Local and Black-Owned Businesses
September 28, 2020
Mercer Street Books & Records
206 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012
Three minute walk from Washington Square Park or Kimmel Center for Student Life
Many local businesses struggled to keep their doors open after the coronavirus lockdown was in place in New York. Mercer Street Books & Records was one of the stores hit hardest by the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic and, thanks to their supporters, they were able to remain open. This shop was founded more than 30 years ago in Greenwich Village, specializing in selling out-of-print and used books. According to their website, “Everyone here is a writer in some field or other, so one of us is bound to have found things you’re looking for.” Not only will you be shopping sustainably by purchasing used books, you’ll also be supporting a struggling independent business with a history worth preserving! While Mercer Street Books & Records doesn’t offer curbside pick up or delivery, you’ll be required to wear a mask and social distance inside the store to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Now, go and “lose yourself in old school Greenwich Village.”
East Village Books
99 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
Five minute walk from Third North Residence Hall
If I could give my first-year self one piece of advice, it’d be to forget the NYU Bookstore and go shop at East Village Books. While they specialize in estate libraries, they’re known among NYU students for buying and selling used textbooks along with other academic literature. From history of the occult for your Gallatin elective to underground graphic novels for your Texts and Ideas lecture, you’ll probably find whatever you’re looking for here. Make sure to pass by an ATM on your way — East Village Books is a cash only store. While they don’t offer curbside pickup or delivery, they instituted safety measures to protect their staff and customers from COVID-19. You won’t be allowed to enter without a mask or talk loudly inside the store to prevent spread of airborne viral particles. Make sure to abide by these necessary guidelines and enjoy your authentic East Village Books experience!
McNally Jackson Bookstore
52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
10 minute walk from Lafayette Residence Hall (five minute walk from Broome Residence Hall)
In more ordinary times you can come here and read your new book while sipping on a cup of sweet chai. But until it’s possible again, curbside pickup should hold you over. This independent bookstore lays in the heart of SoHo, a mere 10 minute walk from Lafayette Residence Hall. Many local celebrities support McNally’s service to its community by holding book signings, including the legendary mother of punk rock herself, Patti Smith. The pickup service is neatly organized: first, you make your order online and pay; then, you drop by in your fancy mask and get your order from the store’s clerk at the front counter. No need to go inside! Support McNally Jackson and you’ll have a spot to eat toasted bagels while reading your new Zadie Smith anthology in the East Village once the pandemic ends.
Bluestockings Bookstore, Cafe & Activist Center
116 Suffolk St, New York, NY 100002
20 minute walk from Washington Square Park
While a little intimidating at first, the world of Bluestockings is much more than a volunteer-run bookstore with a fair trade cafe on the side: Bluestockings is dedicated to promoting education and personal accountability through the literature they sell. Here you’ll find books about all imaginable aspects of social justice, from decolonizing your knowledge of American history to the importance of transgender and gender-nonconforming people having access to accessible medical care. In an attempt to lead by example, Bluestockings set up an extensive list of community resources, including financial and housing assistance, legal services and mental health. They also host events for different causes, from a support group for young adults with chronic health conditions to self-defense classes.
Books Are Magic
225 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
15 to 20 minute walk from Othmer Residence Hall
Just a mere 15 minute walk from Othmer Residence Hall, Books Are Magic is truly a magical place. Currently open for limited browsing and scheduled pickups, this cozy bookshop also offers to ship orders to your cramped New York dorm room. Books Are Magic actively supports the Black Lives Matter movement, transgender authors and antiracist education through literature. Among their many initiatives is the “Readers For…” project. Currently you can participate by purchasing a Books Are Magic tote bag with the proceeds going to Everytown for Gun Safety. Masks and social distancing are required for both employees and members of the public inside the store. Be sure to check their online events calendar, too! While all of their in-person events are cancelled for the time being, Books Are Magic insists on providing education and entertainment to their audience virtually.
144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 100003
Five minute walk from Third North Residence Hall (two-minute walk from Alumni Residence Hall)
Whether you’re an international student from Eastern Europe or a pierogi enthusiast, Veselka is the right place for you. Founded by Ukrainian expats in 1954, it’s been serving hot borscht and a selection of fried or boiled pierogi to its East Village customers for the past 66 years. While Veselka struggled with the financial impact of the pandemic, it stayed true to its mission of bringing authentic Ukrainian cuisine to New York. Take it from your part-Ukrainian resident: get cold borscht with fried potato pierogi and you’re in for an unforgettable adventure. Don’t blame me when you crave this delight at three in the morning while cramming for another midterm. But lucky for you, Veselka is open 24/7 and it’s only a three minute walk from Alumni Residence Hall. While they offer deliveries and pickup to ensure safety amidst the coronavirus outbreak, be sure to wear a mask inside to protect yourself and Veselka’s staff.
Urban Vegan Kitchen
41 Carmine St., New York, NY 10014
Six minute walk from Lipton Residence Hall
Located on 41 Carmine Street and originally known as Blossom, Urban Vegan Kitchen offers your favorite comfort food, with popular items like mac and cheese and chicken waffles. Completely cruelty free and vegan (as the name suggests), indulge all you want guilt-free! While it’s more expensive than falafel over rice from your favorite Halal truck, it’s definitely worth the hype for its delicious food and ambience. About six minutes by foot from Lipton Hall and Washington Square Park, treat yourself when the vegan options at the dining halls just aren’t cutting it. It offers both curbside pickup and delivery on Postmates, Grubhub, Seamless, ChowNow and DoorDash.
Mikey Likes It Ice Cream
199 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Nine minute walk from Third Avenue North Residence Hall
A minimalist, organic and all-natural dessert shop, Mikey Likes it Ice Cream offers amazing waffle ice cream sandwiches that are perfect for the ‘Gram. Located on 199 Avenue A and about a nine minute walk from Third North Residence Hall, Mikey’s will satisfy your sweet tooth and health requirements with gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan and low sugar/no sugar options. It offers both delivery and curbside pickup by the pint through UberEats and Postmates.
Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe
342 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003
Six minute walk from Third Avenue North Residence Hall
Anyone who has ever been to Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe is familiar with its warm, bustling environment, beautiful stained-glass ceiling and the sweet aroma of freshly baked pastries wafting through the air. Founded in 1894 by Antonio Veniero, an immigrant from Italy, the bakery has now become a New York City landmark and a staple of the East Village. The bakery is only a 10 minute walk from Brittany Residence Hall and is frequented by NYU students. All of Veniero’s authentic Italian pastries are made with fresh ingredients and contain absolutely no preservatives, trans fats or high fructose corn syrup. If you are in the market for cookies, cheesecakes, tarts, cannolis or any other sweet dessert, Veniero’s is the place for you. Masks are required for customers and staff. Contactless payment and pickup are available.
87 S. Elliott Pl., Brooklyn, NY 11217
19 minute walk from Othmer Residence Hall
Peaches HotHouse is a Southern foodie’s dream. Located on 87th Street Elliot Pl., Brooklyn, don’t be surprised if you find yourself making the long trip to the Brooklyn campus for its famous, mouth-watering fried chicken. Just don’t forget your mask. Tandonites rejoice, for it’s only a 19 minute walk from Othmer Hall! Featuring large portions sizes for almost the same price as dining hall takeout, your heart and wallet will be happy. It offers takeout through Seamless, Grubhub and DoorDash.
114 E. 1st St., New York, NY 10009
18-20 minute walk from Founders Residence Hall
While the grocery and deli was shut down for four months as a result of the pandemic, its numerous die-hard supporters managed to crowdfund $38K in a matter of two days to keep its doors open. If that doesn’t convince you to run down to 114 East 1st Street right now for some absolutely delicious Indian comfort food, then I don’t know what else will. Open 24/7 and still providing the Lower East Side with incredibly inexpensive vegetarian options after 26 years, Kulwinder Singh’s quaint deli is a gem. Featuring sizzling aloo samosas and sweet little kulfi’s with in-store shopping, it’s just an 18 minute walk away from Founders Hall.
112 MacDougal St., New York, NY 10012
Three minute walk from Lipton Residence Hall
Boasting some of the best authentic Kolkata style street snacks (something I’m always on the lookout for!), Thelewala is the place to go for. Smack in the middle of 112 MacDougal St. and just a hop and skip away from Weinstein and Lipton Hall, it’s usually open until late at night to serve your midnight cravings. As someone who can’t stop gushing about chaat, the bhel puri is a must try. I still get nostalgic thinking about the Thelewala runs I’d make with my friends from Lipton at 3 a.m. for that bhel puri. Fortunately, they offer both pickup and delivery through Seamless, Grubhub, UberEats and Delivery if you don’t want to deal with the crowded MacDougal streets.
No physical location, orders through Instagram or Google Form
Whether you have a sweet tooth or a socially distanced birthday party to attend, Eats&TreatsbyB will be there for you! Britney Agyen (@_britneya), the owner of the Instagram-based confectionery, makes cakes, cookies and cupcakes in a variety of flavors, from lemon to classic and classy chocolate. The Eats&TreatsbyB Instagram account offers a look into the delicacies Agyen has created. You can purchase a treat for any occasion, from a baby shower to a graduation party. Be sure to pick a fun filling for your order. Not only does Agyen bake stunning creations, she supports other small Black-owned businesses by promoting them on her page. Go on and satisfy your craving for freshly baked cookies. I’ll be sure to order a custom funfetti cake with fresh fruit filling for my roommate’s birthday!
6 Skulls Tattoo
329 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014
Five minute walk from Washington Square Park or Kimmel Center for University Life
Ever wanted a full-color majestic owl and galaxy combination on your back? What about a relatively painless navel piercing under $40? Yes, even in as expensive of a city as New York City, your tattoo and piercing dreams can come true at 6 Skulls Tattoo. Their friendly and meticulous artists do their utmost to ensure customers’ safety, implementing enhanced sanitation and disinfection procedures. So, whether you decide to get an impulsive septum piercing or a detailed wrist tattoo design, you can easily get it done here. Make sure to have your mask on the entire time you’re in the store. It’s required for all patrons and staff!
Music Inn World Instruments
169 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014
Six minute walk from Washington Square Park or Kimmel Center for University Life
For musicians looking to depart from the mass of Western instruments sold at most mainstream music stores, Music Inn World Instruments would be a wonderful place to start. Their collection includes thousands of instruments from all over the world, creating a common ground for customers of different cultural backgrounds. You can’t exactly find a mandolin, a shakuhachi, an ude, or a djembe drum at Guitar Center. The owner, Jeff Slatnick, studied Indian classical music under renowned musician Ali Akbar Khan and continues to provide lessons, as well as practice compositions free of charge. The shop also provides instrument repairs, music records and a public space for Open Mic Nights on Thursdays. Considering it’s only five minutes away from Washington Square Park, if my family’s santur ever breaks, I’ll know exactly where to go.
175 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
Six minute walk from Washington Square Park or Kimmel Center for Student Life
Located on Bleecker Street, just a few minutes south of Washington Square Park, Village Tattoo offers professional piercings and tattoos to any patrons over 18 with a valid ID. Having gotten pierced here myself, I found their work to be quick, clean and precise, with no issues or infections afterward. The shop also sells silver and gold body jewelry, as well as antimicrobial soap and sea salt spray for piercing aftercare. With its close location to campus and its high quality work, it’s no wonder Village Tattoo is a favorite of NYU students. If a friend of yours just got a new tattoo, chances are they got it here. Village Tattoo is currently appointment-only due to COVID-19, and masks are required by both clients and staff.
Friend of a Friend
265 Canal St, Canal Street Market, New York, NY 10013
Four minute walk from Lafayette Residence Hall
Friend of a Friend studio was started by a pair of designers. Over the years, they have collaborated with companies to produce logos and merchandise, from small local businesses to well-known brands. The studio runs a little shop located inside of the Canal Street Market, a four minute walk from Lafayette Residence Hall. One can buy stylish T-shirts, pants, hats and other collectibles with cute minimalist logos. Additionally, 10% of the proceeds from every sale go to local organizations that support art education for youth. The store is open now for in-person shopping, so be sure to check it out!
67 35th St, 2nd Fl, Brooklyn, NY 11232
25 minute subway ride from NYU Tandon School of Engineering
At Saskia, every piece is handmade from materials sourced from all over the world, gathered from the owners’ travels. This Brooklyn jewelry shop sells unique necklaces, bracelets, earrings and masks, as well as fair trade finds. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saskia has introduced DIY jewelry-making kits for children, with colorful beads and stones ideal for making necklaces. Saskia also offers Virtual Market Happy Hours, during which the customers can video chat with the owner of the shop while creating their DIY jewelry and listening to the fascinating stories behind the materials they are using. For those who prefer to peruse the shop’s jewelry in person, Saskia can be found a 25 minute subway ride away from NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Masks are required and contactless payment is available.
Currently closed but open for online shopping
Preppy Trendy aims to empower all women through reworked and upcycled vintage apparel. This Black-owned boutique focuses on “slow fashion” or the production of garments in a more eco-friendly manner, which helps them last longer. Every Preppy Trendy product is created from pieces that are discarded, rather than donated or reused. Because many discarded fabrics are left for landfills, Preppy Trendy has made it a mission to upcycle these fabrics into new and contemporary garments, including jackets, purses, T-shirts, sandals and more recently, face masks. Though the Canal Street location is currently closed due to COVID-19, online shopping is available through the Preppy Trendy website.
Byas & Leon
404 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216
20 minute subway ride from NYU Tandon School of Engineering
What started as a mission to empower artists from the founders’ native Haiti has evolved into a shop that champions sustainable fashion. Byas & Leon, a boutique in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, provides fair trade and zero waste garments that are both stylish and eco-friendly. In addition to selling ethical fashion, Byas & Leon hosts regular events with a special emphasis on celebrating Afro-Diasporic culture, and is starting an educational series about climate change and the importance of sustainability. Located only a 20 minute subway ride away from NYU Tandon School of Engineering, this shop is a must-see. The store is open for in-person shopping, and masks are required.