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’Tis the season for candy. Buy one bag of fun-size Skittles to hand out to trick-or-treaters, buy two bags to snack on while waiting for the doorbell to ring --- or at least that’s how it works at our house. This year, though, we just might give out chocolate-dipped apricots, sesame chews, or some of the other amazing sweeties available at New York’s best candy stores.
Carry On Tea & Sympathy
At this retail emporium in the West Village, trucks are lorries, “cheers” means “thanks,” and the Union Jack flaps proudly in the breeze. In addition to teas, soft drinks, biscuits, and other sundries from across the pond, Carry on Tea & Sympathy stocks a tremendous assortment of British candy bars, including Curly Wurlys (a delicate swirl of milk chocolate-coated caramel) and Kit Kat Chunkies (same flavor as, but at least six times the girth of, a regular Kit Kat). If you prefer your treats fruity and chewy, try the wine gums. God save the owner!
Stay at the Standard, a few blocks west of Carry On (110 Greenwich Avenue, 212.989.9735).
Dewey’s lets you mix and match similarly priced items from the old-fashioned, wide-mouthed glass containers, which makes this place ideal for those folks who like two licorice dogs mixed with six yellow gumballs and several pieces of almond bark. Tables feature prepackaged goodies like Cow Tales and candy necklaces. Pristine white walls offset the kaleidoscopic array of calories --- er, colors --- including the head-sized multicolored lollipops hanging from the ceiling.
Stay at the London and take the F train to York Street, then walk to Dewey’s (141 Front Street, Brooklyn, 718.422.1333).
So, OK, it’s a bit dusty. And, sure, if you bump a shelf, you just might get buried by the towering boxes of Nerds and imported pastilles that extend way up to the ceiling. But every successful candy store in the city owes a debt to Economy Candy, a must-visit for anyone who dares call him- or herself a candy freak. Seemingly everything is in stock: chocolate-covered gummi bears, rock candy, Big League Chew, Now & Laters, rootbeer barrels, even giant Homer Simpson pez dispensers. In back, they have huge blocks of speckled halvah, alongside at least 20 of the official 50 Jelly Belly flavors. The self-proclaimed “Nosher’s Paradise on the Lower East Side” has been family owned since 1937. We love it here.
Stay at the Hotel on Rivington, across the street from Economy Candy (108 Rivington Street, 1.800.352.4544).
Fa Guo San Candy Shop USA
We say “candy corn” and “marshmallow pumpkins”; the folks at Fa Guo San Candy Shop USA say “preserved sesame codfish” and “fried cuttlefish.” This Chinatown boutique will expand your sense of what counts as a sweet treat. In addition to bin after bin of colorfully wrapped gummys, chocolates, and suckers (we like the toffeelike Thai Durian and Morigana Hi-Chews, imported from Japan) are tiny free samples of preserved fruits and savories, including tomato and “vegetarian dough dice.” A strict “no loitering” policy limits the amount you can try, so be judicious in your choices. We recommend --- and always stock up on --- the pleasantly biting menthol lemon and tangy plum.
Stay at Hotel 91 and walk a few blocks to Candy Shop USA (48 Mott Street, 212.233.8838).
New York has plenty of places catering to our sweet teeth, but only at Słodycze Wedel can we get tasty delights and pick up a smattering of Polska. This small but cute shop in the Polish section of Greenpoint specializes in wrapped candies from the old country, where fruits are incorporated to a pleasantly surprising degree. Though English descriptions are taped to each overflowing bin, part of the fun is trying to figure out what exactly you’re buying. “Marcepan” is easy enough, and “Mietowe” has a picture of a mint leaf on the front, while “Piernikowa” and “Bajeczny” have to be tasted (and, to be honest, re-tasted) to be translated. “Pyszny,” we say.
Stay at the Nu Hotel and take the G train to Greenpoint Avenue, then walk to Słodycze Wedel (772 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.349.3933).
The Sweet Life
Since 1982, The Sweet Life has proudly lived up to its motto: “anything can be dipped in chocolate.” This bulk candy store on the Lower East Side sells the usual assortment of goodies --- dried fruits, hard candies, jelly beans, gummy frogs, kookaburra licorice, etc., etc. --- in long rows of neatly labeled apothecary jars. More special are the original creations made on site. We’re particularly partial to the softy pop, a marshmallow robed in chocolate and stuck on a stick; the chocolate- and M&M-covered pretzel; and the oranges and apricots dipped in chocolate, which allows us to delude ourselves that we’re getting in a food group besides “sugar.”
Stay at the Thompson LES, a short walk away from The Sweet Life (63 Hester Street, 1.800.692.6887).