Hit the shops New York style
Shopaholics rejoice - guest blogger Suzanne Bearne brings us a guide to shopping in New York City!
Think New York and the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty might spring to mind. This is a city that lights up our imaginations with its iconic buildings. Besides its stunning architecture, countless museums, bustling theatre scene and world-famous restaurants, there’s also another lure drawing in millions of visitors a year - Shopping.
New York is a shopping mecca. Visually, its shops have graced our TV screens over the decades with images from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Big to Sex in the City (it’s hard to mention New York without slipping in the TV series, which further bolstered the city as the shopping gem it is). Whether looking to spend a small fortune or simply make a few key purchases, this is a city as famous for taking the globe’s shopping crown as its yellow cabs.
New York is made up of a multitude of districts. If you’re after some classic buys such as Kate Spade, and J Crew head to trendy SoHo. Having visited 18 months earlier I was tempted to uncover new shopping gems whilst returning to old proven haunts. I started in Greenwich, more commonly referred to as the West Village, an affluent and rather residential suburb.
It threw up a few key stores, particularly design-led shops. I was allured into London-based designer Eskander not just because of the beautiful casual clothes but its stunning homeware stock including gorgeous throws, Diptyque candles and design books. Walking further along 10th Street I was delighted to find one of the most charming bookshops I’ve ever encountered. Being not only a fan of thumbing a page or two but of whiling away time by flicking through great books, Three Lives & Company was my idea of heaven. I was tempted – and now bitterly regret – not picking up a copy of New York Diaries. If you’re into hats, look no further than Goorin Brothers on Bleecker Street, which boasts a string of indie stores as well as more established names such as Jo Malone, Lulu Guinness and Reiss. The hat makers serve up a range of styles including trilbies, flat caps and cloche hats, ensuring everyone can find a hat to suit their style. Round the corner on Christopher Street, tea fans can pick up their favourite cuppa at McNulty’s Tea & Coffee, a charming seller of rare teas. Customers can pick leaves by weight or grab a pack. I had no choice to grab some of my favourite – jasmine, if you’re asking. Further up Bleecker Street, I splashed out at Nars, a make-up brand worth paying the extra dollars for, before discovering another bookshop, this time courtesy of designer Marc Jacobs. His non-clothing store, Bookmarc, stocks arty and fashion-focussed books amongst Marc Jacobs-branded iPad covers, pencils and notebooks. If you’re in the area, don’t forget to stop for a break, and a good excuse for a cake if I ever saw one, at cupcake-heaven Magnolia Bakery.
This Manhattan neighbourhood might have once been home to hundreds of slaughterhouses but today it houses chic hotels like The Standard, must-try restaurants and glamorous bars and clubs. It’s also home to Chelsea Market, an indoor food market. While it has a focus on wonderful cuisine (do try Chelsea Thai), it also serves up literature in the form of Posman Books, beautiful clothes at Anthropologie and all your kitchen desires through Bowery Kitchen Supply. What caught my eye was its Independent Designer Pop Up, which, as its name suggests, hosts a collection of independent sellers, ranging from the likes of jewellery, bags, clothes and framed photographs. Worth a visit to pick up a not-on-the-high-street kind of gift.
If you’re hunting for high-end designer labels, you can find the likes of clothing chain Vince, premium fashion at Zadig & Voltaire and luxury footwear at Iris in the neighbourhood. There’s also a newly revamped branch of beauty chain Sephora, where fans of Bumble and bumble, Soap and Glory and Clinique can find their beauty and hair needs at a lower price than the UK. For blocks of gorgeous-scented soaps check out Soapology on 8th Avenue. This charming store is perfect for picking up gifts or for yourself - ask an assistant to give you a relaxing handwash at the freestanding bathtub at the back of the store!
A shopping trip to New York isn’t complete without a visit to Century 21. Like TK Maxx in terms of layout - but on a bigger and better scale – this seriously-discounted designer store will leave you wishing you’d had left more time to scour its five levels. Fancy a knocked-down pair of Ray-Bans, a Marc Jacobs mac or a Calvin Klein shift dress? It’s all here. You’ll find jaw-droppingly low-priced finds. Just make this the last stop of the day; you don’t want tired arms from carting around heavy bags spoiling your tour of New York, do you?
Suzanne Bearne is a freelance journalist specialising in retail, digital and travel. She’s also a travel blogger and can be found blogging at www.devotedtotravel.wordpress.com and tweeting @sbearne. Click here for the latest deals on flights to New York.