Zagat's guide to shopping

March 17, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
You may have used a Zagat guide to figure where to eat out. Now, there's a guide for shoppers as well. It looks at everything from trendy cloths to inexpensive gear.

And as Lauren Glassberg explains, you may want to do your shopping outside of Manhattan.

The Zagat guide is all based on reader surveys, and the most popular place to shop is SoHo. Brooklyn is already considered a hip place to shop, and now Queens has plenty to offer as well.

Queens is hardly known as a shopping mecca, but times are changing and, according to Nina Zagat's shopping guide, shoppers should head to Queens.

Long Island City, for example, is great for hardware. There are places like Simon's and Home Designs, and like the furniture of Tucker Robbins.

"This is where I create," Robbins said.

While he has a showroom in Manhattan, Robbins' 16,000-square-foot Queens studio is where salvaged wood is transformed.

"First, go to the 57th Street and touch and feel, and then come on over here if they like what they see," he said.

"Almost 7,500 people voted in the shopping survey," Zagat said.

And many voted for Misscha, at the Queens Plaza Mall.

"It is a new Korean chain of cosmetics that's very low priced," Zagat said. "It's inexpensively packaged, and it's just fun."

In Astoria, Zagat's called Mimi's Closet a gem, with its handmade jewelery and custom made dresses.

And Loveday 31 sells vintage pieces. The owner grew up in the area and knows its needs.

"There are more people moving into the neighborhood from Manhattan, so we're reflecting that change," Ivona Bilicic said.

Same is true for Glendale, home to a relatively new outdoor mall. And Stella Gialla is known for its trendy fashions.

Nina's guide rated it one of the best in Queens.

"When we first saw the guide, we started jumping up and down," said Vanessa Reyes, of Stell Gialla.

Reyes and her partner Suzan Burdan both went to FIT, and they are thrilled to be making Queens fashionable.

"It's just exciting to see a lovely boutique cropping up outside of Manhattan," Zagat said.

The Zagat shopping guide is available in stores.

Featured stores:

Stella Gialla - women's clothes/accessories
80-28 Cooper Avenue, between 80th Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Glendale

Misscha - bath and body products
Queens Center Mall, first floor in the J.C. Penny wing (near The Disney Store)
90-15 Queens Boulevard (between 57th and 59 avenues) in Woodhaven

Tucker Robbins - eco-friendly home furnishings
33-02 Skillman Avenue (at 33rd Street) in Long Island City

Simon's Hardware and Bath - hardware and bath fixtures
51-17 35th Street (at Gale Avenue) in Long Island City
718-412-4705 or 718-706-7636

Mimi's Closet - hardware and bath fixtures
21-10 31st Street (at 21st Avenue) in Astoria

Loveday31 - men's/women's vintage clothes/accessories
33-06 31st Avenue (between 33rd and 34th streets) in Astoria