Support the NYC-area Black community by spending at local Black-owned businesses—this month and every month. Need some suggestions? Check out our favorites serving NYC kids and families, with food, drink, fashion, decor, dessert and so much more. (Then head here to see Black-owned businesses for families nationwide!)
Fun & Gear for Kids
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. Her studio in Bedford Stuyvesant, which opened in February 2020, is also home to a thrift store with daily giveaways, book swaps and upcycled clothing featuring hand-embroidered Lavender Blues logos.
175 Malcolm X Blvd.
Founded by one of our NYC Power Moms, Kim Magloire, SciTech Kids does classes, camps, after-school, birthday parties and more. (And yes, they're offering virtual camp this summer.) The Upper East Side business gets kids ages three to 15 involved in science of all kinds with hands-on, interactive experiments and activities. A sampling of subjects explored include coding, engineering, architecture and physics.
215 E. 81st St.
Upper 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!
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.
Cozy n Cute Kids Boutique
The kids clothes at the Cozy N Cute Kids Boutique are cute, comfortable and always on trend. You'll find cool sayings, sweet ruffles and fun prints you and your child will love. This online kids clothing store was founded by Priscilla Wesson, a Black mom with two daughters from Long Island, NY. She launched her online shop in June 2020 and focuses on practical everyday styles for young kids, with affordable prices, great deals and top-notch customer service.
Harlem Doggie Day Spa
Known as "The Dogfather of Harlem" Brian Taylor owns and operates Harlem Doggie Day Spa, a one-stop shop for all your grooming, doggie daycare, walking and boarding needs. When the pandemic forced Taylor to temporarily shutter his shop, he took his skills on the road with a mobile spa that came to his customers. He then embarked (ha) on a cross-country "Pandemic Pup Relief Tour,” to offer pet grooming services to people affected by Covid-19, powered by an army of volunteers from the Black Groomers Association.
734 St. Nicholas Ave.
BCakeNY counts A-list celebs among its clientele (see: CardiB, Rihanna and Vera Wang), but they'll make one for you, too! Founder and Creative Director Miriam Milord and CEO Dara Roach are the duo behind this Prospect Heights, Brooklyn bakery that creates confections big and small. Check out the shop's special Black History Month treats (cupcakes, cake jars, cakes and mini cakes) spotlighting Black History luminaries. Gift boxes come with a complimentary booklet written by historian Janus Adams, profiling the lives and legacies of the 12 extraordinary figures featured. P.S. They ship natonwide!
702 Washington 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. Sugar Hill also hosts a mom's meetup group, which you can sign up for here.
184 Lenox Ave.
3629 Broadway (btwn 149th & 150th Streets)
Time Out New York Market
55 Water St.
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.” (The Foxy Brown Milkshake was cited as a way to make someone fall in love with NYC on a recent episode of Gossip Girl.) 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
2500 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Gotham West Market
600 11th Ave.
Make My Cake
Started as a home-business more than two decades ago, Make My Cake has gained legions of fans with its confections. 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.
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.
Food & Drink
Ginjan Brothers & Ginjan Cafe
Brothers Muhammed and Rahim Diallo have been sharing West African food and drink with New Yorkers since 2015 with slogan, "Born in Africa, Made in New York." Their company takes its name from a ginger-based drink, popular in the duo's native Guinea, made with vanilla, anise and pineapple. They opened Ginjan Cafe in Harlem right before the pandemic hit, but they weathered the setback, and are even in the process of establishing a second location in Bedford Stuyvesant. (Look for that shop to open some time in March.) Stop in for the eponymous drink, cold-pressed juices, crepes, coffee, tea, and bites from local chefs in the big and welcoming space uptown. Learn even more about their story in this feature on Humans of New York.
85 E. 125th St.
333 Nostrand Ave.
Harlem Hops is Manhattan's first, 100 % African-American-owned NYC local craft beer bar. Founded by three HBCU grads, this welcoming spot serves a rotating, highly-curated menu of local, often rare, small-batch beers from the region and beyond, in addition to wine, spirits and "bites"—like its impressive giant pretzel. Like to enjoy your brew at home? Beer can be taken to go in a size as large as a 32 ounce "crowler."
2268 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
It's a family affair at Harlem's Seasoned Vegan. Mother and son Brenda and Aaron Beener promise to serve up your favorite food, "veganized." Gourmet vegan soul food dishes include mac and cheese, fried "crawfish" po boy, "chicken" nuggets, stuffed avocados and even rich desserts like red velvet cupcakes. But the duo draws from many culinary traditions as well, creating vegan Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean and American dishes with a home-cooked, soulful twist.
55 St. Nicholas Ave.
Central Brooklyn Food Co-op
The Central Brooklyn Food Coop is a Black-led 100% working member-owned and –operated food store with membership open to all. The organization's mission is to utilize its collective strength to ensure access to affordable and fresh food while centering the Black, low-to-moderate-income communities of Central Brooklyn. The co-op works to make it easy and affordable to buy good food, while strengthening ties between neighbors in the communities of Bedford-Stuyvesant, North Crown Heights and the surrounding low- and moderate-income neighborhoods of color.
375 Stuyvesant Ave., 2nd Fl.
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.
Cafe Con Libros
Cafe Con Libros is an intersectional Feminist community bookstore and coffee shop, serving up coffee, tea, books and community. (And pastries from Bien Cuit, FYI.) In addition to a cozy storefront in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, the shop curates monthly book subscriptions in categories including Womxn of Color, Feminist, Romance, Young Adults for ages 12-18yrs, Budding Feminist Children's Books for ages 5-9yrs, Baby Feminist Board Books for ages 0-5yrs. Looking for a baby shower gift? Try the Baby Feminist Social Justice Primer!
724 Prospect Pl.
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.
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.
Shopping & Self-Care
This Caribbean marketplace (formerly known as Flatbush Caton Market), has been part of the fabric of Brooklyn's Flatbush for more than 20 years. Renamed and revitalized, the community hub is home to numerous Black vendors selling a variety of goods, including Haitian decor, spices, tea leaves; flagwear and accessories from all Caribbean nations and others worldwide; luxurious, natural handcrafted soaps and body care products, and handmade children’s clothing, accessories, toys and books.
In addition to shopping, Flatbush Central also includes a Caribbean-themed food hall, a shared commercial kitchen, bar, and lounge, and
new programming to increase community bonds and celebrate the cultures of Flatbush and Central Brooklyn. (Look for a big re-opening celebration in spring 2022.)
2123 Caton Ave.
Make Manifest BK
Bed-Stuy's Make Manifest BK is a community space, creative hub and shop featuring local and independent brands with a focus on sustainability. Workshops for kids and adults include sewing, crocheting and knitting and crafting, and you can also drop by for evening events like "Sip & Sews", slow jam karaoke and spiritual wellness gatherings.
382 Tompkins 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.
Founded by Staten Island resident Raquel Roxanne Nowak, Matresence takes its name from the word meaning "the process of becoming a women." The skincare line is designed for the many stages of motherhood, from trying to conceive and pregnancy to nursing and being a busy parent. The company offers products for regular self-care, assorted issues (stretch marks, hormonal acne, etc.) as well as pre-bundled gift sets to keep moms of all kinds restored and glowing!
Got a business you’d like to see included? Email as at firstname.lastname@example.org