A Guide to Exploring Four Dynamic New York Neighborhoods


New York offers some of the world’s most famous stores, but if you want to break the chain habit, it’s also home to many locally owned businesses. It’s worth going to neighborhoods just a bit off the usual path. If you want to spend the day exploring, with a mix of stores and great food, these four neighborhoods will keep you satisfied.

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Low-Key Greenpoint Has a Little of Everything

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Adaptations, a vintage furniture store, focuses mostly on pieces from the 1970s: boxy wooden cabinets, platform sofas and eight-track-friendly stereo receivers.

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Stephanie Colgan for The New York Times

Sometimes, when you get off the Bedford Avenue stop of the L train in Williamsburg and are bombarded with a crush of people, it seems like every traveler in the world has been told to get over to what’s been hyped as Brooklyn’s coolest neighborhood. But it’s worth heading that way and taking a walk north to Greenpoint, Williamsburg’s less gentrified, untouristy neighbor. You’ll find a low-key mix of millennials, young families and longtime residents, many of them Polish. There’s an almost tangible sense of community in the neighborhood, in both decades-old businesses and more-recent openings. For shoppers, there are appealing options in each category. Explore Greenpoint »

RACHEL FELDER

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Head to NoLIta for Locally Owned Stores

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Ritual Vintage in Nolita.

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Stephanie Colgan for The New York Times

Shop in NoLIta and you will see that New York City is not at all impersonal. NoLIta is a small, quaint neighborhood bordered by SoHo, Little Italy and the Lower East Side. It retains a romantic and nostalgic feel. Having recently moved back to the area, I found my perfect Saturday right outside my door: coffee at the new Café Integral, followed by stops at favorites like Warm, Totokaelo and McNally Jackson, and, after running into a friend, cocktails at the Randolph at Broome. It’s easy to reach via the No. 6 train to Spring Street; the B, D, F or M to Broadway/Lafayette, or the N or R to Prince Street. Explore NoLIta »

XENIA ROLLINSON

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Lower East Side, Effortlessly Cool

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Coming Soon, which is part gallery showcasing furniture and home accessories and part gift store.

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Stephanie Colgan for The New York Times

Much like each New York City neighborhood has its distinct mood, architecture and demographic, so, too, does each have its own dining and shopping. One of the most stimulating shopping districts is the Lower East Side, accessible by the F, M, J or Z trains at Delancey-Essex Street or the B and D at Grand Street. Full of small and alluring independent boutiques, it’s a must-see for anyone who likes to shop at locally owned stores and experience the heart and charm of the city. Explore the Lower East Side »

XENIA ROLLINSON

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A Welcome Stroll in Clinton Hill

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Since February, the front section of Joya Studio’s manufacturing facility has been transformed into a boutique that’s evocative of a high-end art gallery

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Stephanie Colgan for The New York Times

Clinton Hill, with its brownstones and tree-lined streets, isn’t exactly the first place most people think of when they plan an afternoon of shopping in Brooklyn. But the neighborhood — adjacent to Fort Greene and once best known for the Pratt Institute and the Navy Yard — is worth a trip. While it’s a bit spread out, a vibrant retail scene has developed in the last few years, with dynamic stores popping up on blocks that are otherwise either residential or industrial. There’s a relaxed, unassuming sensibility to the community that makes it especially pleasant to stroll through; it’s a neighborhood in the truest sense, but welcoming even on a first visit. It’s easy to get to as well: the A, C and G subways stop in Clinton Hill, about a 45-minute ride from Midtown Manhattan. Explore Clinton Hill »

RACHEL FELDER

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