New York City looked different in 1906. The Empire State Building wouldn't begin construction for more than two decades, horses and buggies roamed the streets, and Central Park was still entirely black and white. But in that year, Marcello Raffetto opened a pasta shop that remains a staple of the Greenwich Village community to this day.
Raffetto's started small. Its pasta makers crafted ravioli and dry egg noodles until 1916, when the purchase of a roller machine and a cutting machine allowed them to create more and more varieties. The two machines continue to operate more than a century later. At the controls, customers find the fourth generation of the Raffetto family running the store. The crew seems to work magic with dough and fillings. They stuff lobster into ravioli made from tomato dough, turn spinach dough into thin linguine, and cut long sheets of lasagna. In total, more than 50 kinds of pasta emerge from the open preparation area, not to mention the family's signature potato gnocchi.
Yet for all of these choices, a trip to Raffetto's isn't overwhelming. The friendly staff happily helps patrons pick out the perfect pasta before recommending one of their 10 homemade suaces. Or maybe they'll suggest no sauce at all, telling customers that some pasta goes best with just a bit of butter.
At DEX New York's private makeup studio, everyone gets the celebrity treatment. DEX's professional artists help create, interpret, and perfect new looks for clients during private makeup applications or lessons, whether they need an everyday look or are headed to a red-carpet affair; and since their clientele has included stars such as Rihanna, Alicia Keys, and Carrie Underwood, a red-carpet event isn't out of the question.
Dexter Phillip, a 20-year veteran in the fashion and beauty industry, created the DEX New York signature mineral-makeup line. Made with plant-derived extracts, the hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free makeup aims to boost skin's regenerative properties and stimulate collagen production while providing wearers with runway- and street-inspired looks.
Makeup workshops and professional applications take place at DEX's studio, where clients can also stock up on matte-finish bronzers, cream eyeliners, lipstick, and other products from the DEX line. Plus, guests can visit the studio’s blog, which is regularly updated with helpful beauty know-how and pro tips.
Perhaps it’s the slow, bluesy chords flowing from the guitarist in the corner that compel the customer to put down her drink, pick up a stick of chalk, and scrawl a wistful message on the bar. Or perhaps it’s the flicker of candles––their golden halos staving off the city night––that has inspired this misty-eyed inscription. Far from being annoyed at the graffiti now adorning his workspace, the bartender leans over to read the patron’s message, smiling knowingly at the freshly penned late-night bulletin. With a grin and a poured glass of wine, he coaxes a smile from her as she swipes her words from the board.
Such intimate, inviting evenings are a regular occurrence at Sweet Grapes Wine Bar, where a vast collection of vinous libations and snacks keep guests chatting and laughing into the wee hours of the morning. The chalkboard-topped bar affords customers a blank expanse to fill with favorite quotes or high-school locker combinations, while an ever-changing lineup of musicians floods the space with live tunes on a regular basis.
Candy comes in every color at Chocolate Works NYC, where the rainbow of confectionery pairs naturally with the sunny dispositions of those who roam the store’s aisles. Hints of red peek out from chocolate-dipped strawberries, jordan almonds model this season’s pastels, and self-serve bins nearly burst with Jelly Belly jellybeans. Wrapped in shimmering foil or cellophane, kosher truffles and edible replicas of famous paintings momentarily distract eyes from a chocolate fountain, which bubbles into a rich brown pool framed by a marzipan “No Swimming” sign.
Headlined by master chocolatier Joe Whaley and Pretzels by Jill’s Jill Frechtman, an all-star cast of instructors takes the helm during the shop’s signature candy-making classes. Among other delicious, hands-on lessons, teachers demonstrate how to swathe pretzels in Belgian chocolate at an old-fashioned enrobing machine. Kids also learn how to dip, mold, and decorate during one-hour workshops and birthday parties that teem with edible crafts and sugary confetti.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries, daisy pineapples, and tomatoes getting in touch with their fruit roots in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.:
When she isn’t busy knitting the kinds of garments that appear in collections by Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein, Berta Karapetyan shares her skills with fellow crafters at School Products Yarn. Located in an historic Manhattan yarn shop, the store stays true to its building’s past by stocking its shelves with a vast supply of yarns, needles, and woolly Civil War–era mutton chops.
The store’s ample fiber selection ranges from affordable wool blends to skeins of luxurious cashmere. Needles come in a variety of sizes, and a collection of handy tools and accessories keeps projects running along smoothly. Berta’s 15 years of industry experience serve her well when she’s advising purchases or overseeing students as they craft socks or snuggies for their pet anacondas during knitting classes.