4 Out of 5: Zack Seckler on New York

Zack Seckler is director of Lux Archive, an online art gallery that sells museum-quality limited-edition prints by fine-art photographers. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

Taschen – “When I need a little relief from weaving through the Soho crowds, I like to take a breather and hit up this beautiful bookshop. Not only do they have art and photo books about almost any topic you can imagine (including those with a little dirt in their imaginations), they also sell the biggest book made in the 20th century. It’s a mere $15,000 for SUMO, the 78-pound book that comes with its own book holder and is almost guaranteed to cause some nasty paper cuts (Band-Aids not included).”

Lomography Gallery Store – “I’m not a Lomophile, but the photo geek in me gets excited whenever I pass by this spirited spot. If you’re like me, you’ll understand why the simple sight of cameras can be intoxicating. And yes, when I walk into this store, I do start to feel a little tipsy. It’s packed with the gadgets photographers drool over, but it’s also fun for the whole family. They’ve splashed camera designs on all sorts of chotskies; making great little gifts for that friend who spends way too much time on Flickr.”

Printed Matter – “After hitting the Chelsea galleries, I always make time to stop by this little gem for an additional shot of artistic inspiration. They have a fascinating array of rare books, magazines, and art ephemera that keep me entertained during every visit. Keep your eye out for the original 20th-century iMacs in the back!”

Bird – “When I want to splurge on some nice threads, I love hitting up this stylish outpost in Williamsburg. They have a great selection of clothes from top designers, and they regularly showcase work by talented artists. The owners have an excellent eye and definitely know how to curate a good show.”

NOT SO MUCH

Marquee – “After a long day at the museums, I definitely want to put a little night in my life — but unlike art, which can gain value with age, this spot’s appraisal has been heading downhill for awhile now. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this place back in 2004. But I think we can all agree it’s time for a little remodeling."

Lydia Hearst: Intern at Large

Yesterday, supermodel/heiress Lydia Hearst served as BlackBook intern, laboring on a variety of in-office and extramural activities. We had her review restaurants, shops, and bars for the BlackBook guides, but that was just the beginning. Lydia stuffed holiday gift boxes with guidebooks, then delivered them to friends and colleagues around the city via taxi and subway. We had to remind her to return the loaner Metrocard, as oddly enough, she didn’t have her own! Lydia even delivered a very important envelope to our beloved nightlife columnist Steve Lewis at Webster Hall, where he was recovering following an arduous redesign of the historic club. The envelope was actually empty, but we figured we’d reward Uncle Steve with some supermodel eye-candy after all the hard work he’s done for us this year (apparently he has a thing for youthful model types).

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Though Lydia turned in a solid day of unpaid interning, she declined to come back today — something about a trip to Paris and “not being in town for the next few weeks.” Apparently, supermodels make great interns in the short term only. Even though she forgot extra Splendas for the coffees — fucking amateur! — we’re glad she graced us with her presence for the day. See the accompanying gallery of her internly adventures. And since no one escapes BlackBook’s clutches without adding to our collected wisdom, check out Lydia’s recommendations for having a good time worldwide.

New YorkPop Burger – “Impeccably trendy burger café with dark, retro vibe, private rooms for events, and to-die-for food. Sit with friends, have a bite and dance among the celeb set or get a burger and fries to go any time of day.” ● Patsy’s – “Celeb fave also a hit with discriminating food enthusiasts, been around since 1944.” ● Patricia Field – “Incredible, hip, chic shop packed with a mix of models, celebs and hipsters. A cult and edgy downtown landmark, filled with fresh fashion trends (thus inspiring Sex and the City) plus a salon below. A must-stop shop!” ● F.A.O. Schwartz – “Must see New York City. Famous place has hardly changed since its film debut in Tom Hanks’ classic kid flick Big. Much more than a store; it’s a bona fide attraction stuffed with every toy imaginable in larger than life sizes (or even pocket size). Check out the candy bar on the second floor, or pull up a stool at the milkshake café below with the entire fam.” ● Lil’ Frankies – “Simply irresistible Italian filled with locals, artist and bold names. Every dish from their custom-built brick oven is delectable, creative and reasonably priced. Start with Focaccino: pizza dough sliced in half, filled with creamy cheese and prosciutto, then baked with truffle oil drizzled on top. Trust me! Next, ordering your main course. Perfect place to bring a date or chill with friends without the hassle of reservations. Delivery and take-out if you feel like staying in.” ● Taschen – “One-of-a-kind art, fashion and design books. Famous for having published one of the biggest and most expensive books ever printed (GOAT – A Tribute to Muhammad Ali). Comfy reading chairs in the elegant, sleek Soho store are ideal for perusing a hard-to-find title. What’s on display is not necessarily all they have – ask their knowledgeable, friendly staff to check out more obscure tomes and rare prints.” ● Fisch for the Hip – “Stealth consignment shop that’s a well-kept secret among models, socialites and celebs. I won’t dare reveal their names (since many request special delivery and shopping hours) but this is one of the hottest shops in Manhattan. High quality, vintage, rare and seasonal treasures make it hard to believe the affordable prices. Loaded with upscale designer merchandise like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Nina Ricci and many more. Fret not: their staff is fully versed on the history of every individual piece and whether or not its been previously worn on or off the red-carpet.”

LondonThe Loft – “Incredibly unique shop in London’s Covent Garden. Famous among jet-setting, trendsetting crowd for buying and selling designer clothes and accessories for both men and women. Many of the pieces in the shop are one-of-a-kind and straight from the catwalks.” ● Westbourne House – “One of London’s trendiest places, seems inspired by a Manhattan loft — making New Yorkers feel right at home. Extremely elegant with contemporary, sophisticated vibe. Perfect for kicking-back and lounging with friends over spot-on signature cocktails.” ● The Champagne Bar at St. Pancras – “Must-stop London landmark, also the largest European champagne bar. Spot upper class society hobnobbing with a dram. Great people watching over the finest Champagnes and custom Champagne cocktails.” ● Harrods – “Harrods is enchanting. Whether working with personal shoppers or walking through the many corridors anything and everything can be found to satisfy even the most fickle of shoppers. And, the Egyptian escalator is NOT to be missed.” ● Rococo Chocolates – “Who can resist chocolate? These folks show their appreciation for the Aztec bean with decadent and savory treats like must-try chocolate ravioli.”

ParisKong – “Trendy, cutting edge Philippe Starck-designed stunner with a fabulous view overlooking the river Seine. Sex and the City fanatics will recognize it from the series finale.” ● Barrio Latino – “Four-story bar-resto famous pulsating Latin music. Classically decorated and fun for everyone.” ● Bar du Plaza – “One of the flashiest bars in Paris. Two seductive lounge areas filled with hotel guests, locals and celebs. Fabulous date place but also a choice friend hang out. Don’t miss custom cocktails and American-style jello shots … you’ll be back!”

A Big Book With Penises

Taschen is following their titillating The Big Book of Breasts, with an ode to the large phallus called The Big Penis Book. A few questions: Is it a hardcover or a softcover? How long is it? Is it thick? What does it taste like? The book comes complete with over “400 historic photos,” most during the 1970s, when sexually revolutionized photographers went snap happy. According to Taschen, 8 inches and up qualifies as big. No further comment.

The Wonderful World of Olafur Eliasson

This is a call to art for anyone who hasn’t yet checked out “Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson,” on view now at New York’s MoMA. Um, check it out now! [Said in gruff art-snobbery voice.] In addition to the exhibition, fans of Eliasson’s insane experimental art should pick up the latest Taschen art release, Studio Olafur Eliasson. An Encyclopedia (528 pages, $150). Up next for the Danish artist is the creation of four man-made waterfalls in New York Harbor. The installation is set for a fall unveiling later this year.