Read Culture

Merch From Beloved NYC Book Stores, Tattoo Shops, Museums + More

Proudly represent your favorite spot in New York City

As businesses begin to reopen in NYC, much media and consumer attention hones in on restaurants and bars. There are plenty of places, however, that remain closed, or cannot open to their full capacity, that still need support. While most of these spots sell gift cards and vouchers, merchandise is another way to send dollars in their direction—and represent your favorites wherever you wander. From tattoo parlors to book stores, record shops, museums, cinemas, bath houses and beyond, here’s a selection of our favorite merch from across the city.

Book + Record Stores

Non-profit Printed Matter purveys books, zines and prints, but the glorious treasure trove also sells apparel and accessories, including this “What is Art?” tote bag designed by Misaki Kawai. Word book stores (located in Greenpoint and Jersey City) have plenty of gear available, including hoodies, socks, beanies and shirts emblazoned with “I Read Books.” Located in the East Village and Greenpoint, Academy Records has several shirts and totes available, but our pick is their classic pocket design. Just off Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Earwax has been around since 1990 and has totes and tees for sale. East Village’s Limited to One record shop also sells tees and bags—and their tote easily fits 20 records. Founded back in 2008, the record store (and label) Captured Tracks sells a shirt emblazoned with their minimal logo. With locations in San Francisco, Oakland and New York, Stranded has several shirt designs available, as well as a sturdy tote bag. Best known for selling comic books, Forbidden Planet is also a purveyor of toys, collectibles and this excellent tee.

Courtesy of Only NY + Brooklyn Museum


The beloved Tenement Museum, dedicated to stories of immigrants, pays homage to their LES home with this denim tote. Another crucial, magical place in NYC, the New York Public Library has heaps of merch available, including this classic sweatshirt. The transportive American Museum of Natural History sells all kinds of toys and books, as well as apparel. Pick your favorite subway line and wear it proudly, with these NYC Transit Museum caps, which make up part of their vast online shop. Pre-sale for the Brooklyn Museum’s Studio 54 merchandise has begun, but there’s plenty more merch available, including their collaboration with Only NY. Represent the Metropolitan Museum of Art by wearing one of their caps or sweatshirts. Also slinging Champion collaborations, MoMA has four colorways of their hoodie available.


The iconic and important Film Forum has just one item of merchandise available, but it’s a fantastic one: a reproduction of the shirt animator Robert Breer made for them back in 1981—which was based on a mural he painted on their Watts St location. Alamo Drafthouse has countless designs for sale online, but our pick is the Godzilla T-shirt, which is available from XS to 4XL. Williamsburg and Park Slope’s much-loved Nitehawk Cinema sells T-shirts for kids and adults, including one that depicts their famous VHS vault.

Courtesy of Welcome Home Studio

Tattoo Parlors

One of our favorites, babysfirstcig (aka Zachary Robinson Bailey) founded and tattoos at Bushwick’s queer-friendly Smallshop and has a few handmade and limited edition items available online. Another queer-friendly space, Welcome Home is part-store, part-tattoo parlor, and has long-sleeved shirts, totes and more online. Williamsburg’s Saved Tattoo sells prints and various other goods, including this long-sleeve T-shirt. Located in Carroll Gardens, Smith Street Tattoo Parlor has merchandise aplenty, from hoodies to embroidered caps, and even beach balls.

Courtesy of Stephen Powers / Gem Spa

+ Beyond

Located in Boerum Hill, Espo’s Art World sells Stephen “ESPO” Powers’ artwork, as well as the occasional T-shirt and tote bag. Also in Brooklyn, the delightful Superhero Supply sells shirts and other apparel for infants, kids and adults—and all the proceeds are sent back to 826NYC, a non-profit that supports school students with writing skills through workshops, after-school programs, tutoring and more. SoHo’s legendary second-hand store Church St Surplus is raising funds via Merch Aid, with this Baron Von Fancy-designed shirt. Made in collaboration with designer Jeremy Dean, the Blind Barber has two T-shirts (long- and short-sleeved) for sale on their website. Of course, one can buy the classic sauna hats from the East Village’s Russian and Turkish Baths, but they also have three different T-shirts available. Located just down the street, also on East 10th St, Turntable Lab sells tees, totes and caps—some in collaboration with the Beastie Boys. Another East Village treasure, the beloved Gem Spa recently closed, but they still have merch galore—including caps, hoodies, keychains and more. NYC’s oldest magic shop, Tannen’s, was founded in 1925 but has some contemporary apparel online now.

Hero image courtesy of Only NY + Brooklyn Museum 


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