Men’s Clothing Store (Designer)
Crossgates Mall, Guilderland
OK, you have been putting this off long enough. You need to get
going on that career and you’re going to need to revamp the wardrobe;
vintage T-shirts just won’t cut it anymore. Let the haberdashers
at this fine clothier make you over. High-quality Italian-cut suits,
custom-made shirts, and a great selection of ties, socks and accessories.
Remember to bring your checkbook, cause this kind of quality doesn’t
Men’s Clothing Store (Casual)
43 Mohawk Street, Cohoes
This is the only place in the Capital Region that carries cutting-edge
designers. Armani, Dolce and Gabbana, Kenneth Cole and too many
others to name, and—here’s the good news—all at discounted prices.
They also have a huge selection of designer jeans. The next-closest
quality shopping is NYC.
Women’s Clothing (Upscale)
322 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass.
Main Street, located appropriately enough on Main Street in Great
Barrington, is that rare find, equal parts Manhattan high fashion
and Berkshire hospitality. Featuring unique brands, including Barami
and Voxx, and including dazzling displays of accessories and jewelry,
this store offers the well-dressed woman stylish choices far outside
the mainstream. Feminine is the operative word here, but it’s femininity
without the froufrou. Excellent service and competitive prices round
out the shopping experience.
Some fashion: Diva de Loayza at her Some Girls
Women’s Clothing (Funky)
17 Colvin Ave., Albany; 13 Second st., Troy
Some Girls is a fresh face in our landscape of mass-produced mall-bought
clothing. Both owner Diva de Loayza and her clothing line, House
of Bimbo, can be found at Some Girls looking as fashionable as ever.
And you can usually spot the resident Pomeranian, Morsel, keeping
a watchful eye on all occurrences in the Albany store. At the Web
site, you can preview (and order) new items; and with their new
Troy location, Some Girls is showcasing an even wider array of clothes
and accessories, and we think that’s just swell.
385 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
It can be overwhelming to walk into Saratoga Shoe Depot if you aren’t
sure what you are looking for. But that’s better than too little
of a selection, right? With the wide array of shoes, heels, sneakers
and sandals, it’s likely you’ll find exactly what you were looking
for (or something you didn’t expect to be looking for but had to
have). Prices are reasonable, whether it be name-brand or the latest
trend. You just might find the perfect outfit there, too, to go
along with those kicks.
1202 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham
Forget the notion that all consignment shops are repositories of
somebody else’s shabby leftovers. New 2 You elevates the concept
of gently worn to exquisite heights. The store has collected high-fashion
labels, including Ghost and Calvin Klein, along with top shelf retailers
like Ann Taylor and Lily Pulitzer, an outstanding selection at oh-so-
affordable prices. In addition to clothing, the shop carries shoes,
accessories and even stuff for the home, making it a one-stop-shopping
mecca for the discriminating penny-pincher.
225 Lark St., Albany
Elissa Halloran’s eclectic jewelry dares you to flaunt your individuality,
to design an entire look around a bold necklace or pair of earrings.
The only challenge is narrowing your choices down to one, or two,
or . . . well, you get the picture. This repeat winner has grown
her business—as well as her considerable talent—each year, exploring
new materials and different inspirations. We love how Halloran takes
organic elements like shells and mother of pearl and combines them
in such a way as to blend the architecturally modern with the gracefully
feminine. In addition, her store is a cache of hidden treasures,
ceramics, fabric handbags, consignment attire, and all-around tschochkes.
Saratoga Springs is a town that has it all. And in terms of shopping,
that means that their independent boutiques (Saratoga Soles, the
Clothes Horse, Recycling Red Dresses, etc.) and bakeries and restaurants
(Circus Café, Mrs. London’s, etc.) live in harmony with some well-chosen
chain stores like Ann Taylor Loft, Gap and Borders, and even a Starbucks.
There’s something for everyone on Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
Shopping Day Trip
Sure, you can make a day of outlet shopping in Manchester or Lee,
or get all earthy-crunchy down in Woodstock, but none of them is
as interesting and full of surprises as Northampton, a mere hour
and a half away. The city’s varying influences—college hipsterism,
New York sophistication, New England practicality—have somehow fused
into an energy that supports a thriving arts scene, a tone of restaurants,
and an eclectic mix of downtown merchants. Scour Main Street and
the marketplace at Thorne’s, but don’t forget to poke your head
down all the side streets. We’ll be shocked if you don’t come back
with a hot new dress, a cool antique or a bushel of used books.
Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany
The Book House is so close to the hearts of Metrolanders
that some people worry we are a bit overattached. We can think critically
about the store, however, and we think the Book House could be more
like the box stores in one way: We wish they could be open late
into the night. Oh, who are we kidding? We wish they would never
close. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming Metroland feature
dealing with our office’s obsession with the Book House, titled,
“Do I Have To Leave? But I Have Nowhere Else to Go!”
296 Hudson Ave., Albany
As soon as you walk in, the tranquility of the place takes hold
setting the stage for the ultimate book shopping experience. With
its perfect balance of our favorite classics and modern novelties,
it’s almost impossible to walk out of this store without buying
a book or two—or five. If you can’t find something on the shelves,
all you have to do is ask, and the owner will search high and low
to see whether he’s got it somewhere in the store. The biggest plus
is that, unlike many other places, you won’t spend half your day
poring through junk, because it’s just not there (not that there’s
anything wrong with a good trashy novel).
Little Book House
Good books. Better books. Best books yet. Little tykes’ only problem
is which to get. Apologies to Dr. Seuss, but kids can’t go wrong
in this comfortable, well-stocked and friendly perennial winner.
Making the Little Book House that much more spectacular is that
its staff really, really knows, likes and can recommend titles.
Comic Book Shop
412 fulton st., troy
It isn’t easy being a comic geek these days. Sure, comic books have
infiltrated all forms of popular culture, movies, television, and
videogames but at the same time finding interesting, mature, well-written
comics to read has become harder—that’s where having a helpful comic-book
guru comes into play. Bob and Mark at Aquilonia always have something
new, well-written and involving to recommend, and they don’t seem
to mind spending an afternoon chatting about their recommendations,
like The Walking Dead, Transmetropolitan, Loveless, Ex
Machina, 100 Bullets, Battle Pope and yes, even good
old Captain America.
Record Store (used)
173 Quail St. Albany
Last Vestige, you are our one joy left in this world. Please let
us continue to buy out-of-print Marc Bolan vinyl and trade in our
Freejack soundtrack. Let us run our hands softly between
your albums and press your pert headphones against our ears. XOXOXO
retro: Jim Barrett in the River Street Beat Shop.
Record Store (Rummage Sale)
Street Beat Shop
River St., Troy
Jim Barrett’s little nook in the antique district is truly something
of the past–disorganized and dusty, it makes us nostalgic for the
old old days, when a man was a man and a record store was
a record store . . .or something like that. You may not find exactly
what you went looking for, but you’ll find something, no
doubt. Thanks for keeping the dream alive, Jim.
Record Store (Last Stand)
Knight Records/Tune Street
288/294 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass.
As music downloading becomes ever more popular, especially among
younger consumers, the brick-and-mortar record store’s days seem
numbered indeed—some, like Albany’s venerable Music Shack, already
have cried Uncle and closed up shop. So it’s fascinating to see
two longtime rivals still holding down their respective forts two
doors apart on Great Barrington’s Main Street. To be fair, Tune
Street isn’t just a record shop—but it offers a sizeable and well-chosen
selection along with the home electronics and DVDs. White Knight,
meanwhile, harkens back to groovier times with its casual clutter,
poster-covered walls and stacks of uncategorized used vinyl—and
bless ’em, they do somehow draw a youthful clientele. It no doubt
helps that downtown Great Barrington itself draws a steady stream
of shoppers; whatever keep ‘em going, long live the record store.
Musical Instrument Store
1602 Route 9, Clifton Park
There haven’t been any major changes in this market, and that’s
just fine by us. We’re going to have to make them a plaque soon.
Waterfront Farmers Market; Saratoga Farmers Market (tie)
Troy Dock and Marina, River Street; High Rock Park, Saratoga Springs
We love both of these excellent farmers markets for the exceptional
produce from farms all around the region, as well as breads, meats,
cheeses, preserves, you-name-it. And they’re great social gathering
spots, as well.
Fresh Food Market
1020 South St., Pittsfield, Mass; 760 S. Main St., Great Barrington,
There was talk of a third location in Albany a couple of years back;
that fell through, but if your business or pleasure takes you to
the Berkshires, the Guido’s experience is not to be missed. An exceptional
array of fresh produce, along with artisan breads and cheeses, all-natural
meats, an excellent fish market and gourmet packaged goods. In its
quality, quantity and freshness, it is one of a kind in this region.
Weight Food Co-op Inc.
484 Central Ave., Albany
Stop by the co-op for a free workshop, lecture, cooking class or
even just a sample of cheese from Gustav. It’s a pleasurable experience
to shop for organic grocery, bulk grains, personal products and
vitamins, soy products and did I mention cheese? Nicole, the deli
manager, will help you out with some prepared foods if you need
more than just ingredients. Honest Weight is open to new product
suggestions, and their very helpful Web site is updated regularly
in case you miss their monthly sales flyer!
Place to Buy Bulk Tea
Whistling Kettle Tea Lounge
24 Front St., Ballston Spa
We tea drinkers love our tea, and the wimpy brown secretion boiled
from a tea bag just ain’t gonna cut it. We need that strong, aromatic
experience that only a full-bodied brew of fresh leaves can offer.
At the Whistling Kettle Tea Lounge, we can sip our steaming cups
of Oolong Orange Blossom or Snow Dragon in the company of other
tea lovers. Or, if we need to stock up, we can slip in and choose
from their collection of over 80 bulk teas. And for those of us
who are dedicatedly misanthropic, the lounge sells their teas online,
Weight Food Co-op
484 Central Ave., Albany
We were going to say best cheese selection, because it is mighty
impressive. But what’s selection worth if you can’t tell manchego
from asiago? The astonishing Gustav and his crew at HWFC not only
can, but will, take a full 20 minutes to discuss with you the perfect
cheese for that recipe with feta that you want to make for someone
who hates feta. And if you’re going to spend $12 a pound on cheese,
starting with good advice (and samples) is pretty much always worth
Goodman’s Maternal Exercise Classes
4 Wilson Lane, Cohoes
Yes, we like yoga too. But when Deb Goodman puts on her physical
therapist hat and explains in detail which ab muscles you want to
strengthen and which you should be leaving alone, you’ll get more
out of any movement you do with that pregnant belly. And she has
managed to finally demystify Kegel exercises to some of us with
decades of touchy feely women’s health experience. She probably
shouldn’t put a guarantee on the word on the street that her exercises
will shorten your pushing time drastically, but we hear circumstantial
evidence that it has happened . . .
Art Supply Store
57 Fuller Road, Albany
The longtime supplier of choice for local artaists, Arlene’s carries
all the serious stuff, with very friendly and helpful staff.
Bridal and Formal Fashions
1811 Western Ave., Albany
Some bridal shops in the Capital District push their ideas of what
a bride should look like. Angela’s is not one of them. While they
are friendly and helpful, the saleswomen also have a hefty supply
of patience. Between the brides who try on every dress in the shop
(there are hundreds) and those who can’t decide between cowboy boots
or red ballet slippers, they never rush brides out or scoff at nontraditional
selections. We appreciate it!
Parkwood Plaza, Route 9, Clifton Park
We’re not sure what a “giftique” is and there is no definition from
Webster’s, so we decided to define it for you: every possible
gift under the sun, under one roof with a very helpful staff. The
“Wits End” part of the name is easy, when you are at your wits end
trying to find a special gift for that impossible person this is
the place. This is a big-box gift shop, without that big box feeling
with an extremely attentive staff and a selection that is unparalleled.
At Christmastime you will be amazed by the decorations.
Gift Store (Eccentric)
260 Lark St., Albany
This new little shop has a diverse and interesting collection of
neat stuff to buy, for yourself or others. An old Elvis napkin dispenser?
Antique hair clips with rhinestones? Unique martini glasses, with
a slight tilt? See-through soap containing real teeth? From alternative
baby clothes to collectable furniture, the boutique is full of unusual
gifts somebody will enjoy.
384 Kenwood Ave, Delmar
For your metaphysical journey, Peaceful Inspirations may be a necessity.
Besides the meditation and yoga supplies, items for your path to
enlightenment include drums, aromatherapy candles, books, handcrafted
items by local artists and crafters, music and instructional CD’s
for all ages, and fair trade items from Tibet. Anne DeClue’s warmth
and sincerity resonates through out the whole store. Stop in and
feel for yourself!
318 Delaware Ave., Delmar
If you are looking for a general good massage, Balance Massage Studio
can help you. If you are looking for something a little different,
the five therapists offer many unusual and nontraditional types
of massages, from Thai yoga to reflexology and reiki. The tranquil
rooms, with fountains and relaxing music, provide the perfect atmosphere
to get out of your head for a little while. And Valentine’s Day
week they added hot-stone therapy, gratis!
190 Main St., Altamont
Knitters around here are lucky. We have a number of yarn shops,
in every direction, so we rarely need to order online or head to
New York City to find our dream yarn. But selection will only make
a yarn shop so good. At the Spinning Room, you are treated like
royalty. If you can’t figure out what is wrong with your cable design,
or are looking for a pattern to get your needles flying, the staffers
are more than willing to guide you. Be warned, though, they expect
you to come back and show off your finished projects!
284 River St., Troy
This charming pottery store and studio started last year, just in
time for Troy’s Victorian Stroll. It features the works of 19 potters,
two jewelers, two purse-makers, and five wall artists. It is a bright
and cheerful environment, where a person feels comfortable stopping
in to chat with the owners or to pick up a treasured coffee cup
and saucer. Not content with just being a spectator? You are able
to get your hands dirty there, too: Take lessons, either as an individual
or in a group, or rent wheel time on one of their four throwing
2217 Fifth Ave., Troy
Aiming to be more than only a place to buy flowers, this cool and
collected studio and store serves the thriving community of area
artists by hosting art openings, charitable events, and the like.
The intimate, 100-year-old building in Central Troy has been lovingly
rehabbed with a modern motif of metal and exposed brick, creating
both a hip and welcoming space. Add to that the exotic flowers and
thoughtful floral arrangements for sale, and you have the coolest
flower shop around.
235 Delaware Ave., Delmar
In the land of big-box, serve yourself, and pay-more hardware emporiums,
it’s nice to know that service, selection and knowledge still exist
at this community-based store. They would rather fix your screen
than sell you the kit to screw-it-up yourself, and you can actually
talk to an intelligent, experienced staffer. We realize that the
Lowe Depot’s have everything, but ask the small independent and
they’ll get it, oftentimes less-expensive.
gear: The Downtube.
Madison Ave., Albany
There are three important things you need when you are buying a
bicycle: selection, service and knowledge. This place has all three
covered with room to spare. Whether you are purchasing a Gary Fisher
full- suspension high-end mountain-climbing machine, a road bike
to get to work, or a quality ride for the kids, this is the place.
For more than 25 years Edleez has been serving the Capital Region’s
tobacco needs with a welcoming smile, some witty banter and a bunch
of knowledge. The selection and maintenance of the cigars are the
best in town; the store boasts the largest walk-in humidor in the
area, a huge cigarette selection from around the world, plus a large
selection of pipes and tobaccos, lighters, humidors, and many other
accessories. Everyone inhale and relax.
Premium Cigar Shoppe
1537 Central Ave., Albany
Ease into the humidor and you’ll soon find a salesclerk nearby—a
salesclerk who, without being the least bit annoying, praises your
taste in cheroots and then sells you something a little better.
Because they know their stuff and they want you to be happy. Then
take your stogie upstairs and puff away in their clubroom.
Stuyvesant Plaza, Guilderland
If your television is more than 3 inches thick, if your stereo isn’t
7.1 Dolby digital sound, if your DVD player can only hold one disc,
and if you have a rats nest of wires running through your house,
then it’s time to make some changes and Hippo’s is the place. TVs
that look like pictures hanging on a wall, sound so crystal-clear
you can literally hear that pin drop. And the most state-of-the-art
components, installed so that no wires can be seen. A very knowledgeable
and courteous staff is there to answer any of your electronic needs,
and free in-home consultations are part of the service.
best appliances for your home: Cocca’s.
Railroad Ave., Albany
A regular winner in this category, Cocca’s has it all: selection,
price, friendly staff. And plenty of knowledgeable straight talk
about what you’re buying.
279 New Scotland Ave., Albany
It’s all about customer service at this neighborhood video-rental
store. E-mail updates on new releases and a few different rental
plans make for a flexible and fun experience. A wide selection of
foreign, art house and gay-themed selections in addition to all
the latest hits.
1235 Western Ave., Albany
Good prices, friendly service and a big selection of food, toys
and grooming supplies make this a Mecca for all of Fido’s and Fluffy’s
needs. In addition to the gourmet brands, they carry all the tasty
flavors of, for example, Fancy Feast, that your local supermarket
doesn’t carry. Bring Fido and Fluffy for a visit, if you like—the
store’s pet-friendly, too.
Wine Shop (Selection)
Wine and Spirits
Latham Farms, Latham
As their catch phrase states, “If wine were a religion this would
be a church.” Whether you’re looking for that hard-to-find rare
bottle, chances are they can get it. Need a gift for a real wine
snob? This is the place. Want a quality wine for under $10? Look
no further. Aisle after aisle, rack after rack, and bottle after
bottle the selection is incredible. All-Star boasts a most-knowledgeable
staff with a strong bent on service. Tasting rooms and wine classes
are also a part of the experience.
Neighborhood Wine Store
Wine and Spirits
348 State St., Albany
Small neighborhood wine stores often cater to neighborhood residents
who either are looking for cheap hooch or are too hurried to care
that they’re paying $2 more a bottle than they should be. Not so
Capital Wine, which has an amazing selction of good wine for such
a modest-sized store, with prices little different from what you’d
find in a warehouse doing five times the volume. Brad Junco has
done a marvelous job turning what once was mere convenience into
105 Colvin Ave., Albany
Hefeweizen? I.P.A.? Classic American brew? A keg perhaps? Oliver’s
Beverage is the most convenient place to purchase beer for all of
your imported and domestic needs. Once you pass the refrigerated
section, you can find a wide variety of foreign brews sorted by
country and a staff that can recommend a new brand to try.
Original Store Name
252 Lark St., Albany
Iambic pentameter aside, the Cheeky Tiki Monkey is the best store
name we’ve heard in quite a while. We like wandering in there to
look at all the pretty, colorful things, too.