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

Azalea & Oak

5 Tudor City

New York, NY  10017

(212) 922-0700

http://www.azaleaandoak.com

@azaleaoak

https://www.azaleaandoak.com/

 

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Lester’s 1534 Second Avenue New York City, NY 10021

Lester’s
1534 Second Avenue
New York City, NY 10021
(212) 734-9292

https://www.lesters.com/

Open: Monday-Friday 10:00am-7:00pm/Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm/Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm

Five Locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Greenvale, Rye Brook and Westport, CT

I came across Lester’s, a clothing store for children’s, teens and adults when I was walking around the Upper East Side on ‘Day One Hundred & Four’ on my blog “MywalkinManhattan” when I walked this section of the Upper East Side. I saw crowds of school kids coming in and out of the store with their parents and stopped in for look.

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Don’t miss the children’s section

What I discovered was a store that almost sets the tone for what most people would think the Upper East Side teen might want for school, summer camp and casual wear. The store was stocked with all sorts of jeans, tops and shoes for the toddler to teens alike. There are Layette sets for infants and all sorts of accessories around the counters.

Even though the store marks itself as being trendy, I saw most of the clothing look more classic and items that did not go out of style by the next season. The latest styles often revisit older looks in clothing.

What I thought was nice was that they have a complete section for kids going to summer camp along with a registry to fill the orders of each child. You can even order customized stationary and bedding with name-labeling services, including free taping or sewing that is offered on site (Lester’s promotional).

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Lester’s is a true neighborhood clothing store for the Upper East Side child

On the side of the store, there are even trendy looks for the ladies with blouses, skirts, jackets, slacks and jeans all beautifully displayed.

The Fall Fashions have hit the store in November 2019 and there are some interesting items at Lester’s. There are logoed tops from vendor Hot Candy that are pretty interesting all done in mute colors. There are colorful bottoms in red, black and grey that caught my eye. The Layette sets for babies are very nicely set up and I watched as one sales associate was personalizing it for a customer.

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Lester’s has many looks and styles

The prices vary by items by season. The styles and label’s also change season by season. The customer service at the store I have noticed is very personal and a lot of the salespeople know their customers by name.

 

History of Lester’s:

The company started in 1948 by Lester and Lillian Kronfeld on Avenue U in Brooklyn in a tiny 300 foot shop. The current owner, Barry Cohen, who is a nephew of the Kronfeld’s, along with partners currently own the store.

Mr Cohen said, “It was a neighborhood business stocked from floor to ceiling with brand name clothing at discount prices. The owners knew everyone by name. They used to hand deliver items to people’s homes. It was all about customer service.” (New York Family Magazine 2010)

The store’s Manhattan outpost opened in 1992, after the Kronfeld’s noticed that many of their customers grown children were moving from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side with their own families. (New York Family Magazine 2010)

Sutton Clock Shop 218 East 82nd Street New York, NY 10028

Sutton Clock Shop
218 East 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028
(212) 758-2260
info@suttonclocks.com

Hours: Tuesday-Friday-11:00am-4:00pm

The Sutton Clock Shop is fascinating store that literally runs on time. It is one of the few shops in New York that is strictly for watch repair and sales. When you walk into the store, the walls are lined with clocks of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages. They work on modern clocks with the same precision and care as they would an antique or grandfather clock.

In the front of the store, there are case lines of antique curios and bric-a-brac that includes pieces of jewelry, small table pieces and decor items all displayed with gentle care to show their beauty. The prices are very fair as well depending on the piece. This is run by Knud’s wife, Sonia Laws, who takes special pride in the small trinkets of elegance that line the cases. It is a good place to look for that one of kind gift.(The Blogger notes that he even bought a small turtle pin as a gift for his own mother that was quite unique and special).

Walking amongst the merchandise and the ongoing repairs coming in and out of the store, it reminds me a magical wizard’s shop. It is fun to just walk in and look around. Even from the front of the store, there is something special about its location and signage that just lures you in, wondering what is going on in a clock shop.

With it’s old-fashioned feel it is still is a modern business and in a time of cell phones and automatic watches, where many people not even wearing wrist watches anymore (let alone know how to tell time), it is a throwback to a much different time when specialized repairs took time and a special eye for detail makes a difference on how the merchandise will work. Time and care is the specialty here.

History:

Sutton Clock Shop, which began as a pawn shop in the 1940’s, has been an Upper East Side institution for over 60 years. The shop’s founder, Knud Christenson, acquired his clock knowledge in his home country of Denmark and brought his talents to America in the late 1940’s. He joined Kay Yeagar, who owned the pawn shop, Sutton Trading Shop and began to focus the business on clock repair in a tiny loft at 139 East 61st Street.

Knud’s youngest son, Sebastian Laws, a lifelong apprentice, who was always looking over his father’s shoulder as he worked at his bench, officially came on board in the late 1980’s. Knud and Sebastian worked side by side for two decades until Knud, well into his 90’s,retired, leaving the business to Sebastian. In 2016, the shop relocated to a larger space at 218 East 82nd Street in 2015 and has expanded its services to include sales as well as clock and barometer repair. House calls are available if you would prefer an onsite visit.

Services Offered:

Clock Repair:

With decades of experience in clock and barometer repair, Sutton Clock will give you a free estimate when you bring the Clock or Barometer to us. House calls are also available. Repair times will vary depending on both the type of repair and parts required. At the time of the estimate, a window for repair time will also be provided.

Barometer Repair:

Sutton Clock repairs all types of Barometers including Aneroid Barometers as well as Mercurial Barometers. Barometer repairs that require tube replacements of any size will be handled by a specialist who hand blows glass tubes. These repairs include: Barometer Pediments, Barometer Thermometers, Barometer Looking Glass, Barometer Bezels, Barometer hands, Barometer Glass beveled, convex with or without center hole for setter, replaced and/restored. Damaged cases can be repaired by our wood maker artisans.

House Calls:

If you would prefer to have your clock repaired in your home, house calls can be scheduled by calling (212) 758-2260. If your clock can not be fixed during the house call, you will receive an estimate for the cost of the repair and the clock will be returned to your home when the work is complete.

(Sutton Clock Shop website)

Cotelac 983 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10021

Cotelac

983 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY  10021

(212) 288-0400

http://www.cotelac.com

Open:

Monday-Saturday: 10:30am-6:30pm/Sunday: 12:00pm-5:00pm

I came across this unique clothing and accessories store when walking the lower part of the Upper East Side for my project “MywalkinManhattan.com”. I was attracted by the beautiful clothing designs in the windows. It just lured me in with classic tailored look and vibrant colors and patterns to the clothes.

Cotelac

Clean elegant store with vibrant colored clothing

When I walked into Cotelac, I was taken by the clean lines and elegant displays that I thought was unusual for this part of Lexington Avenue. I thought this shop would be located on Madison Avenue or maybe in SoHo. The clothing had a sporty, casual elegance to it and the motives of the clothes were different from the other stores in the area. The prices were also not outrageous as they might be on Madison Avenue. Blouses and skirts start between $85.00 to $245.00 US dollars. By wearable and very affordable. The store is for the woman who likes an elegance classic look without being too dressy.

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Cotelac Fall 2019

When I talked to the saleswoman there, she said that the designer was from France and the store was part of a French chain that is located all over the world, it made more sense to me. I was attracted to a sporty blue and white nautical looking lightweight jacket and top combo that would not look out of place on a teenager or an adult. After two years in working at Macy’s Juniors Department, this look belonged on a active individual who dressed for the office and for going out for the afternoon or evening.

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Cotelac Fall 2019

They have a very striking Fall 2019 collection in the stores.

History of Cotelac:

Concept:

The Cotelac brand includes two lines: woman and man, designed by Raphaelle Cavalli and her internal style office. Her clothes are characterized by a sustained attention to the textile material as well as a meticulous work, close to the crafts, on the treatments of tissues. Cotelac often uses several types of fabrics for the same garment.

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Cotelac Dress Fall 2019

In the ready-to-wear sector, the brand is positioned on the high-end, all generations. For her designer, Cotelac, “Dresses an active woman, a little bohemian, who likes beautiful clothes, not complicated, easy to live and wear.”

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Cotelac Fall 2019

History:

Cotelac was founded by Raphaelle Cavalli, a stylist and Pierre Pernod, previously creator of the brand ‘tehen’.

Raphaelle Cavalli studied in the textile section of the Beaux-Arts in Lyon, where she already worked on fabric. She completed her research with a training at the School of Textile Engineers of Lyon. In the late Eighties, she joined ‘tehen’, directed by Pierre Pernod. She deepened her work on the subject, especially mesh. This fabric is the centerpiece of the first collection, launched in 1993.

The name, ‘Cotelac’, comes from its creation, near Lake Nantau. In 2010, the brand built a new site in Amberieu-en-Bugey, bringing together production and the company’s headquarters. In 2004, Cotelac launched a new line, ‘Acote’, intended for a younger audience. His style is entrusted to Baptiste Viry, in tandem with Raphaelle Cavalli.

Production:

The Amberieu plant remains at the heart of the production process and the Cotelac ‘trademark’, including the famous pleating machines. Its creators also consider their activity and the know-how oft he brand on the mode of ‘industrial crafts’.

Development:

In 1993, the year of its creation, Cotelac opened 8 stores in France, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Annecy, Aix-en-Provence and Bordeaux. It now has 56, including 11 Acote stores, in 47 cities. Since 2004, the brand has been setting up abroad and already has some 30 points of sale in Europe (Spain, Germany, and Switzerland), the United States and Asia (Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea).

Artistic:

Cotelac has entrusted its image to several renowned artists, such as Ellen Kooi and Sarah Moon.

For several years now, the brand has also been involved in promoting young, unsigned, independent artists as part of a partnership with the Roy Music label. Each year, its creators select a ‘coup de coeur’, which they publish a CD with four titles, distributed free in the store. The brand has produced four artists (Jil Is Lucky, Onili and Hangar and Olivier Marois), many of which have since been successful.

In addition, in partnership with Kiblind magazine, Cotelac offers young graphic designers and illustrators the opportunity to interpret the brand artistically. An original creation is thus diffused in each number. Since 2009, several artists have participated in the operation, including Bettina Henni, Domitille Leca, Brecht Evens or the Montreal collective Chateau-Vacant. Cotelac regularly organizes exhibitions in its stores.

(Wikipedia)

Check out their website for all locations.

Disclaimer: This information comes from both the Cotelac website and Wiki. Please check their website at http://www.cotelac.com for the full line and prices.

 

Creel & Gow 131 East 70th Street (at the corner of Lexington Avenue) New York, NY 10021

Creel & Gow

131 East 70th Street (at the corner of Lexington Avenue)

New York, NY  10021

(212) 327-4281

Open:

10:00am-6:00pm-Monday-Saturday/Closed on Sunday

http://www.creelandgow.com

infor@creelandgow.com

I had passed this wonderful ‘little emporium of natural wonders’ when walked the Upper East Side for my project, “MywalkinManhattan.com” and was lured in by the beauty of the building and by the window displays of unique and fascinating merchandise. It reminded me of my days of working on the 7th Floor of Bergdorf-Goodman in 2004. My several trips to the store, I came across the most unique merchandise that has been sourced from around the world.

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Creel & Gow is such elegant and welcoming store

What struck me when I have walked into the store is both the museum quality of the merchandise and especially how welcoming the staff is there. For a store like this I would have expected pretentious individuals working there but the staff here is wonderful and so friendly and welcoming. I can tell that they really love working here. There is such a pride in working here and of knowledge of the merchandise. You would think you were in a gift shop at the American Museum of Natural History and not a home design and gift shop on East 70th Street.

History:

The boutique is located in the former stables of a historic, Grovernor Atterbury’s townhouse on the Northwest corner of Lexington Avenue and East 70th Street in Manhattan’s Upper East Side in New York City.

Founded in 2012, Creel and Gow is incorporating and adding to the collection of Ruzzetti and Gow and has an extensive range of fascinating and exquisite objects sourced from all over the world by Paris-based Jamie Creel and former Sotheby’s expert, Christopher Gow. Both are avid collectors. It is the perfect source to embellish one’s life with originality or find that unique gift for discerning individuals. Rare minerals, taxidermy, coral, silver shells, unusual decorative objects and exotic accessories fill this veritable cabinet of curiosities.

(Creel and Gow website)

When you walk in, you are greeted by gentle music playing in the background and a welcoming staff who are available to answer any questions. To the left in the back room in case lines are silver objects in the shape of seashells and animals whose one of a kind look can accent any table. I thought the part silver/part cowrie sea shell napkin holders ($100.00 each) would look beautiful on any table as well as a group of hand made/hand painted ceramic bowls from India ($150.00 each) would be nice for display only. The brass animal bottle openers ($75.00 each) are a whimsical gift for any dinner party.

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Check out the treasures from the sea in their cases

Here and there I  saw throw rugs and domestic items for the bedroom, natural sea life objects including a lobster sculpture that stood guard on the back wall to all the stately animal taxidermy behind glass cases (I read on line that these have been passed by country of origin and have been ethically made) . There is a nice assortment of birds under glass that are so beautifully and gracefully mounted. I liked the Victoria Crowned Pigeon ($2,500) for its beauty and gracefulness that I saw online and the various other birds that I admired in the cases.

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Check out all the interesting animals in the cases

Many objects caught my eye and their website at http://www.creelandgow.com does not do the store justice. This is a store that must be visited and admired up close. For an Upper East Side store, I give them a lot of praise on service, merchandising and the merchandise itself. It is part museum and part home design but overall a gift shop extraordinaire.  The level of taste of the items sold here show the respect for the artists that the two owners, Mr. Creel and Mr. Gow, have in their way of merchandising and display. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is a wonderful place for decorating ideas and for that extra special gift, there is something for someone at all price points.

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All the beautiful objects in the store

It’s just fun to look around the store and be amazed at the one of a kind merchandise in such a beautiful setting.

http://www.creelandgow.com

Conrad’s Confectionery & Ice Cream 107 Westwood Avenue Westwood, NJ 07675

Conrad’s Confectionery & Ice Cream

107 Westwood Avenue

Westwood, NJ  07675

(201) 644-2895

https://conradscandy.com

Open: Monday-Saturday-12:00pm-11:00pm/Sunday-1:00pm-11:00pm

Conrad’s is an extremely popular and busy ice cream and candy store in the heart of Downtown Westwood, NJ as it has been since it opened it doors in 1928. On a hot summer day, the lines will wrap around the block for their home made ice cream and chocolate candies.

I have been coming to Conrad’s for years for ice cream and candy since visiting my aunt in high school and still enjoy going in for a cone or for chocolate. Every year, my aunt visits the store to get me a chocolate Santa or at Easter, gets my Easter candy for my annual basket at Conrad’s.

The store even looks like something out of the 70’s with its old fashioned feel to it and the very personal service that the family gives to its customers. Ice cream here can be a little expensive, $4.50 for a small cone of two scoops in a sugar cone but what is has in price you can taste in their quality. Their ‘Sea Turtle’ ice cream is out of this world, made from salted caramel ice cream and studded with chocolate turtles. Smaller cones could be had for $3.00 but that is for someone with the appetite of a four year old.

Their bags of candy can run from $3.50 to $6.00 depending on the type of candy it is and they still have their molded chocolates that can run anywhere from $6.00 and up. It is one of those stores you just want to sit and the counter and relax and soak it all in.

Exploring the store brings back a child-like innocence to a time of lazy summer days and endless vacation time. Their ice cream and almost all of their candies are made on premise in the back part of the store. It has that old-fashioned feel with a marble counter in the front to sit and a few couple of booths for families and friends to squeeze into. Their window displays hark back to a time when the merchandise spoke for itself, with pictures from begone times and old fashioned candy molds layered on the tiers.

Conrad’s Philosophy is simple:

We at Conrad’s Confectionery believe in making the very best chocolate confections and ice cream that you have ever tasted. We stand by our superior quality with time tested proven techniques of candy manufacturing. We use nothing but the finest ingredients to bring you the finest chocolate confections and ice cream.

We also believe business is more than providing a quality product. We recognize the responsibility every business had to its employees, its customers, its community and its environment. Conrad’s Confectionery strives to be a leader in a growing, socially conscious American business environment.  (201 Magazine Best in Bergen 2008 & 2009) and Bergen Health & Life Magazine Reader’s Choice-Chocolate & Candy Store 2008 & 2009). See my recent review on TripAdvisor.

(Conrad’s Business Philosophy website)

Conrad’s History:

In today’s fast-paced and increasingly impersonal society, relics of a time when quality and customer service were more important than efficiency are scarce. But when you step into Conrad’s Confectionery in downtown Westwood, New Jersey, you have a chance to experience the way things used to be. No wonder Conrad’s, founded in 1928, is the oldest business in Westwood and one of the older in New Jersey. For three generations, Conrad’s has been serving homemade ice cream and candy the old fashioned way. And  while they have added some 21st Century innovations, like the internet and a credit card machine, they are still the small, family-owned business they always were, producing micro-batch ice cream and chocolates with a passion for detail and quality.

History:

Fred Conrad was born in South Africa to a German mother and an English father. After the death of his parents, Conrad moved from Germany to be raised by his mother’s brother. In 1922, he left for the United States, arriving in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he began work in the confectionery business of a fellow German named Hollinger. Working with Hollinger during the day, Conrad attended evening classes in New York City to learn the chocolate making process. When Conrad was ready to open a business of his own, he left Hoboken for the suburbs of Bergen County. His intention was to open his store in Oradell, the end of the train line that ran from New York City or so he thought.

When some of his best customers came from Westwood, a larger town farther north, he realized that he was mistaken in thinking nothing existed to the north but farms. After a visit to Westwood, he knew it was the type of town where his business would thrive, He stayed in Oradell during the Depression years and then when he was financially able to do so moved to Westwood in 1935.

At the time, there were nine soda fountains in Westwood serving ice cream sodas and sundaes. Every drug store and stationary store had a fountain where soda jerks made egg creams and malteds. After the movies, everyone headed to a soda fountain to share an ice cream soda or dip into a sundae. Conrad combined the soda fountain model with his homemade candy business and quickly became a Westwood tradition. School children stopped by for an ice cream cone on the way home from school and young couples on a date would shard a booth in the back. Conrad’s chocolate confections became a staple in many a household’s holiday traditions.

When Fred Conrad moved his business to Westwood in 1935, Jim Pouletsos, the first owner of what would be three generations of family owners, was just graduating from Westwood High School. Having lived in Westwood since 1924, Pouletsos had worked in many of the Westwood fountains during his high school days and was an experienced ‘counter boy’. After high school he had a hard to come by job in New York City earning $12.00 a week as an office boy but when Conrad heard about his fountain experience, he offered him $18.00 a week. Pouletsos stated work in Conrad’s the next morning and never looked elsewhere for employment. After serving in World War II, he returned to his old job at Conrad’s and became a part owner. When Fred Conrad retired in 1960, Pouletsos and his business partner, Kenny Fournier, bought the business. In 1979, he bought out Fournier and became the sole owner. Pouletsos retired in 1985, selling the business to his daughter and son in law, Corinne and John Krachtus. In 2008, JJ Krachtus, John and Corinne’s son, became part owner.

Micro-batch Ice Cream:

Although the basic ingredients in Conrad’s homemade ice cream have changed very little since the 1930’s, the process has changed significantly. While electricity could be used to mix the ingredients, refrigeration in the 1930’s could not accommodate the low temperatures necessary to make ice cream. Pouletsos learned to make ice cream using the old ice and salt system. In the basement of the store, wearing rubber gloves, boots and an apron, Pouletsos would load 10-12 blocks of ice from Dominick Viapiano’s Westwood Ice Company into a large ice crusher. He would then pour the ice cream mixture into a 10 gallon cylinder, encased in a larger wooden tub at the core of the machine. Scooping the crushed ice with a shovel, Pouletsos would fill the space between the cylinder and the tub. However, ice along was not cold enough to make the mixture freeze in the cylinder so rock salt was spread on the ice to make it melt more quickly. In 1938, Conrad purchased a batch freezer, ice cream could be made in batches using refrigeration to keep the mixture cold. The finished soft ice cream was then placed in a hardening cabinet for 18-24 hours until it had frozen solid.

Conrad’s homemade ice cream is still made with the same quality ingredients using the same batch method. Pouletsos taught his son in law, John, who taught his son, JJ. Today, JJ Krachtus makes the various flavors batch by batch at the machine in the store’s basement. Ingredients such as chocolate chips, nuts and fruit are mixed in by hand while the finished ice cream is still soft. Ice Cream connoisseurs can taste the quality of Conrad’s ice cream due to its high butterfat content and the richness of the basic ingredients. In other words, it’s delicious and vastly different from what you would buy or in many chain ice cream stores.

Artisan Chocolate:

Each year when autumn finally arrives and the air turns colder, John Krachtus and his son, JJ begin a candy making process that will continue through the busy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter holidays. Although the candy making industry itself has seen many innovations in production techniques, Conrad’s candy is still made in the time honored fashion learned by Fred Conrad and passed on through Jim Pouletsos to his son in law and his son.

Fifty pound cases of ten pound blocks of solid chocolate are regularly delivered to the store from the Merckens mill in Massachusetts. Two and a half tons of chocolate are used fro Easter alone! Merckens produces ten different formulas of chocolate. Higher cocoa butter content means better quality. Conrad’s uses Merckens top quality chocolate, which is rich in cocoa butter.

Using a stainless steel meter located in the store’s basement, John and JJ melt the solid chocolate blocks, bringing the liquid up to 115 degrees. The machine then lowers the temperature gradually, tempering the chocolate at 82-83 degrees-the perfect temperature for molding. The chocolate is then poured by hand into tin molds. These molds generally come in two half sections  which are held together by clamps. Once the chocolate cools, the molds are separated and the complete chocolate form remains. Today, plastic molds are available but Conrad’s still draws from their vast supply of over 100 antique molds to make everything from the traditional chocolate Easter bunny to chocolate ipods and even the leg lamp from the popular Christmas movie, A Christmas Story. Each mold is then individually hand-decorated with additional melted chocolate used like glue so that ribbons, sprinkles, flowers etc. will stick.

In addition to molded chocolate, Conrad’s makes a large assortment of chocolates sold by the pound, such as caramels, jellies, turtles and dozens of others. The ‘insides’ of these candies are all handmade using only the finest ingredients, then covered in chocolate on the premises.

Candy Canes:

Every year since the opening of the store, Conrad, then Pouletsos and now the Krachtuses have fire up the confection furnace, a single gas burner on short legs that holds an antique copper bowl. Into the bowl goes 15 pounds of granulated sugar, one pound of corn syrup, one teaspoon of cream of tartar and water. The mixture cooks for a half hour and is stirred with a wooden paddle as it begins to boil. When the mixture has finished cooking, John and JJ pour the sticky syrup onto an oiled stainless steel table. Pipes under the table are filled with cold water to cool the candy as they, wearing thick leather gloves, knead the hot mix with metal spatulas. Adding red and green coloring to two of the corners, they then separate the colored section, pulling and stretching them.

While John continues to pull the red and green pieces, JJ adds oil of peppermint to the main batch, gradually folding the flavoring into the sugar candy. He forms the warm yellowish candy into a large loaf. Then, still wearing the leather gloves, he gathers up the hot mass of candy and folds it over a large hook on the wall. Hard candy, such as candy canes, requires air to get into the candy itself to make it lighter and to give it that bright, fresh sheen. To aerate the candy, he must constantly pull and fold the candy over the hook, stretching the taffy breaking warm candy down over the hook, then folding it over on to itself and pulling again.

This back breaking work can only be done by someone who is strong and physically fit. As the candy cools, it becomes firmer and more difficult to pull. Once it reaches the right consistency, the mass which had now turned white, is brought to a long wooden table and shaped into a rectangular box. John presses the red and green sections onto opposite sides of the box. Running the length of the table is a tin shield inside of which are gas jets. These serve to keep the candy warm so that it can be manipulated. John pulls at one end of the warm candy rectangle, measures a piece against a wooden dowel, snips it off of the main mass and twirls it to create the familiar red, green and white design. Farther down the table, he rolls the individual candy rods to cool them and then forms one end into a hook.

True candy lovers can see and taste the difference between mass-produced and hand-pulled candy canes. Conrad’s candy canes have become a holiday tradition for generations of Conrad’s customers, who have come to accept no less than the best.

Conrad’s is truly unique and their customers and community have recognized them. They won 201 magazine’s “Best in Bergen Poll” in 2008, 2009 and 2011 as well as Bergen Health & Life magazine’s reader choice awards from 2008-2011. Their chocolate bunnies were recently featured on two of Martha Steward’s Easter shows. Customers who have grown up on Conrad’s chocolate and ice cream now bring their children and grandchildren to take part in the delicious tradition. For generations, this family-owned business and its community have shared a special relationship rich in history, nostalgia and quality.

(This information is taken directly from the history of Conrad’s website. Credit it given directly to the store for this press release).

Books of Wonder 217 West 84th Street New York, NY 10024

Books of Wonder

217 West 84th Street

New York, NY  10024

(212) 989-1804

http://www.booksofwonder.com

Monday-Saturday: 10:00am-7:00pm

Sunday: 10:00am-6:00pm

*Hours for the West 84th Street location.

I came across the ‘Books of Wonder’ bookstore when touring the Upper West Side on the ‘Streets & Avenues’ tour of the neighborhood and fell in love with this whimsical little children’s bookstore that I found out later was the inspiration for the bookstore in the movie, “You’ve got Mail”.

Stocked with the latest releases and many of the classics that I grew up with, the bookstore is popular with the after-school crowd and their parents. There are many book signings and readings here and the staff is very helpful when trying to find a book for a gift. Take time to look over the stacks and even pick up one or two and start reading!

Store History:

Books of Wonder first opened its doors on September 2, 1980. The tiny, hole in the wall shop was barely 200 square feet with bookshelves hand built by the 20 year old founder, Peter Glassman and his partner, James Carey. The original concept was for the store to be devoted primarily to antique children’s books until Peter discovered he didn’t have enough antique books to fill his shelves and quickly decided to add a section of new children’s books as well. Located at 444 Hudson Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, the store moved up the street to 464 Hudson Street in 1982 to larger quarters-through still small at only 400 square feet.

Over the years, the store has hosted such authors to stand room only crowds as J.K. Rowling, Madeleine L’Engle, Lloyd Alexander, Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle and many others. With so many author and artists events and so many folks turning out for them, it became necessary to expand again. Fortunately, the space right next door was available and in 2004 we moved to our current location 18 West 18th Street where we remain today with our largest retail floor yet, a gallery and cafe space. The store added another branch at West 84th Street in 2017.

Books of Wonder stocks the newest titles from the best authors and artist in the field as well as beloved classics that generations have grown up with. The store has a large selection of old, rare and collectible children’s books plus a gallery displaying original are and graphics from the vibrant world of books. They host weekly story times and numerous author and artist events each week.

Disclaimer: The History of the store is directly taken from their Blog and Websites. I have visited the store on the Upper West Side several times for “MywalkinManhattan.com” blog and have always been impressed by the selection and service.