Looking for ways to support the NYC-area black community? An easy way is to directly support local Black-owned businesses, many of which have already been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. We’ve rounded up some of our NYC favorites below. (You can find more nationwide, here; for suggestions on organizations where you can donate to support Black Lives Matter, click here.
This cozy Bed-stuy shop and cafe owned by tea experts Alfonso Wright and Jamila McGill offers tea on the go (in a cup or a bag for your at-home stash) or in store, where you’re encouraged to slow down and enjoy the sensory experience that is tea. They got it all here: green, herbal, black, oolong, matcha, etc. While the kids may not be up for an Earl Grey, they will probably enjoy a vegan waffle with fruit or chocolate toppings, or a Biggie Smalls cookie. Need a gift for a tea lover? Brooklyn Tea is stocked with gear and gadgets every tea geek will love.
524 Nostrand Ave.
Alex Branson, AKA Lady B. AKA Miss Alex is the musical force behind Lavender Blues. She conducts fun grownup & me classes featuring original music throughout Brooklyn, from Brooklyn Heights to Bay Ridge, Bed-Stuy, Kensington, Crown Heights and beyond. She’s doing virtual classes during COVID-19, which you can check out here.
The Lit Bar
Owner Noëlle Santos famously opened this Mott Haven bookstore/coffee shop/wine bar after the Bronx’s last remaining bookstore, a Barnes & Noble, closed. The Lit Bar now holds that honor (as well as a lot more indie appeal and character). Find shelves of books for kids of all kinds, a curated collection of reads for adults, as well as gift items and programming. Need some timely recs? Try the “Dear White People” reading list or the 2020 Survival Kit list. And yes, you can also enjoy your libation of choice here.
131 Alexander Ave.
Little Pie Company
Don’t let the name fool you: this bakery (which also sells cakes, muffins and other sweet treats) consistently tops lists of where to get the best pie in the city. Founded by classically-trained Broadway actor Arnold Wilkerson in 1985, this shop has a pie no matter the season, from apple and pumpkin in the fall and winter, to key lime, peach and cherry in the spring and summer. (And lots, lots more.) You can share these delectable treats with anyone, thanks to next-day shipping. (And yes, you can also get little pies here, as pictured above.)
424 W. 43rd St.
Make My Cake
Started as a home-business more than two decades ago, Make My Cake has gained legions of fans and expanded to three locations. The heart of the business is the family recipes of Josephine “Ma” Smith, said to combine the baking traditions of Mississippi and Alabama with Harlem soul. Must-haves here include the red velvet cake, German chocolate cake, sweet potato cheesecake and strawberry cupcakes. Need a cake delivered? Call 212-932-0833.
2380 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.
139 St. Nicholas Ave.
775 Columbus Ave.
Upper West Side
Mikey Likes It
We’ve long been a fan of Lower East side native Mikey Cole’s pop culture-inspired artisanal, organic ice cream and his fun storefront decked out with images of pop icons. (Flavors at the downtown store include “Pink Floyd”, “The Brady Bunch”, “Ice Ice Mikey” and “Foxy Brown.”) Cole started his business selling ice cream out of a pushcart, and now also offers vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free varieties. The shop is delivering to Manhattan and big fans can scoop up Mikey Likes It merch like hats, collaboration hoodies and more.
199 Avenue A
Lower East Side
A Princess Like Me
Include a visit from a special guest for your child's next birthday party. Take your pick from a roster of characters inspired by big Disney names, or opt for "Unicorn Princess", "Warrior Princess" (very badass looking), Barbie, a life-size LOL, JoJo Siwa and others. A Princess like me is doing personalized video messages during COVID-19—10 minutes for just $25!
Sisters Uptown Bookstore
Sister's Uptown Bookstore is presently the oldest black and family-owned bookstore and community cultural center in Washington Heights/Harlem. The store is dedicated to nourishing the minds, hearts and souls of the community with present and past works of gifted African-American, Latinx, and other great authors and intellectuals.
1942 Amsterdam Ave.
String Thing Studio
Felicia Eve owns this charming Park Slope yarn store and event space, which is stocked with drool-worthy raw materials for knitting, crocheting and weaving. The studio has hosted after school classes and open knitting nights, and offers private lessons as well. Need an al fresco spot for your small gathering? There’s a lovely garden area in back you can rent out for your event.
54 Seventh Ave.
Sugar Hill Creamery
Another ice cream spot, this one uptown, Sugar Hill Creamery is another one of our favorite places for a cone or dish. Owned by local parents Nick Larsen and Petrushka Bazin Larsen, the store serves up small batch ice cream made with fresh and locally-sourced ingredients in both classic flavors the kids love (vanilla is "Andy Griffith"—get it?), and more adventurous ones for adults, like Pon de Replay, the Rhianna-inspired vegan ice cream made with coconut, tamarind and passionfruit. A Sugar Hill also hosts a mom's meetup group, which you can sign up for here.
184 Lenox Ave.
World Explorers Group
Founded in 2003 by Kisha Edwards-Gandsy and Keyanna Murrill, the World Explorers Group provides numerous ways to educate and entertain your kids. Services and programs include preschool, summer camp (offered in-person and virtually this year), drop-off childcare, after school programming and birthday parties. Find them at their HQ in Fort Greene, two Downtown Brooklyn annexes and a location in Crown Heights.
36 Felix St.
Got a business you’d like to see included? Email as at firstname.lastname@example.org
feature photo: A Princess Like Me via Yelp