Manhattan Gets a New Candyman
For anyone with a sweet tooth who grew up in the United States, it will be nearly impossible to walk into The Sweet Shop NYC on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, without letting out a few “oohs” and “aahs.” Immediate temptations aside, it will be a trip down memory lane for so many. This new sweet mecca of FUN (as the oversize neon sign says in the shop), specializing in vintage candies, high quality chocolate confections and ice cream, packs a whole lot of incredible sweet finds as well as nostalgia into one little boutique.
Within seconds of walking into the shop for the first time, I was excitedly bombarding Kelly the Candyman with questions. What’s the oldest candy you have here ? (“Rock candy sticks, Shriver’s salt water taffy from the Jersey Shore boardwalk and Tootsie Rolls.”) What gets the most reactions from people ? (“Everything.”) Oooh, are those JoMart chocolate dipped marshmallows ?! (“Yes indeed they are !”)
My “oohs” got louder and louder as I continued to look closer at the rows of large glass jars filled with chocolates, gummy candies and licorice, or the bright rainbow of candy bars lined up on the shelves, drawers half open revealing yet more retro wrappers, every inch of the space taken by some sugary delight. It brought me back to summer camp, waiting in line for canteen, ready to cash in my two paper tickets for a Skor Bar, watermelon Jolly Ranchers or a frozen Charleston Chew. It was during those summers that I discovered rock candy sticks and wax bottles, and always received the best care packages from my parents with chocolate band-aids, Fun Dip and PEZ.
The shop also brought me back to my childhood house, where I was always in charge of filling the candy dishes with nonpareils, chocolate covered pretzels and After Eights when company came over. It brought me back to the Lower East Side too with my parents and grandparents, when after having Yonah Schimmel knishes, we would always end up at Economy Candy. They would get all excited about wax lips, Necco wafers and Chuckles. And it brought me back to Duke University, where my childhood favorites had already become “vintage” and my parents would still send me stellar care packages filled with my favorite sweets.
All of this is thanks to a decade of creating, curating, tasting and designing by Kelly Jaime, the Candyman, and his wife Glyn, the Confectionista. The sweet seeds were planted when Kelly was a kid, spending time with his grandmother, a buyer at Disneyland. It was love at first taste: Carnation ice cream. Ask Kelly or his son, Matthew (below with his personal favorite, gummy dolphins), about the ice cream they carry and you’ll be grinning at their excited reactions. Kelly chose only the highest quality, handmade, small-batch ice creams for his shop, from il laboratoria del gelato, OddFellows and Alchemy Creamery.
This quality is seen throughout the shop, as Kelly and Glyn chose the very best supplier for each and every item. (And they can tell you all about each and every one too.) That meant a LOT of tasting to get those final results. They continue to travel around New York, especially in Brooklyn and Queens, and around the country, to find the newest (and oldest) artisanal sweet creations. And Glyn has kept awfully busy with her (sugar) baby… the chandelier below, made of faux candy pieces, collected over the years. When asked just how many there are, Kelly let me know that “roughly 600 pieces of plastic, bakelite, crystal and Murano glass candies adorn our “candylier” !
Even though I visited The Sweet Shop NYC three times (!) on my last visit to the Big Apple, that wasn’t nearly enough to taste all that I had my eyes on. I’m already plotting my next visit, which will absolutely involve OddFellows ice cream (brilliant original flavors by Sam Mason, formerly of WD-50), lots more JoMart marshmallows, some Elk Candy marzipan and Kelly’s signature bar – graham cracker and raspberry jelly, double dipped in dark chocolate. Oh, and Glyn’s favorite too, Colt’s Bolts peanut butter cups in milk and dark chocolate, that she has her hand on above. I can’t wait to see what their latest finds will be, and most of all, see the glimmer in their eyes when they tell me all about it.
The Sweet Shop NYC
404 E. 73rd Street (between 1st Avenue and York Avenue)
New York, NY 10021
MORE SWEETS IN NEW YORK CITY
New York City Just Keeps Getting Sweeter – cookies, French pastries, cupcakes…
Babka and Cookies and Rye, Oh My ! – Breads Bakery
Like a Kid in a Candy Store – Economy Candy, Chocri chocolate, Nuts 4 Nuts
The Lemon Ice King of Corona – Corona Ices
New York City: Cookie Town – roundup of the best cookies in the city