Day Stroll: Tour of Party Planning Shops in New York City

Recently the party planning world received a wonderful gift – Sweet Designs by Amy Atlas. Since my birthday was within days of the release, this was my only wish –  a copy of the book and some time to page through it.

Having a little one at home means that time is a definite luxury, especially uninterrupted moments to page casually through such a beautiful piece of art. I found the time during a random naptime the day after my birthday. I got to sit by the river while Little Bug snoozed peacefully in her car seat and travel to dessert dreamland.

One part of the book that I loved was the Find It List in the back where Amy lists the places to purchase all of the items used in her dessert tables. It’s nicely organized by dessert chapter, but she also provides information about her favorite shops. Upon scanning the list, I realized that many of these places were located only in New York City. By coincidence we had an upcoming trip to New York, so I decided to spend some of the time touring the wonderful stores in the book. With a wallet, cell phone camera, and daydreaming mind, I entered a delightful world of party possibilities.

We started our tour in the garment district at M & J Trimming. I always thought of this area as a look, but don’t touch kind of place. Having no experience with fashion, trim was never something I felt overly comfortable with. But walking into this mecca of ribbon, buttons, and rick rack, I changed my mind. These wonderful embellishments belong on every dessert table.

Ribbon spools lined the walls for as far as the eye could see. I picked up a few yards of grosgrain ribbon to add to my cake plates. It came in every color imaginable. I also found lots of inspiration from the different ribbon designs. An owl motif reminded me of a baby shower idea and the bees design made me think of the Honey, I Love You table in Sweet Designs. I also ended up with a cute little stuffed pony for inspiration for Little Bug’s upcoming first birthday party.

Next I lugged the stroller down to 18th Street to check out a sea of paper, craft, and baking stores. It was worth every bit of effort carrying the stroller up and down the subway stairs. We started at A.I. Friedman. Their tagline says it all – “The Department Store for Creative People”.

They had an assortment of art supplies, fun accessories, gift wrap, and notebooks. I fell in love with their beautiful silver plated frame collection. Although I’ll be using them for gifts, I thought that mini ones would look beautiful with place cards or food labels framed on an elegant dinner table.

Almost across the street was Paper Presentation. This store was a party stylist’s haven. How I left without buying anything is beyond my understanding. I think I was actually so overwhelmed by the possibilities that I couldn’t figure out where to start. They carried unique paper favor boxes in an assortment of colors as well as favor bags, partyware, paper straws and a scrapbook section that could be its own store. I roamed the shop twice brimming with ideas. Luckily most things can be purchased online or I might just have to take a trip back once I’m ready to let the creative forces flow.

At the end of the corner was Fish’s Eddy. This dish and glass store was one of my first stops ever in New York City during my summer studies at NYU. We were trying to outfit my first college apartment and my mom and I came across this store. I fell in love with its ecletic nature and bought all of my first glassware there. I collected unique glasses at the time, so I remember promising myself future purchases. I think I saved them for today. Although I had trouble finding some of the unique styling pieces that Amy features in her book, I bought a few things that will be a lot of fun.

I’ve always wanted a cow creamer. I think he’s a lot of fun for a brunch table or the barnyard theme I’m planning for Little Bug’s first birthday party.

My passion for milk bottles has been flourishing. I love the big and little ceramic ones. They will make great vases, straw holders, or even lollipops. I also got a fun vintage glass to drink milk in (and use for styling straws).

One thing they did at the store was string napkin rings together to make a garland. Not sure if it was an Amy Atlas inspired idea, but I thought it was pretty clever if I could ever get enough napkin rings!

On our way back to the subway, we stopped at New York Cake and Baking Distributor. It was a dream sweet shop where you can purchase everything you could ever need for your dessert creations.

Have you ever seen so many cupcake liners? I think they have every kind ever produced. I could have gone home with a whole suitcase full.  I was really impressed by their sprinkles collection. I like the bigger sprinkles where you can just add one to embellish a cupcake or bite sized dessert.

I ended up with some hearts and primary colored confetti. They also had every color of sanding sugar imaginable as well as large bottles of food gel coloring (instead of the small ones that I get from our local baking store). With all of these treat possibilities at her fingertips, it’s no wonder Amy’s tables turn out so beautifully.

The next day, we headed down to Soho to visit Kate’s Paperie. I have been reading about this store ever since I started obsessing over paper and parties.

They had a gorgeous selection of handmade gift wrap, high end stationary, and unique favor boxes. I was excited to find little suitcases to hold treats in and blank place cards for dinner parties. I was a little disappointed that their rice paper gift wrap was not considered food safe, but it could be used to cover a backdrop, wrap a vase, lay out for a table runner or make a favor box.

This trip to New York was all about dreaming up new party inspiration as I look ahead to future events. I understand why Amy is so good at what she does – New York is full of inspiration and unique supplies. I can’t wait to visit again soon to find even more inspiration and, of course, buy more stuff to decorate my parties with.

Happy Celebrating,


P.S. Check out my review on Amazon and grab your own copy of Sweet Designs!  It will become a party planning classic for years to come.

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