shopping 08.2.13

Shop Talk:
New York's 100 Most Interesting Stores

As founder of Manhattan User's Guide, I've watched New York City change in so many ways since I started writing about it over 20 years ago. One of those changes is the loss of many old-time, Mom-and-Pop stores which gave the city a lot of its character. As is often said, the only thing constant about New York is change, so many of those dusty shops with colorful proprietors are no more.


Yet you can still find just about anything here that you're looking for and plenty more that you didn't know you were looking for. Shop Talk: New York's 100 Most Interesting Stores celebrates some of those old independents that are still with us and exciting newcomers selling everything from clothing to home accessories to perfume, books, eyeglasses, and green products. The list of stores is still in formation, but I'm also looking at places that sell agate, supplies for superheroes, mobiles, Mid-Century Modern furniture, Peruvian retablos, 'magickal' herbs and resins, decorative rubber stamps, guitars, buttons, zines, apothecary products, t-shirts, bags, and, well, you get the idea. Places you won't find everywhere, and often anywhere, else.


The most important consideration for inclusion in the book is simply what's for sale—is it interesting, cool, useful, beautiful, witty, or unexpected? Does the store have careful curation or comprehensive stock, what is the point of view, are there unique items, what's the atmosphere and vibe of the store and the staff, and do the owners have a story to tell?


I'm not including food and wine in the book for one main reason: there are so many interesting food shops in the city that they deserve their own book. If Shop Talk does well, a food shop guide will follow.


This campaign is designed to fund Shop Talk, a book that will be published this fall to celebrate the indie stores that make up our neighborhoods and survey the cool things that line their shelves. I'll be publishing it, with your help, as a digital book for Kindle—which is, I have to say, more than a little ironic, given the mission of celebrating the indie store spirit. It's the only way for me financially, though, to make the book happen. And I think that when you refer to the book on your Kindle or iPad as you're shopping the city, the format will feel right.


I need to raise $8,500 for time and shoe-leather, for the writing, the research, and photography, cover design, copyediting and marketing. Having written several previous guide books, I know the kind of effort involved to create an authoritative guide that's fun to read, useful, and accurate. That's the goal! Work is well underway for Shop Talk; your contribution will take it from there to the finish line.


Check out the great perks for contributors. And if you can't contribute but want to support the project, you can help spread the word to your friends and through social media. I'd also love to have you suggest a favorite store! (Send it to office@manhattanusersguide.com)


Thanks for giving Shop Talk a look.

Charlie Suisman

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