SHOPPING THE BIG APPLE
—– From Tiny, Trend-Setting Boutiques to the World’s Largest Department Store, New York City is the Shopping Capital of the World –—
New York, NY (August 1, 2006) – New York is a shopper’s paradise with an inexhaustible variety of choices from haute couture to bargain outlets and from world-renowned auction houses to flea markets, you can find anything here from every corner of the world in the Shopping Capital of the World.
Flagship Department Stores
Macy's Herald Square, the world's largest department store, is a famous retail icon. With 10 floors and half a million items for sale, it's a good idea for first-time shoppers to head up to the Visitor's Center on the 34th Street balcony. There, multilingual consultants not only provide guests with information about the store, but can also help arrange theater tickets, dinner reservations, sightseeing, and more. A highlight of the store is The Cellar, a gourmet paradise featuring everything from unique utensils to creative takeout cuisine. And Macy’s is renowned for its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, an important city event since 1924, and its Santaland, which brings families to enter the wonderland of the North Pole and meet elves and of course Santa himself every year before Christmas.
Affectionately known as "Bloomie's," Bloomingdale's has been a Saturday afternoon "see-and-be-seen" institution for decades. This East Side mecca's main floor handbag department has one of the best selections in the city. Visitors can find young designer favorites on the second floor, and the tempting fourth floor shoe salon stocks many of the models seen in fashion magazines. The store has an International Services Desk/Visitor's Center on the 1st floor balcony and features assistance in more than 35 languages, visitor information, theater tickets, multilingual store directories, complimentary personal shoppers, size conversion charts, coat and package check, and an ATM and currency exchange.
Near the Empire State Building, Lord & Taylor is the oldest specialty retailer in the U.S. This department store carries a range of moderately priced and upscale merchandise: Seasonal sales can net incredible steals on men's and women's designer clothing, shoes, and handbags.
For many visitors, Fifth Avenue from 50th to 59th Street is New York City's must-see shopping destination. Filled with a mix of upscale boutiques, well-known chains, and attractions like Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Trump Tower, this area is home to stores such as Tiffany & Co. and Fortunoff; the most famous toy store in the world, FAO Schwarz; the NBA Store showcases cool athletic apparel; Kenneth Cole offers an assortment of items, specializing in leather; the merchandise at Gant USA is inspired by the traditions of America’s East Coast. Fifth Avenue has become a shopping wonderland for kids with the recent openings of World of Disney, American Girl Place and Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Other Midtown Shopping Destinations
The city’s largest and finest antiques center, Manhattan Art & Antiques has 100 galleries with collections from across the globe including fine furniture, silver, jewelry, paintings, and objets d’art. Thomas Pink, Davidoff, and A/X Armani Exchange are a few of the upscale stores at the beautiful new shopping center, The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center.
The new Times Square has become a hub for attractions, accommodations, restaurants, and stores like Toys "R" Us Times Square (1514 Broadway, 800-TOYSRUS, www.toyrustimessquare.com) with its indoor Ferris wheel, two-story Barbie dollhouse, and model T-Rex that hisses and sways.
Grand Central Terminal (15 Vanderbilt Ave., 212/340-2347, www.grandcentralterminal.com) has traditionally been a place to travel through but it’s now a destination in itself. This historic New York landmark has retailers offering everything from wine and gloves to luggage and clothing with a range of retailers including the Super Runners Shop and Tumi. Reminiscent of a European food hall, Grand Central Market consists of two dozen stalls along the main concourse featuring gourmet foods, warm baked goods, and fresh flowers and there’s an informal subterranean dining concourse with a great range of food choices, and several restaurants and bars.
World-famous auction house Sotheby’s (1334 York Ave., 212/606-7398, www.sothebys.com) offers sales and pubic exhibitions in scores of categories including jewelry, watches wines, books, decorative arts, furniture, prints and photographs.
New York’s largest photo-video discount shopping destination for amateurs and professionals alike, B & H Photo and Video (420 Ninth Avenue, 212 239 7500 www. bhphotovideo.com) offers a huge selection of cameras, video camcorders, binoculars, pro-audio and film. Open Sunday thru Friday.
Manhattan's Gold Coast, which extends from 59th to 96th streets and from the East River to Fifth Avenue, has designer stores to match its reputation. Try Nicole Miller (780 Madison Ave., 212/288-9779, www.nicolemiller.com), Donna Karan (819 Madison Ave., 212/861-1001, www.donnakaran.com), and Ralph Lauren (867 Madison Ave., 212/434-8000, www.ralphlauren.com) for designer clothing; and Royal Chie (635 Madison Ave, 212/588-0555), where celebrities find exquisite furs and accessories.
NYC has become home to the richest concentration of crystal decorative objects and jewelry in the world: the Crystal District (www.nycvisit.com/crystaldistrict). Baccarat, Daum, Lalique, Steuben, and Swarovski are all located along the five-block stretch of Madison Avenue between 58th and 63rd Streets. Explore the neighboring streets to find gorgeous antiques, fine art, and rare collectibles.
If you’re tempted by sparkling treasures, an exploration of the Diamond District (47th St. betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), where anything can be custom made and nothing is priced at retail, is mandatory. Jack of Diamonds (52 W. 47th St., 212/869-7272, www.jackofdiamondsintl.com) handles everything from loose diamonds to watches and charms to repairs with intelligence and integrity. There are three floors of incredible bargains at the World’s Largest Jewelry Exchange (55 W. 47th St., 212/719-5235, www.jewelry55exchange.com): 115 independent jewelers search the world for the most creative designs and cater to every taste and price range. Every piece is priced at wholesale or below.
Chelsea, SoHo, NoLIta, and Greenwich Village
If it’s cutting edge goods you’re after, head downtown to fashionably edgy SoHo (south of Houston) and NoLIta (North of Little Italy). Within only a quarter of a square mile, SoHo has more than 250 art galleries, 200 restaurants, and 100 stores ranging from haute couture boutiques to affordable, fun clothing stores. In neighboring NoLIta, high-end boutiques on Mulberry, Mott, and Elizabeth Streets between Kenmare and Houston Streets are full of gorgeous one-of-a kind, designer goodies including embroidered purses, hand-tooled boots, and custom-designed jewelry. In eclectic Greenwich Village and the East Village, you’ll find all sorts of unique items, including jewelry, accessories, trend-setting designer fashions, and vintage clothing. Chelsea and its environs has shopping destinations including off-price designer apparel at Loehmann’s, children’s bookstore Books of Wonder, and the unique dishes and glassware emporium Fishs Eddy.
Brides in the know from all over the world head to Kleinfeld (110 West 20th Street, 212-352-2180, www.kleinfeldbridal.com), open since 1941, for the world’s largest selection of exclusive designer wedding and evening gowns.
The Lower East Side
The Historic Orchard Street Shopping District (261 Broome St., 212/226-9010. www.lowereastsideny.com) consists of Orchard, Grand, and Delancey Streets and their environs. The first home of many of America's immigrants from Eastern Europe, it's the place where bargains were invented. Today, you'll find more than 400 unique shops and restaurants, with finds including European designer fashions, women's lingerie, handbags, shoes, and jeans at about 25 percent off retail. The area is active on Sundays, since a good number of the stores are closed on Saturdays to observe the Jewish Sabbath.
Lower Manhattan and Chinatown
Century 21 (22 Cortlandt St., 212/227-9092, www.c21stores.com) is a department store that features amazing discounts (25% to 75% off retail) on top designer fashions, accessories, and much more. The South Street Seaport (19 Fulton St., 212/732-8257, www.southstreetseaport.com) is a thriving waterfront community complete with breathtaking views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge and more than 100 shops, cafes, and restaurants. J & R Music and Computer World is a megastore for everything electronic; and south of Canal Street in Chinatown where you can find an amazing variety of goods ranging from affordable gifts and treasures to ancient antiques and fine jewelry in the largest Asian community in North America. Here, food markets are filled with amazing varieties of fresh fish and exotic vegetables; and there are stores selling all manner of items from beautiful jewelry and silk robes to hair accessories, plumbing parts, and traditional Chinese herbal medicines. NYC & Company’s Chinatown Visitor Information Center, at the triangle of Canal, Walker, and Baxter Streets, is open daily.
A mecca for African-American culture and life for more than a century, Harlem is enjoying new glory days: Young people and families are moving uptown and there’s a lot of new construction, including the recent groundbreaking of Harlem Park – a $236 million, 34-story hotel, retail, office, and residential complex. Harlem's main thoroughfare is 125th Street. The Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market (102 W. 166th St., 212/662-2200, www.harlemmarket.com) is an open air market selling African clothing, instruments, and crafts.
Brooklyn and Queens
For 10,000 square feet of in-season designer fashions for women at discount prices, go to Aaron’s (627 Fifth Ave., 718/768-5400, www.aarons.com). Or take the International Express (#7 train) to Queens: Get off at 74th and Broadway and go sari shopping or pick up the latest Bollywood film on DVD in this Indian neighborhood.
Queens welcomed a new shopping mecca with the opening of the Shops at Atlas Park in April. The 300,000-square-foot site has 60 stores offering a wide variety of apparel, jewelry, shoes, house wares and gourmet foods. Dubbed a lifestyle retail center, the Shops at Atlas Park sits on 12 acres of land centered around “The Green,” an open park area that will feature markets, community fairs and entertainment year round.
Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
Hop a bus at Port Authority for the hour’s ride to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets (498 Red Apple Ct., Central Valley, 845/928-7467, www.premiumoutlets.com) where there are 220 stores filled with big bargains on luxe designer clothes, shoes, bags, and home goods.
The shopaholics who lead NYC’s varied shopping tours take the guesswork out of New York City shopping. Most have regularly scheduled destination or themed tours and can customize private tours. For listings, go to www.nycvisit.com/thingstodo and search for shopping tours.