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Out, Damned Spot!

These specialists clean anything from leather pants to presidential heirlooms.

  • Ties and Scarves

  • TieCrafters

    252 W. 29th St., 212-629-5800

    Dry cleaners have a knack for destroying ties through overenthusiastic pressing, so you should really trust that pricey Hermès to the only folks who do this all day long. Tiecrafters’ experienced spot-removers know how to deal with silk in all its fussy forms. Typically, they unstitch the back of a tie and flatten it for cleaning, then suture it back together—that way, the tie doesn’t get that mashed-down look. Ties are $9.50 and up; scarves, $23 and up; pickup and delivery is $7.50 each way. (There’s a four-tie minimum to get the best price, so save up your stains.)

  • Leather Clothing

  • Superior Leather Restorers

    141 Lexington Ave., 212-889-7211

    Leather’s like furniture: It has to be refinished, not just cleaned, says owner Marvin Rosen, who adds that more than half his business is doing just that. (The remainder is mostly repairs.) His team specializes in the little-known ins and outs of recoloring the hide, then moisturizing and conditioning it so it’s supple and like new. Pants and skirts are $95 and up; a short jacket is $150 and up.

  • Draperies and Upholstery

  • A. Scott Drapery Cleaning

    2727 E. 27th St., Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, 718-891-4315

    Scott’s Eli Kaplan is known in the best precincts of the D&D building for handling opulent silks and damasks, which means he can certainly tackle your couch from, say, Crate & Barrel. The company can clean big items like sofas ($30 a running foot, and up), wing chairs ($100 and up), and carpet (50 cents a square foot) on the premises; items like draperies are usually carted off to the plant, unless you’re dead-set against it. The minimum job is $400 (aggregate), and estimates are free.

  • Gloves

  • Ernest Winzer

    1828 Cedar Ave., the Bronx, 718-294-2400; 877-946-9371

    Winzer often deals with tricky costumes for Broadway shows, and this century-old business is just about the only place left that deals with gloves of leather, suede, and fur ($45 per pair). “There is almost nothing that we’ve seen that we haven’t been able to clean,” says owner Bruce Barish. Even the toughest job of all: white kid gloves. “They’ll come back a little stiff, but a lot cleaner.”


  • Smoke-Smell Removal

  • Fashion Award Cleaners

    2205 Broadway, 212-289-5623

    Few other cleaners in New York have installed an ozone room, a chamber where the smell of smoke is drawn out of clothing in an elaborate process that takes more than 24 hours. Manager Henry Ortiz says it’s “98.9 percent effective” in removing the foul scent that gets into everything after a fire (it works on mildew, too). Cost varies with the amount of attention a garment needs, but a sweater’s about $40.

  • Rugs

  • Restoration by Costikyan

    28-13 14th St., Long Island City, 800-247-7847; 718-726-1090

    These guys are way out of Pottery Barn territory—only rugs with a pedigree should come here for cleaning—but for Aubussons, Bessarabians, and modern luxury items like Stark carpets, they’re the way to go. Four generations since 1886 have been developing expertise—and some of the rugs they handle are twice as old as the business. Sturdier items are cleaned the traditional way, with running water; delicate museum-quality specimens are painstakingly worked over topically. A nine-by-twelve-foot carpet would cost around $400 to $500 to clean, plus $150 for pickup and delivery. A fine Oriental that needs hand-washing typically runs about twice that.

  • Abraham Lincoln’s Stovepipe Hats (and Everything Else)

  • National Cleaners Association and New York School of Dry Cleaning

    252 W. 29th St., 212-967-3002

    When everyone’s given up on that vintage purse or fragile antique quilt, call Alan Spielvogel, director of technical services at the NCA, to discuss it. He’ll look at anything, and often he’ll take on a challenge that no one else will. (And yes, he really did clean two of Lincoln’s hats.) Pricing is case-by-case, with one-of-a-kind charges for one-of-a-kind items.

From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine