Must-See Harlem: 12 Great Things to See and Do
by David Kaufman
Photo: Clayton Cotterell
2498 Frederick Douglass Blvd., 212-281-1723
Harlem is known for its old-school B-boy vibe, and Vault is where the 'hood's most stylish stock up on classic urban-inspired gear. Vault is best known as a sneaker shop—but what a shop it is. Hidden behind an oversize vault door (what else?) and displayed with gallery-like reverence are rows upon rows of uptown's finest kicks (Nike, Timberland, Pro-Keds, Supra and New Balance among them). But shoes are really just the beginning. Vault is also a, well, vault for sneaker- and street-influenced apparel—particularly T-shirts and hoodies, sourced from local and global brands including Artful Dodger, Hellz Bellz and Vault's own in-house workshop. While its stock list is unrivaled, the shop's service is what keeps fans returning for more. The staff is as devoted to sneakers as the customers are, possessing an almost encyclopedic knowledge of arcane styles and vintages. Vault also lures up-and-coming hip-hop artists, who regularly debut their latest tracks to shoppers.