So FeistyJess & I made a pilgrimage to NYC last week,
ostensibly to acquire fixings for my kilt for an upcoming Scottish
wedding. We did in fact acquire said fixings (See profile — Pics: it
happened!), but the other reason for the trip was to do a bit
of “fun” shopping. We stopped at no less than 20 assorted toy, kink
wear, etc. shops on Manhattan Island. Alas, a trip out to Brooklyn for
Babeland was out due to time restrictions, so that’s an experience we’ll
have to save for another trip.
Of the various places we browsed, a few went above & beyond the
call in terms of service, pricing, selection, or just plain awesomeness.
While I need to break this omnibus review up & post a few of them
to Yelp, I figured fellow kinky folk here might derive some benefit from
the lot in one convenient (if sizable) post.
I hate driving in general. FeistyJess curls up into a small
whimpering ball at the thought of driving in the city. The effect is
similar to that of menacingly wielding a stalk of ginger or anything
pointy. It’s cute, but clearly driving was out…
Amtrak is convenient & reasonably comfortable, but EXPENSIVE!
Would have been over $200 round trip for two. So Megabus rode to the
rescue. We bought way in advance (about six weeks I think?) & ended
up paying $10/each for down, $15/each for up. Duration was the same as
Amtrak, though the ride is a bit more bumpy, the clientele a bit..
lower rent?.. and with no reserved seating & usually full buses,
getting there at least an hour in advance really is a requirement. That
said, for cheap, hassle free travel (no strip search required…),
Megabus is a big win. The bus deposited us in front of the Fashion
Institute of Technology from which we proceeded to walk about 20 miles
around the city in two days…
Since we were only a couple of blocks from Chelsea proper, that was
the natural start. We hit Purple Passion, Nasty Pig, Universal Gear,
The Blue Store, and at least one other place we stumbled on & didn’t
catch the name of.
For anyone who’s friended me here, there’s a non-trivial chance that
you’ll eventually learn of my tastes in under garments. Let’s just say I
don’t do boxers nor tighty whities… With that in mind, a trip to Nasty
Pig seemed like a good idea. In a word: disappointing… The decor
said, “Leather daddy,” but the selection said, “Third world Wal*Mart”… I
don’t even think they had the entire NP line on display much less in
stock in any sizes. While we did get to enjoy a half-dressed, rather
chiseled patron modeling leather jeans for his boyfriend, all told, a
waste of time…
This was a late Google find, and I admit I was a bit skeptical as
their website was more like Abercrombie than The Stockroom. Pleasantly
surprised, they had a decent selection of underthings, swim suits, and
the like; and even a bonus 25% off sale. Prices before the sale were
all MSRP, so a bit pricy, but with the sale, not too bad. Staff seemed a
little put off that I had a breast-baring-person-type-thing (IE not a
gay man) in tow, but not a bad visit.
The Blue Store (& the other place I can’t remember):
Meh… The later had a decent selection of suits & undies including
some interesting ones from a Chinese brand I’d not heard of (name on the
label in Kanji…). Prices were high, and both places had video booths
in the back. If that’s your thing, okay, but… Ick…
We hit these guys second, but I saved them for last because they were
just plain awesome. Selection & pricing were quite good. Sizes
for non-anorexics were available with some consistency. A reasonable
selection of assorted rings, cuffs, paddles, crops, floggers, collars,
rubber, leather, etc. FeistyJess was in the market for a corset, and
that’s where Purple Passion went from pretty good to just plain awesome.
A fabulous gay man (Keith) helped us with fitting a corset, showing us
what was available off the rack in FeistyJess’ size and showing off a
few that are custom made for the shop to whatever size you like.
Customs were absolutely amazing in look & quality, but given that
we’re both mid-way through dropping some serious poundage, custom work
isn’t sensible right now…
Keith set us up with a lovely under-bust in blue satin. The fitting
was an interesting experience as he helped FeistyJess into the corset,
latching the front, lacing the back, and liberating her of her bra. I
was somewhat shamed as a self-identified gay man showed far more
proficiency than I in unclasping a bra…
Keith’s demeanor made the experience far more comfortable than
stripping down to your undies in a public place generally has any chance
of being. Well-timed humor and clearly warning & ensuring consent
before diving in to unclasp or poke anything were well appreciated.
FeistyJess is a bit modest at the best of times, and an NYC sex shop
with people just around the corner & a random male stranger watching
is far from the most relaxing of settings. That said, Keith managed to
put us at ease, perform a very professional corset fitting, and sent us
on our with a fabulous under-bust at a very-not-bad price. If you’re
in the market for a corset, I’d say Purple Passion should be your second
stop (see below for first). For any other toy needs in Manhattan, stop
Christopher Street area:
For gay mens’ leather wear, you can do worse in NYC than Christopher
Street and the surrounding few blocks. Several shops with decent
selections (and a few more sleazy ones) give you quite a few options.
Tiny little basement shop with a BDSM flag hanging outside. Some
interesting costumes, a number of rings, toys, basic electro toys (think
TENS, not Erostek or wands), and some alleged insertables that could
easily be used to bludgeon an assailant to death should the need arise…
Prices were on the high side, and we didn’t end up getting anything.
Tic Tac Toe, Pink Pussycat, Pleasure Chest:
Bog-standard adult toy shops. Tic Tac Toe had a pretty big selection
of stripper gear & belly dancing costumes upstairs, but sizes
didn’t go into the double digits.
Wonder Wear NY:
This was another last-minute addition that was so incredibly worth
it. The shop has (gay) mens clothes & undies in a range of sizes.
Our timing here was perfect as they were in the process of liquidating
for upcoming renovations at the store. 75% off all stock! I think I
managed to get one of everything… I should probably update my fetish
list, cause… yeah…
This was technically the place we made the trip for. They have a
reputation of being the best place to get a belt, custom fit if
necessary. Kilt belt was acquired, and it looks fabulous! They also
have a pretty huge selection of leather, neoprene, harnesses, paddles,
crops, rings & things, real electro toys (to walk into a
shop and see an ET-312 & ET-232 on display in a cabinet? Yeah… I
Love New York =) We arrived in the midst of energetic preparations for
the upcoming Black Party over the weekend. FeistyJess was treated to a
brief view of a rather well endowed, heavily chiseled young man between
trying on pairs of jeans. Brief because he realized there was a girl
in the store, squeaked, blanched, and dove back in the fitting room.
Alas, I missed the view as I was in the other fitting room switching
from jeans into my kilt & shiny new belt. Spent the rest of the day
prancing about NYC in a kilt. It was good kilt weather. =)
This was a bit removed from Christopher Street, but the only shop in
the area (Orchard Street) where we stopped. See the reviews for this
place on Yelp. They very accurately describe the (slightly surreal)
experience. To summarize, a large Orthodox man (kippah & payot
included; we’ve since learned his name was Ben) asked us if we wanted a
corset for fun, for support… And the brain kind of went sproing
at that point… He called out to Elise to come do the fitting. Elise
took one look at FeistyJess, one look at the corset proffered by Ben,
and uttered a single word, “Smaller.” Another corset was acquired, and
FeistyJess was quirky & efficiently stripped, latched, and laced.
Perfect fit the first time on just a two-second eyeball. Quality is
very good (steel boning!), and price was unbelievably reasonable. If
you’re in the market for a corset (or a bra) this place should be stop
number one. They ship online as well at www.orchardcorset.com, though I
don’t think they can ship you Elise to do your fitting…
Rubber wear in a variety of styles including custom work. The
Baroness herself was a rip. =) All Domme, all the time, and had the
bawdy/sarcasm mix that leaves every other word dripping with innuendo.
Alas, off the rack sizes were all smallish, and as mentioned above,
custom work isn’t on the menu right now. Still, the Baroness was
wonderful to talk to. She enquired where we’d been, what we were
looking for, and suggested a few other stops that we hadn’t found yet.
She did introduce FeistyJess to a rather neat looking blue rubber
half-cape, but as we were already up to a two corset trip, regrettably
nothing on offer from the Baroness was in-budget at this point. We’re
both still a little unsure about rubber as a material, but we may well
come back to visit the Baroness again.
St. Mark’s Place:
The Baroness sent us over here to two places: Trash & Vaudeville
and Gothic Renaissance. The former was so goth, even the heating system
was by Reznor… They had some interesting offerings, but mostly small
sizes, and probably not things we’d wear, even though they were
fabulous. They did have a few stunning full-length black coats
that I’d love to be able to rock. Not sure I can exude enough, “I
don’t care go fuck yourself,” to properly wear something so gothy, but I
think I might like to try at some point… Gothic Renaissance had some
fabulous shoes & gorgeous (if fragile looking) masks, but prices
were more frightening than the huge gargoyle guarding the door.
The Bag Man:
Completely not kinky, but worth a mention. Rather large
department/discount store specializing in luggage. At this point in the
trip, our “travel lite” concept had been dashed to bits by a
progression of can’t-say-no sales, and our initial two-backpack carrying
provisions had long since asploded with all the things… For less than
$25, a huge soft-pack rolling bag was acquired. We sat in the shadow of
David Beckham’s captivating two-story package (underwear ad on the side
of a building), and transferred all of our luggage & purchases into
the one new bag, then trundled off towards the garment district.
FeistyJess is a bit of a poly-craftual, and we hit several bead,
yarn, and assorted textile stores in the garment district. It’s all
kind of a blur to me. I write code, not stitch… After that, we grabbed
some mediocre pizza & got in line for the bus home.
All-in, it was a pretty awesome couple of days. We ended up crashing
with a friend of mine from high school, so total travel overhead on top
of the shopping was $50 travel plus food & such. We actually hit
the vast majority of the places the first day (and could hit all the
good places easily in a single day), so as day trips for kinky goodness
go, Capital District kinksters might give it a try!