OR TRY: Mirrors of serious pedigree that once graced the walls of grand English homes now grace the walls of Philip Colleck (830 Broadway, near 12th Street; 212-505-2500). Here, too, the price range is broad, starting at about $5,000 for a Regency from 1820 and going up to $125,000 for a Queen Anne circa 1700.Best known for Victorian silver and antique china, James II Galleries (11 East 57th Street, fourth floor; 212-355-7040) has recently added a heady collection of small-scale mirrors. Some are octagonal, some hold candles to reflect the light, some have vases, and some are bedecked with trees, birds, or flowers. ABC Carpet & Home (888 Broadway, at 19th Street; 212-473-3000) has mostly antiques that are French and Italian. The reproductions, too, are pretty traditional -- gold leaf and ornate. Eli Wilner & Company (1525 York Avenue, near 80th Street; 212-744-6521) has single-handedly changed people's perception of frames -- from things that set off works of art to treasured artworks in themselves. Wilner has pretty much cornered the market in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American frames by all the important framers, like Stanford White, Prendergast, Murphy, and Whistler. He's now doing line-by-line replicas of his antique frames, none of which come cheap.New York's top designers often turn to A.P.F. Master Framemakers (172 East 75th Street; 212-988-1090): The company is known for its museum-quality reproduction frames, which they'll morph into mirrors. J. Pocker & Son (135 East 63rd Street; 212-838-5488) is another favorite on the interior-design circuit, and the clever hands here can turn most of the shop's hundreds of custom frame moldings into mirrors.Cast stone, leather, and old ceiling tin are some of the unusual materials that frame many of the mirrors at Uproar Home (121 Greene Street; 212-614-8580).If your apartment cries out for something sleek and today, consider Quinto Sol (937 Madison Avenue, near 74th Street; 212-734-5653). Its tempting array of homewares is mostly made and designed in Mexico, but forget folk-artsy; think modern and the sterling-silver jewelry designs of Pineda and Castillo of the forties.
Q: I've been ordering vintage records over the Internet, but half the time they don't have the ones I want or it takes months to get them. I'm kind of out of the loop on stores in New York that sell old vinyl. Any suggestions?
A: There must be at least a hundred or so dusty, bare-bones little nooks in out-of-the-way neighborhoods whose racks are crammed with classical, jazz, rock, hip-hop, punk. You name it -- there's a store that specializes in it. Organization may be flawed, and they may be manned by a staff that doesn't know what's there or knows too much and talks endlessly.
Academy Records & Cds (12 West 18th Street; 212-242-3000) has a huge inventory of used, out-of-print, and rare classical LPs that sets it apart from most other vintage-record shops. Early music, opera, soloists, and twentieth-century pieces are the major draw, but Academy is no slouch when it comes
to rare jazz, pop, rock, and imports.
Gryphon Record Shop (233 West 72nd Street; 212-874-1588) is another of the few classical outposts. But ask manager Raymond Donnell, and he'll tell you he's strong in everything. And indeed, the range is broad, from rare and out-of-print operatic LPs to hard-to-find conductors such as Fricsay and Kubelík, to original-cast Broadway shows, to movie soundtracks, to Peggy Lee and Bobby Short. The staff is knowledgeable and quick to find exactly what you're looking for, no matter how arcane.
OR TRY: Roger Roberge of Mooncurser Records (229 City Island Avenue, City Island, Bronx; 718-885-0302) just stocks whatever he's collected over the past 25 years: rare classical labels, operatic recordings, Presley and the Beach Boys, Latin, rock, reggae, country, jazz, movie soundtracks, and much, much more.At Bleecker Bob's Golden Oldies Record Shop (118 West 3rd Street; 212-475-9677) you'll find just about every rock record ever pressed -- well, almost.It's small, narrow, and cramped, but Rockit Scientist (43 Carmine Street; 212-242-0066) is the place to hit for rock. John Kioussis stocks a carefully edited selection from the sixties and seventies that's heavy on progressive, psychedelic, folk, and obscure.Jazz expert Fred Cohen owns and runs the Jazz Record Center (236 West 26th Street, eighth floor; 212-675-4480), and he covers the whole field, instrumental and vocal, obscure and common. You'll likely find those platters you've been looking for all your life at Strider Records (22 Jones Street; 212-675-3040). There's rare and early Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, and Carl Perkins, early Motown and Phil Spector, and tons of others -- as long as it's on vinyl.Dance-music headquarters for two decades, Vinylmania (60 Carmine Street; 212-924-7223) is often a D.J.'s first stop. They come for acid and abstract jazz, house, and hip-hop, not least of all because Vinylmania gets everything first.Frankie, Sarah, Judy, and Bing are all at Footlight Records (113 East 12th Street; 212-533-1572) in one form or another. Footlight's selection of rare and out-of-print original-cast recordings, old movie soundtracks, big bands, and vocalists of the forties is legendary.
Raising The Bar
Q: I'm fed up with the singles scene at the gyms and waiting in line for treadmills and StairMasters. Where should I go and what do I need to set up a home gym?
A: Few of us can spend tens of thousands of dollars on Versa Climbers or cable crossovers. But that's okay -- the experts suggest that the only equipment you should buy for your home gym should relate to what you enjoy doing (jogging, get a treadmill; biking, a stationary bike; aerobics, a StairMaster). Avoid investing in the latest fads. The pros also stress that you should get the very best you can afford -- forget those ads for $59.99 exercise bikes and $297.99 treadmills. The cheaper versions rarely have proper cushioning, the treads are often narrower, and the belts are inferior, so this stuff tends to wear out sooner, rattle, and need frequent repairs; it can even cause injuries.
Gym Source (40 East 52nd Street; 212-688-4222) has a client list that reads like the Post's "Page Six." And the city's major corporations, health clubs, co-ops, hotels, and universities are all on it, too. To find out why there's such a fuss, I walked the loft-size store with Rich Barretta, personal trainer to assorted celebrities and owner of Duomo on East 26th Street. Barretta bought 75 percent of the equipment for his gym here. The reasons? The store's huge in-stock inventory (it has dozens of treadmills and exercise bikes to choose from, no six-week wait for delivery), the quality of the equipment (all the top-rated names), and the professional installation and customer service (repairs are handled speedily; exchanges are no problem). And Barretta likes the fact that Gym Source carries both a top brand's commercial line and its more modestly priced one. I spotted all the Consumer Digest Best Buys, along with pricier stuff from Tectrix, Cybex, Schwinn, and Landice, and cutting-edge spin bikes, elliptical machines, and interactive fitness environments.
Omnifitness (380 Madison Avenue, near 47th Street; 212-953-6767) has a tiny Madison Avenue outpost, but it is the largest distributor of fitness equipment in the Northeast. Life Fitness and StairMaster are the big names here, and you'll find everything from stationary bikes to StairMaster FreeClimbers, to cross trainers, to home gyms, all neatly lined up like soldiers at attention.
Q: My college-age son is into magic, and I want to surprise him with some sophisticated magic tricks. I'm having trouble locating a store that sells magic for adults, not kids.
A: Manhattan's magic masters tell me, surprisingly, that many of their customers are professionals, often doctors and dentists who master tricks as a quick way to calm frightened young patients or to increase dexterity.
Tannen's Magic Company (24 West 25h Street; 212-929-4500) might be your first stop; it's where Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, and Donald Sutherland come when they're in the market for some tricks. It's the world's largest magic emporium, and professionals like David Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy are among its customers. Behind the unassuming sales counter (where someone is invariably demonstrating some bit of abracadabra) is a huge warehouse of tricks, organized by vendor. Disappearing coins, floating roses, shrinking dice are all here, plus at least 8,300 more.Tannen's is the largest, but Flosso-Hornmann Magic Company (45 West 34th Street, sixth floor; 212-279-6079) is the world's oldest magic shop. It's dusty and cluttered and probably looks much the same as it did when Houdini owned it in 1919. Jack, the son of the original Flosso, now runs the business, and he's a professional magician whose knowledge of magic is encyclopedic. He'll demonstrate any trick in his large stock, but to discover the secret of how it works, you'll have to buy it.
OR TRY: Grotesque figures, a mind-boggling mix of costumes, and zillions of masks are what you'd expect to find at Abracadabra (19 West 21st Street; 212-627-5194), but it has a fine selection of magic tricks.Costumes and magic team up at Halloween Adventure (104 Fourth Avenue, near 11th Street; 212-673-4546), which boasts a counter filled with tricks and a magician to demonstrate.A science-cum-magic store, Unique Science (410 Columbus Avenue, near 79th Street; 212-712-1899) combines all of magician Steve Ronson's loves.