It's always entertaining to shop main streets on Long Island, but a trip down the business avenue in Cedarhurst is a cultural experience, too.
Cedarhurst has a thriving population of Orthodox Jews, so many of the eateries are kosher, even the Chinese takeout. Stores also support the Jewish population. Clothing shops have the latest fashions, but also some more modest clothing worn by the Orthodox. Local bookstore Judaica Plus boasts a large selection of books on Jewish religion and culture, mostly written in Hebrew.
In Cedarhurst, the main street is actually called Central Avenue, which blends seamlessly into the community of Lawrence.
Keep in mind that Saturday is a day of religious observance for Jews and most stores are closed, so it's best to shop another day of the week.
1. The Emperor's Old Clothes
570 Central Ave.; 516-239-2470, shopteoc.com
Louis Vuitton and Chanel are a couple of the names you'll find at this consignment store. The shop features mostly high-end designer secondhand clothes and accessories such as a Valentino silver-studded black leather handbag for $875, which store personnel say retails for more than $2,000, and a J. Mendel black and brown stitched leather coat for $1,800. The store also carries less expensive labels, such as BCBG and Theory clothing. One celebrity couture gown was worn in May to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Met Gala, with a negotiated price in the thousands.
"There's not a lot of consignment stores that have the high-end items we do," says co-owner Beth Honig.
572 Central Ave.; 516-374-1544, breezysny.com
With its cheery interior and upbeat items, Breezy's lives up to its name. This gift shop is more of a home goods store, with items such as geometric-patterned large glass salad bowls, including a polka-dot design for $40, or a glitzy beaded cake server for $20.
A "kosher Cook" cookie-cutter set in the shapes of the Hebrew alphabet ($32) is a fun way for kids to learn the letters while baking yummy treats.
3. Cafe Chocolat
556 Central Ave.; 516-792-2462
If you need a break from all that shopping, try this little charming coffee and pastry shop located in the middle of Central Avenue. Get comfy over a cup of coffee or tea or maybe a milkshake and sample the assortment of homemade pastries, such as the cinnamon coffee cake ($2.50).
439 Central Ave.; 516-295-8751
French fashion label Femmes je Vous Aime is one of the brands that makes this shop so popular. While you'll find the current styles of crop tops, there are also pleated below-the-knee skirts (Kerisma, $45) for young women.
"We're fashion-forward, but also very modest," says owner Orna Shoshan.
Shoppers also come there for the more formal dresses in the back of the store, she adds.
5. Oh! Nuts
480 Central Ave.; 516-295-0131, ohnuts.com
This cavernous candy store would make even Willy Wonka envious.
Most drool-worthy is the candy, by weight, in just about every hue in the rainbow, from taffy to mints and bubble gum and rock candy, in all its color-coordinated floor-to-ceiling glory.
Prices go from $100 prewrapped wedding gifts to a 45-cent piece of gum.
Ilana Schwartz, 8, of Woodmere was happily showing off with her bag of treats. "I love the candy and the popcorn," she says. Her sister, Shira, 11, had her own bag of goodies. She favors Central Avenue in general, she says, because she can "hang out with my friends here."