Tucked between a Swiss and an Italian restaurant, Scent Elate brings Eastern spirituality to the neighborhood. With the doors swung open, the aromas were an enticing trail that led me into this tiny boutique packed with an array of incense, candles, soaps, oils and lotions. Scent Elate also has books on meditation and yoga scattered among crystals, jewelry, chimes and hanging ornaments. In fact, it might just be "the" place to go when searching for sticks of incense - not only is there a vast selection, but Mo, the owner, makes a special effort to find the perfect scent to enhance each individual customer's environment.
Once upon a time, partners Nicki and Lisa were just a couple of ladies who loved to travel. As their roster of overseas adventures grew, they noticed that each time they visited the far-flung corners of the earth they returned with a host of goodies that had caught their collective eye. An idea was born, and they founded Domus as a home-goods focused store with a global inventory. The attitude here, according to Nicki, is that "if we like something, and we think other people might like it, we do it. " That makes for a flexible and open approach, which over the years has led to spillover past the home-goods genre into arts and crafts, toys and knick-knacks of all sorts.
One might think that they are walking into an upscale souvenir shop when first entering the Theatre Circle, as it is filled with I Love NY tee shirts, mugs, and other trinkets. Upon closer examination, however, there is a treasure trove of memorabilia waiting for the theater enthusiast. Back in 1978, the owners of this Broadway institution began peddling theater-related merchandise outside the nearby theaters on 44th. The business grew, and they were able to move into a space at One Shubert Alley, and later opened up this second shop in the 1990s. We stopped in and spoke with Craig, a self-proclaimed "great guy and general manager, " and were immediately struck by his passion for everything theatrical. He quickly ushered us into the back room where he proudly announced that it holds roughly ten thousand scripts of Broadway shows come and gone, as well as playbills, posters, music and so much more.
Three friends and self-proclaimed theater kids — John Soroka, Michael Quinn, and Gary Alaimo — were searching for something to do in between jobs and auditions. They started a flower shop, Everlastings, out of their shared apartment and began making arrangements for street fairs, offices, and homes. Upon realizing that the business had taken over their living space — “There were flower petals everywhere, ” John recalled — the trio rented a place in Hell’s Kitchen and decided to sell gifts and cards along with the bouquets. With time, these additions became the central focus of the shop, which was later renamed Delphinium Card & Gift. Though some thought the men were “insane” for opening in Hell’s Kitchen, they have remained a fixture in the area for over two decades and counting. “We had taste, we knew what we wanted, and we always had a knack for knowing what the neighborhood needed, ” John mused. Buoyed by their initial accomplishments, the trio started a second store, Delphinium Home, that stocked home goods and accessories, followed by a men’s clothing store, Wear Me Out, in 2003. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and with the cost of rent skyrocketing, the friends closed the boutique and consolidated the two Delphinium shops into one location in 2011. Today, they sell decorations, home furnishings, works by local artists, and clever greeting cards that are handpicked by John. “Now that I’m not doing theater anymore, it’s my creative outlet. "Delphinium Home is my theater, ” he joked. Overall, John appreciates how lucky they are to have surmounted so many obstacles thanks to the constant support from the people around them. “We are only here by the good graces of those who have known us for such a long time and love what we do. ”
Initially serving as a resting stop for Scandinavian sailors when they disembarked in lower Manhattan, the Swedish Seaman's Church opened its doors on Water Street in 1873. The neo-Gothic building in which the Church currently resides was constructed in 1921 for "The Bible House" before being sold to the Church of Sweden in 1978. The Church's nautical past is evidenced in the model boats placed among the large collection of Swedish books. With a chapel, a library, and a coffee shop, the Church's doors are always open to Swedes. While tasting their delicious Swedish buns, I chatted with the staff who spoke enthusiastically about the function that the center plays in people's lives. For families, it provides a "wind" of Sweden whenever they miss their homeland. There are also multiple weddings conducted in the chapel each week, and people come from all over to celebrate holidays and shop at their Christmas Bazaar.
Clinton Garden is a striking testament to the power of residential communities in New York. One of the earliest examples of urban agricultural reclamation, the garden was created in 1979 in a lot that had been abandoned for twenty-eight years. Seeing potential in the space and hoping to improve the area around the neighborhood, residents (with the help of Operation Green Thumb, which leased the lot from the city) transformed the VACANT property into a garden using reclaimed and salvaged bricks, concrete, and slate. Finding the gates open on a beautiful spring Saturday, I wandered in and strolled down the paths filled with magnificent flowers and shrubs. I also met committed people tending to their small plots of land, of which there are now over one hundred. I have since been back many times, as I think this is a magnificent retreat on those days that I am in a need of a place to rest while walking the side streets of Manhattan.
Named after Bible verses in Isaiah (the wolf and the lamb shall feed together), this restaurant opened in Manhattan in 1998, and expanded to Brooklyn the following year. Initially a traditional kosher deli, it later reinvented itself as a steakhouse. The extensive menu ranges from matzo ball soup to salmon burgers, veal Bolognese gnocchi and, of course, includes a variety of steaks and chops. Drawing on influences as diverse as Vietnamese, Tex-Mex, and French-country, Wolf and Lamb adapts its more customary function to a cosmopolitan venue. "Just because you're keeping kosher doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on quality, " shared a waitress. And while we were told that the majority of customers keep kosher regularly, the crowded space was testament to Wolf and Lamb's broad culinary appeal.