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Best New(-ish) Retail Stretch of 2009

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With only a few days left in 2009, it's time to look back at a year of dizzying highs and crushing lows, a year when every empty storefront held a pop-up shop and every sidewalk a sample sale line. Folks, it's the annual (three years running!) Racked Recap. This week, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments, from the best collabs to the worst pop-up shops. Take a deep breath of the sweet, sweet nostalgia.

It hasn't been the easiest year for retail—but every closure leads to an opening and when deciding on what new retail stretch or shopping neighborhood was our 2009 favorite we couldn't help but notice that streets south of Houston throughout Nolita, Bowery and the Lower East Side saw a lot of action.

Elizabeth St. in particular got two great additions in the form of Babel Fair's hard-to-find international designer fare and cheeky British sex shop Coco de Mer. We are also pretty excited about designer consignment shop PPF on Ludlow.

We know, we saw Gawker's Nolita Recession Map, but so did Bowery Boogie and they published a defensive missive stating—in detail—that there is a pretty burgeoning bright side that includes the recent neighborhood additions of Vince, Hayden-Harnett, Frock, JF Son, and others. So, put that in your pipe and smoke it, Great Recession.