Customer service is front and center at this family owned Morningside Heights hardware store. Customers can’t get two feet inside the store before a staff member asks if they need any assistance. Perhaps is the hardware outfit’s diminutive size that brings people closer together, but locals would say that it’s simply the way University Hardware is run. Either way, the cheery vibe permeates every department, from basic plumbing and electrical hardware needs to cleaning supplies and boxes for storage or moving. The shelves are stacked mostly to the ceiling, so feel free to ask if you can’t find that special gizmo you need so badly. The store runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week, with protracted hours on Saturday and Sunday and a locksmith operation that’s perfect for the next time you lose your keys.
Designated a city landmark in 2008, Webster Hall was named Nightclub of the Year in 2011 by Nightclub & Bar magazine and called the “jewel of the Village” by Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill. First opened in 1886, its iconic framework has hosted such major acts as Prince and Mick Jagger, and served as a speakeasy, a lecture hall, and a mentor to troubled teenage buildings. Today, live shows performed by stars such as Kanye West and Alicia Keys take place in the Grand Ballroom, which is equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics and cutting-edge audio-visual equipment. In addition, the venue hosts weekly dance-club nights, the official NYC Halloween Parade Afterparty, and an annual New Year’s Eve Ball.
Reared by a loving family of owner-operators since 1937, Berger Hardware rolls out labyrinthine aisles of home and garden products. Under the umbrella of the nationwide True Value franchise, the shop stocks and replenishes a vast array of standard inventory, seasonal items, and literal nuts and bolts. Knowledgeable staffers draw on their personal tool-wrangling experience to dispense expert advice and connect customers with their ideal equipment.
In 1997, magician Michael Chaut realized that New York—long the haunt of some of the world's most talented magicians—no longer had a live magic venue. Wasting no time, Chaut assembled a super squad of fellow tricksters and illusionists, together creating the weekly showcase Monday Night Magic. Now firmly installed at the intimate Players Theatre, the shows strip away such over-the-top distractions as pyrotechnics and live animals, who generally give away the tricks post-performance anyway. Their shows instead beguile audiences with up-close sleight-of-hand and mental tricks, and also enter the realm of variety-show-style entertainment with jugglers and sword swallowers. During intermissions, the performing magicians take a chance to stroll through the room, hunkering down at lucky audience members' tables to dazzle them with up-close trickery.
They call themselves “Hardwarians.” The employees of Feinsod Hardware, a True Value store, know the ins and outs of home improvement and can lead customers to the best tools for any do-it-yourself project. Shelves stock everything from power tools by Master Mechanic and DeWalt to ready-made accessories for grills, cars, and even pets, plus all the hardware accoutrements for doors, cabinets, and gingerbread houses. The Hardwarians also offer services, including key cutting, knife sharpening and grill servicing.
Beyond its work staging traditional photo shoots and portraiture, Garden State Photo Studio's team of event photojournalists is dispatched to special occasions to tell their stories. As celebrations such as weddings, sweet sixteens, and bar mitzvahs unfold, photogs follow the belles of the ball, snapping or videotaping a chronology of candid moments with their professional-grade digital cameras and lighting equipment.
Garden State?s traveling photo booths fuel party-time fun and memory-making. After attendants set up the stationary photographer, party-goers pile in as the booth snaps pictures of the revelry. Instant images are printed onto strips and posted online so that guests can relive the memories later or ask the photo booth accusingly why it took so many pictures of Karen.