NYC Travelogue

New York MuffinsA bright yellow surprise on the corner of an otherwise dreary street is home to New York Muffins. In a city known for its pastries, this gem of a café lived up to the standard – and then some. The chai tea was nothing less than heavenly; it tasted like liquid Christmas with a swirl of warm vanilla.

Located on Sixth Street and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, New York Muffins was conveniently situated down the street from my winter break housing. To say the menu is extensive would be an understatement. The shop offers an array of salads and sandwiches to satiate any diet. What’s more is the selection of toppings and dressings cause someone accustomed to eating planned-out meals from fast-food chains to feel overwhelmed by the delicious, wholesome choices. The shop opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m., allowing for an eclectic group of people to pass through.

Beacon’s ClosetDay two – and three and four – were spent scrounging through the color-coded racks of the vintage superstore Beacon’s Closet, where there is no such thing as a bad find. The store employees have highly selective tastes about the clothes they sell, and the ones that don’t make it to the sales floor are recycled to charities.

The clothes are not the only incentive to shop there – the store donates many of its proceeds to non-profit organizations. Beacon’s Closet also features many modern designer duds at prices that could rival Goodwill, thanks to its locations in the fashionable neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Park Slope.

The journey home was fairly difficult, given the wrist-breaking load of Beacon’s Closet bags, but it was well worth it. Among the finds were perfectly fitted Levi’s Jeans and a Marc Jacobs cardigan for $7! No worries about a funky musky smell either; the clothes are in very good condition and the staff showers regularly.

Apple StoreThe entryway for the most architecturally innovative store Apple has created is located in the shopping mecca of New York City: Fifth Avenue. Sitting on the sidewalk is a structure that resembles the Louvre’s glass triangle, but in cube form – and with a giant apple dangling inside of it. Neighboring the cubed fantasy of all techies is Central Park, FAO Schwartz and Bergdorf Goodman.

The stunning display above is only a tease. The store is located underground, accessible by a glass spiral staircase that leads down to a sales floor where the largest staff of any Apple store – almost 300 members – awaits to answer any questions a customer might have. The specially-trained employees are available in-store 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to assist customers at the 45-foot Genius Bar, iPod Bar and The Studio, where guests can receive free consultation on creative projects. Needless to say, the longest receipt from the entire trip came this impressive store.