A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
This venue is closed.
This West Village shop, open since 1969, is a kind of mid-century precursor to Diagon Alley, where Harry Potter and pals might find essential ingredients for a class on the Dark Arts. There are enough culinary and medicinal herbs, curative teas, exotic spices, and vitamin supplements here to fill a shaman’s charm chest, an herbalist's apothecary, and a chef's pantry. Each bin of loose leaves, spices, and herbs is marked with a name and description. The range of products on display is impressive: There’s sassafras three ways—bark, leaf, or tea—and dried safflowers that have saffron’s golden hue, but not its exotic flavor. The shop’s generous hodge-podge also yields up dried fruits and nuts, olive oil and scented essential oils, salts for the pantry and the bath, and peppers black, blended, and chile-hot. Like a funky late-sixties take on the traditional neighborhood variety store and pharmacy, Aphrodesia sells vitamins and supplements alongside knickknacks and jewelry. You can find a beaded handbag and the lip balm to put in it, along with greeting cards and other trinkets. The cats that keep watch only add to the sense that you've left the asphalt behind and stepped into a well-stocked witch's lair.