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N, R at Prince St.; B, D, F, M at Broadway-Lafayette St.
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The Nolita outpost of this Australian skin-care brand is the company’s first full-size venture in New York (in July 2011 they opened a small kiosk in Grand Central), although even here the term full-size might be generous. The tiny boutique makes the most of its limited space by stacking the plant-based products, which range from geranium-leaf body scrubs to parsley-seed cleansers, on slim shelves that go nearly from floor to ceiling, but the store feels far from cluttered. Rather, it's a soothing oasis of dim lighting, calm neutrals, and the intoxicating aroma of the company’s offerings, which have developed a global cult following. Aesop’s focus on the natural (and its enthusiasm for the city) is even reflected in the store’s design. Just take a closer look at the walls: They’ve been constructed from recycled issues of the New York Times.