4 Out of 5: Alex Naidus on New York

Alex Naidus is the bassist for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

Vanessa’s Dumplings – "Unbelievably cheap and delicious. I don’t even bother with the dumplings usually – just go straight to the scallion pancake pork sandwich. Number P4 on the big board, I believe? I always think I’m gonna feel terrible after such a grease bomb, but somehow it never happens. Magic."

Stella Dallas – "My favorite second-hand and vintage shop. Strikes the perfect balance of cheapness, volume, and quality. Better and more interesting stuff than a Salvation Army-type place and nowhere near as expense as a vintage-only or more boutique-y spot. Also, they play classic rock radio and have a super-friendly staff that’s smiley but ultimately knows to leave people alone and let ’em wander.

Housing Works – "Staffed by volunteers, proceeds going to the namesake AIDS and homelessness advocacy group, it just sorta feels right here. And it’s pretty cheap. Sometimes I think I’ll just stop in for a tea or something, but always end up walking out with a few books. I went to a wedding here once, too, and it was lovely."

Record Grouch – "Not the most efficient place to find a record you’re looking for, but a fantastic place to browse stacks. It’s cramped in the basement of a clothing store, but the quality ratio is surprisingly high."

NOT SO MUCH

Dishes – When I worked in midtown. I got a little too wrapped up in "fighting the tyranny of the omnipresent $12 salad place." Still, this place is really annoying!