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Where the Metropolitan Opera's Art Expert Shops for Tea

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New York City has more stores than anyone could physically tackle, but somehow we always keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, we've asked some local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around our fantastic city that we might not all know about. Cue the Beatles: We're about to get a little help from our friends.

Image via Yelp

Casey Elsass is the deputy director of Gallery Met, the Metropolitan Opera's contemporary art commissioning program. Previous artists have included Richard Prince, Chuck Close, and Elizabeth Peyton, and next up is George Condo, who you might know from his collaborations with everyone from Marc Jacobs to Kanye West. "Jesters," Condo's exhibit coinciding with the Met's new production of Rigoletto, opens on January 28. Here, Casey shows us his favorite spot on Christopher Street for coffee beans and tea leaves.

Tucked in among the bars, restaurants, and sex shops of the West Village is my favorite hidden treasure—McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co. Founded in 1895, McNulty's is a remnant from another time. The wooden chests of exotic teas, burlap sacks of coffee beans, and weathered scales, still in use after more than a century, always transport my imagination back to a long-forgotten New York.
And the smells! I could stick my nose in the jars of dried herbal blends all day. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable, always quick with a suggestion for the right gift or perfect dessert pairing. I have my usual orders—a jar of the Strawberry with Roses Green Tea sits on top of my fridge for company and a bag of the White Flowery Pekoe is hidden in the cupboard for myself—but I'm always sniffing around for the next special treat.

· McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co [Official Site]
· Gallery MET [Official Site]
· All Shopping Confidential Posts [Racked NY]

McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co

109 Christopher Street New York, NY 10014