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The 38 Essential New York Stores, April 2011

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Once again, it's time to update the Racked 38, our list of the city's definitive shopping experiences. Taken together, these 38 stores best capture the contrary mix of international fashion sense and local quirkiness and crazily high standards and crazily low prices that people look for when they take their credit cards out on the town. Because it's all about the mix, we tried to include a range of neighborhoods, price points, and merchandise, leaving out food shops (that's another list entirely) and anything that's been open less than six months.

Fashion might be cutthroat, but New York real estate is even tougher. So far, most of the stores that have been booted off the list since it debuted in December of 2009 have closed rather than fallen out of favor. This time around, we've lost Inven.tory in Nolita and the lovely APC Surplus in Williamsburg. To replace them, we're adding INA's Noho location because the mini-chain is such a crucial stop for consignment, and Dolce Vita, because while the brand might not be a pinnacle of quality, it does seem to turn up on the feet of every fashionable girl in the city.

We've also, after much consideration, decided to remove IF boutique—it might represent avant-garde fashion in a way that nobody else on the 38 does, but commenters were right that it doesn't feel terribly current. What does feel current: Garment District menswear store Nepenthes, which has garnered nothing but praise since it opened last fall.

Are you readying the pitchforks because your favorite boutique isn't on the list? Wouldn't it just be more productive to nominate it for inclusion? State your cases for (or against) stores in the comments or email the tipline.

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Barneys

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The Apple Store

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Bergdorf Goodman

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Nepenthes New York

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ABC Carpet

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Fishs Eddy

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Housing Works

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Moschino

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Diane von Furstenberg

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C.O. Bigelow

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The Strand

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Ricky's

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Trash & Vaudeville

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Tokio 7

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Partners & Spade

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Bond No.9

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John Varvatos

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Patricia Field

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Resurrection Vintage

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Topshop

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Opening Ceremony

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Steven Alan Annex

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Dolce Vita

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The Dressing Room

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Gargyle

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Century 21

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Fred Flare

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Beacon's Closet

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Moon River Chattel

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Brooklyn Flea at One Hanson

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Barneys

The Apple Store

Bergdorf Goodman

Nepenthes New York

ABC Carpet

Fishs Eddy

Housing Works

Moschino

Diane von Furstenberg

Leffot

C.O. Bigelow

The Strand

Ricky's

Trash & Vaudeville