- READER REVIEWS
Mon-Sat, noon-7pm; Sun, 11am-6pm
Nearby Subway Stops
6 at Astor Pl.; L at First Ave.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
While Elaine Arsenault can appreciate the meticulousness of a palm-sized, jewel-encrusted Judith Leiber bag as much as the next purse fanatic, this purse-maker designs for a city that slugs its entire day over its shoulder. Since 2001, with the aid of an assistant, Arsenault has been handcrafting generously-sized oblong bags from her spartan East Village shop. Susan Sarandon and Susan Dey are fans of the signature drawstring linings that, unlike the typical snap or zip closures, help keep things contained. A few change-purse clutches (no rhinestone details here) are stacked near the counter, but otherwise, the shelves beget a skyline of bags—with soft leather handles or shoulder straps—in bright, durable fabrics like camel and light blue vinyl, graphic orange microfiber and quilted black leather. For "super schleppers" (a.k.a. moms), the Bucket style is ideal: It totes a ton and, like the other styles, can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. Another functional Arsenault staple is the Briefcase, which holds file folders, athough laptops might be a gamble. The counter space is home to a designer-friend’s fabric-inspired marble coasters and napkin rings.
Markdowns on storewide merchandise twice a year at season's end.