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Racked Recap 2008: Top 10 New Stores of the Year

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With only a few hours left in 2008, it's time to look back at a year of dizzying highs and crushing lows, of one major economic collapse and many minor shopping frenzies. Folks, it's the annual (two years running!) Racked Recap. This week, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments. Take a deep breath of the sweet, sweet nostalgia.

This was a tough one. A lot of stores opened in 2008. So after our picks for top ten, we've listed a few honorable mentions.

10) Aloha Rag in Hudson Square: We had our doubts about this one. Would Hawaii-based boutique Aloha Rag be able to survive in the far-off corner of Soho otherwise known as Hudson Square? But survive they did. And other luxe retailers, like Rick Owens, followed them there.

9) A.P.C. Surplus in Williamsburg: The culty French clothier opened an outlet on Grand Street, right where its beloved skinny denim was needed most.

8) Madewell's Soho flagship: We waited, and waited, and waited for this place to open. When it did, we were pleasantly surprised by Madewell's airy, bi-level space, the clean decor (love those flowers) and the extremely wearable merchandise. So many scarves and pairs of jeans to choose from!

7) Rogan on the Bowery: Designer Rogan Gregory went from an up-and-comer to a big name in the fashion scene this year. There was his massive hit of a collection with Target (and another's on the way), and his stunning new store in the former Bowerie Lane Theatre. What would we do without its oracle-like sign?

6) Fred Flare in Greenpoint: Lovers of the quirky online store were pleased to learn that Fred Flare had put down roots in Greenpoint. Their first-ever brick-and-mortar shop is filled with all sorts of fun doodads like bacon bandaids and talking Japanese watches.

5) Trader Joe's Brooklyn: Though the opening was rather anti-climatic, there was a reason why we were so hyped up for Trader Joe's Brooklyn to open. The chain is unlike any other grocery that we've been to. And who doesn't love the staffs' Hawaiian shirts?

4) J.Crew Men's in Tribeca: J.Crew's first-ever men's only boutique is a cardigan and button-down lovers dream. We liked that the place, opened in the former Liquor Store Bar space, was cleverly decorated with boozy reminders of its past tenant, like glass tumblers filled with rolled up ties and bottles of Campari. And there's plenty, plenty of preppy gear to buy as well.

3) John Varvatos on the Bowery: CBGB's died, and John Varvatos laid chinos on its grave. The menswear designer's Bowery store, which debuted in April, was remade in a faux-punk ethic, as tribute to the legendary club. There were protests, of course.

2) The Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene: Helmed by a blogger and a former speechwriter, the Brooklyn Flea was a massive hit as soon as it opened in April. There was food (Belgian waffles! Fresh riccotta!), there were silk-screened t-shirts, there was antique furniture, vintage clothing and random junk. And a new post-brunch gathering place for thousands of Brooklynites was born.

1) Red Hook Ikea: Some Red Hook residents were worried that a massive Ikea store would ruin the neighborhood, others welcomed the idea of new jobs and foot traffic to the isolated area. Ultimately, the nabe seems to have emerged relatively unscathed.

Honorable Mention
· Bird Williamsburg
· Re/Dress in Boerum Hill
· Diptyque on Bleecker
· Buffalo Exchange East Village
· Acne Studio on Greene Street
· Inven.tory in Nolita
· Eryn Brinié on Broadway
· Rag & Bone on Christopher Street
· Comptoir des Cotonniers in Soho
· Rick Owens in Hudson Square
· Yohji Yamamoto and Y-3 in MePa
· Oak on Bond Street
· Moschino MePa
· Miu Miu Midtown
· Seize sur Vingt in the Plaza
· Hugo Boss MePa