New York City is a dream for shoppers of all kinds, but it really isn’t a stationery town. Compared to the cities of Europe or even some smaller college towns New York City’s stationery shops are few and far between, and dedicated pen shops are even rarer. What’s worse is that many of the longstanding places, like Pearl Paint’s iconic Canal Street location, have been closing.
Things aren’t all bad though, NYC still has some of the nation’s top stationery destinations.
Here are some of our favorites, in no real order…
McNally Jackson Goods For The Study – Soho
This store has only been around for a few years, but it’s the offshoot of the famous McNally Jackson bookstore on Prince Street in Nolita (McNally calls it the Soho store though). McNally Jackson originally expanded with a store selling high-end desk equipment — notebooks, paper weights, etc. — but then this store expanded on space uptown on the east side of Mulberry Street, with a dedicated shop for writing instruments.
While small this shop has an excellent selection of affordable pens and an OK selection of higher end equipment from Rotring, Lamy, and well-known brands. There is an OK selection of paper next door as well and a large selection of markers and art supplies.
Best For:Finding tons of great pens and pencils under $10 each
234 Mulberry Street, Nolita
McNally Jackson Goods For The Study – West Village
This is another location of Goods For The Study but it’s particularly notable because it has the city’s best selection of notebooks, journals, and other paper products. The pen selection here is good, but not quite as good as the Mulberry Street location. There is a small counter for nicer Lamy pens and a few others, and a wall (about ten feet wide) with a few dozen writing utensils.
This location is about three times the size of the other one and has a vast number of cool notebooks from all manner of boutique and well-known manufacturers.
Best For: Notebooks and interesting paper
50 West 8th Street, Greenwich Village
Fountain Pen Hospital
This is one of NYC’s main pilgrimage spots for fountain pen collectors. This store is has been in the same downtown spot for nearly 50 years and is open rather inconvenient hours. The service is knowledgeable, but can be quite grumpy. The prices are rather close to MSRP, which will seem outrageous if you are used to shopping online, but they are a licensed dealer and offer very good support of their pens.
Fountain Pen Hospital’s selection is huge and they are very good about stocking ink, paper, and accessories, so this is a one-stop-shop for blowing your entire trip’s budget if you want.
Best For: Hands-on high-end fountain pens
10 Warren Street, Brooklyn Bridge area
Famous Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya has a location right in the heart of NYC’s Bryant Park area. It’s close to the famous 5th Avenue NY Public Library, which is a pilgrimage location of its own.
This location is excellent for reasonably priced Japanese stationery, with a focus on pens, pencils, and some odds and ends. The selection is very good and the prices quite fair. This location was a relevatin a few year ago because Japanese stationery good were so easy to find on Amazon, AliExpress, and specialty online retails. This store is still worth a stop though, as it has good hours, a nice selection, and good prices.
Best For: Japanese stationery
1073 6th Ave, Bryant Park
You might think of Muji as a sort of Japanese do-it-all store, but the brand has excellent stationery. And what’s more is that its prices are fantastic. You can get incredible pen storage here, lots of great gel pens, and pretty good notebooks. You won’t see all the brands you know and love — they only sell Muji — but almost all of it is great stuff.
Muji’s selection is downright impressive, but some stores are better than others. The Soho store is very good for pens and storage, but short on paper. The Chelsea store has the best pen selection and less crowds than most of the others.
Best For: Affordable, unbranded Japanese stationery
Multiple locations, Chelsea store is best
German pen brand Lamy has its American flagship store in Soho. This isn’t a large shop but it sells about everything Lamy has to offer. The prices will be for Lamy MSRP of course, but the company isn’t shy with 20% coupons if you do something trivial, like sign up for a newsletter.
This store might not have great prices, buy you can see and get your hands on every currently available Lamy product. That’s pretty big if you are a Lamy fan. Also the staff is super patient and quite knowledge, so the extra money you spend by shopping here versus buying online might fully be worth it.
Best For: Testing out Lamy products
452 West Broadway, Soho
This relatively new pencil-only shop has done a masterful job marketing itself and getting its name out on the internet so you might not know that its a retail location as well. The shop is small but the staff is passionate and the pencils are beyond interesting.
There are lots of pencils here, so it’s not a place to get pens, but you can also get accessories, sharpeners, notebooks, pencil storage, and more.
Best For: Wooden pencil enthusiasts
15 Orchard Street, Lower East Side