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New York’s Small Independent Shops

Rents in NYC are high so few independent shops survive, but here I have listed a few who give you the feel of having been there for ever! The history of these shops and their wonderful interior is a great feast for the eyes (buying something only a premium)

J.J. Hat Center

310 5th Ave (btw 31st and 32nd)

Take a step back in time when all men wore hats. full service shop complete with shaper, steamer & felt brushers. Established in 1911, J.J. Hat Center is New York’s oldest hat shop.

McNulty Yea & Coffee Co

109 Christopher St. (between Bleecker and Hudson St. in Greenwich Village)

Founded in 1895, this little shop has lured customers with its wafting scents of freshly ground coffee and specialty teas for a very long time now.

Moscot Eyewear

108 Orchard St

Moscot is a five-generation opticians, founded in the Lower East Side in 1915 by Hyman Moscot, which makes it one of the oldest local businesses in New York City

Known for their quality craftsmanship and classic look, Moscot Eyewear is designed and prototyped in New York

and worn by many New York celebrities.

Russ & Daughters

179 E Houston St

Family-owned shop offering high-end smoked fish, caviar & New York-style specialty foods since 1914.

In 1907, Joel Russ immigrated from the shtetl of Strzyzow, now part of modern day Poland. He got his start selling schmaltz herring out of a barrel to the throngs of Eastern European Jews on the Lower East Side. It took him seven years to work his way up

from that first herring barrel to having a pushcart operation, a horse and wagon, and then, in 1914, a brick and mortar store. The original store was on Orchard Street. In 1920, he moved the store around the corner to 179 East Houston Street, where it has been ever since. 

Eastern European Jews started meals with cold appetizers, known in Yiddish as the “forshpayz.” In New York, the popularity of forshpayzn among Eastern European Jewish immigrants led to the creation of the institution known as the appetizing store.

Appetizing also originated from Jewish dietary laws, which dictate that meat and dairy products cannot be eaten or sold together. As a result, two different types of stores sprang up in order to cater to the Jewish population. Stores selling cured and pickled meats became known as delicatessens, while shops that sold fish and dairy products became appetizing stores.

C.O. Bigelow Chemists

414 6th Ave

Founded in 1838 in New York's Greenwich Village it is the oldest surviving apothecary–pharmacy in the U.S.A.

Some of the products they offer are original formulas recreated from the archives, like their Lemon Body Cream, which is a recipe that goes back to 1870, and Dr. Galen’s Skin Tonic, named after its founder.

Alec Wade Ginsberg, the fourth generation of Ginsberg pharmacists received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 2016 keeping the tradition alive.