The island of Manhattan extends some thirty-four miles from north to south and at its widest point

stretches to two miles. All this land and so little time to explore after a long weekend of Shoujocon so here's a quick guide to all the memorable, interesting, and money-sucking places that every otaku should visit. Some may assume that downtown Manhattan is dying from the effects of September 11, but a visit to the immediate area of the World Trade Center will reveal a vibrant and busy community. You may choose to visit the site itself, though the cleanup is finished and the crowds have lessened. The sheer emptiness upward is still astounding and sad, while the crowds on the street make for a carnival-esque feeling. Walk one block east from Broadway and you'll find yourself on Maiden Lane, a long twisting passage lined with shops and eateries. There are a few comic and game stores hidden here as well, worth checking out. Head north and eventually you'll find yourself in the infamous Chinatown, home to thousands of Chinese people, as well as Koreans, Vietnamese and Japanese - they've got them all. The neighborhood has crept forward over the years to swallow up large portions of the surrounding area, and the sheer size can be intimidating. So you can just restrict yourself to three blocks, the holy trinity of Mulberry, Mott, and Elizabeth Street on the east side just short of the Manhattan Bridge. The area just below Canal Street is bursting with shops selling comics, toys, videos, DVDs and everything else imported. J&L Game Trading Inc. 28 Elizabeth Street 212-233-3399 J/M/N/Q/R/W/Z/6 to Canal Street Most consider this to be the best gaming store in New York, and they're probably right. Lots of domestic and import games to be found here, including the expensive deluxe editions that are only sold overseas and most of us only dream about. The store can get pretty crowded, which can be annoying. But it also means that the clerks are generally devoid of any of the condescension that often occurs when nonAsians enter a Chinese establishment. The staff is rather pleasant and knowledgeable. Wah Kue & Co. 58 Mott Street 212-226-1494 J/M/N/Q/R/W/Z/6 to Canal Street A rather dark little store that sells a lot of model kits and LEGOs, at a nice discount from the more commercial places like Toys R Us. They take credit cards, which is a plus. Even if you're not planning to spend money it is worth stopping by to look in the windows, which often feature a complex display of completed models from the stock inside. Elizabeth Center 15 Elizabeth Street J/M/N/Q/R/W/Z/6 to Canal Street This place is a little miniature Chinatown on its own, hosting a myriad of small stores offering everything from medication to models. The lower level offers a novelty shop specializing in Sanrio merchandise, a video game store, two video places (both with dubious hours and stock), and a small hobby shop. UNET Inc. 9 Elizabeth Street 212-625-8235 J/M/N/Q/R/W/Z/6 to Canal Street Less than a stone's throw from the Mall, this place specializes in stationery and toys. While their

selection in those areas is less than stellar, they also sell lots of wall scrolls and laminated posters, so go here for all your decorating needs. Chinatown Fair 9 Mott Street 212-964-1542 J/M/N/Q/R/W/Z/6 to Canal Street Probably the best arcade in New York, despite the scary facade and scarier interior. Games and games galore, from classics to imports. The games are still reasonably priced, and they even hold the occasional cash tournament. A warning though, the place is always pretty packed, and it can get hot fast. So be prepared to sweat, either from the press of crowds, a rough game of Dance Dance Revolution, or just the simple prospect of losing your high score to one of the many game masters that lurk inside this L-shaped space. Kam Kuo 7 Mott Street 212-349-3097 J/M/N/Q/R/W/Z/6 to Canal Street A clean, well lit supermarket that sells just about every Chinese food you can think of, and some Japanese foods as well. They have a well-stocked snack aisle, offering such goodies as Pocky, gel cups, jelly candies, and marshmallow treats. Aji Ichiban 37 Mott Street 212-233-7650 J/M/N/Q/R/W/Z/6 to Canal Street A wonderful little sweet shop specializing in dried fruit, this place is somewhat expensive but they *do* offer FREE samples. Ten Ren Tea and Ginseng Co. 75 Mott Street 212-349-2286 J/M/N/Q/R/W/Z/6 to Canal Street Clean, brightly lit, with one of the best selections of tea I've ever seen, on which they usually offer two-forone specials. The more adventurous might try their tea lessons, training courses offered roughly once a month to those willing to devote the time and money.

After you've made your pilgrimage to Chinatown you'll find yourself heading north once more, through the alleys of Little Italy, SoHo, and then finally NoHo and Greenwich Village. Prospective college students might want to look around the campus of New York University, but most will be interested in checking out the neighborhood itself, the shops and the people. Walk through Washington Square Park and meet some very friendly squirrels (be sure to have some fruits and nuts for them) or check out the famous fountain, which is usually home to various street performers in the evenings once the water is shut off. Walking east from the park past Broadway leads to St. Mark's and a vibrant nightlife. St. Mark's Comics 11 St. Mark's Place 212-598-9439 6 to Astor Place, N/R to 8th Street A small, crowded shop open late and frequented by the strange and unusual, St. Marks has achieved an

odd sort of infamy in New York. A well-stocked manga section and a never-ending supply of cute-punkgrrl clerks make this place worth a look. Kim's Video 6 St. Mark's Place 212-505-0311 6 to Astor Place, N/R to 8th Street Three floors of cult heaven, ranging from music on the first floor to video and DVD on the upper levels, you're sure to find whatever weirdness you're looking for here. Hong Kong action, British comedy, and of course, Japanese anime, are all to be found for sale or rent. The prices aren't the greatest, though the rarity of some of the stock ensures that you'll probably pay. Sunrise Mart 4 Stuyvesant Street 212-598-3040 6 to Astor Place, N/R to 8th Street Its location on the second floor makes this supermarket easy to miss (you have to take an elevator) but it’s location in the heart of Greenwich Village means that the store is frequented by a great deal of students, reducing the awkwardness of not being Japanese in these situations. And since students are usually poor, it also means that the food is cheap, probably some of the best prices in the city. These bonuses just add on to a great package: Sunrise Mart carries a large selection of Japanese foods and especially snacks, and they are remarkably clean.

Hop on the subway and get off in the Midtown area, the commercial center of New York and home to some of the biggest and best stores, as well as most of the popular tourist attractions. If you have a lot of time take the elevator up in the Empire State Building, gaze out from what is once again the tallest building in the city. Head up to Times Square and stare all of the screens and lights and neon signs. If you get there around four you might walk by a taping of Total Request Live. Then hop into Toys R Us and marvel at the three story Ferris Wheel that sits in the middle. The displays inside the store are pretty impressive, and present plenty of photographic opportunities. Afterwards, head up to Rockefeller Center and wander around in the media center of the city, in the shadow of the headquarters for NBC and TimeWarner. Climbing up another ten blocks will lead you into Central Park, the perfect place for a picnic with friends. Jim Hanley's Universe 4 West 33rd Street 212-268-7088 B/D/F/N/Q/R/S/W to 34th Street-Herald Square, 1/2/3 to Penn Station A large store that stocks almost everything and anything, this is the place to do for what you need. Any manga commercially released in the United States is carried here, though a persistent fan base can keep some titles out of stock. Interestingly enough, the manga titles are mixed in with the rest of the stock, so you might find yourself entranced by many of the American titles as well. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and you may strike up a conversation or two with fellow fans. Midtown Comics 200 West 40th Street 2nd Floor 212-302-8192 A/C/E/N/Q/R/S/W/1/2/3/7 to Times Square, B/D/F to 42nd Street Another large, well-stocked shop that offers a good incentive to shop there: store credit. Open and account and spend $100, get your next $20 of merchandise free. Their manga section is pretty good, and they also sell tapes of a lot of old American shows, most never released on video or DVD.

Sanrio Store 233 West 42nd Street 212-840-6011 A/C/E/N/Q/R/S/W/1/2/3/7 to Times Square, B/D/F to 42nd Street So absolutely adorable you'll get a toothache from looking at all the merchandise. The goods here feature the entire Sanrio stable of characters, from Hello Kitty to Badtz-Maru. And the selection of items is simply mind-boggling, including pillows, CD cases, toasters, key-chains, mugs, clock-radios, and even a shower cap. The prices are a bit of a reach from the cost of similar bootleg merchandise, but a lot of the stuff is unique and the experience is totally worth it. Pokémon Store 10 Rockefeller Plaza 212-307-0900 B/D/F/V to 47-50th Street-Rockefeller Center Anyone who says that Pokémon is dead hasn't been inside this haven to the marketing empire that is Pocket Monsters. Tons of unique and cute merchandise, and lots of great displays to admire. Anyone who brings their copy of Pokémon Gold or Silver for the Gameboy can get a free rare Pokémon at the station, and it’s pretty easy to find a kid to play the CCG against at the gaming tables. Kinokuniya Books 10 West 49th Street 212-765-7766 B/D/F/V to 47-50th Street-Rockefeller Center Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore located in Rockefeller Center, has a small-ish CD section, but they've always got the newest releases and some popular older J-Pop in stock. The video section has some cool stuff including films by Itami and Kurosawa, major new anime releases and a handful of J-Pop videos. Also cool is the second floor, which has cool little anime-ized school/office supplies. As a side-note, there are usually several non-Japanese customers inside too, which is nice. Unfortunately, Kinokuniya's prices on CDs are just a wee bit higher than at their main competitor, Asahiya... Asahiya 52 Vanderbilt Ave 212-883-0011 4/5/6/7 to 42nd Street-Grand Central Station Asahiya (right across the street from Grand Central Station) is cool. Its CD section is about the same size as Kinokuniya's and it carries the newest and most popular stuff and important older releases, just like Kinokuniya. The only real difference? Asahiya usually charges around two bucks less for its CDs (maybe they adjust their yen-to-dollar exchange rate more often than the competition or something?) Plus the place has lots of windows and a 30-foot ceiling (whereas in Kinokuniya, the low ceiling makes you feel like you're in a trash compactor). OCS 5 East 44th Street 212-599-5886 B/D/F/V to 42nd Street, 7 to 5th Avenue No CDs?!! OCS is just a bookstore?! Bleh! BUT, up on the 4th floor, there's a very cool sister store called Tokyo Video that rents and sells lots of cool, high-quality videos -- mostly stuff taped off Japanese TV. There's a hundred years' worth of "Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ!" episodes, with every J-Pop band that ever existed appearing somewhere on those tapes, and they have tons of TV series (like "Long Vacation" and so on). There's also sports (baseball is most popular) and very new anime (fresh off the TV -- they

had "Slayers" before anyone in the U.S. had ever heard of it). Lots of movies for rent, too! They also sell used manga, and there's a tiny computer store in the back with a bunch of expensive Japanese software. But the video section is definitely the star of the show! Book-Off! 14 E 41 St 212-685-1410 B/D/F/V to 42nd Street, 7 to 5th Avenue Book-Off kicks ass. There's 500 of them in Japan and the brand new one in midtown New York will undoubtedly fill in any gaps your J-Rock collection might have. The main business is books -- three floors of 'em, mostly paperbacks and manga -- but the CD section is nothing to sneeze at either. It is, in fact, THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF JAPANESE MUSIC IN AMERICA. J-Pop, J-Rock, dance, hip-hop, anime soundtracks, you name it; it's almost certainly there (unless it's the new Feel So Bad album! When will the world awaken to Feel So Bad's brilliance?! Boo hoo!) They also had Western artists' Japanese imports -- Megadeth's Youthanasia, with three Japanese bonus tracks, was selling for $9.99! Hot damn! Plus they had a VHS video section (with maybe 1,000 titles), and a rather neat-o anime-dominated laserdisc section, if you're into that sort of thing (never in our lives have we seen so many Tenchi Muyo discs). Get Thee Arse To Book-Off!