Best of the Decade
Distilling 10 years of Best of Westchester issues into a must-have guide to everything stupendous, supreme, sublime, sophisticated, and superlative in the county. Our Best of the Best of Westchester.
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Keeping ourselves, our homes, and our lives in up-to-the-minute style.
This 30,000-square-foot emporium is the place we run to for anything and everything having to do with arts and crafts. We parents know to drive straight to A.I. Friedman when our kids remember that they need to build a diorama of the solar system out of oak tag and Styrofoam—and it’s due tomorrow. But even those who no longer have an endless need for markers and poster board check out the store for scrapbook supplies, adhesives and cutting tools, and—the store’s specialties—photo albums and frames, including custom framing.
There’s no reason to settle for mass-produced merch when Beehive is buzzing with a rotating display of expertly crafted and one-of-a-kind items from local and emerging designers. It’s hard to pass by the store without doing a quick pop-in to pick up some homemade lavender oatmeal soap ($6) or a set of Laura Macchia’s graphic note cards ($14). Great gift-givers make a beeline for Beehive’s higher-end items, such as Brumi Design’s sparkly aquamarine earrings ($364) or Element Clay Studio’s nesting scallop bowls ($180). Maybe you never knew your neighbors were so talented—but be glad they are.
We watch Mad Men—not for the storyline or characters but to catch a glimpse of those amazing mid-century interiors. Then, we found Belkind Bigi and realized we could re-create the look in our very own homes. (No wonder the Drapers went shopping for home accessories in Tarrytown.) The 4,000-square-foot store carries furniture and home décor items from the top designers of the period: Edward Wormley, George Nelson, Milo Baughman, Eames, and others. And it’s the real deal, not a Hollywood re-creation.
Mohegan Lake (914) 526-2453
Scarsdale (914) 723 3408
Biking is huge, and we couldn’t be more pleased—especially because we know we have the most knowledgeable bike professionals in our corner. Just starting out? Choose from the giant selection of bikes, including Specialized, Trek, and Raleigh bikes. The pros at Danny's will fit you and have you off and riding. More experienced cyclists go to Danny’s to find information on trails, races, and other events (the website alone is a font of knowledge).
Churchills of Mount Kisco
We were beside ourselves when Churchills opened its doors a year ago. Finally, a to-die-for women's and men's clothing shop in Northern Westchester. County fashion-lovers shop here for styles from their favorite Madison Avenue designers, such as Ilaria Nistri, Kiton, Rag & Bone, John Varvatos, Robbie & Nikki, and other classic American and European designers. The store also hosts trunk shows and designer appearances, letting true fashion devotees meet the designers without haggling for a seat at Bryant Park.
No cookie-cutter couture here for when we want to look fabulous—and unique—at a formal or semi-formal event. Here we'll find airy confections and gorgeous gowns from Constance McCardle, Ania Zofia, and Paula Varsalona; then accessorize with the shop's wide collection of jewelry and handbags. Love the service here, too; when the original store burned down in 2000, the owners found replacement gowns for all their customers (including 80 brides).
Mount Kisco (914) 241-3777
Pleasantville (914) 769-9767
When it comes to quality shoes for real working and walking feet, no shop comes close to Heller’s. It stocks brands such as Rockport, Clark, Merrell, Birkenstock, and Dansko in a huge array of sizes and widths for both men and women. It also has a large selection of slippers, sneakers, and boots, and Uggs in every style. The best thing about Heller’s, though, is the competent, patient, experienced sales staff. The Pleasantville store will work with you to find the perfect fit—even if that means trying on dozens of pairs of shoes, adding a heel lift, cutting an innersole, accommodating orthotics, or special-ordering. We’ve yet to see a foot massage, but we wouldn’t be completely surprised if we did.
Siblings Lauren and Anthony Lanza keep Harris in tip-top shape.
Photo byJohn Fortunato
Harris Restaurant Supply
Psst! Don’t tell others about the deals you can find on kitchen gadgets, gizmos, and supplies here. Right now, keep it between us—and the professional chefs and restaurant owners who shop here. And here you can find the tools, pots, pans, serving pieces, and more that the real pros use—not the for-show pretty stuff from Williams-Sonoma, or the goods that bear a smiling celebrity chef on the package. What’s even better than outfitting your kitchen with these industry-quality goods is the wholesale prices you can pick them up for.
Hickory & Tweed
When you’re looking to buy bikes or ski equipment, you want to talk to people who regularly hit the slopes, test new snowboards, and pedal on the county trails. At Hickory & Tweed, outdoor junkies buy from real, tried-and-true sports enthusiasts. The staff has a genuine passion for bikes, skis, and the Great Outdoors. Leave it to owner Skip Beitzel, who began working at Hickory & Tweed in high school, and his team of experts to outfit your next skiing or cycing expedition—just look for the bright red buildings (after half a century, they’re a landmark in Armonk).
Walking through Klaff’s 19,000-square-foot showroom is not like slugging through the aisles at Home Depot but traversing the Museum of Excellent Kitchens and Baths. As you walk through, you’ll want to wrap up each vignette whole and bring it home. But start small; why deny yourself the pleasure of checking out the store’s impressive selection of tiles, decorative hardware, and other home décor items?
Brothers Jeffrey and Jonathan Landsberg have a long history with jewelry.
Photo by Cathy Pinsky
A stunning selection and the warm, attentive service you’d get if you had a family member in the jewelry biz are the twin hallmarks of this elegant, fine jewelry boutique. Brothers Jeffrey and Jonathan Landsberg grew up working in the family’s flagship in Manhattan’s diamond district, owned by their dad, Norman. You don’t hang out around diamonds that long without picking up a thing or two. The extensive selection is studded with names like Christopher Designs, Gurhan, Penny Preville, Sethi Couture, and others that you won’t find just anywhere. Not sure if something is just right? You’ll be encouraged to take it home for a day to see. And, just like family, they also lend pieces to wear for big events.
We know, we know—it’s a chain. But, come on, would Westchester be Westchester without our Neiman? We’d be remiss to leave off our list this heaven-on-earth-for-fashion-junkies department store. (The shoe department alone deserves entry into Best of the Decade.) And with designers like Carolina Herrera, Proenza Schouler, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Marc Jacobs, who can blame us for considering the store one of the best places from which to stock a wardrobe?
Mary Jane Denzer
(914) 328 0330
There are special occasions, and then there are special occasions. The kind that require an Oscar de la Renta or maybe a little something from Christian Dior. Mary Jane Denzer has been dressing Westchester women for these occasions for more than 30 years, carefully choosing gowns, cocktail dresses, and black-tie outfits that bear names like Carolina Herrera, Elie Saab, Monique Lhullier, Reem Acra, Zac Posen, and Valentino. The stuff isn’t cheap, but, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
March isn’t big, nor particularly easy to find. But take our advice and make the effort to wend your way to this boutique. It is a true gem. Enter, close your eyes, head to any rack, choose something at random, and…perfection. Owner Lynn Puro knows how to stock her shop with clothes that are elegant yet hip. And the best part? The cost: surprisingly reasonable.
Going on a trip? Before you do anything else, head to Parkers. This is one truly unique store for travel fans: in regards to luggage, the choices are as stylish as the clothing you plan to fill them with.
R&M Woodrow Jewelers
At this jewel box of a shop in downtown Rye, you can find items that are intricate and gorgeous enough to stand up to your gala-worthy gowns, or refined and elegant enough to make a statement. Plus, the shop carries all the eye-candy, top-of-the-line jewelry names you’d be looking for: Aaron Basha, Breitling, Roberto Coin, Marco Bicego, and Judith Ripka.
Who wouldn’t want to dress like Rothman’s owner Ken Giddon? He’s up-to-the-minute on menswear trends and understands timeless, classic styles. It’d be almost impossible to find a better-edited selection of menswear in the county. And, now that formal-dress institution Lubin’s has moved into the retail space, younger fashion plates can go there to get dressed for their first suits and tuxes, too. Soon, they’ll be lifetime Rothman’s fans as well.
Try, just try, to keep us out of The Westchester. Eleven million of us each year may lose our cars in the lot and resent having to pay parking fees for the privilege of shopping here. But the actual shopping? We adore it. Our favorite stores—more than 150 of them—all in one place. A no-brainer.
Scarsdale (914) 723-0327
Mount Kisco (914) 241-4500
In Westchester, couples don’t say “I do” without saying “hello” to Michael and Matthew Wilson first. The two Gemological Institute of America grads are experts at appraising diamonds and carry stunning lines of engagement rings—in addition to their own handcrafted line. The Wilson brothers also boast an impressive selection of men’s watches and their shop is the only authorized Rolex dealer in the county.