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Village Music World

Although the red awning outside 197 Bleecker Street reads, “Village Music World,” the store, which sells new and vintage records and CDs, is actually called Village Revival Records. Jamal Alnasr opened Village Music in 1994, in perhaps the tiniest store on the block. Over the next three decades, New York University swallowed up Village real estate, and by 2017 the neighborhood was largely owned by either the university or fast-casual-restaurant franchises. Alnasr was priced out of his lease and forced to temporarily close the shop. He sold his own house to reopen his record store, and christened the new iteration Village Revival. Stop by and talk with him about everyone from Black Sabbath to the Rolling Stones to Lana Del Rey while browsing thousands of albums. ( —Jensen Davis


Sam Wai Liquor Store

Before leaving Sam Wai Liquor Store with slumped shoulders and empty hands, first-time customers will eagerly scour through a massive selection of Chinese liquors and French wines. The modest prices promise a night full of imbibing. That is, until it’s time to check out at the cash register. “Cash only,” says the woman behind the counter. She interrupts further inquiries with “I don’t speak English.” Potential patrons have no other choice but to leave. At least they’ll meet Kiki, the stray orange cat who sits on the checkout counter. Employees at Sam Wai don’t go out of their way for new customers because they don’t have to. As the oldest liquor store in Chinatown, Sam Wai has catered to locals, neighbors, and friends of friends for 120 years. These are the type of people who remember to bring a roll of cash in their back pocket, and who are on a first-name basis with Kiki. They have the pleasure of scratching her head good-bye with one hand while gripping a bottle of Moutai baijiu in the other. ( —Carolina de Armas


Pino’s Prime Meat

In a narrow, tenement-style building on Sullivan Street, this butcher shop has been supplying New Yorkers with quality meat for the last 118 years. Since 1992, it’s been under the ownership of Pino Cinquemani, who comes from a long line of Sicilian butchers. Cinquemani first visited New York in 1973, for what was meant to be his honeymoon. Then he got a job as a butcher and never left. Cinquemani has kept Pino’s an old-school, no-frills shop—the butchers use a thick, worn-down wood cutting board, make sausages in the back, and hang them from the ceiling to age. Now Cinquemani is bringing in a new generation of butchers: his sons, Sal and Leo; and his nephew, also named Sal. They’ll keep supplying the best dry-aged porterhouse in New York. ( —Clara Molot



There are plenty of historic New York pizzerias, but none are as relentlessly traditional as Arturo’s. The Greenwich Village staple first flung its doors open in 1957. While its founder, Arturo Giunta, died in 2006, his spirit is still alive in the restaurant. Worn leather booths, signed headshots, and dark wood walls suck you back into the Village’s grungy past. All the red-sauce classics are on the menu—chicken-cutlets parmigiana, vodka ravioli, saucy meatballs—but we suggest skipping the main course and going straight for the coal-oven pizza. And order one of their excellent martinis. ( —Elena Clavarino


Artifacts 20th Century

Artifacts 20th Century, a cheerful furniture-and-design store on Mott Street in Nolita, has a small-town, mom-and-pop-store feel but is filled with midcentury-modern gems. Owner Bob Lawton first opened the store in 2012 on Crosby Street, moving it five years later to its current location. Lawton possesses a discerning eye for 20th-century furniture, filling his store with carefully curated pieces made by the period’s legendary designers, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, and Paul McCobb, to name just a few. Lawton has done the hard work; all you have to do is choose. ( —Clara Molot


Thompson Chemists

Europe still has America beat when it comes to independent pharmacies, which are quickly becoming a relic of the past in our own fair city. If you’re looking for a place where you can browse vintage toothpastes while picking up your Ativan refill, head to Thompson Chemists, just off of West Houston. The pharmacy will have you wondering if you’re in Le Marais instead of a small shop sandwiched between a pet store and a nail salon. Serving the community since 1994, this independent pharmacy specializes in hard-to-find brands, such as Biafine, Nuxe, Leonor Greyl, and Spectacle. The characters behind the counter are experts, providing borderline-excessive information on products and prescriptions. On my latest visit, after purchasing the Spectacle Performance Crème and a few of my favorite Avène ointments, the cashier carefully explained each product to me. Try getting that service at a Duane Reade. Whether you’re on a hunt for Philip B. or simply want to browse, Thompson Chemists is worth the visit. ( —Gracie Wiener


New Top Jewelry

To an undiscerning eye, New Top Jewelry is just one of many jewelry shops in Chinatown. People who have searched New York for reasonably priced 14-karat-gold hoops, chains, and studs know that it’s one of the best shops in Manhattan. For more than 20 years, shopkeeper Jane Shuai has helped customers—including longtime fans Mellany Sanchez, Kim Shui, Kimberly Drew, and Paloma Elsesser—navigate her overwhelming selection. The store is so beloved it’s landed Shuai in high-fashion campaigns; she’s posed in her narrow store for Valentino, Alexander Wang, and Kith. Still, she’s patient and kind to every shopper. Shuai works seven days a week, so stop by and see for yourself. ( —Clara Molot

Issue No. 175
November 19, 2022
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Issue No. 175
November 19, 2022