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Art and Commerce

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It's been said that shopping has replaced museumgoing for lots of Americans. New York's retailers have taken this proposition quite literally: Art has begun showing up between the racks. At the new Issey Miyake store in TriBeCa, Miyake commissioned architect Frank Gehry's 25-year-old son, Alejandro (pictured, above left), to paint murals on the walls. When Diane von Furstenberg created her boutique on West 12th Street last spring, she included a vast space for exhibitions. And at the DKNY store on Madison Avenue, Karan recently replaced a collection of photographs from a new book called New York Characters by Gillian Zoe Segal (the photos will travel among DKNY stores for the next several months) with a show of Fashion for America T-shirts customized by students from FIT and Parsons. But maybe, as anyone who's ever shopped the stunning moma gift shop can tell you, retail's just playing catch-up.

On a Roll
HOT DOGS, THE NEW LATTE? asks the chalkboard outside Crif Dogs, a new restaurant at 113 St. Marks Place (212-614-2728). Well, at the very least they're the new Belgian frites. Crif Dogs, with a menu selling everything from a basic New York frank to the Chihuahua dog (rolled in bacon, deep fried, and smothered with avocado and sour cream), is one of several new joints that offer creative takes on one of New York's most comforting culinary icons. Right around the corner from Crif Dogs is Dawgs on Park (178 East 7th Street; 212-598-0667), where the all-beef dogs are deep fried, but the chili is vegetarian. And at F&B (269 West 23rd Street; 646-486-4441), Daniel Boulud and Danny Meyer have been spotted scarfing down gourmet dogs made from things like salmon and lobster and lamb and rosemary. But F&B's biggest hit is the Great Dane (with rémoulade, Danish mustard, apple-tomato ketchup, onions, and marinated cucumber slices), which is, owner Nicholas Type explains, "the street dog of Denmark, where they're really passionate about their dogs."

Fifteen Minutes . . .
If you haven't jumped on the trend wagon and bought yourself a newsboy cap yet, save your cash for the next flash in the pan. (If you really must, try H&M or Target and minimize the damage.) The last time this many tweedy little hats were seen on the streets of New York, boys were wearing knickers, which suggests the caps have reached a state of pashmina-like popularity. And we all know what happened to the pashmina . . .

Tool Time
Anyone still paying off debts from the Fendi Baguette craze of a few seasons ago can heave a big sigh of relief over this winter's chic-est bag. It's a Klein Tools bag, it comes from the hardware store, and its price is calibrated by inches, not ostrich feathers or sequins. Sixteen inches make for a roomy little handbag ($49.99), while the 24-inch version would do well on weekend trips ($64.99). The only trick is not to cede too much information when jealous admirers wonder if it's actually from Hermès. (Vague mentions of a waiting list always up the ante.) "Listen, tool bags have always been cool," says Andy Scheman, of Scheman & Grant Hardware on Eighth Avenue, where fashionable types have gobbled up Klein bags. "Particularly if you know how to break them in."


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