New York

The Best Head Shops and Smoke Shops in NYC

Courtesy of Higher Standards
Courtesy of Higher Standards
Courtesy of Higher Standards

The green tide is rising. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s directive to limit arrests for public marijuana consumption took effect last September, the NY State Democratic Party has adopted a legalization platform heading into the 2020 elections; and studies have found that, by weight, New York consumes more marijuana than any other city in the world. In case you hadn’t detected the herbaceous winds of change or decoded the smoke-signals, let’s make it clear: marijuana is mainstream.

We’re still far afield from one-stop shopping for both equipment and product, but NYC has an abundance of brick-and-mortar smoke, vape, and head shops. The legally indemnifying (if ironic) sign in every store may read, for tobacco use only, and the salespeople may still torture synonyms (flowers, plants, aromatics, etc.), but at the end of the day, this diverse array of businesses supply vapes, bongs, pipes, nails, bats, grinders, hookahs, bubblers, and papers, for you to use however you choose. Here are New York City’s best smoke and head shops.

Village Grannies
Village Grannies
Village Grannies

Village Grannies

East Village
A trip to Village Grannies is a glimpse into a thoughtful space where form, function, and lifestyle converge. “Design, design, design,” says Zviah Eldar, one of the two grannies behind the sophisticated experience in this beautifully appointed store. “We see it as a lifestyle. It’s the art of smoking, the art of living.” The pleasure and pride she and her equally stylish granny partner, Vered Behr take in their curation is evidenced in their wares. These are not items to be hidden away, but rather to be prominently displayed in your home (or very liberal office). Hand-picked bowls and one-of-a-kind artisanal glassware double as elegant decor.

Blue Nile

West Village
Situated on Bleecker Street’s bustling retail stretch, this family-owned, glass-centric neighborhood head shop also offers a wide variety of natural soaps, candles, and scents to complement your tranquil lifestyle — with a selection that rivals many a boutique apothecary. You can grab your vape juice, CBD gummies, a two-foot Illadelph or Sheldon Black bong, and a pack of smokes in one fell swoop. Blue Nile is temporarily closed for renovations and expected to reopen in May.

Continental Smoke Shop
Continental Smoke Shop
Continental Smoke Shop

Continental Smoke Shop

Forest Hills
Is it a head shop? Is it a bodega? There are a ton of headegas in this city, where you’ll find smoking tackle alongside your typical snack/beer/light grocery fare, and this is the very best. The 24/7 one-stop boasts an impressive selection of absolutely everything you need to chill the eff out. There are rows of all manner of e-liquid, pipes and accessories, vaporizers, and a lotto bar (yes, that’s a thing) where you can peruse cigar offerings while you engage in some low-stakes gambling. Ask about discounts for social media follows and shout-outs.

NY Gifts

West Village
This downtown staple has been specializing in ‘heady’ styles for more than 25 years. Its affable, knowledgeable staff’s decades-long relationships with glass artisans and manufacturers has earned the shop a comprehensive range of styles. Artistic selections (Salt, Chip) share shelf space with scientific substance delivery mechanisms (Toro, Sovereignty, and Mobius). NY Gifts should be the first stop for any glass connoisseur. It’s not unusual for eager consumers to snatch up specialty pieces before they even hit the store’s shelves, so if you’re looking for something specific, don’t hesitate to ask.

Sunflower Pipes
Sunflower Pipes
Sunflower Pipes

Sunflower Pipes

Bushwick, Williamsburg
North Brooklyn’s mini-chain brings quintessential head shop vibes to its three locations. Each spot is familiar and comforting — perfumed by incense, festooned with beads and mandalas, and staffed by earnestly laid-back salespeople working to a playlist of relaxing tunes. Here, you’ll find more “tobacco” accoutrement than you’ll be able to use in a lifetime, pot-themed apparel, and jewelry.

Smoke Zone N Vape

Midtown East
If you find yourself needing tobacco products or smoking essentials at any time of day or night on Manhattan’s East Side, you can rely on Smoke Zone N Vape. It may not be stylized or vibey, it may not speak to you as an individual, it may not offer a bespoke retail experience, but damn if it doesn’t sport a wide selection of wares, including a vast array of cigars and vape juices available 24/7.

Courtesy of Higher Standards
Courtesy of Higher Standards
Courtesy of Higher Standards

Higher Standards

Chelsea Market
Equal parts Apple Store, Anthropologie, and High Times, Higher Standards’ conspicuous location in the tourist-glutted Chelsea Market is as much a nod toward the mainstreaming of weed culture as it is a retail outfit. Its grownup aesthetic is inviting and cool. Its product packaging is slick. Its inventory is premium, with the low stock, high markups, and lifestyle marketing to match. For better or worse, this is what the future of luxury marijuana retail looks like.

 

Life Made Alittle Easier
Life Made Alittle Easier
Life Made Alittle Easier

Life Made A Little Easier

Sheepshead Bay
The lifelong outer-borough New Yorkers who own and operate this South Brooklyn shop aim to make it a neighborhood institution. They do things a little differently here, shunning tobacco in favor or products purporting to improve your quality of life. “Nobody in New York knows more or has vetted more CBD products than us,” an employee told me recently. “We’re trying to help people.” Come by to browse that unmatched CBD selection, loosen up at the vape bar, or get approachable advice on how to curb tobacco use, manage pain, or improve sleep.

BK Smokes
BK Smokes
BK Smokes

Brooklyn Smokes

Mill Basin
With adorable shop dog Soup by his side, Brooklyn Smokes’ owner Shafiq greets visitors to his sunny, inviting corner spot by name. “We choose what we have carefully,” Shafiq says. “We try to specialize.” Indeed, he maintains a thoughtful assortment of smoking and vaping equipment. Display cases are lined with staff-recommendations like you’d find at a bookstore. The place is a welcome respite from pretension, brand marketing, gatekeeping, and exclusivity.

Bushwick Smoke Shop

Park Slope! J/K, it’s in Bushwick
This shop has the widest selection of smoking goods — including a large walk-in humidor for cigar enthusiasts — of any other we’ve encountered. Merchandise rises high to the ceiling, and a visibly deep back-stock gives the relatively small space a big-box feel. Here, you’ll find every type, shape, and size of rolling paper, bong, pipe, hookah you can conceive of.

i-Vape

East Village
Amid St. Mark’s Place’s bazaar of tabletop vendors, dollar pizza, tattoo shops, and faded punk ephemera, i-Vape is a triptych of glass, paper, and vapor. Staffers at this gallery-like shop inform and advise with effortless authority. Plan a visit soon, before the smoke-set collaboration by artists Hoobs and Matt Robertson  — depicting a giraffe and a ram in a game of one-on-one — sells out. At $15,000, you’d have to be high to buy this thing.

Master Piece
Master Piece
Master Piece

Master Piece

Bushwick, Greenpoint
Each of Master Piece’s three elegant locations offer an excellent variety of glass and gear, with staging that sets them apart. Proprietor Mike Chang decorates his stores in a throwback aesthetic, choosing his stock with the same attention to detail. “We want to make people feel comfortable,” Chang says. “We don’t want you to feel like you’re on a trip to the grocery store.” The shops are resultantly sophisticated with a serious wink to fun. Steamer trunks, antique furniture, and a few cheeky tchotchkes lend Master Piece locations cool, though hospitable vibes. The knowledgeable, sociable staff is always eager to help with recommendations, or just to shoot the breeze.

Brooklyn Smoke Shop

Barclay’s Center
The atmosphere here is generic, and the nice-enough staff is all business — perfect for when you want to grab-and-go from the shop’s comprehensive smoking selection. Situated near the many lines of the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway stop, and the LIRR, this is a best bet for nine-to-fivers and out-of-town commuters who’d prefer to remain anonymous to their paraphernalia provider.   

Honorable Mention:

Vapology 101

Williamsburg
Sure, it sells some glass and rolling papers and has a cigar humidor, but, as the name implies, this is a vape shop — a separate designation from your true smoke and head joints. It offers juice in staggering variety with new shipments twice a week, a discount section of stock overflow, and try-before-you-buy juice samples. And Vapology has one major amenity most places lack: a backyard. The beautiful, large, comfortable, outdoor space is open to smokers, vapers, and anyone who wants to hang  — and it’s undetectable from the street. Members of the store’s loyalty program are invited to free neighborhood cookouts.Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

Julien Levy is a writer and New York City native. Follow him on Twitter: @JulienLevy_

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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