Best of Manhattan 2002: Services

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Digital Society
60
E. 10th St. (betw. B’way & University Pl.)
777-3093



iDoc. This Mac fixit
joint offers thoroughly reliable and efficient technical service at costs that
match the competition. Now that that’s out of the way, what we really prefer
about Digital Society is its bedside manner. See, if there’s an ass-end
to the synergy ideal and the supposed ease of managing one’s life through
a box, it’s just that: our entire fucking world is in there. A sick laptop
is no longer just an inconvenience, it’s a disaster. In the past it bothered
us not, to be corralled like cattle, to have to take a number deli-style, wait
wait wait and then describe our PowerBook’s symptoms to some preoccupied,
side-glancing service department techie. But now, the damn thing is an extension
of us. Its cancer is our cancer. And we want the best treatment available.



Thankfully, Digital Society
comes off more like a physician’s family practice than steerage for puking
Macs. This feeling begins with physical details of the store, which is small,
well-lighted, sedate and situated conveniently on the ground floor on 10th St.
It extends to the highly competent service department and in particular to Manny,
an accommodating tech guy who’s not once balked at giving us the ad-hoc
consult when we were really desperate. And it also includes a respectful, intelligent
attitude toward customer consideration–need a quick power-supply loaner
or a short-term battery swap? Not a problem. We confer this accolade with some
hesitation, not wanting to spoil a good thing and all, but we’ve got faith
that the good doctor’ll continue to deliver.



Best Goofy Name
For a Pet Store



Pets for Less
490
Court St. (betw. Huntington & Nelson Sts.)
Brooklyn, 718-222-9132



When You Don’t Care
Enough to Get the Very Best.
Hello, Mr. Pets for Less Shopkeeper, sir. We’re
looking for a pet, a boon companion to give us affection and comfort for the
next, oh, seven to 12 years. A furry li’l ball o’ somethin’ we
can cuddle and curl up with and feed and groom and teach to do tricks and just
love love love.



But we’re not looking
to spend a lot on it, y’know?



Yeah, that’s what we
want: a discount kitty. You got something with maybe like three legs you can
cut us a deal on? Or some mangy old dog with only a year or two left on its
ticker? A dead goldfish? A really psycho African gray? What’s that thing
lying in the back of that cage? That dirty thing that ain’t moving and
looks like the business end of a well-used dust mop? What can you do for us
on that?


Best Place
to Find

Your Signature Scent



Demeter
83
2nd Ave. (5th St.)
473-3450



Smells Like a Winner.
In the interest of full disclosure, we must admit that we bought the Cliff’s
Notes to Moby Dick when we were juniors at Syracuse. We were never assigned
Remembrance of Things Past, but would have probably cheated on that assignment
too. Aside from that Monty Python skit where they summarize his work in song
("Proust in his first book wrote about, wrote about…"), the only
other thing we know about Proust is that he went on and on about that damn cookie.
It never fails–every opening paragraph of any article about nostalgia or
memories of growing up mentions Proust and his madeleine.



We guess if we had to pick
a sense memory, it would involve trading Bonne Bell lipsmackers in the girls’
locker room at Northeast Junior High, after swim class. We know, not very classy,
but there is a place that recreates that sensation, but on a more sophisticated
scale: Demeter, the fragrance shop in the East Village. Actually, it’s
more accurate to call it a fragrance library. They have every scent you could
imagine, from Sugar Cookie to Holy Water to Ginger Ale, with Earthworm and Popcorn
and Pipe Tobacco thrown in for good measure. It’s so much fun to wander
around and check out Christopher Brosius’ eclectic offerings in their simple
but beautiful packaging. You can take some of the little tester strips and pick
a bottle at random and say to your friend, "Hey, it really does smell like
tomato!" or "Check this out, it smells just like a laundromat!"
If you tire of that, you can alter your mood with one of their Attitude Adjustment
lotions: they offer Vexed, Crabby and Jilted, to name a few, along with Happily
Foaming Bath Gel. All in all, the store reminds us of that literary classic
we read in high school, Scents and Sensibilities. (Well, we did a report
on it, but we never actually read it…)



Best Way to Kill a Rat



Get the NYC Dept. of Health
To
Do It for You

442-9666,
www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pest/pestrat.html



Die, Foul Beasts!
We were so busy looking for our keys that we hardly saw the flowerpot tremble
or the nosy culprit emerge, but when he brazenly pranced about our feet, we
took notice and vengeful action. But only after shrieking and performing a mindless
dance, of course. Turned out that the lone rat was a member of a gang that numbered
close to a dozen and resided a few doors down in a set of window boxes.



The job was clearly too
big for us to handle, so we called in reinforcements–namely "the inspectors"
from the Pest Control Services Division. This branch of the health department
was formed in 1964, when it was realized that the rat population had grown disturbingly
large. A telephone call or e-mailed rodent complaint form alerts the unit of
the problem, then a team is quickly dispatched–usually within 24 hours–to
inspect, exterminate and clean up the corpses. Now we confidently cruise through
the city, knowing that pests who cross us will feel our wrath. (Note: Death
doesn’t come quickly to street-savvy rodents; they usually move about in
a drugged daze for a day until they finally drop dead and can be collected.)



Best Williamsburg Hair
Salon



Mousey Brown
144
Bedford Ave. (N. 9th St.)
Brooklyn, 718-486-7971



Mighty Mousey. Meredith
Chesney (known around these parts as Miz Jolene) was homesteading Williamsburg
eons before it became Bedford Ave. U, and her perseverance has paid off in a
steady clientele so satisfied that getting an appointment with her is like getting
front-row center seats for Hairspray. Of course, it doesn’t hurt
that she and her gals give great cuts. They can do ultra-trendy, they can do
runway chic, they can get you prepped for that job interview or that big date,
they can do that hipster dork thing the boy geeks in Williamsburg do, and they
can do our fucked-up-but-with-purpose look so well we actually commute to W-burg
from rather a long way off to see them. It’s a casual, funky-cool atmo,
too, which takes a lot of the stress out of getting your hair cut. But we’re
not kidding: Ms. Jolene has been away all summer, so her appointment book is
probably a nightmare, and you want to be booking weeks or a month in advance
to see her.



Best "Looks Like
a Pump,
Feels Like A Sneaker"
Plus-Size Party Shoes



LaDuca Shoes
534
9th Ave. (betw. 39th & 40th Sts.)
268-6751, www.laducashoes.com



Like Sideshow Bob’s,
Only Bigger.
Our feet are wide and getting wider by the year, and this does
not bring us shame. We like shoes a lot, and we see nothing wrong with that.
We’re proud of our broad and bucolic feet. To us they scream "America."



Unfortunately, America does
not agree with us. Even in these tolerant times, we suffer on a steady diet
of mukluks and moonboots, clogs and Nikes. Our prom shoes were acquired during
a field trip to Patricia Field’s; we’d seen them first on RuPaul.
And yet designers do not want to make shoes for us. May we take this space to
make a public service announcement? High-end designers, do women like us not
deserve attractive and varied stiletto wear as do our sisters in the lotus-blossom
sizes?


For now, we’re happy
at LaDuca’s. We found this tidy storefront while walking back from Cupcake
Cafe. Beautiful, 40s-inspired heels lined the window, and only after walking
in did we realize we were shopping at a dancers’ store. So much the better,
we thought–if a woman’s going to be working out in these shoes, they’ve
got to at least be comfortable enough to get us around a buffet table.


Phil LaDuca, a dancer and
shoe designer, helped us choose a petal-pink, strappy version of his standard
shoe–as perfect a Degas fetish as you can get in a size 12. The design
was sent to his manufacturer in Italy and arrived a month later. In all, we
spent a very reasonable $169.95 for the shoes, another $15 for the soles (the
shoes arrive outfitted for the stage, not the street, so you’ll have to
take them to a cobbler if you want to wear them outside), and ever since we’ve
been wearing them like sneakers.



Best Cheap DVDs



NYC Liquidators
158
W. 27th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.)
675-7400



Loaded with Extra Features.
It’s kind of dingy, and awful cramped, and you can’t really go in
there cold thinking you’ll find a specific title. But you will find something.
And chances are good you’ll find something you never knew existed.



On one recent trip, we picked
up King of the Zombies, Bowery at Midnight, Lon Chaney’s
Hunchback of Notre Dame, Evel Knievel (starring George Hamilton),
I Spit on your Grave, Too (not a sequel) and Invasion USA (which
contains the greatest Christmas scene of any movie, ever). They have an excellent
blaxploitation selection and a great Faces of Death knockoff selection,
too. And most all of them cost about $5. Sometimes if you’re grabbing something
fancy, like The Big Doll House, they can go up to $10, but that’s
about as high as the prices get. You won’t find another store in town–even
counting other liquidators–with prices like that.


Beyond the DVDs (which still
constitute a relatively new and small section), NYC Liquidators carries hundreds
of videotapes, thousands of CDs–and their collection of just plain weird
porn still can’t be beat, if only for the titles alone (our most recent
favorite was Big Fat Fuckers 8). Very little of it seems to be in any
order at all–but that’s what makes going there all the more fun.


He was dragged to detox
in handcuffs on a Wednesday. If we were to be glib about it, we’d add that
two nights later we shuffled onto the unit in dirty cutoffs with a Kate Spade
handbag dangling from our wrist, flanked by two ruddy, cheerful ambulance drivers.



It had been 72 hard hours
since our last beat shot of dope and coke, and the blessed psych meds were starting
to take the edge off. Despite the ripening goose egg on our forehead (after
waiting five hours for a hippie to do our intake, we got a touch bratty and
bashed our head repeatedly against the Monet poster on the wall in the crisis
cubby at the ER), we finally felt something like high and mighty. Big emphasis
on the mighty.


The nurses on third shift
started cooing over our handbag during the strip search. In a haze of Seroquel–the
Miller of antipsychotics, administered by rote to anyone who goes ape in central
booking–we informed them that our handbag cost more than they make in two
weeks. That’s great, honey, the bigger nurse replied, as she tossed us
our tanktop. Here’s a bar of soap and do you need to brush your teeth?
Sure you do. It won’t be too easy on the gums but you won’t mind.
Hands us a dimestore toothbrush in a cellophane sheath and we wonder if we’re
going to get hostile again.


It doesn’t happen.
After a dim interval, we’re face-planted on a crackling twin bed, retching
in the foamy darkness as another nurse dumps the contents of our handbag. Loose
pills and tubes of lipstick spatter onto the linoleum. We’ll be flushing
your Xanax, honey, she says gently. That Clonidine will be kicking in soon.
Try to get some sleep.


And our last thought, before
commencing the long, blank thrash toward dawn, is the same last thought we’ve
had for months: Fuck.



Best New Bag



Balenciaga
Available
at Kirna Zabete
96 Greene St. (betw.
Prince & Spring Sts.)
941-9656



It’s the Anti-Bag-of-the-Moment
Bag.
Recession-special prices have hit the most unlikely of products–fashion’s
must-have designer bags. While we’ve been guilty of suffering from acute
handbag fever in the past (let’s just say we own one too many Prada bowling
bags and Marc Jacobs schoolboy satchels), we’re savvy enough to have passed
on the Fendi croissant (too silly), the Christian Dior saddle (too ugly) and
the Gucci Mombasa (too…too). But we can’t resist Balenciaga’s fall
handbag, a substantially sized 70s-style sack-like suede tote in brown or black,
with of-the-moment metal ring hardware. It’s roomy enough to fit everything–our
bulging Filofaxes, multiple cosmetic bags, oversize wallet and extra pair of
shoes. We love the supersoft velvety texture and its quiet cachet. And at a
mere $650–a refreshing change from the line’s high-ticket numbers
of past seasons, which ranged from $950 to $1150–we can sort-of-afford-it
in our newly employed state. Best of all, it doesn’t even have a silly
name.



Best Store With Hot
Salesboys

Trash & Vaudeville
4 St. Marks Pl. (betw. 2nd
& 3rd Aves.)
982-3590



Viagra in Pleather.
So maybe we don’t need green hair dye, a new pair of bondage pants or pink
furry creepers, but since we’re shopping anyway we had better pick up some
eye candy. Although the clothing at Trash & Vaudeville may not be for the
fashion weak-at-heart, the hottie sales boys will definitely melt yours (that
is, if you have one, you frigid yuppie). Sure, some boys come and some boys
go, and some just keep working retail, but we are constantly hot for the boys
in that store. Often we find that our favorite items in Trash & Vaudeville
think and breathe and unfortunately don’t come with a price tag.



Best Preteen Loafers



Tod’s
650
Madison Ave. (60th St.)
644-5945



A Brief Window. We
really like Tod’s. Not only are the salesladies attractive and friendly
(in stark contrast to other uptown, upscale boutiques), but the loafers for
kids are high-quality and won’t wear out before your child needs a bigger
shoe. So the hand-me-down factor is excellent. We’ve patronized Tod’s
exclusively for black or brown loafers since our sons entered their strict,
dress-code school several years ago.



Alas, there’s a gap
at Tod’s in their inventory of shoes: Up until the age of eight or so (at
least for kids who aren’t already 6 feet tall and being scrutinized by
basketball scouts), you’re in good shape. After that, it’s off to
the races in finding loafers that’ll fit, since Tod’s, like Prada,
inexplicably skips options until your progeny enters his teens. You’d think
in New York City finding quality merchandise in the feet category wouldn’t
be such a pain in the butt. But it is. You’d probably have better luck
in St. Louis.





Best Boots



Christian Louboutin’s
Can-Can
Knee-High Fringe Boots

Available at Jeffrey New
York
449 W. 14th St. (betw.
9th & 10th Aves.)
206-3928.



And We Deserve Them.
Every September we New York gals like to buy new boots. Calf-hugging square-toes.
High-heeled ankle booties. Knee-high faux-crocodile leather. There’s something
very tough and urban about boots (they look ridiculous in shopping malls and
carpeted offices). But this season, we’re not buying clodhopping street-savvy
shit-kickers. We’re going to make do with last year’s outdoor boot
because we are spending our annual boot budget–$650–on the most frivolous,
major-event, can-only-wear-it-twice-a-year, crotch-high Christian Louboutin
can-can boots. Fashion fetishism at its best, the boots are joined together
by three layers of flapper fringe. Like everything sexy, they look even better
from behind. They are forget-it-all-boots, "September 10th" boots,
escapist, lighthearted, fanciful and outrageous. Who can be sad and depressed
in these boots? We feel better just stomping about in them in front of our closet
mirrors at home.



Best Coiffeuse



Laurie Foley
Bumble
and Bumble
146 E. 56th St. (betw.
Lexington & 3rd Aves.)
521-6500



Great Bangs for the Buck.
When she’s not styling the Paris/Milan/NYC fashion shows, or coloring the
hair of our favorite female celebrities, Laurie Foley uses her cutting magic
to transform our hair into a work of art. She’s known for creating a seductive
texture with one’s hair. We have a curly mop, and needed someone who really
understands how to work with what mother nature gave us. That someone is Laurie
Foley. Whether she’s using scissors or her custom straight blades, she
always carves out a haircut that is unique and, most importantly, looks good
on us. We’ve never left her chair unhappy (well, except that one evening
when our hair was all dressed up with no place to go). Instead, we always feel
exhilarated. The last cut we got, we went from medium length to ultra-short,
and left feeling sexier than ever. It’s not the length that matters. It’s
how you wear it.



Best Environmental Lawyer



Joel Kuppferman
New
York Environmental Law
And Justice Project
334-5551,
www.nyenvirolaw.org



Dig It: A Decent Lawyer.
We usually hate environmentalists. What with the majority of them being smelly
hippie tree-huggers, we’d much rather side with the evil corporate guys
in the fashionable suits and neatly slicked-back hair. They are usually men
of few words, and enormous power. But after the attacks on our city last year,
we found those guys in suits to be almost as dangerous as the terrorists themselves.
And that’s why we love Joel Kuppferman. Being one of the first guys
to notice that everyone downtown started to have the same cough and feel the
same way (shitty), Joel took action and teamed up with OSHA, the Uniformed Firefighters
Association and residents downtown in order to find out just what the fuck was
going on. While the EPA was telling everyone the air we breathed was clean and
safe, it was Joel who took superhero-like action, and got the government to
finally admit maybe things just weren’t as they seemed to be. Joel, to
this day, is leading the movement to clean up Lower Manhattan, and if it weren’t
for him, a lot of us might be dead. We love ya, Joel, but dood, cut yer hair!


Best B&T
Female

Bonding Exercise



Navel Piercing at Cliff’s
288
E. Main St. (Rte. 112)
Patchogue, NY, 631-447-2253



Navel Academy. We’re
bleeding profusely in the back of Nic’s new car. Admittedly, we’re
kind of enjoying it–cupping our hands to our belly like we’re holding
in a messy gut shot, and braying like Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs. Nic
is in the passenger seat in full recline, and although she’s not bleeding–the
loop of metal decorating her cola-bloated little belly looks as fresh as a posy–she’s
complaining away. Still hurts. Still hurts. We’re not in pain, but we wished
we didn’t take that megadose of Motrin (a notorious anticoagulant) a few
hours earlier.



Nic’s best friend Jamie
is 19 and a veteran of the piercing wars. She’s driving us home on the
LIE at a terribly swift speed. Jamie has her nipples, bellybutton and "somewhere
else, hee hee" pierced. She’s laughing and passing us wads of kleenex,
plastic bags, whatever, in a sad attempt to sop up the blood. Meanwhile, in
rapid-fire Riverheadese, she’s telling us about the piercing place she
was going to take us to, except when she was there last week the owner pissed
himself while she was talking to him. Much eye rolling and ewww, that’s
fucking sick. So we’re going somewhere else.


Nic has just popped her
piercing cherry. As for us, we had our navel pierced last year by a teenaged
harridan with a hoop earring at the base of her throat, and stupidly, she pierced
us with a thick horseshoe. Why? Because we demanded it, and our money was green.
Three months later, the skin around the metal was dried up and dead, and one
day we simply pulled it out.


In Western Mass, chicks
with navel piercings are rare. Come to think of it, there are barely any chicks
in Western Mass, period. Strictly wash ’n’ go types. Not so on Long
Island, where every girl is high maintenance modified. Tats, booth tan, hair,
heels, piercings–there is no end to the stuff. And the men of Cliff’s
understand that. And, unlike my sullen harridan of Pittsfield, MA, they know
what they’re doing. And no amount of pleading and bitching will change
their minds.


Cliff’s looks and sounds
like any white and chrome tattoo/piercing shitshack: Pantera on high, four or
five dudes with large calf tats and lip studs hanging out, perhaps there is
the insect whine of a tattoo gun audible under the din. We wanted gold. No go,
our piercer said. And we want a barbell-shaped piercing. Nope, he said. It has
to be a stainless-steel ring, nothing else. And it had to be 14-gauge,
which looked small to us. "You’re tiny," he said to us, as we
reclined back in the chair and lifted our shirt. "You don’t want anything
bigger. Trust me."


With forceps, he clamped
the lid of skin over our navel, told us to breathe in and on a count of three:
"One," we recited with him, and then ping. "You’re done,"
he said. "Next." Nic flopped down onto the chair and pulled her already
pubis-grazing Superlows down even farther. All of the men present crowded around.
Five minutes later, we were tipped over in the car and speeding home, barely
$35 poorer. And now, months later, we have a healthy hole in our navel, and
all the tacky jewelry we could ever want.



Best (Potential) Beating
of the Wiz



Best Buy
60
W. 23rd St. (6th Ave.)
366-1373
See bestbuy.com
for Other Locations



The Best One’s Actually
in Jersey.
Sorry to see the Wiz going through such bad times. To be honest,
though, we were ready to kiss the chain goodbye the minute we saw that Best
Buy was about to open a convenient Chelsea location just a few blocks from the
New York Press offices.



Fans of schlock DVDs have
known for years that Best Buy offers great deals in cheap trash. We’ve
picked up all kinds of great horror and sci-fi films for $9.99, while the other
big chains have still been trying to get us to cough up $14.99. The CD selection
isn’t as impressive, but there are also surprisingly good buys when the
occasional errant import item shows up in the racks.


Sadly, the Manhattan location
is kind of a disappointment. The store has gone for this stupid spacious design
that’s probably supposed to look sophisticated. The selection really suffers–especially
in the DVD and CD sections. Still, we have faith that this new Best Buy will
eventually get with the program. There’ll likely be an umpteenth DVD release
of The Evil Dead series sometimes in the next 12 months, and we just
know that Best Buy will be the place for the best…um, buy.



Best Temp Agency to

Score A Full-Time Gig With



Delta Wordsmith
10
E. 40th St. (betw. 5th & Madison Aves.)
725-1727



I’ve Got Work to
Do.
It’s bad out there for the wage slave. Here we were, college educated,
been-around-the-block, happily ensconced in our cube at the cube farm. The paycheck
with the pink slip arrived, and we were out there again, resume in hand. We
went to employment agencies who told us to network, to retrain, to relocate.
Bullshit, we said. We’ll stay. We’ll temp. We’ve done it before,
we’ll probably do it a few more times before we’re through. But this
time, we’ll go where the gigs are. We’ll go to Delta Wordsmith.



Sal, our Delta Wordsmith
counselor, is a cut above the average temp agency pimp who thinks of nothing
but commissions and putting a warm body where a client needs one. He took into
account our needs, skills and schedule, and actually managed to keep us working
35 to 40 hours a week at gigs we were suited to. Ultimately, he found us a permanent
position at a higher salary and better bennies than the one we lost, all within
six months of losing it. This is no small feat in this economy.


Delta has the connections
and the drive, but more than this, Delta also has the common sense to treat
its temps and clients with professionalism and respect. Delta will help you
find a job, even during this, the worst economy in years.



Best Salvation Army
In
Which to Peruse
A Fantastic Selection
of Über-Fab Bags



41 W. 8th St.
(betw. 6th Ave. & MacDougal St.)

995-5384



Who Knew? We must
have been too busy getting tongue piercings and buying incense to notice that
this Salvation Army has been on 8th St. for about three years. But we’re
happy we finally did.



Following the parameters
of the time-honored adage that looks can be deceiving, we discovered that there
lay behind the storefront three floors of the Salv Arm regular merchandise,
with the added bonus of a plethora of bags. Cardboard boxes of purses sit next
to the bag check as you immediately walk in and briefcases line the shelves
along the first-floor walls. Piles of luggage–some matching sets–rest
at the bottom of the rear stairs, which themselves are strung with messenger
bags, backpacks and the occasional string grocery sack. Each landing is a resting
place for larger suitcases and surplus bags that there isn’t room to display.
If one of the straps is missing, it’s not a problem, there’s a box
of extras just in case. With such a selection we feel quite secure in mentioning
this source to the likes of you.



Best Free Auto Assistance



Delancey St., Beneath the
Williamsburg Bridge



Trolling for Help.
There’s never been much joy to be had joyriding in Buford, our sluggish
but strong-as-hell Mazda B3000 pickup. Still, a drive’s always nice. On
a sunny Saturday morning in early spring we pedaled down to the quiet stretch
of Delancey St. that runs parallel with the Williamsburg Bridge above, hopped
in the truck, hit the ignition and listened to a "click click click"
sound that is known in the auto trade as a dead battery. In this case, our third
friggin’ dead battery in as many months. Boy were we pissed. About to give
in and use our last free AAA roadside assist, we noticed that over about four
spaces to the left was a guy and his girlfriend waxing their Monte Carlo. Off
to our right, a big-bellied Puerto Rican guy, finishing his coffee and newspaper.



"No problem,"
said the big-bellied man, when we asked if he could give us a jump off his Mitsubishi
Montero. He hooked up the jumper cables and we moaned on about the way Buford,
who really is reliable otherwise, had been dying on us of late. The man listened
politely, got our truck running again and then called us over to the passenger
side door. "Looks like your glove box door is not totally flush with the
dashboard housing." We hadn’t noticed this from the driver’s
side. What it meant was that the button that shuts off the glove box light was
never fully depressed, which in turn meant there was a constant slow draw of
juice from the battery. Embarrassingly simple, monumentally stupid, completely
overlooked.


The man went over to his
car and came back with a Philips screwdriver, gave three twists to the glove
box locking mechanism and wished us a happy day. We thanked him for sparing
us a garage appointment and headed out down Delancey. Cruising along, we noticed
more owners hanging by their parked cars, some with their hands buried deep
inside the guts of their engines, others underneath, changing their oils and
a few just shootin’ the shit.


"Car culture down here?"
we remarked to no one in particular. "Who’da ever thought?" As
we entered the FDR south from Grand St., we gave Buford a loving pat on the
dash and filed it away for next time.



Best Fabric Store (Sort
of)



Mood
225
W. 37th St., 3rd & 4th fls.
(betw. 7th & 8th
Aves.), 730-5003



Following a Thread.
When you step out of the elevator directly into the showroom of Mood Fabric
Store’s new location, the first thing that strikes you is that it not only
seems to go on forever, but that, unlike most fabric stores, there’s plenty
of room to breathe and move around. This past summer, when they moved their
enormous store from 39th St. down to 37th, they gained not only a ton of extra
floor space, but a whole extra floor altogether.



Once you start going deeper
into the store, however, that initial sense of space and freedom vanishes, and
soon you find yourself in some mighty cramped and twisted quarters, piled floor
to ceiling with massive rolls of every kind of textile imaginable, in every
conceivable pattern. Problem with this–as with most fabric stores–is
that they are arranged in no order whatsoever. Thousands upon thousands of rolls,
and the only way to find what you’re looking for is to, well, keep looking.


They do have everything,
though, there’s no denying that. In the end, what you’re dealing with
is the Strand (no pun intended) of fabric shops–with a staff (when you
can find them) that’s just as helpful, knowledgeable and courteous.



Best Wedding Photographer



Angela Cappetta
566-1855,
www.angelacappetta.com



Precious Moments.
With her candid style, photographer extraordinaire Angela Cappetta is able to
capture those "special moments" at your wedding that otherwise are
lost forever. Moments that tell an infinite story with just the slightest expression
on your proud grandmother’s face, or the baby-soft hands of the groom as
he slips on the wedding ring. Or, in our case, when the best man tried hitting
on our mother, or when our flower girl tripped down the aisle spreading rose
petals and joy throughout the room. Her framing is thought-provoking. Edgy yet
elegant. But don’t go telling everyone about her. You know your wedding
album has to look better than your neighbors’. Ours did.

Best Reason to Clean Out



Your Closet



Beacon’s Closet Used
Clothing Store

110
Bedford Ave. (N. 11th St.)
Brooklyn, 718-486-0816



Heloise Would Approve.
I like reading books and articles on household hints, but I must admit that
some of them sound like more trouble than they’re worth. I mean, am I really
going to scrub the bottom of my pots with a mixture of baking soda and salt,
and then polish them with a cut lemon? No, if they were that dirty, I would
probably just throw them out. If I am going to drag my ancient waffle iron from
the shelf, the one that weighs roughly half a ton, am I going to say to myself,
"I wonder if I have any ginger ale to substitute for the liquid in my favorite
recipe, to make the waffles more light and fluffy?" Again, probably not.



The tips they give for closet
makeovers seem equally unlikely, involving as they do rigging up bars at different
heights and buying little plastic dividers at one of those stores called Hold
It! (or Stop, This Is A Hold-Up! or whatever). Aren’t closets just sort
of there when you move in, and you have to accept them as they are? Still, the
one sensible hint that usually shows up is that you should periodically go through
your clothes and get rid of what doesn’t fit or what you don’t wear
anymore.


One of the best places to
cart all your unwanted items to is Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg. They
will sort through your vintage items or ultra-modern stuff, and give you cash
or credit for the things they take. Sometimes, you have to slink away in shame
when they cheerily tell you, "Nothing this time," but if that happens,
they will donate your stuff to the Salvation Army. Chances are, though, they’ll
take something and then you can happily buy something you will actually wear.
Or you can take the money and buy steel wool. Did you know that you can stuff
it into any cracks in the baseboard so that rats won’t come and gnaw on
you while you sleep?



Best Kids’ Sneakers



Niketown
6
E. 57th St. (betw. 5th & Madison Aves.)
891-6453



An Athletic Theme Park.
Grumpy old geezer that we are, the very notion that our kids refuse to wear
high-top black Converse sneaks (or even Keds) is an unwelcome sign that the
hourglass is spilling sand at an alarming rate. Three times a year we visit
the madhouse known as Niketown, a confusing, multi-floor tourist destination
that’s pure hell on a parent unless you arrive promptly at 10 a.m., when
the palace gates open.



There’s a disturbing
reason why so many preteenagers prefer the footwear at Niketown: most don’t
know how to tie shoelaces. That such a basic skill is now a lost "art"
befuddles us, but that’s beside the point. Surprisingly, the sneakers at
Niketown aren’t prohibitively expensive (which is a blessing, considering
that growth spurts necessitate frequent purchases) and the selection, at least
to our kids, is just swell. Velcro, zip-ups, slip-ons, day-glo models, all the
thrills are on Niketown’s shelves. Despite the frenzy at the store, the
staff is patient, fending off complaints from snotty, demanding customers, and
does its best to accommodate the desires of kids who hem and haw over what footwear
will impress their friends at school.


It’s all beyond us,
and during the interval of when possible choices are sent up to the fifth floor
from the basement we daydream, or doze, and try not to think about simpler times
when buying sneakers at the local shoestore was a five-minute, in-and-out excursion.



Best Source for Insightful

Tips and Lollipop Laments


"Daily Candy"/www.dailycandy.com



Gotta Have Our Daily
Fix.
Every weekday, without fail, "Daily Candy" sends us an e-mail
suggesting the best kitsch items, ways to improve our wardrobes or directions
to the best designer sample sales around the city. They scour the city for cool
ideas and tips that would go undiscovered by novice city dwellers. (If you’re
not e-mail savvy then just pick up a copy of The New York Sun: the "Daily
Candy" column is syndicated.)



Without "Daily Candy"
we wouldn’t have stood in line for 20 minutes to get our hands on the latest
Miss Sixty

..