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Authentic African Antiques in New York City

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 4/9/2006 - www.Littleviews.com ]


Unfortunately, this shop is no longer open. If anyone knows if Nyabinghi has another shop, please let Littleviews know! Contact Karen at Karen@Littleviews.com.


>>  Nyabinghi, an African community elder and importer of antique African treasures, opened a new, sunny shop after being out of business for almost four years. [See Littleviews' article, The African Shop in New York City, May 2002]

While part of the appeal of visiting his original location on Chambers Street (near Church Street) was rummaging through his crowded collection in a deep, dark shop, his new location bathes everything in light, even on a stormy day.

By visiting Nyabinghi's African Shop in New York, you'll better understand the creative power of Africa. This is because Nyabinghi, being an African antique (antiquities) dealer, features one of the largest collections of African wood and brass sculptures, masks of all types, drums, clothing, furniture, beadwork, handbags, baskets, silver jewelry, Coptic crosses, and tribal adornments in the nation. He also sells a small variety of African oils, skin conditioners, and black soap.

And the location can't be better (especially with major subway stops within steps of its door). When you're done browsing, you can regain your New York bearings by strolling around the corner to dine at some of New York's finest bakeries, restaurants, and cafes.

As I mentioned in Littleviews' first article, Nyabinghi's natural oils, soaps, and shea butter are handpacked in extremely humble containers. Unbleached shea butter is hard and thick (unlike processed shea butter that you can buy at NYC shops like L'Occitane en Provence) and is good for skin constantly exposed to outdoor weather. The most unusual skin conditioner, however, is dark brown and smells like chocolate. That said, I do not regard Nyabinghi's as a cosmetics shop, but these natural African products are interesting and Nyabinghi himself will be happy to tell you how they are harvested and processed.

Nyabinghi features a large selection of delicate-smelling incense that you can burn in a studio apartment without being forced to open windows. For a reasonable $2 for three boxes, you can try scents such as sandalwood, jasmine, amber, lavender, frankincense and myrrh, and my very favorite, peppermint.

Nyabinghi's African Shop is located at 166 Church Street on the corner of Chambers Street, New York, NY 10013. Take the 1, 2, 3, A, or C subway to Chambers Street and you're there! Call 212 791-1443 for hours.

What To Do Nearby

When you're finished shopping, walk one block west on Chambers to West Broadway. On that corner is the sparkling Delphi Mediterranean Cafe. Just south of that cafe, on the corner of West Broadway and Duane, is the exceptionally famous Bouley Bakery and Market (French), and across the street from it is the Odeon Restaurant (also French). While in the area, expect to hear media producers discuss their next work.

Bouley Bakery and Market is very small, with only six outside tables. If you can't wait to eat your treats, stroll west on Duane Street to a small, triangular park where you can dine on a bench. If all the benches are taken, continue to the end of the block where you'll find the Washington Market Park and a huge, well-appointed playground.

Note that, on your way to the large park, you'll pass by the Duane Park Patisserie at 179 Duane Street. This bakery makes the best-tasting, most beautifully designed, crispy, cut-out cookies in the world. Even if you are holding a full bag of Bouley's finest, stop here to purchase an assorted dozen cookies ($24) for an authentic made-in-New York gift. These cookies (which will be nicely packaged) can't be beat in appearance, taste, or price, making it quite possible that this "gift worth giving" will be one you keep for yourself.

Questions?
Karen Little

Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 4/9/2006. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.






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