Best of NYC

By Stacey Cervellino

Nolita is that area north of Little Italy: a neighborhood hangout and a tourist trap all in one. Tourists flock to Mulberry as they tour Soho, Little Italy and Canal Street, and make their way east from Broadway on a Saturday afternoon. It has the perfect balance of high-end boutiques and trendy fun shops, restaurants and coffee houses.

John Fluevog
250 Mulberry Street
(212) 431-4484
Mon-Sat: 11-7 / Sun: 12-6
www.fluevog.com

Starting at Prince Street, on the corner of Mulberry and Prince you’ll find the beloved shoe store John Fluevog with its edgy designs.

Founded by John Fluevog and ex-partner Peter Fox (known for his unconventional ladies wedding shoes), in 1969, they began selling turn of the century shoes they had purchased from an old warehouse. These shoes inspired the designs that have made Fluevog famous. With only 9 retail stores in N. America and Australia, “shoes to vie for, shoes to die for,” Fluevog’s designs are handmade in small quantities.

Fluevog is known for his chunky Mary Janes and Bond-girl/Goth girl boots in white, with laces, or adorned with buckles.

For spring try the more feminine Pin-Ups Collection featuring the Miss June open toe wedge heeled sandals in fuchsia and blue or orange and fuchsia for $175 or the Rita Vogs Haute Hippie Clog with the cut out hand painted upper on a birch base in sunburst and olive for $229.

Join celeb clients Kim Gordon, Madonna, and Perry Farrell and get in on the Fluevog action.

Eight Mile Creek
240 Mulberry Street
www.eightmilecreek.com
212.431.4635

Three friends from South Australia opened one of only 2 Australian restaurants in NYC, Eight Mile Creek in 1999. It brings together their love for Australian wine and introduces New Yorkers to modern Australian cuisine combining Australia flavors with European, Asian, and Aboriginal influences. On the lunch and brunch menu you’ll find Australian and American fare: eggs, burgers, bangers and mash, fish and chips, veggie burgers, salads, fruits, and of course the old favorite, especially for the Men at Work fans: the vegemite sandwich.

At Dinner be adventurous, try the emu medallions, the kangaroo or keep it on the DL with tuna steak, organic chicken, or the Portobello mushroom entrée for the vegetarians and a selection from their impressive wine list. For desert: the Sticky Date Pudding with Ginger ice cream. Our waitress offered great service and was well versed in wines.

Below the restaurant is the The Creek, a laidback pub with exposed stone walls, a coal fire oven, a bar menu, and lots of rugby and cricket on the telly. A bit sporty with a hand full of guys in suits, the Creek has the potential for attracting lots of handsome Aussies.

Out-the-back, a work in progress, is EMC’s outdoor soon to be winterized garden, complete with a built in Barbie/firepot. In the summer it’s BYOB-bring your own beef and grill with locals and Australian regulars.

Hooky Vintage Lifestyle
238 Mulberry Street
212.219.9987

Remember the days of dollar a pound at your local Salvation Army? You and your best friend would hit the store like 2 hawks, searching for the best kill-only to find you’ve both got your hands on the most fabulous 70’s pantsuit you’ve ever seen? Well, I do. I miss the days when vintage was still a five dollar secret. Although the prices at Hooky are well, pricey, the clothes are exquisite. This is not a store full of limp polyester dresses touted as vintage couture, this is the really thing. The man behind the crinoline is Joseph Sipos, creative director and shopper extraordinaire. He finds most of his pieces at Estate Sales-a wonderful, yet sometimes creepy way to find great stuff-paintings, furniture, and clothing, being that the former owner of said piece is now deceased and you just might be wearing Grandma Rose’s caftan, but boy do you look good!

With a gaggle of celebrity clients and private sales, Hooky offers the consumer one of a kind pieces and lifestyle items such as sunglasses and bags. Dresses are between $50-$1200, most in the $300 range. Going to a wedding? Try Hooky for a glamorous piece. Getting married? Put your brides maids in vintage 50’s cocktail dresses and find yourself a white lace 50’s dress to complete the picture.

The store itself is organized and easy to navigate with 1960’s inspired glass sculptures in the window-each over 6 feet tall, in bright colors selling for $4000 each.

In a city with an ever-changing fashion uniform, Hooky is a fresh breath of vintage air.

Ricky’s Natural
235 Mulberry Street
212.925.6750

Across the street from Cutie Room is Ricky’s Natural, an off-shoot of our beloved Ricky’s stores. RN carries everything natural from Zone bars to Burt’s Bee products, to Phyto hair care products and the long lasting great smelling Pacifica candles-Brazilian Mango and Indochine are yummy. My new find: long lasting Swoon Candles out of LA for $30. Try the subtle smell of Sugared Pomelo. www.swooncandles.com.

The second half of the store is devoted to yoga-mats, yoga and meditation books, Vishnu lunchboxes, Prana tee dyed tees @ $34.99, Omgirl tees and tanks, Yoga Tribe tanks that says “the self is the guru,” journals and Mad Libs.

Then you reach: THE BACK ROOM aka the “adult fantasy room”. An 8 year old asked her dad about the funny mannequins, one dressed as a dom lording over and her kimono-clad masked slave, whip in hand. I encouraged the sales clerk to send her packing. I however needed no help in finding my way through the leather tasseled entry way where I found such useful items as: the Pecker Party Hat, the penis pià±ata, the I Rub My Duckie vibrator, and of course: Liquid Love massage oil in flavors like Strawberry and Peaches and Cream. Eeeww.

If you need a lift on the way out, Ricky’s Natural carries “Take Outs”-silicone bra inserts or,” the better boob job,” behind the register.

indomix
232 Mulberry Street
212.334.6356
www.indomix.com

One day two sisters of South Asian/American background went on a search to find the perfect wedding gown: something that combined South Asian and Western cultures and came out empty hadned. Realizing there was a void in the fashion market in NYC for this kind of fashion fusion, they found their first Indian designer at a fashion show and the result was indomix. Indomix offers sexy, exotic turns on current trends and Western lines, accented with vibrant South Asian fabrics, and jewelry-like trims and appliqués.

Their prices range from $85-$500, well worth it for the detailing and craftsmanship that goes into each piece.

The original Jutis-the popular beaded leather slippers are $65, tied dyed Bhandini tube tops in brilliant colors sell for $85, and the starburst skirt in shades of pinks and lime green for $165 has tiers of silk, each with different gradients of color, divided by a red velvet ribbons with gold trim.

The embroidered caftans are magnificent in colors like orange and purple. They run about $350.

Other standouts were designer Malini Ramani’s feminine iris and white dress/shirt made with stretch net, and mirror appliqués, invoking a 20’s feel for $310 and Payal’s tunics in white and pink silk, with gold brocade and gold threading for $225.

Indomix makes dressing an art form.

Tina Tang Nolita
230 Mulberry Street and 49 Greenwich Ave
212.226.3369
www.tinatang.com

Tina started out at Goldman Sacks, and left, like me in 1998, to pursue her dreams. I was only a temp and I was leaving to go to grad school for acting,, but Tina was an equities trader making oodles of money….and left it all to pursue her passion for jewelry making.

Her high-end pieces like the 14K white gold Horseshoe diamond necklace for $289 and the 14K white gold double Cherry diamond necklace for $268 are classic and sexy.

Looking for an inexpensive accessory? Choose a gold chain for $75 or a sterling silver chain for $25 and pick your charm: tiny handcuffs, a martini glass, a high heel, a crown, a horseshoe, and an nyc charm to name a few. Sterling Silver charms are $18, Rose Gold are $55.

Need a gift? Try the tiny skull and cross bones necklace for $45 or the teensy heart necklace for $40. On her website you’ll find the exquisite Open Lotus necklace for $65, the Peony necklace for $69, and the hammered silver Crescent and Moon necklaces for $99.

For the bride to be this spring, her collection of bridal jewelry is filled with pearls and crystal drop necklaces and earrings. Her charm bracelets and necklaces also make great gifts for the bridal party.

Tina’s store, like her jewelry is uncluttered, feminine and cool.

Eva
227 Mulberry Street
212.925.3208

A stark and streamlined store, Eva ups the ante on Mulberry as a high-end boutique Eva supplies customer favorites: Acne Action Jeans from Sweden, Imitation of Christ pieces, and Roberto Cavalli bikinis. My faves were the rocker tees from Brooklyn’s Red toenails $187 and Christopher Dean’s strapless 50’s inspired chiffon dresses in white on white and black with peach and grey accents for $390. Definitely more Soho than Nolita, Eva is still worth a browse.

Rubys
219B Mulberry Street
212.925.5755

Ruby’s is the perfect addition to Mulberry Street: a mellow, small, and simple bistro with only a few tulip topped wooden tables and beautiful patrons. The front window is taken out on warm days and in front of Rubys is a bench where many a beautiful man can be found hanging out on a sunny day . Rubys is cash only and offers yummy fresh salads, paninis, pastas, burgers, and breakfast. Everything is under $11 dollars. Where else can you get a roast pumpkin salad with spinach, pine nuts and goat cheese for $9? They also offer coffee, teas, smoothies and my new addiction: sticky date pudding!

Cat fish Greetings
219A Mulberry Street
212.625.1800
www.catfishgrettings.com

Every street has its star, and indomix and Cat fish are tied in my book. They both combine innovation with a lighthearted approach to design. Cat fish has been around for about a year-they started as a wholesale greeting card company, designing their own greeting cards. Their store features the Cat fish line along with other innovative designers.

The hand-made cards are fun and mod,with delicate detailing and for the most part-blank inside-an answer to your “I’m a minimalist and I can’t find anything in this cheesy Hallmark store” prayers. They run $5 and up.

Cat fish also carries stationary box sets with pop art and mod stylings, journals, hula girl address books, retro coasters, hand made gift wrap, and Keekababy.com-infant tees and bodysuits that say things like my pumpkin, sweet pea, honey bunny, cupcake. They come in ready to mail boxes all for $22.

Detail and craftsmanship combined with Loi Luc and Danny Mei, Cat fish’s fantastic owners ensure success for this unique store.

Coqueta lingerie
215 Mulberry Street
212.966.0333

I know that men rarely notice your lingerie. I could count on one hand how many times a guy has said to me-nice bra-that lace work is so intricate….it’s usually, “you know how I feel about all this underwear stuff-it just gets in the way.” None-the-less, ladies love for lingerie, especially high end pieces and Coqueta’s got’em. They carry comfy and sexy lace boy shorts, thongs, and cotton bikinis by Hanky Panky($18-$30), Betsey Johnson’s rock and roll thongs with rhinestone lips and handcuff appliqués $18, and French lines Huit and Aubade with their detailed lace, under wire, and mesh creations. Bras range from $65-$89. The Aubade pieces were my choice-orange and pink lace bras with floral mesh backs and satin buttons up the middle for $89.

The French Riviera bound lass can find some very James Bond-esque one pieces bathing suits for $231 and lots of rhinestoned Korean costume jewelry for that extra bling.

Ana Kim, the owner is Korean, but spent most of her life in Paraguay. She said she wants to make women look and feel beautiful and she’s well on her way!

Pomodoro Ristorante
Corner of Spring Street and Mulberry Street

At the corner of Mulberry and Spring is Pomodoro Ristorante. Known for their penne vodka and vodka pizza, Pomodoro delivers a typical Long Island pizzeria experience: Z-100 on the radio, plastic tablecloths on the tables, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, fantastic counter guys and the kind of heroes every Italian girl dreams about: egg, pepper and onions, sausage and peppers, and the Italian sub with the works. Finish off your perfect hero or pizza with a glass of wine, beer, Pellegrino or a cappuccino. The brick oven style-thin crust pizza? Not bad.

Pomodoro is a great place to refuel or to meet a group of lonely tourists…just waiting for a friendly New York gal to offer to “show them around.”

Ceci-Cela
55 Spring Street
212.274.9179

One last plug….around the corner from Pomodoro, the best coffee in the city can be found at Ceci-Cela, a French patisserie with table service in the back and flakey melt-in -your-mouth croissants. Known for their pastry and cakes, they also have a wholesale business and provide cakes and deserts for weddings. Bring a friend, a laptop, or get a cup of that oh so French coffee to go, fortifying you for the shopping ahead.

Originally published May 2005
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