Walking into Birdcamp, I was greeted by a chorus of squawks, chirps and tweets. The store's narrow length is packed to the ceiling on both sides with cages (some with their inhabitants peeking out, some empty and for sale), sacks of food, toys and other must-have items for bird-owners. Every resident of Birdcamp has a name tag on the front of its cage. I was enthralled by the gorgeous parrots, parakeets, macaws and cockatoos. Some are boarders, but others are part of the shop's ever-changing inventory. So, each time I visited, there was a new array of feathered friends. Everything about the store reflects the love that Ros Gibson has for birds, and her dedication to taking the finest care of these precious animals.
The delectable assortment of French pastries was only the beginning of the excitement for me when I first visited Eclair Bakery. Getting to observe and speak with owner Stephane Pourrez, as he was preparing pastries, macarons, croissants and, of course, a variety of eclairs made the experience very special. An alumnus of Ferrandi, the French School of Culinary Arts in Paris, Pourrez worked in New York for a year as a pastry chef before he fulfilled his "childhood dream" of opening his own bakery. No matter what time I chose to pop in, I always found others sipping on their cafe au lait, and mingling with fellow French natives.
Lyn Trotman describes Quest as “a peaceful sanctuary in the heart of midtown.” President of the New York Theosophical Society, which studies the wisdom behind various world religions, Lyn also operates the Society’s book shop, Quest. The store is a pleasantly-scented oasis, with a section devoted to incense, candles, and gemstones. People interested in esoteric studies and rituals can browse through books on every conceivable spiritual tradition, from Kabbalah, to Sufism, to Buddhism, and all things in between. “A lot of other metaphysical bookstores are gone. We are the oldest one left.”