Lower East Side Shops
CW Pencil Enterprise
15 Orchard St., Lower East Side
As far as specialty shops go, CW Pencil Enterprise is downright granular. It’s shoe-box sized and therefore really easy to miss, so keep an eye out for the pencil drawing, which the owner, Caroline Weaver, put up in lieu of traditional signage. Inside, the floors are black-and-white checkered, and the shelves are lined with neatly labeled jars of pencils and on-theme art. Make good use of the pencil-testing station, which is set up on a Mid-Century desk and topped with vintage-looking sharpeners and old-school notebooks, while the staff (it’s usually Weaver herself manning the store) drop knowledge about each pencil’s provenance, history, color, and optimal use. CW carries amazing stationery brands like Craft Design Technology, Tombow, and Field Notes; and then there’s the Pencil of the Month club and custom pencil services, which the owner fulfills herself by hand with an antique hot foil press.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
123 Norfolk St., Lower East Side
Located in a gallery-like space in the LES, Maryam Nassir Zadeh is more like a gallery than a boutique. You’ll find totem-like objects arranged on the floor, really stunning jewelry that you don’t know if you should wear, or just display, and plenty of up-and-coming labels. MZN has put designers like Dieppa Restrepo, Bernhard Willhelm, Jacquemus, and Lizzie Fortunato on the map.
170 Ludlow St., Lower East Side
From owner/designer Greg Armas' own line of subtly-destroyed basics to Acne and other, lesser known designers like Correll Correll and Feit, we rely on this boutique for a dose of luxe, deconstructed fashion.
158 Rivington St., Lower East Side
Ring the bell to enter the custom, dark wood-paneled interiors lined with a pretty amazing collection of sneakers from Nike, Adidas, Alife's special collaborations, and more. For the sneaker head, this is a must-see.
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