Western Avenue, Albany
Plaza is truly a one-stop- shopping destination. This shopping center
offers a broad retail mix from wine and books to toys and clothing,
and a U.S. Post Office to boot. Everything from grab-and-go bagels
to gourmet dining is offered at Stuyvesant’s restaurants. And on
a sunny day the walk, from one end of the horseshoe to the other,
is very pleasant.
We can think of other downtowns that specialize in antiques or nightlife,
and at least one that overflows with activity at this time of year,
but Great Barrington is just about the only one in the region where
you can spend a day sampling interesting and varied shops, galleries
and restaurants without ever stumbling into a chain.
women's clothing: Circles.
is no need to go all the way to New York City to find couture fashion
or the hottest new looks. Circles offers a beautiful array of woman’s
clothing from top designers for every taste and cosmetic lines right
off the New York City runways. The knowledgeable and fashion-forward
staff will make you feel like you have your very own personal stylist
to assist you in looking uber-chic. From shoes and formal wear to
accessories and lingerie, you’ll leave feeling like you’ve found
a touch of Manhattan right here in Albany.
Thomas Mens’ Apparel
Metro Park Road, Albany
Goldfarb and Tom Fagan know how to do men’s clothes right. From
the minute you walk through the door you feel like your in a an
old-world environment that harks back to days of the classic haberdasheries.
They carry quality lines such as Pal Zileri, Corneliani and Jack
Victor, as well as an amazing collection of sportier clothing, shoes
and accessories. Whether you’re just starting your career, running
a top law firm or coaching basketball, Mark Thomas will have you
looking like a millionaire.
Lark St., Albany
want a one-of-a-kind abalone-and-vintage-bead necklace? How about
a funky Calderesque skeleton mobile? A bracelet fashioned from vintage
typewriter keys? A hip pair of sunglasses, a retro handbag, charming
hostess gift or just a general pick-me-up by way of something pretty,
fun and completely fab? For years, Elissa Halloran Designs has been
the go-to place for all of the above, and more. New pieces, de-signed
by Halloran herself as well as some of the area’s top jewelry designers,
arrive weekly, and the prices are very reasonable.
Western Ave., Albany
where you go when the jewelry must be special. Really special. Drue
Sanders’ eclectic and elegant pieces reflect a sound understanding
of craftsmanship and a discerning eye for detail, notably her stunning
Evolution collection. In addition to providing such beautiful jewelry,
the staff at Drue Sanders prides itself on top-notch customer service,
an altogether increasingly rare commodity.
228 Delaware Ave., Delmar
the latest in frames and contacts, the crew at Buenau’s are consummate
professionals, and fun folks to be around! Family-owned and -operated
since 1915, Buenau’s specializes in hard-to-fit patients at competitive
prices. Let them take care of you like you were one of their own.
You and your eyes will be glad you did.
Kenwood Ave., Delmar
designer sunglasses boutique specializes in fashion, lifestyle and
sports eyewear, including couture brands such as Tom Ford and Chanel
Eyewear. Offering sunglasses for nearly every sport and standing
at the forefront of the metropolitan trends, Tommy Shades provides
an exclusive buying experience.
Premium Cigar Shoppe
Central Ave., Albany; 528 North Greenbush Rd., North Greenbush
cigar experience has been elevated in the Capital District by the
new Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe on Central Avenue. In addition to
carrying all the quality cigars, pipes, tobaccos and accoutrements
of quality you’ve come to expect from Habana, the new space boasts
one of the largest humidors in the Northeast, a sexy smoking lounge,
a fine selection of gentleman’s gifts, daily cigar-rolling demonstrations
and regular aficionado events.
Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll Boutique
Wolf Road Shoppers Park, Albany
40 years, Ray Chiras and crew have been titillating your senses,
one sense at a time. We know you’ve been there. You’ve seen the
array of naughty and nice options they have to bring out your inner
rock star . . . and you loved it. It doesn’t matter what grooves
you: clothes, tickets to shows, smoke or sexy-time fun, it’s all
under one roof here. . . . Oh yeah.
Wine Store (Price)
let the amazing prices fool you—this is also an excellent wine store,
with a great, thoughtfully chosen selection.
Wine Store (Selection)
Wine & Spirits
the vast array of traditional red and white wines offered in this
newly expanded store, All-Star also offers superior selections of
such specialty categories as Champagne and sparlking wine, port
and sherry, and sake.
Colvin Ave., Albany
beer lover’s paradise—and we do mean a beer lover, not just someone
who drinks a lot of beer. This is the store for someone who savors
a lot of beer—and a lot of different kinds of beer. Hundreds of
different kinds. By the bottle, if you so choose.
Weight Food Co-op
Central Ave., Albany
the Troy Community Food Co-op finally gets itself together, Honest
Weight might have some competition in this category, but it’s not
just the fact that they’re the only game in town that earns Honest
Weight this honor. One of the longest-running co-ops in the country,
it’s the envy of many an out-of-towner. Where else can you find
a comparable variety of local organic produce, bulk grain, natural
cosmetics and cleaning products, gourmet cheese, and vegan prepared
foods? Nowhere, that’s where.
Waterfront Farmers Market
There is no better way to start a lazy Saturday than with a trip
to this farmers market. The Waterfront Farmers Market boasts a wide
variety of vendors and musicians, and plenty of hot food vendors
dishing out a late breakfast.
Fresh Food Market
South St., Pittsfield, Mass.; 760 S. Main St., Great Barrington,
the most heavenly produce displays in the region, both of the locations
have terrific meat and seafood sections, bakeries, delis, and bulk
and packaged foods. The fact that they also sell wine pretty much
completes the one-stop food-shopping experience.
Delaware Ave., Albany
in many ways Cardona’s is an old-fashioned Italian neighborhood
market stocked to the gills with pastas, sauces, olive oils, sausages
and cheeses, it’s also a reliable sources of fresh, all-natural
meats (cut to order), fish, and fresh produce. Throw in the sumptuous
deli take-out and the friendly staff (many of them in the family),
and you have both a neighborhood stop-off and a destination.
Central Ave., Albany
place roared into town with a bright, clean look and an unprecedented
expanse of offerings, including the usual array of fresh fish and
odd vegetables and adding a terrific produce department, a butcher
shop where you’ll find items Price Chopper won’t touch, and canned
goods covering all manner of Asian cuisines and even a tasty and
Lexington Ave., Albany
no glamour at this old-school German meat mart. But there is an
expert and friendly staff and a meat selection to make any carnivore
swoon—more than 60 varieties of the naturally smoked, homemade coldcuts,
wurst, & hams, and every fresh cut of beast you can imagine.
N. Jay St., Schenectady
sets Perreca’s bread apart from the rest and thus makes it a perennial
winner is its ability to be recognized anywhere. The balance of
hard crust and dense ‘meat” are fresh-baked perfection, sheer perfection!
Pop in for bread and other necessities at Perreca’s and stay for
a meal right next door at the new(ish) More Perreca’s.
Bakery (confections): Villa Italia Pasticceria.
brown box with the gold lettering all tied up with a pretty little
bow always gets us excited. Why? Chocolate mice! But that’s not
all Villa Italia has to offer. This pasticceria has been making
delicious, authentic Italian, cakes, confections, pastries, and
cookies for more than 40 years. So stop in and grab a mouthwatering
selection to go, or sit and relax with a cup of espresso and your
favorite pastry as you window shop their display case for your next
New Loudon Road, Cohoes
addition to the signature gourmet peanut butter, the Peanut Principle
offers homemade fudge, chocolates, hard candy, roasted nuts and
dried fruit. They are also known for their gift baskets for those
of us with a sweet tooth. Stop in, say hello and pick up something
good to snack on.
Kitchen Supply Store
Plaza; 374 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, Mass.
cook’s paradise, with well-made merchandise at reasonable prices.
Check out the newly expanded Stuyvesant store, which now offers
might get a better price at a chain, but you won’t get the top-quality
installation and service. A repeat winner.
Large Appliance Store
Appliances & Home Electronics
Railroad Ave., Albany
you’re looking to chill your beer, broil your bluefish or fluff
your bloomers, Cocca’s has the largest selection, best service and
greatest deals around. And that unbeatable three-year warranty.
Specialty Appliance Store: Lexington Vacuum.
Specialty Appliance Store
Central Ave., Albany
Vacuum really sucks, like only the best vacuum store can. With three-generations
of expertise behind their sales, parts and service, these guys know
their stuff. They’re passionate about vacuums, and they back their
sales with comprehensive guarantees that keep folks loyal.
Book House snags this one every year thanks to their smart and varied
selection, regular literary events and friendly service from an
extremely well-read staff. Their recent remodel has made the book
browsing experience even lovelier.
Little Book House
only does the Little Book House offer a children’s selection to
rival any megachain, they do so in a kid-centric, literary wonderland
that makes reading feel like the exciting adventure it should.
Jay St., Schenectady
more than 30 years, this booktique has been gracing the streets
of Downtown Schenectady. The perfect destination to pick up a thoughtful
gift for a loved one and the latest and greatest book for yourself,
recommended by Amy on WAMC’s Roundtable or any of the other knowledgeable
staff, it’s a stop you won’t want to miss.
Troy Schenectady Road, Latham
Riggs has crafted his used bookstore for the ultimate in selection
and value. What its strip-mall location lacks in ambiance, it makes
up for in miles of books at rock-bottom prices. And with constant
turnover, you can always unearth something new (to you). We have
yet to walk out without an armful of literary treasures.
Phila St., Saratoga Springs
could get lost for hours in here amid Lyrical Ballad’s amazing collection
of old books. The rareties, ephemera and first editions make this
place special; so does the fact that every time you browse, you
find a delightful new surprise.
in Denver Books
Route 43, Stephentown
Lorber runs this used bookstore out of the rambling civil-war era
Clark House, where he lives with his wife Dale. Bibliophiles are
welcome to warm their minds exploring the inventory of more than
14,000 literary treasures, antiquarian volumes and quirky ephemera
that mingle on the winding shelves and nooks of the original warm
wood walls. It’s packed full of words, discovery and personality
befitting its Kerouacian allusion.
Western Ave., Albany
Jane Books is truly the college student’s best friend. They sell
used—and some new—textbooks at prices that are a lot friendlier
than the obscenely inflated markups found at college bookstores.
And they do it with a smile, right in a neighborhood where many
of said college kids live.
comic book shop
fulton st. troy
is no ‘tude at Aquilonia. Guys who work in comic book places generally
don’t have the right to have attitudes, but some do and it generally
ruins the whole experience of spending your hard-earned dollar on
something so frivolous. But it is not an issue at Aquilonia. Bob
Lupe, the purveyor of the store, and his associates are simply helpful,
informed and conversational. We can’t promise the stray arrogant
comic-book customer might walk in and kill the buzz of picking up
the latest issue of The Walking Dead, or a Planetary hardcover.
But we can promise you will get the best assistance, one can find
from any local comic shop and you won’t feel dumb for asking a question.
Vestige Music Shop
Quail St., Albany
were in a restless mood one recent Saturday afternoon. We wanted
to hear some new music; or, more specifically, we wanted some old
music that was new to us. The only place to go was, of course, Last
Vestige Music Shop, where rare used vinyl surrounds you (as well
as CDs, DVDs and the odd VHS tape). It’s musical nirvana. Oh, yeah,
we bought some Loretta Lynn, Eric Burdon, Hank Snow, and Sergio
Mendes & Brasil ’66—and it made everything better.
Musical Instrument Store: Parkway Music.
Musical Instrument Store
Rt. 9 Clifton Park
is no more reliable one-stop-shop for amateur and professional musicians
in the region. Featuring great guitar lines, impeccable service,
lessons and a knowledgeable staff, Parkway delivers better than
box stores like Guitar Center. Think of Parkway as the arsenal that
provides tools of the rock to our area’s disaffected young suburbanites.
Musical Instrument Store Renaissance
State St. Schenectady
area once again has a homegrown music shop that provides an excellent
selection of the top brands. A recent trip to the joint revealed
to us a marvelous selection of Fender and Gibson at ridiculously
reasonable prices—with guitars priced about $100 less than the competition.
The prices drew us in, but the gorgeous looking Jaguar and Jazzmaster
they had on display made us fall back in love with the store that
sold at least one of us our first Fender Stratocaster. Rock on!
Art Supply Store
Fuller Road, Albany
is the eternal victor in this category—an art supply store run by
artists, this place has everything you could possibly need from
acrylics and armatures to architects rulers, not to mention custom
framing service and a quirky supply of gifts catering to the aesthetically
Gelnridge Road, Glenville
you miss actually shopping for a camera and getting to handle one
and have it explained to you by a real photographer? Photo Images
in Glenville is just about the only place that caters to amateur
and professional photographers equally well, and Steve Fogel is
the guy who can tell you what you need to know and consider. A professional
photographer himself, Steve can converse intelligently about different
makes and models of camera gear and point you to the best selection
for your needs and ability level. Steve keeps up on the latest technology
and puts it to work; they also do great printing and offer occasional
classes and tutorials.
Junk Shop that’s Really an Antique Store
of Broadway and Third Street, Rensselaer
have to look for it by its dusty front window on the corner of Broadway
and Third Street because there’s no noticeable sign, but don’t be
fooled by the junky-looking exterior: this small-but-crammed shop
carries almost everything you’d find in a prestige antiques store,
from Victorian tables and cabinets to political memorabilia to vintage
clothes and glassware. On a recent visit, Elvis was in the house.
A mint-condition, 1960s Elvis doll, in its original box. Dealers
from Hudson have been raiding this place for years, but intrepid
bargain hunters can buy direct and beat the mark-up.
Columbia Turnpike, Schodack
there’s nothing better than sitting back with a nice cup of tea.
But if that tea is from Jean’s Greens, rest assured it’s great for
you too! Whether you want to cleanse your body, clear up your skin,
get rid of those headaches, or have a great night sleep naturally,
they offer an all-natural tea to help. And if you don’t see what
you need, just ask the lovely and helpful staff and they’ll create
a special blend just for you. With books, essential oils, baby and
pet-care products, tea cups and pots, do it yourself kits, herbal
essentials, and much more, healthy living is just a sip away.
Holistic Store (Metaphysical)
Kenwood Ave., Delmar
you haven’t started looking inward yet, time’s a tickin’! What better
way to start on your quest then to have Anne at Peaceful Inspirations
show you the way. So many avenues to explore, the shop boasts a
little bit of everything to start you on your way. Fair-trade and
locally crafted gifts also available. As in life, the store is ever-changing
and evolving, now with a great space in the back of the store for
reading and classes. Go to relax, shop and enjoy.
Albert Albany Jewish Community Center
Whitehall Road, Albany
cultural programming, community classes, summer camps, senior programs,
a state-of-the art fitness center, three pools (indoor and out),
sports leagues, a farmer’s market and the area’s largest childcare
center, the JCC really is “the place to be.”
Gym: Best Fitness.
Central Ave., Albany; 2330 Watt Street, Schenectady
huge, immaculate facilities, friendly staff, knowledgeable trainers,
positive energy and an amazing selection of weights, exercise and
aerobic machines, Best Fitness is a gym that caters to every level
of exerciser. Tanning, boxing studio, and exercise classes with
great instructors round this gym out with everything one could possibly
Madison Ave., Albany
well-loved Downtube Cycle Shop has expert staff, excellent customer
service, quality bikes (Trek, Gary Fisher, Seven Cycles) and accessories,
and offers custom fitting services. A perennial winner for Best
Bike Shop, their loyal customers know it’s the place to go to keep
their wheels spinning.
to Tail Pet Wellness Center
Union St., Schenectady
card says it all: “Complete grooming service for dogs & cats;
day care adventure; holistic, natural & organic food & treats;
spa treatments relaxation & rejuvenation treatments; Reiki;
sports agility warm up & wind down sessions; Jog-a-dog treadmill;
training; behavior consultation; toys & supplies; gifts; fresh
baked biscuits . . . and LOVE!” And with expansion on its way, there’ll
be even more for you and your pet to love!