Myzel’s Chocolates 140 West 55th Street New York, NY 10019

Myzel’s Chocolates

140 West 55th Street

New York, NY  10019

(212) 245-4233

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Friday 11:00am-7:00pm/Saturday 12:00pm-5:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:


I came across Myzel’s Chocolates when walking the Central Park South neighborhood for ‘Day One Hundred and Fifty Eight’ for my ‘’ project. This delightful little store sits across the street from the City Center and just down the road from Fifth Avenue.

What attracted me to the store, which was right before Christmas was its whimsical display window with all sorts of colorful Christmas decorations, Santa’s and figurines in the window. Inside it was a mob scene of people buying the store out. You could not get near the counter, let alone fit into the 100 square foot store. I had to wait outside for a few people to leave and then I could walk in.

Myzel’s Chocolates is the brainchild of Kamila Myzel and her family who arrived in the United States from Poland during the marshal law crackdown before the fall of communism. Ms. Myzel opened the shop in 1990 with her mother, Alina after working in a series of other shops and felt she could do it better (NYTimes 2009).


Ms. Kamila Myzel with her famous Chocolate Cookies

The store is organized by a series of cases and shelves that are loaded with colorful jelly beans, licorice strips and glass cases of freshly baked cookies. Along the walls during the Christmas holidays, the shelves were laden with Santa and Snowman mugs filled with chocolates that ran for over $20.00. There were all sorts of gift giving items all over the store but it was the bulk chocolates in the case windows and the jars of colorful treats behind the counter that captured my attention. Prices vary per item.

My second trip to Myzel’s Chocolates, I actually saw Kamila Myzel waiting on a few of what I assumed were her regular customers because they had her full attention in an extremely busy store and could not have been more personal with them and to every customer that walked in. That is a very rare feat in a store this size and with the amount of customers dashing in and out.

The store is a throwback to a time when the owner minded the store and they knew their customers by name. In a City the size of New York City, it is still nice to see the owner working the counter greeting her customers with a big smile and good recommendations for gifts.

As I elbowed my way out of the store for the third time, I still have to try one of the illusive cookies I see in under the glass dome. From what I read they are freshly baked every day with a recipe that was her grandmother’s.

That aside the store display windows are extremely creative and very festive and the store itself is colorful and vibrant. This is the type of store that brings Manhattan down to a more personal level.


Myzel’s Chocolates display windows are a real draw into the store.

Little Moony 230 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10012

Little Moony

230 Mulberry Street

New York, NY  10012

(646) 852-8330

Open: Sunday 11:00am-7:00pm/Monday-Thursday 10:00am-8:00pm/Friday & Saturday 10:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:


I came across the Children’s store, Little Moony, on a trip up Mulberry Street when visiting ‘Little Italy’ in Manhattan for dinner. Right above Grand Street in the area between Houston and Grand Street where “Little Italy” ends ‘Nolita’ (North Of Little Italy). This trendy area is starting to fill with smart boutiques, innovative restaurants and interesting stores that are replacing the older neighborhood establishments.


I love their welcoming store window display

Little Moony is a cute Children’s store that is stocked with handmade clothing, imported handmade toys and an assortment of stuffed animals, small wooden games and infant toys. There is also a small selection of independent author children’s books many of which I had never seen before.

What I liked as a former executive of FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue is the selection of handmade and high end toys that they carried. There are some interesting wooden toys from South America, stuffed toys from Steif, Signakid and Jelly as well as a few artisan pieces that show their one of kind brilliance.

Little Moony V.jpg

The colorful assortment of children’s goods stand out on the wooden shelves

There is a colorful selection of children’s shoes and bonnets for the picky child shopper. What really stands out though is the handmade clothing made by the owners mother, who is a master tailor from California via Vietnam and has been for 40 years. The clothes have colorful motifs of moons and flowers on them. There is a selection of girls, boys and infant clothing with brilliant colors.

Little Moony VI

The beautiful hand made clothing at Little Moony


Little Moony IV.jpg

The clothing is so beautifully displayed

What I loved about the store is the set up and displays. The store is a very tiny place what is lined with wooden shelves with all the goods available to touch and admire. I saw so many unusual toys staring at me with their strange faces or colorful smiles.

Little Moony II

The whole store screams ‘Buy Me!’

The service is wonderful too. The owner, Thuy Diep, holds the fort herself and will personally work with you when you are in the store. Her husband works alongside her and they offer that personal service that makes you feel welcome. When I was in the store recently, I noted the unusual Christmas music playing and he said that it was “Feliz Navidad” in Portuguese and I thought that was very interesting. He said he likes to play Christmas songs in different languages which I thought was very clever.

The prices vary by item so you check both in the store and on the website.

Little Moony VII

The beautiful baby clothes designed by Ms. Diep and made by her mother

The History of Little Moony:

The store was created in 2014 according to Ms. Diep’s bio as “an AHA moment when visiting her sister and admiring a cute dress that her niece was wearing. When she asked where she bought it, her sister said, “Mom made it of course” and Ms. Diep being a clothing designer herself then thought of going into business with her mother. This where all the beautiful children’s clothes come from. Ms. Diep, who holds a M.A. in Fashion Studies from Parson’s School of Design, designs the clothes and her mother, Mama Xit, creates these clothing masterpieces by hand.” (Little Moony website). honors the history of Small Business Saturday November 30th, 2019

On November 30th, 2019, small businesses all over Main Streets and Downtown’s all over the country celebrated the Ninth Anniversary of “Small Business Saturday”, a shopping day dedicated to individual and small business owners.


Harbs on the Upper East Side of Manhattan

My blog. honors those business owners first in New York City and now all over the Eastern Seaboard whose business owners offering interesting one of kind merchandise, unique merchandising design and placement of their goods and interesting window displays that showcase their stores.

Amado on 3rd IV.jpg

Amado on Third on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at Halloween

Each store featured in this blog showcases the store’s individuality of the owner and the excellent customer service you will receive when you walk in. The in-personality of the big department stores demoans their failure but I think it is just corporate America answering what they think customers want. I think interesting displays and personal service still play a big roll in retailing and when you provide these things with fair prices, you will be amazed how successful they are to the customer.


Recently added Bark in Jacksonville, Florida

I still prefer to give my business to individual shop owners any way that I can and in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ where I live, I visit each merchant for what I am looking for before I hit the big stores first. It may be a bit more money but this is how we support our communities.

Youngs Fashion.jpg

Young Fashions in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey

The History of Small Business Saturday:

Small Business Saturday started in November 2010 as a campaign from American Express to help local businesses that were hit by the recession of 2008 that continued on for another two years. The goal was to allow small business owners to find a niche between Black Friday and Cyber Monday where deep discounts were available to customers.

When the promotion was launched, American Express offered cardholders a $25.00 statement credit for shopping at small retailers on that day. Now that the program has been adopted and promoted by the government, by 2015 the company stopped offering this incentive but the company proved their point in people promoting their small community businesses.

Colorant Beacon.jpg

Colorate in Beacon, New York

History of Small Business Saturday via American Express:

In 2010, American Express sponsored and trademarked the term Small Business Saturday and then created a Facebook page and promoted the event with national advertising. As part of the 2010 promotion, the first 10,000 small business owners who signed up to participate received $100 worth of free Facebook advertising and the first 200,000 American Express cardholders who pledged to use their credit cards on Small Business Saturday to support small businesses received a $25.00 credit.

Books of Wonder.jpg

Books of Wonder on the Upper West Side of Manhattan

By 2013, American Express added the promotion and term “Shop Small” in its promotions and by 2014 included an interactive map for participating businesses. By 2018, an estimated 104 million American consumers supported local retailers and restaurants, spending $17.8 billion on Small Business Saturday 2018 according to American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

(American Express Small Business Saturday History 2018)

Ravioli House IV.jpg

Ravioli House in Wildwood, New Jersey

Lorenzo and Maria’s Kitchen 1418 Third Avenue New York, NY 10028

Lorenzo and Maria’s Kitchen

1418 Third Avenue

New York, NY  10028

(212) 794-1080

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Saturday 10:00am-7:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

Sometimes there are stores that just don’t fit into any category or they fit into many categories. Lorenzo and Maria’s Kitchen is one of the those stores. It is not a restaurant but more of a upscale, homey gourmet shop selling all sorts of entrée items that are displayed like jewels in the window and when you go inside there are more wonderful things to see and smell when you walk through the door.


Lorenzo and Maria’s Kitchen at 1418 Third Avenue

The store itself it a hark back to the old days of the Silver Palate and Dean & Deluca when they were in their heydays and had not gotten so frou-frou with their food and the customers and were more neighborhood shops that catered to the busy customer who wanted something homey or something they would have cooked for themselves but did not have the time.

The cooking here is very stick to your ribs and downhome. In the window at any time there could be individual pot pies, golden and flaky on the outside, glazed duck that glistens in the window, Chicken Franchise, breaded and sautéed perfectly and sits in a delicious lemon sauce with slices of lemon on top. The sautéed vegetables always look like they were just picked and sometimes they have stuffed potatoes brimming with bacon and sour cream toppings.

Lorenzo and Maria's Kitchen

The colorful gourmet foods in the display window

When you walk through the door to see what goodies are on the shelves inside, you are greeted with the sites of the cooking going on and the smells of what is coming to the counter. The store has an appearance of an old-fashioned gourmet store with its shelves of supplies and little bits of artwork here and there. The back kitchen is open so you get to see the staff cooking everything that will be displayed.


The gourmet dishes in the window

The inside caselines have different types of pastries that include Raisin Danishes, Apple Turnovers, loaded with sweet cinnamon apple filling and Apricot Danish twists lined with sweet apricot jelly. At $1.25 each they make a nice snack and each is buttery and savory at the same time. It is a nice place to stop for dessert after a good meal.

The service is very pronounced though. Maria has waited on me a few times and she never takes the money. She makes another worker take it and finish the transaction. She never seems to smile but very satisfied when you bite into one of her pastries and you look like you enjoy it. There is that little grin in her eye and a smile that I can see out of the side of my eye where that sly smile comes out.

She knows you are enjoying your food!


Gabrielle Carlson Studio 501 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10017

Gabrielle Carlson Studio

501 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY  10017

(917) 514-4433


When I was exploring the Turtle Bay neighborhood for my blog, “” when rounding the corner by the Roger Smith Hotel  I was greeted by the beautiful vibrant colors of clothes in the window of Gabrielle Carlson Studio, which at the time was on East 47th Street and has now moved to 501 Lexington Avenue in the Roger Smith Hotel’s shops facing Lexington Avenue.

What attracted me to the store was the vibrant colors of the clothing and uniqueness of the styles and designs. Clothes were hanging from the racks in vibrant deep greens and purples and various hues of blue. There were different types of clothes to choose from including dresses, skirts, tank tops, tee-shirts, scarfs and sheen coverings in various colors and sizes. The store’s motto is “Beautiful Clothes in Your Size” and it fits the bill.

Gabrielle Carlson Studio III

A beautiful top accessorized by jewelry

When I walked into the new store on Lexington Avenue, I was lucky enough to talk to Gabrielle Carlson, the designer herself about her clothing line and the customers she caters to in New York. Ms. Carlson is originally from South Africa and is now living in New York and discovered a niche in the boutique market for a mature woman who likes to try her clothes on and find the right fit. Most of Ms. Carlson’s line in manufactured here in New York City’s Garment District and some clothes are actually made for the customer whose measurements don’t fit traditional sizes of the department stores.

Ms. Carlson explained to me that she has an excellent turnaround time with her clothes as she works with people in the Garment District whose craftsmanship is excellent and can tailor her look for her customers for that reason. She also works with jewelry designers and manufacturers who produce her accessories that her clothes nicely.

Her jewelry lines are also made here in New York and these beautiful pearl and bead necklaces and bracelets can match all wardrobes. These elegant pieces can be worn both dressy and casual.

The store tailors to that customer who still likes to try her clothes on for the perfect fit and likes to mix and match looks. The looks can go from business casual to dressy evening ware and never loose sight of the woman wearing them.

Also her prices are very fair for the quality of clothing that is not only American made but New York made.


Gabrielle Carlson Studio

A proud customer in a Gabrielle Carlson jacket


A History of Gabrielle Carlson Studio:

(This write up is from Ms. Carlson’s website)

About Gabrielle, Fashion Designer & Dresser Extraordinaire

Gabrielle designs beautiful, elegant clothes in vibrant colors and exquisite fabrics. Wearing her pieces, you look and feel beautiful-your very best self.

Gabrielle’s style is timeless and well-worn by women of every age and size. Stepping into her shop, you see an array of vivid color-and fabrics you want to touch: intriguing that combine creating endless ensembles.

Gabrielle’s day into evening pieces are there too. And there are the jackets-slipping into a Gabrielle jacket has you ready for unexpected moments. There are ‘one of kind’ pieces, a mix of beautiful pieces. It’s a question of where to look first.

Professional women who have little time to find clothes that flatter and fit are happy with Gabrielle’s expertise; she will dress you for the courtroom, conference room and cocktails. “Beautiful clothes in Your Size” is absolutely what’s available.

Stepping into Gabrielle’s studio, you’re surrounded by color, texture, fun styles and you want to play. Gabrielle loves dressing her customers creating with you, choosing pieces that best enhance you, flatter your figure and satisfy your longing for beauty. It’s an infectious experience that has women returning and bringing other with them.

I give full credit to Gabrielle Carlson Studio for this information.



Royal-Athena Galleries 153 East 57th Street New York, NY 10022

Royal-Athena Galleries

153 East 57th Street

New York, NY  10022

(212) 355-2034

Fax: (212) 688-0412

Open: Monday-Friday 10:00am-6:00pm/Saturday & Sunday Closed


I visited the Royal-Athena Galleries when I was touring the Turtle Bay neighborhood recently and it is an interesting mix of gallery and museum. The ancient art pieces are items that you would see in major collections and in the halls of well-known museums. Inside each of the cases and art that lined the tables were from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Italy.

Royal-Athena Galleries II.jpg

Museum quality art work lines the cases and tables of the store

There was everything from large statues to small items like idols, coins, figure heads, bowls and vases. Each case told a story of a collection and each piece was marked with what the piece was, where it was from, sometimes a previous owner and the price. It was like going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and seeing price tags on all the works. Items range from $100.00 on up. The most expensive thing I saw in my time in the store was about $15,000. The items are all authenticated by experts and there is a history to where they came from. There are a few gallery employees dotted through the store that are available for assistance.

Background on the store:

The Director of the Galleries, Mr. Jerome M. Eisenberg, has been specializing in Ancient Art for over 60 years and has extensive lecturing, teaching and writing on the subject. He has sat on many panels sharing his expertise on Ancient Art and on the movement of items through the art world recently lecturing on the looting of works through the Middle East (Store Website).

All the antiquities in the catalog and in the New York Gallery (there is one in London as well) is the largest and most extensive collections of the ancient arts ever exhibited for sale. In addition to the many masterworks of ancient art, there are a wide variety of fine items on display priced from $100 to $1000 and up including Greek and Roman coins and Old Master prints and drawings, perfect for the beginning collector or for that very special gift (Gallery catalog).

Royal-Athena Galleries III

The Greek and Roman collections at the gallery

Every object purchased by the galleries has been acquired legally. If imported by them into the United State, they have done so in compliance with all federal regulations and have given full consideration to all international treaties governing objects of cultural importance. Antiquities priced at $5,000 or more are now checked and registered with the Art Loss Registry in London (Gallery catalog).

All of the objects are clearly labeled with complete descriptions and prices. Condition reports on all the objects are available upon request. We encourage browsing and are happy to assist and advise both the amateur and the serious collector. Appointments can be made outside of regular gallery hours for clients desiring privacy (Gallery catalog).

The catalog is available at the gallery or online.



Azalea & Oak 5 Tudor City Place New York, NY 10017

Azalea & Oak

5 Tudor City

New York, NY  10017

(212) 922-0700



I came across Azalea & Oak when I was walking around Tudor City in the Turtle Bay neighborhood in New York. This unique and quirky store specializing in Women’s Accessories, jewelry and children’s clothing, gifts and stuffed toys was beautifully displayed and wonderful stocked with all sorts of handmade items. It is somewhat hidden in the Tudor City complex. I love their displays as well.

I was talking with one of the salespeople and she was telling me that the store had just been renovated from a flower shop into this new concept of a gift store. The owner is a former buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue and it shows in the selection of merchandise. Everything here is high quality.

The owner herself was the designer of the most of the jewelry in the shop and all over the front cases and tables there were beautifully designed baubles with pearls, colorful stones and sterling silver settings. Some of the standouts were the initial braid necklaces ($78.00) and bracelets ($68.00) and her jeweled lettered brooches in gold and pearl ($48.00).

Azalea and Oak III

The displays of Women’s  Jewelry

What I thought was the standout of the store were the items that catered to young women. There were wonderful stuffed animals Miss Rose Sister Violet ranging from $24 to $48 in the shape of lambs, rabbits and swans with big smiles on their faces and super soft to touch.

Their dress up items also by Miss Rose Sister Violet were detailed without being over the top and were embellished with sequins and jewels. There were tops, bottoms and cover-ups in all sorts of designs ranging from $24.00 on up.

Azalea and Oak II

All the cute children’s plush and dress up

There were neat little necklaces by Meri Meri in all sorts of designs that would make the perfect gift for the child at Summer Camp. These little necklaces come in all sorts of designs. Another child’s accessory were beautifully crafted handmade crowns and masks studded with beads, sequins and feathers perfect for the child going out for a night in costume. They have the cutest little baby clothing also from Oh Baby with designs of happy animals in light colors at various prices.

Meri Meri Necklace.jpg

Necklaces by Meri Meri

They also have an assortment of vintage Gucci and Louis Vuitton purses sold second hand at various prices. You can check the website for these.

The best part of the Azalea & Oak is the comfort and the warm welcome you get when you enter the store. The young woman working with the owner could not have been nicer and spent the time going over the merchandise with me explaining that the store was looking for unique brands that were from vendors specializing in more handmade items.

The store is beautifully merchandised with small tables and shelves showcasing each item whether it be jewelry, stuffed animals or a small kit to grow plants. Each was given much care to show them off.

The service could not have been friendlier and it is nice to meet salespeople that take the time not only to learn the merchandise but take the time to explain it to you. That is becoming rarer when you shop.