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Alpine Creative Group
30 E. 33rd St.
By appointment only
You can’t go wrong with the folks who helped Sean Combs break the news about his newborn son. Alpine clients pay for an emphasis on quality and creativity. Providing an hour-long consultation, the store will print invitations on balloons or, better yet, send stuffed giraffes to your guests, each fitted with a birthday-party invite printed on a neck tag. Prices vary based on customization.

Bergdorf Goodman
754 Fifth Ave., near 57th St., seventh fl.
An elegant nook on the seventh floor of this old-school department store has everything from quotidian necessities to deluxe items—mostly thermographed stationery from companies like Crane’s, William Arthur, and Thornwillow Press. Twenty-five basic birth announcements start at around $100.

Bowne & Co., Stationers
211 Water St.
This quaint printing shop uses letterpresses dating as far back as 1844 to custom-design children’s birthday-party and bar mitzvah invites. Choose a typeface and imagery (frogs on bicycles is the most popular); the cards are printed on rag paper from Crane’s. Fifty invitations and envelopes start at $200; they’ll arrange for calligraphy, too.

Stationery for Camp
Chelsea Paper Company
Campers can fill their parents in on all the summer fun with the cheery Camp Notes Gift Set. The kit comes with twenty cards and envelopes in four designs (palm trees, flip-flops, flowers, and surfboards) that have fill-in the blank statements like “Camp is . . . ,” “My friends are . . . ,” and “The coolest thing I’ve done so far is . . . ” ($40).
Calligraphy Studios
100 Reade St.
By appointment only
Painter and sculptor Linda Stein’s style is elegant but never boring, and decidedly high-end: She’s worked with major companies like Tiffany’s and Cartier. For a sweet 16, she did several mood portraits of the birthday girl and incorporated the art into the invitation. Make an appointment to discuss design (Stein will sketch alternatives) and price estimates two months in advance. One hundred invitations range from $2,000 to $40,000.

Crane & Co. Paper Makers
59 W. 49th St., at Rockefeller Plaza
Crane’s has been making top-notch cotton stationery for about 200 years. You’ll find birth announcements, children’s stationery, and birthday-party invites—all in a wide range of colors and patterns. Seventy-five thermographed notes and envelopes start at $109.

Creative Consulting
By appointment only
For one birth announcement for a New Yorker mom in Arizona, owner Faith Drucker replaced the traditional satin ribbon with a bandanna tie. For another, she used a cutout of a large pea, from which several smaller peas could be plucked, each containing a piece of baby information. Drucker works with calligraphers and illustrators and will also do party favors upon request. $250 to $750 for 100 cards.

Ellen Weldon Design
273 Church St.
By appointment only
This custom business has grabbed the attention of many notable clients, from Oprah to Arthur Sulzberger Jr. A trained calligrapher, Weldon keeps her business stocked with the most hard-to-find papers and accessories from South Africa to England, ensuring uniqueness. She works directly with engravers, silk-screen artists, and printers to ensure fast turnaround. Invitations start at $25 each.

Hudson Street Papers
357 Bleecker St.
This small shop has all the basics, but go for the fun stuff. Choose from more than 300 spunky, colorful options for party invitations and birth announcements from Inscribe; invites range from $1.50 to $2.50 per card. They’ve also got more traditional ones from William Arthur, which range from $80 to $300.

Jamie Ostrow
54 W. 21st St.
The antithesis of a prissy stationery store, this shop features bright colors and big type. Customized offerings include bar/bat mitzvah, sweet 16, and birthday-party invitations (from $150 for 50). Youngsters will love the Jamie Ostrow line of kids’ stationery, replete with ice-cream cones, hearts, or bicycles (from $120 for 50 sheets, including envelopes).

Kate’s Paperie
Call 888-941-9169 for store locations
These enormous stationery troves have unparalleled selections from big-name designers like William Arthur, Snow and Graham, and Crane’s. You can order custom-printed invitations and announcements or choose from a dizzying array of premade ones. Prices run the gamut.

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From the Fall 2004 edition of the New York Family Guide