Created for NYU Magazine Journalism’s Digital Journalism Class, November 2017. Digital Magazine, taught by photographer Kholood Eid, taught grad students digital journalism (audio, photography, video).
When you think Midtown Manhattan, you probably think of Times Square. Then, you probably think of men and women in power-suits power-walking to high-powered offices. Then, you probably think of the many chain stores that flash their neon signs. TJIF’S! M&M World! H&M!
But as you go west, you’ll notice the stores are slowly replaced by restaurants. First they’re filled with theatergoers ready to bustle off to their next Broadway show—but as you get closer to the Hudson, you’ll start to see that the restaurants have local flavor. Suddenly, you feel like you’re in bustling village. Welcome to Hell’s Kitchen.
If you’re on 9th—say, 44th and 8th—you’ll still feel the leftover bustle from the rest of midtown. But if you decide to walk down 44th towards 10th, suddenly there are no more restaurants; there’s no more bustle. This is a street filled with brownstones and trees, quiet as can be.
But, if you look close enough, you’ll see the hidden gem of the street: DOMUS NYC. Definitely not a restaurant, and definitely not for tourists, DOMUS NYC is the lovechild of Luisa Cerutti and Nicki Lindheimer, who opened the store for crafts, homegoods, and gifts in the early 2000s.
Every nook and cranny of their store has a new treasure to explore; when you walk in, you won’t know where to look first. You can pet the fluffy pillows on the table in front of the door. You can explore their handmade cards in the corner, or peruse the inspirational books next to them. You can pore over the tiny handmade bowls, plates, and Tupperware. If you look up, you can admire ornaments (for sale, of course) that adorn the decorative tree that looms over the store.
Your sight won’t be the only sense that’s tickled. Stepping in from the street, you’ll hear the melodic tinkle of the classic store-bell over the door; then you’ll hear….peace. Maybe it’s piano, maybe it’s atmospheric music—but it’s definitely not men yelling or cars honking.
And you’ll definitely hear the soft voices of the Italian Luisa and Northern Californian Nicki. They hold court at the cash register, engaging with conversation with anyone and everyone in the store.
As you poke around, even though there’s so much to see, you’ll feel inexplicably calm. You’ll feel at home.