Best of Manhattan 2023: Neighborhood Stores

| 12 Dec 2023 | 12:16




1071 5th Avenue


Located inside everyone’s favorite Frank Lloyd Wright-designed modern art museum—with ramps— the Guggenheim gift shop proffers a wide, creative selection of art and design inspired souvenirs, books, clothing, jewelry, and a plethora of other knick-knacks and doo-dads for aesthetes of all ages. Some favorites include a spiral mug and teapot; Nick Cave Soundsuit Punching Bag; Vasily Kandinsky socks and ties; and the Hilma af Klint “bum bag.”


American Museum of Natural History

200 Central Park West


What can one say about one of the city’s most beloved institutions? Once you start, one wants to discuss it all—the elephants, the butterflies, the dinosaurs, that giant blue whale! Alas, since time and space don’t often allow us to enthuse as much as we could, souvenirs will have to do, including a huge array of outer space-themed clothing and toys; dinosaur-style onesies, t-shirts, hats, socks and pins, including a white ceramic triceratops planter; a veritable herd of elephant-themed items; even a magnetic shark bottle opener.


National Museum of the American Indian

1 Bowling Green


One of the city’s under known treasures, the National Museum of the American Indian, operated under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, deserves far more attention than it usually gets. While the United States’ debt to Native Americans is one that can never fully be repaid, one can support their ongoing traditions by purchasing a large variety of Native-produced and themed arts, crafts, jewelry, music, and books. Admission to both the shop and its museum is free, and open 364 days a year—taking off only Christmas Day.




Rosa Rosa

831A Lexington Avenue


As the genius writer Gertrude Stein observed, “a rose is a rose is rose,” and what Rosa Rosa lacks in repetition, it more than makes up for in affordable floral excellence. Opened in 1987, their specialty is, as their name suggests, roses, of they which receive fresh deliveries daily. A vast selection of arrangements and centerpieces are available in sizes from small to “monster.” Orchids, calla lily, tulips, and peonies are also popular. Friendly staff and reliable delivery make Rosa Rosa a business to return to.


The Secret Garden

621 Amsterdam Avenue


Secret Garden has been an Upper West Side favorite since the 1990s. Operating under the slogan, “Where flowers bloom so does hope!” owner and manager Monique Lee draws on her Asian heritage to offer Ikebana and Korean style arrangements, in addition to all the expected Western floral and plant offerings. Orders for weddings, birthdays, holidays and all other occasions are happily accepted. Same day delivery is often available on the Upper West Side.


Scotts Flowers

15 W. 37th St


Owned and operated by the Palliser family since 1982, Scott’s isn’t the cheapest flower shop in town but when, one hears the horror stories about certain other florists who got it wrong (withered flowers, wrong colors, wrong deliveries)—you’ll be glad to pay the price for quality. Working with growers from Alaska to New Zealand, Scott’s creates designs of all kinds for every possible event, from baby showers to bar/bat mitzvah, bridal showers and beyond.




New York Paint & Hardware

1668 1st Avenue


Opened by a Michael Gorelik, an immigrant from Belarus, in 1986 and run today by his sons, Frank and Shawn, New York Paint & Hardware is the American dream exemplified. In addition to being a Benjamin Moore paint store, they sell everything you’d expect a hardware emporium to carry while providing expert lamp repair also. A nearby sister store, the First Avenue Supply Houses, offers a wide range of plumbing, heating and electrical materials.


Gartner’s Hardware

162 West 72nd St


The proverbial store with “everything,” Gartner’s has been an independently owned mainstay for six decades, predating big box stores, online shopping, cell phones and the internet. Indeed, the store is so old, few people remember who the namesake Gartner was Leave such worries to the historians, however. The great selection and service of the store is legacy enough. Tools, locks, keys, mousetraps, lightbulbs, air conditioners and professional a/c installation—Gartner’s got it.


Barney’s Hardware,

467 6th Avenue


First opened in 1929 by a Barney lost to time, today’s iteration, occupying the ground floor of a four story rowhouse, is jammed, floor to ceiling, with what the West Village needs to keep its apartments and shops in order: tools, paints, nails, weather seal, lights, insect traps, work gloves, keys, and a million other things, give or take. The staff is pleasant, knowledgeable and so often inspired you might find yourself taking on more work than intended just for the pleasure of their company.