shopping 11.8.13

2 from Shop Talk
the skint

As we, uh, might have mentioned, we have a new book out called Shop Talk: New York's 100 Most Interesting Stores. It's available as an ebook for Kindle and Nook. Here are two entries from the book.

Alan's Alley
207 9th Ave. [22nd/ 23rd]

Can you name a video store that has itself been the subject of a documentary? For that matter, can you even name a video store?

As so many have shuttered in the past decade, there is at least one that remains a beloved neighborhood favorite as well as a go-to resource for ad agencies and television shows needing special footage.

Opened in 1998 by Alan Sklar, the store is a mess and he and his many fans wouldn't have it any other way. The hand-written labels are peeling off VHS boxes, the dust is covered with dust, and the carpet has been scratched into a fright wig by D.J., the cat. There is a vacuum cleaner parked in a corner that may not have been used during the entire Bloomberg administration. When would they have time to vacuum anyway since the store is open every day of the year?

Mr. Sklar's film knowledge gives him the ability to recommend the perfect movie for you and he has the stock to back him up. There are 40,000 titles to choose from — a shelf of Ken Russell-directed movies here, movies starring Ingrid Bergman there, plenty of MGM musicals, recent hits, foreign films, a shelf of devil movies, one for scams, heists and thieves, another for SNL grads.

In 2012, Alessandro Magania and Max Tannone directed a 23-minute documentary about the store called There Were Always Dogs, Never Kids. In the film, Sklar is asked for his favorite movie. While he doesn't commit fully, he does say I Know Where I'm Going, the movie from 1945 starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey, is up there.

When asked what kind of order the store is in, Sklar says, "It's in hypothetical order."

424 E. 9th St. [1st/ A]
Witchcraft supplies

Word to the wise: Wiccans don't consider customer service a central tenet of their religion. As Donald Rumsfeld might have said, "You go to Enchantments with the witches they have, not the witches you might want or wish to have at a later time."

This 'Magickal Apothecary' has oils like Baron Samedi, a "devotional blend for the Voodoo Loa of the cemetery. Used for working with the Guede." We misread the purpose of another oil, thinking the Ellegua Road Opener would invoke the Orisha of the crosswords, which we could have used. But it's actually of the crossroads. Maybe Baron Samedi could help solve the Saturday crossword.

Enchantments creates custom-carved candles which are "a complete spell that you use as a tool to help manifest your intention." One of those is used for healing karmic trauma, another "invokes the energy of the patron saint of lost lovers," which sounds very melancholy, no? There's a wall of herbs and resins sold by the ounce. You'll also find incense and talismans, books and Tarot cards.

It's good to see cauldrons for sale. We always say: you can never have too many cauldrons.

Buy the book here:

skint - adj. british slang (1930-35)
lacking funds, broke, bust, stone-broke, impecunious

Around town this weekend, courtesy of the skint: a daily listing of free and cheap things to buy, see, do and eat in New York.

fri-sun 12-8pm: see original prints from 80+ dealers spanning all periods at the international fine print dealers association (ifpda) print fair. park avenue armory, $15 [Image: Spring Bath by Sarah Brayer from The Tolman Collection]

fri-sat 8pm doors, 9pm show: loftopera returns to gowanus loft with a 100-minute version of mozart's marriage of figaro featuring a full cast and a live orchestra. bonus: drinks courtesy of brooklyn brewery, $20.

sat 12-4pm: 30 jazz ensembles perform throughout central park for the second annual jazz + colors event celebrating the fall foliage. free.

sat 2pm: east coast bagels vs west coast bagels: which are better? how is this even a question? the artisan jewish deli at home author michael zusman (portland) and the mile end cookbook author noah bernamoff (nyc) discuss. free deli snacks will be provided. the brooklyn kitchen, $5.

sun 6-10:30pm: view the cloud bands of jupiter, star clusters and nebulae from the glare-free area of central park's sheep meadow at the amateur astronomers association's annual urban starfest. free.

Crosby Street

recent entries

CBD, Flickr Pool Picks

Chisholm Larsson, Every Person in New York

Rooted, Flickr Pool Picks

See all articles in SHOPPING

Get a daily dose of MUG
right in your Inbox.