Neighborhood: Union Square
Type of Place: Gift Shops

On our way to dinner the other night, we were pulled into a lovely spot
called Planetesimals by its lush plants and the soothing sounds of a
fountain. We discovered that the shop, opened 3 months ago, is the
latest project of Anthony Macagnone (aka Sal Anthony), a neighborhood
fixture and a man of surprisingly diverse callings.

It probably wouldn't surprise you much that Anthony, with his warm
manner and old-school New York vibe, is the proprietor of Sal
Anthony's, which has been dishing out traditional Italian food on
Place for almost 40 years, along with Lanza's in the East Village and
Sal Anthony's S.P.Q.R. on Mulberry. Given his fit frame, it might not
you that he's been studying martial arts for decades, is the owner of a
local "movement salon," and began to study gymnastics and
kick-boxing in his 50s. But it might catch you off guard, as it did us,
learn that this apparently traditional guy is liberated enough to take
unabashed interested in jewelry, housewares, and flowers.

The jewelry, some made locally but much designed and made by
Native Americans in the west, starts at around $25. We also liked a lot
of the pottery ($6-$300), especially the hand-painted terracotta and
some of the weather-responsive fiberglass. Among the plants, we
particularly noticed the Bonsais, from a Long Island–based Japanese
Bonsai artist. But particular objects aside, we loved the whole feeling
the store—it's a calming oasis as well as a great place to find a gift.

A believer in giving back to the community that supports him, Anthony
offers landscaping, restaurant meals, and excercise classes at
benefits for local organizations—so beyond keeping the shop in mind,
remember him if you're planning an event along those lines. And never
forget to stop and smell the flowers.
  - Pamela Grossman; June 7, 2005

119 E. 17th St.
New York, NY 10003