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Aug 30, 2009 07:14 AM

new to NYC - shopping advice pls..

Hi all, moving to NYC from the windy city. After much consternation on neighborhoods I've taken a place in the 60s and 3rd (close to office but seemingly empty on ethnic hole in the wall eateries...diff topic). Since I'm new to the area and need to stock a kitchen - am hoping you guys can advise me on the best places for:

Fresh veg/fruit (local organic a big plus)
Fish monger
General grocer
Spice market
Cutlery/tools(in chicago we have Lake Street Cutlery in the restaurant supply district)

My bias tends toward places that are high on ingrediants/product and low on ambiance.

If you have suggestions in departments not listed above pls let me know...I gotta figure this place out somehow.

Thank you very much.

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  1. Hey, p_torres1,

    Welcome to NYC!

    Restaurant supply stores are located downtown on the Bowery.

    In Chelsea Market, on 9th Av., b/t 15th & 16th Sts., there's Bowery Kitchen Supplies.

    Broadway Panhandler, on 8th St., is another good option. They often run sales.

    Kalustyan's, on Lex, b/t 28th & 29th Sts. (on a stretch known as "Curry Hill:), stocks a vast variety of spices. In fact, every nook and cranny is filled with all sorts of wonderful items. If you want a place that's "high on ingredients/product and low on ambiance," you will love Kalustyans!

    I hope your move goes well and that you will participate regularly on this board. :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      great advice. many thanks - I really look forward to exploring the city.
      And yes - actively participating.

      1. re: p_torres1

        Kalustyan's has good spices but is really overpriced (granted, they have Manhattan rent prices). You will save a ton of money by buying them in Jackson Heights where the turnover is high and the prices low. For instance, you save 50% on black pepper. The saving on less common spices are greater. It's the Devon Ave of NYC.

        Taking the F train to 74th/Broadway in Queens will take about 20 minutes. Check out the shops along 74th St north of Roosevelt and on 37th ave/73rd St:
        Patel Brothers, Subzi Mandi, Apna Bazaar are the three larger grocers.

        Nearby is the Pacific Market (Broadway/75th) if you need East Asian goods.

        1. re: p_torres1

          I like Kalustyan's too. As a alternative, another place where you can get decent spices is Penzy's Spice at Grand Central Market (inside of Grand Central Terminal at 42nd street and Park Avenue). I know their selection maybe a little limited at their booth at Grand Central but you can still get most of the basic spices and/or spice blends. While you are there you can pick up their catalog and perhaps order on-line if you wish.

          Here is a link to Penzy's from the Chowhound website:

      2. fellow hound MMRuth compiles excellent lists on this very topic, and lucky for you she's an UES expert!

        and since you'll eventually want to venture South to check out the gems downtown:

        i also heartily second RGR's recommendation for Kalustyan's. it's one of my favorite places.

        oh, and welcome!

        1. To find a greenmarket near you, you can go to the city's farmers' market website -- there's a map. Here's the link: . By far the best of these is, of course, the Union Square Greenmarket which would only be a short subway trip for you. But there may be a smaller market closer to your neighborhood as well.

          Good luck.

          1. A short ride on the 6 train from 59th/Lex gets you to Canal St--Chinatown... plenty of "hole in the wall" type places there if you do a board search.

            Kam Man market on Canal is good for Asian spices/condiments and they have all sorts of kitchen equipment downstairs. You can stroll to the restaurant supply stores on the Bowery from there.

            Another place for spices is Penzey's in Grand Central market.

            Trader Joe's in on 14th st just off Union Sqaure (near the greenmarket)... check the recent thread on this board for the busy times. Their wine shop is right next door and has lots of good bargains. (no wine/liquor in NY supermarkets in case you didn't know)

            Macy's Herald Square has the Cellar... it is the largest Macy's and there is always a sale if you need general cookware, dishes, etc.

            Pisacane Fish Market 940 First Ave near Sutton place is one of the most highly rated fish mongers in the city.

            There is also Eli's on 3rd and 81st, sort of the East Side version of Zabar's

            Oh, of course Russ and Daughters on Houston st for excellent salmon, lox, whitefish... there is a thread about this too.

            Welcome to the city... be sure to post what you have found, what you like etc

            1. All of the recommendations so far are perfect. But a few places a little closer to home, you can check out Katagiri on 59th between 2nd and 3rd. It's Japanese, but you can get a lot of asian ingredients there. And while it may not be the cheapest place you should also check out the Bridge Market under the 59th st bridge on 1st avenue.

              Kalustyan's is pretty amazing, but sadly it's a little more expensive than you might expect. They truly have everything you could ever need, but some of the "grocery" items are expensive ($3 for a pound of beans?!) If you're willing to travel a little further there's a great indian spice market on 1st avenue between 5th and 6th street on the east side of the avenue.

              Pisacane (1st and 51st) is great, and there's a really nice cheese shop literally next door.

              One thing I think you'll find, the further you get from 5th avenue, the more "residential" things will be. More shops, groceries, etc geared for people who actually live in the hood rather than people dashing out of the office for a haircut, dry cleaners, birthday cards, etc.