Even though New York City has no Walmarts, there aren’t many stores left which specialize in a single product. The seven places on this list are holding fast to their niches. In many ways they’re more like museums than stores. If you get a chance, stop in and pick up a keepsake at one of these places:
1. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
Bonnie carries vintage and out-of-print books like Joy of Cooking which will probably make you feel like you’ve time traveled back to the 1950s. Depending on how you feel about that, this could be a great trip or it could be terrible.
Location: East Village, 28 East 2nd St.
2. Tender Buttons
Tender Buttons claims to be the only store dedicated to buttons in the entire country. They specialize in antique buttons, stocking some from the 18th century made of pure ivory. They also carry buttons from all different countries around the world.
Location: Upper East Side, 143 East 62nd St.
3. CW Pencil Enterprise
You might have to go here just for the hilarity. It’s a great place for Christmas gifts for people you don’t like. “Merry Christmas, I got you a designer pencil.” As if anyone wants to be reminded of the days when they had to take standardized tests, because what else do you use pencils for?
Location: Lower East Side, 100a Forsyth St.
4. Five Stride Skate Shop
This shop was started by two Gotham Girl roller derby skaters back in 2010. It sells equipment for beginners, professionals, and everyone in between. They also offer skating lessons for beginners—could be a good way to shorten your commute.
Location: East Williamsburg, 178 Bushwick Ave.
Heat enthusiasts listen up: this store sells nothing but hot sauce. You might wonder how many types of hot sauce a store could possibly produce…it’s a lot. Spice level ranges from mild to hottest, and there are weird flavors like blueberry, pear, carrot, and pineapple.
Location: Williamsburg, 121 Wythe Ave.
6. Casey Rubber Stamps
Why someone would choose to open a shop dedicated entirely to rubber stamps is a mystery. But it’s here if you need it. You can probably write all your thank you cards in record time with a “thank you” stamp. You can also design your own stamp if you so desire.
Location: East Village, 322 East 11th St.
7. The Baroness
It doesn’t really sell only one product; it’s a lingerie shop that specializes in latex. You can get traditional dresses and skirts, but most people go for the kinky stuff—the corsets, the bootie shorts, the tight pants. It’s great for Halloween costumes. And they have products for men and women!
Location: East Village, 530 East 13th St.