nr. Prince St.; 646-454-0811

Caron Callahan’s first permanent storefront is stocked with the feminine basics that built her brand: cream canvas jackets ($345), pale-pink cotton jumpsuits with a slightly cropped leg ($498), and perfectly tailored Japanese-twill sailor pants ($335). But this isn’t just a showroom for her line. Callahan has stocked every remaining inch of the space with special one-off items that make you feel as if you’ve stumbled into the apartment of your best-dressed friend. On a table in the center you’ll find turquoise silk obiage scarves (traditionally tied around Japanese kimonos; $150), a book about unconventional American quilts ($50), and a pair of high-waisted silk-mesh underwear by Vivien Ramsay ($98). Under the cash register is an all-star lineup of antique and indie jewelry, from Victorian rings studded with rubies and diamonds (from $750) to a pair of sterling-silver earrings shaped like snail shells by L.A. designer MM Druck ($295).


920 Fulton St., nr. Washington Ave., Clinton Hill; 917-909-1651

From the outside, Relationships looks like a coffee shop, which it is, and a good one at that: Offerings include iced cocoas and pastries from beloved Bed-Stuy bakery Saraghina, all kept behind a geometric counter by design firm Studio Proba. But the real draw is the slightly offbeat selection of home goods and furniture curated by owners Nina Schwarz, a former gallerist, and Su Beyazit, who owns the local vintage store–slash–salon Su’juk. The walls are hung with sumi-ink paintings by the artist Denise Kupferschmidt (from $3,000), chosen by Schwarz, and an assortment of LikeMindedObjects’ face-shaped mirrors (from $125). Furniture is arranged in vignettes: A Chubby Chair by Jack Rabbit Studio ($1,800), for instance, sits under a lamp by Brooklyn artist Will Stewart ($750). Up front are shelves full of trinkets by seemingly every cool-on-Instagram designer: from pastel wedge-shaped pipes by Yew Yew Shop ($68) to plywood vases from Pezzi ($40). At night, the place opens for events: On a recent Tuesday, it served vegan pies and screened You’ve Got Mail.

Men’s Basics

85 Mercer St., nr. Spring St.; 646-692-6500

Sunspel has been creating classic knitwear staples in superfine fabrics since it was founded in Britain in 1860 and was one of the first companies to produce T-shirts. So it makes sense that the Mercer Street store — Sunspel’s first in the States — is something of a shrine to well-made basics. English-ash tables are piled with chunky Egyptian-cotton sweaters (“jumpers,” if you want to fit in; from $255) and simple, well-cut pima-cotton tees (from $85) in a rainbow of colors. Posters on the shop’s walls give the clothing historical context: Above a rack of startlingly crisp boxer shorts (the staff frequently steams them; from $50) is a poster explaining that John Hill, the great-grandson of Sunspel’s founder, introduced the first pair of boxers to the U.K. in 1947.

Love House. Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Vintage Furniture

Love House
37 Greenpoint Ave., nr. West St., Ste. 308, Greenpoint; 347-916-0096

New to Greenpoint’s ever-growing furniture mecca (Bi-Rite, Adverts, Copper+Plaid) is Love House, a showroom on the third floor of a warehouse building. An all-white loft, the space holds an impressive selection of unique new and vintage furniture in the moderate to ultra-pricey range. Owners Jared Heinrich and Aric Yeakey (both former photographers) weren’t interested in filling the store with the predictable slate of mid-century-modern credenzas and chairs that can easily be found elsewhere in the neighborhood; the curation instead leans Brutalist and Art Deco, with a little MCM mixed in. A cobalt leather Thonet Cantilever chair ($1,150) mingles easily with a black-and-chrome Milo Baughman sofa ($8,000), while an oversize 1984 Michele Zalopany piece hangs between a pair of giant Marzio Rusconi Clerici sconces ($1,850). Existing pieces can be reupholstered, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, the guys offer a custom furniture design and fabrication service, too.

Watch Store–Slash–Whiskey Bar

Watches of Switzerland
60 Greene St., nr. Broome St.; 646-973-3363

Located in a former warehouse, this large split-level Soho boutique has become more than just a place to find timepieces from top-tier brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Downstairs, there’s a library and a long marble bar that offers complimentary cocktails created for the boutique by mixology experts at Death & Co (the Revenue Act — a blend of citrus, whiskey, cognac, and honey — is particularly tasty). This inviting feel extends to the watch counters, too, despite prices that stretch into six figures for highly collectible models, many of which are limited editions. For the watch aficionado who’d rather not spend a semester at Harvard’s worth, there are some (relatively) affordable options. TAG Heuers, for instance, start at around $1,000.

Watches of Switzerland. Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Airport Bookstore

McNally Jackson
La Guardia Airport, Terminal B

La Guardia’s recently renovated Terminal B will come as a shock to New Yorkers who are accustomed to being stuck waiting for flights between a greasy Panda Express and a bevy of grimly maintained food stalls. Terminal B’s seats are equipped with outlets, the bathrooms are squeaky clean, and the stores are, well, kind of exceptional. Notably, there’s a miniature version of the beloved, highly curated Soho bookstore McNally Jackson. The shop combines traditional airport books — best-selling thrillers, business titles, and flashy biographies — with hundreds of less-obvious airplane-friendly literary picks: On a grab-and-go table out front, Random Family and a stack of Tana French thrillers sit beside Becoming, by Michelle Obama. And for those wanting to bone up on the Midwest before a flight to Chicago, say, there is a substantive travel section.

Vintage Clothes

51 35th St., nr. Second Ave., Sunset Park; 718-801-7936

Twice a year, the traveling vintage marketplace A Current Affair touches down in Brooklyn, with clothing, shoes, and accessories from over 150 of the world’s best retailers and private dealers. Devoted shoppers from across the tristate area pay $12 to enter a space so saturated with beautiful vintage — and with other devoted shoppers — that it feels like a month wouldn’t be enough time to carefully sort through it. This is what made the news that the curators of A Current Affair had opened a full-time shop in Industry City so exciting. The space, which feels like a minimalist bohemian loft, is a much less stressful version of the (still-running) marketplace. The selection is (extremely) pared down — only a couple hundred pieces are ever in the shop at once — but the team carefully rotates the floor weekly, so the racks perpetually feel new. A recent trip yielded a red velvet Tom Ford–era Gucci blazer ($498), a 1970s Lanvin couture floral dress ($798), and a 1980s Gianni Versace sheer silver moto jacket ($228).

Arcade. Photo: Alexander Barreto

Toddler Athleisure

206 Washington St., nr. Vesey St. 212-587-1901

It was perhaps a bit depressing to see a discount chain take over 65,000 square feet of a landmark Financial District building credited as the first Art Deco skyscraper in NYC. But this is a neighborhood where kids’ boutiques regularly charge upwards of a hundred dollars for a cotton-blend sweatshirt. So it sure is nice to see so many striped Polo tees and Dri-FIT leggings on clearance. It seems appropriate that brands like Nike and Under Armour were reportedly in talks to lease this space before Marshalls set up here in 2017: Those labels are everywhere on the particularly robust toddler racks (the buyers clearly know the local demographic), with a Swoosh tank for as little as two bucks, a quilted puffer for $18, fleece sweatpants for $10, and plenty of little grippy athletic socks, Adidas sneakers, and Tiger Woods–style baseball caps to top it all off. And despite this location’s being three times the size of the many other Marshalls invading Brooklyn and Manhattan these days, the discreet alleyway entrance has the tranquil feel of an old-world department store with none of the Century 21 crowds.


FAO Schwarz
30 Rockefeller Plz., nr. Sixth Ave. 800-326-8638

FAO Schwarz, which had been in New York for 145 years, closed its Fifth Avenue location in 2015 and opened the doors (guarded, like the original location’s, by toy soldiers, who are dressed, unlike the original location’s, in uniforms designed by Gigi Hadid) to its new 20,000-square-foot flagship just before the holidays. Inside is a veritable Who’s Who of the children’s toy world in 2019. There’s a Melissa & Doug grocery store, where kids can fill mini-carts with wooden cantaloupes and raw steaks; the perennially popular Hatchimals have a solo display. Also unlike the original location, this FAO is rife with “experiences” — there’s a baby-adoption setup, where “doctors” teach children how to properly tend to their dolls, and a raceway, where customers can work with trained mechanics to build remote-controlled cars. For nostalgia’s sake, the store brought back two FAO mainstays: the three-story clock tower and a spiffed-up, 15-feet-longer facsimile of the iconic dance-on piano.

Concept Store

10 Corso Como
1 Fulton St., nr. South St.; 212-265-9500

That Carla Sozzani would open the first U.S. outpost of her famed 10 Corso Como in the city’s still-developing, out-of-the-way Seaport District makes sense: She opened the venerated boutique’s first location, in Milan in the early ’90s, in a (then) out-of-the-way converted garage. The Manhattan store seamlessly translates what makes its Milanese counterpart so special. At over 28,000 square feet, it contains a gallery displaying a selection of Steve Hiett; a (genuinely delicious) Italian restaurant; and home items, including a Hot Dog sofa by Seletti x Studio Job ($7,100). And then there are the clothes. The store has one of the largest collections of pieces by Azzedine Alaïa, knits from Sies Marjan (from $495), and a range of only–in–New York items, like a line of tourist-destination-inspired garb that Sozzani created in collaboration with Off-White. The space, too, is a marvel: The ceiling is studded with 500 metallic disc-shaped lights by the artist Kris Ruhs, and, at the shop’s center, a glazed box houses dozens of exotic plants (in pots decorated, of course, with a nod to 10CC’s spotted logo).

*This article appears in the March 4, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Best of New York Shopping 2019