In 1990, John Ziegler hired a dog walker to take his 8-month-old yellow lab Merembe out on regular walks. The plan was to escort the rambunctious pup to Central Park, where she could enjoy fresh air and social time around other dogs and people. Just to make sure he was getting what he paid for, John followed the dog walker—and discovered that Merembe spent the entire hour cooped up in a tiny apartment while the walker went on errands. The indignation that any dog owner would feel at this discovery is what prompted John to found Biscuits & Bath, an all-encompassing dog-care company that strives for transparency, knowledge, and compassion in all they do.
A bounty of doggy knowledge backs every service at Biscuits & Bath, whether it's grouping dogs by size and temperament at daycare to balance safety and fun, or pairing groomers' image-enhancing brush-outs with checks for ticks, ear infections, and unusual basketball ability. True to the company's roots, each dog walker is bonded, insured, and thoroughly trained to take beloved friends on a daily romp. Dogs are kept safe from big-city hazards by donning two slip collars, a climb-spec harness, and a reinforced nylon leash, allowing the company to boast nearly one million incident-free walks in 2011. On-site veterinarian services give pups a checkup incentive with the center's play-filled environment, and overnight boarding services keep timid dogs at ease with constant supervision and flexibility with special requirements.
Within the multihued walls of Kidville’s indoor playland, tykes expand their minds, network with members of their peer group, and deplete their vast energy reserves. Babies, toddlers, and kids 6 or younger delve into classes developed by Kidville’s early-childhood-development gurus. Burgeoning Beethovens can swivel their hips, flex their sing-along muscles, and edit their massive music manuscripts during one of Kidville’s music and dance classes, or enlist in one of the art classes to create a piece that captures their inner rage toward broccoli. Fun and fit gym classes let tots run, roll, and hover through gauntlets of plush blocks and spongy play mats. Clasping hands and scampering legs can also roam freely through Kidville’s sprightly indoor playspace, though all munchkins must be supervised by a parent, guardian, or trustworthy primate.
Argentina–born soccer enthusiast Gustavo Szulansky opened Super Soccer Stars to provide the boroughs with a program that championed the personal development of youngsters rather than solely a skill-based focus. Since its debut in 2000, it's grown throughout the city, helping countless youngsters learn teamwork, boost confidence, and decrease arguments during home games played on the dining-room table. This rapid growth is due in part to the positive values Gustavo instilled from the first class. His coaches are carefully selected for their ability to cultivate a noncompetitive, sensitive approach to learning the game, and they dole out their knowledge in both classes and camps.
Super Soccer Star's Kick & Play program features family-friendly classes that help tots 12–24 months old develop pre-soccer skills and physical skill sets simultaneously. During classes, a team of talented and enthusiastic instructors and an athletic duo of puppet friends named Mimi and Pepe buoy budding soccer players with positive reinforcement, individual attention, and the merry clickety-clack of cleated tap dances. Designed with the help of early-childhood specialists, each age-specific class helps players build skills at their own pace with positive reinforcement, individual attention, and engaging original music.
"The new market almost looks as if it has been a neighborhood fixture for years, not days," said the New York Times of Schatzie the Butcher's new Upper West Side location in 2010—their first move in more than 30 years. Though new, the shop was outfitted with vintage features such as white tiles, aged family photos, and an antique cash register.
In this sense, the market reflects the spirit of its owner, fifth-generation butcher Tony Schatzie—who's always taken pride in his history. Building on a legacy started by his great-grandfather—a rabbi and kosher butcher—Schatzie learned the basics of his craft at just 11 years of age. Now, more than 50 years later, those who visit his market can find him swapping banter—and songs—behind the counter, aided by his two sons and a 30-year employee, Pepe.
Schatzie holds strict standards for his meat, and carves slabs of exclusively USDA prime beef. Cuts of Colorado lamb and milk-fed veal also line the shelves, alongside hand-cut sausages in styles such as Italian and German weisswurst. If a customer asks for an unusual cut, Schatzie can also fulfill special requests within a day.
In addition to meat, the market also stocks blocks of gourmet imported and American cheeses, as well as premade meals for those with busy schedules or an evening job at the Center for Complimenting the Moon.
Make Meaning brims with skilled staff members who unleash floods of creativity with an arsenal of crafting supplies, earning kudos from New York magazine. The store’s membership program, the Smile High Club, allows members to waive all sitting fees (ordinarily $12/session) and pay only for any materials used while fashioning glass, paper, candles, soap, jewelry, or ceramics into festive masterpieces. Explore Make Meaning’s nearly 6,000-square-foot wonderland, composing a symphony of color and scent on a customizable candle or constructing stunning muse-lures from a cornucopia of jewelry materials.
With ceiling-high shelves crammed with knitting supplies and comprehensive knitting classes, Knitty City has attracted visiting artists, authors, local hobbyists, and even the New York Times. Knitters and crocheters may stop by the shop to peruse the plentiful collection of yarns, needles, and knitting-related books, which contain yarns about yarns and may be read aloud to newly adopted yarns. Knitty City's Etimo crochet hooks equip stitchers with the soft cushion grips and a smooth heads needed to hook yarn easily ($9.95). Modernize worn-out muumuus with Madelinetosh DK City Lights yarn, a 100% wool fabric hand-dyed in colorful multishades with 225 yards per skein ($20).
The Sofia family boasts a New York City heritage stretching back more than a century. In 1880, the family’s ancestral patriarch, Theodoro, emigrated to The Bronx from Italy, joining millions of others in search of a new life and streets flowing with apple pie and hot dogs. After marrying his childhood sweetheart, he bought a stable with his three sons, eventually transforming it into a moving and storage business in 1910. The growing business weathered the Depression and two world wars, and gained prestige when its movers were trusted to transport the Mona Lisa to the Met, to shuttle the King Tut exhibit around the country, and to move the Atlantic Ocean to the East Coast. The family eventually phased out its moving services in favor of storage facilities, which are still run by third-generation Sofias. Today, the company's four storage locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn safely store closet overflow from New Yorkers' oft-cramped apartments. Each facility hosts lockers and storage rooms that range in size from 4’x4’ spaces to entire floors, and boast amenities such as natural-gypsum or terra cotta lining. An outside security company monitors each building at all times, and renters can opt to buy a lock or bring their own. Storage tips, packing materials for sale, and the option of custom shelving in each unit help patrons pack their belongings with long-lasting care, while easy access and complimentary use of hand carts facilitate stuff retrieval.