My name is Kate Gavino, and I’m a paperholic. As far as addictions go, stationery stores may seem pretty tame, but once you’ve spent over an hour at a store, reveling in the thickness of its paper stock and the variety of its pen selection, it’s clear that you have a problem. To make matters worse, I live in a place that’s teeming with amazing stationery stores: New York City. Cute paper stores are practically on every block, and there are even paper conventions held several times a year. Thanks to my obsession, I have a giant stockpile of paper and cute cards, and not enough friends with birthdays and weddings and bat mitzvahs to use it on. I’ve decided to share my knowledge of the city’s best stores, but use this information wisely, dear reader. Otherwise, we’re going to have to start a support group for our kind.
Paper Presentation: Best Scrapbooking ( 23 W. 18th Street, Manhattan)
I have an aunt who scrapbooks every waking moment of her life: anniversaries, birthdays, mole-removals, you name it. When she visited me, I had no choice but to take her to this scrapbooking mecca. She was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of scrapbooking supplies the store carried, from photo borders to trinkets to pressed flowers to dual-temperature glue guns. I knew this place was the best when she later made a scrapbook page celebrating our visit.
Papel: Best Cards (225 Court Street, Brooklyn)
I’ll make any excuse to visit Cobble Hill, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Brooklyn, especially if it means a trip to Papel. Their card selection is always on point, and they even have a section just for cards with cats and dogs on them. Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes I make up events simply to justify getting a card for it. Oh, my sister just got a haircut? I guess I should send her this penguin-themed Congratulations card.
Morning Glory: Best Letter-Writing Sets (136-77 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens)
The long trek on the 7-train down to Flushing is always worth it thanks to this adorable shop. You may think you’re too old for Hello Kitty, but what about a monster-themed paper set or a dog-shaped pencil sharpener? The store has all kinds of awww-inducing Korean products, especially cheap letter-writing sets that include matching paper and envelopes that will make you consider ditching emails in favor of the old pen-and-paper approach.
4. Kiteya: Best Curated (464 Broome Street, Manhattan)
What this store lacks in selection, it makes up for in quality. Each item in Kiteya seems so unique and delicate that you’ll find yourself hard-pressed to use it as anything other than decoration. Most of their cards are made on yuzen paper, which is specially hand-screened and of a thicker stock. It seems to be a versatile paper, as they also sell it in the form of fans, barrettes, and earrings, so let’s see you try to limit yourself to just cards.
5. Foxy and Winston: Best Handmade (392 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn)
Again, this store is in a neighborhood that’s not too easy to get to (Red Hook), but you’ll be glad you did it. The store is the home of Jane Buck, an illustrator whose whimsical designs can be seen on everything from paper to cards to aprons. I was immediately won over by the sheer amount of hedgehog-related items. After all, who can resist a good hedgehog? The store also gets bonus points for Miss Hope, its sleepy beagle and mascot.
6. Muji: Best Pens (Various locations, Manhattan)
This Japanese brand sells everything from cosmetic cases to clothes to bed frames, but I always make a beeline straight for their pens. I can tell I’m using a good pen when I don’t want to stop writing with it, and their gel pens glide along the page so smoothly, it’s easy to just keep going. Muji also allows you to build your own pens, with its selection of insertable inks in a variety of colors. Once you have a custom turquoise-lilac pen, all other pens will seem inferior.
Il Papiro: Best Paper (1021 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan)
If you’re obsessed with detail, look no further than this Italian company’s hand decorated paper. The marbleized designs bring to mind the inside binding of antique books, and they’re perfect for writing tortured, ten-page love letters. You can also find their custom paper inserted into beautiful notebooks and onto sturdy picture frames and boxes. Make sure to chat with its owner, John, about the paper-making process, and prepare to be charmed.
Kinokuniya: Cutest (1073 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan)
This bookstore’s basement is a virtual treasure trove of cuteness, so it is definitely not for the faint of heart. Upon entering, you’ll suddenly be overcome by the need to buy puppy key covers, giant Totoro pillows, and all kinds of origami-related goods. If you’re looking to make your office cubicle unbearably adorable, they have French bulldog calendars, puffy keyboard stickers, pens in every color, and more. Don’t worry, your co-workers will thank you.
Paper Source: Best Crafts (102 Smith Street, Brooklyn)
You can’t consider yourself a paper-phile until you’ve visited this chain of stationery stores. I’ve never been much into DIY craftiness until I came across the sheer amount of craft projects and classes they offer. Next thing I knew, I was making paper lanterns for my bedroom and putting together tissue flowers like I was Martha Stewart. If you’re ever planning a party and want to make your guests’ Pinterests look like child’s play, this is the place.
Greenwich Letterpress: Best Overall (39 Christopher Street, Manhattan)
I swear I’m not biased just because this store is situated next to not just one, but two, puppy stores. But even then, there’s no denying that this is the kind of stationery store you thought existed only in your wildest paper-themed dreams. They have a perfect selection of cards, wrapping paper, posters, and even wax pastry candles! Their stock changes regularly, so there’s always a reason to come back. In short: welcome to paper heaven.