White Cat Vision
Gucci frames and Versace sunglasses start as low as $30—they’re last season or older, but for eyeglasses, who cares? Even Japanese titanium frames, normally $300 and higher, show up here for $79. Lenses start at $89 for single-vision wearers, a great deal compared with fran-chise stores like LensCrafters, for example, which charges $120 for similiar lenses.
1475 Second Ave., nr. 77th St.; 212-472-3030.
Chelsea Paper Co.
Monogrammed flat ecru cards start at $25.90 for a set of 50 notes and envelopes here, thanks to the company’s buying power (it owns more than 40 manufacturers). You need an appointment to browse the store, or order online for even deeper discounts at chelseapaper.com.
136 E. 57th St., at Lexington Ave., fourth fl.; 212-750-6880
Jacqueline’s Skincare Clinic
At $130, Jacqueline Gaussen’s facials aren’t especially cheap, but the draw is that there’s no time limit. Unlike other salons, which fit your treatment into an hour no matter what, Gaussen gives you her undivided attention and doesn’t stop until pimples are visibly smaller and blemishes are lighter. First-time customers also receive a free microdermabrasion (normally $150).
710 Park Ave., nr. 69th St.; 212-535-1630
Pure Spa & Salon
With 5,000 square feet over two sunny floors, Pure Spa & Salon feels midtown-glamorous, until you get the bill: brow wax, $8, bikini, $15.
40-15 Queens Blvd., nr. Lowery St., Sunnyside; 718-784-6400
The Natura Bissé counter in Bergdorf Goodman has two new treatment rooms where customers can get pampered with goodies like the Diamond Experience Facial ($210 at spas), Honey Satin Exfoliating Massage ($150), and Diamond Body-Lux Treatment ($180)—for free. Technicians use the brand’s pricey products (a 1.7-ounce jar of the Diamond Extreme crème is $300) in hopes that you’ll love the results enough to stock up. You need an appointment, and the wait time resembles that of a hot restaurant.
754 Fifth Ave., nr. 57th St.; 212-753-7300
Perfume Americana Wholesale Inc.
A 1.7-ounce bottle of Burberry Weekend is $22 at this wholesale fragrance shop; a 2.5-ounce bottle of Versace Red Jeans or Versace Blue Jeans is only $15. There are more than 50 name brands and hundreds of editions to choose from.
276 Fifth Ave., at 30th St.; 212-213-0872
For $12, you’ll get a dry haircut, maybe a spritz from a water bottle—although a shampoo is only $3 more. But owner Eric Uvaydov knows his way around a hipster head (he can do a mohawk, a Caesar, or a buzz cut), and John Bartlett, Narciso Rodriguez, and GQ’s Jim Nelson are regulars. If you really want to splurge, a hot shave is $8.
439 E. 9th St., nr. Ave. A; 212-777-0798
NYC Looking Good
Thick, wavy hair is a tricky proposition, but Zoila Burga knows how to cut simple styles that don’t look too heavy and fall just right (she’s also good with straight, curly, and frizzy). For $19.95, clients get a shampoo and a cut. Blow-dry is DIY; for another $20 you can have it done.
416 Third Ave., nr. 30th St.; 212-685-9475
Kidz Cut Zone
In a city where $30 has become the standard for a children’s cut, this Park Slope shop does them for a reasonable $19; bang trims are $7. Every tenth haircut is free, girls get free manicures, and twins pay for only one cut between them on Wednesdays. There’s plenty of TV, toys, balloons, and lollipops to keep kids distracted.
447 Sixth Ave., nr. Ninth St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-369-4700
Wholesale Flower Market
Ignore the signs saying wholesale only; we’ve never been turned away, especially when paying cash. You’ll find 25 roses anywhere from $15 to $25 and ten tulips for up to $9—and better quality than the supermarket, too. Just go as early as you can (most shops open at 4 a.m. and close by noon), know what you want, and be prepared to buy in bulk. Favorite shops include Empire Cut Flowers, Inc. (151 West 28th Street), Caribbean Cuts Corporation (120 West 28th Street), George Rallis, Inc. (803 Sixth Avenue), and Fischer & Page (134 West 28th Street).
28th St., bet. Sixth and Seventh Aves.
Do-All Travel Co. Inc.
This agency really performs in the killer category of midweek business travel to Europe (recently, London, Paris, and Brussels for $550, $599, and $485, respectively—less than half what’s on Orbitz or Expedia). The discounted fares are not available on the Internet or through the airlines, and are almost always flexible on restrictions such as advance purchase and weekend stays. If you can stay the weekend, they’ll go lower still.
620 18th Ave., nr. 47th St., Boerum Hill, Brooklyn; 718-972-6000