Antiques & Collectibles
Antiques lovers and collectors will be dazzled by the bounty that New York has to offer, often with top-dollar pricetags to match.
Traditionalists will love 10th street between Broadway and University place (it is lined with half a dozen lovely antique shops); and East 59th, 60th, and 61st streets around Second Avenue, not far from the Manhattan Art and Antiques Center, at 1050 Second Ave. between 55th and 56th streets (tel. 212/355-4400; www.the-maac.com), where about two dozen high-end dealers line the street and spill over onto surrounding blocks. Fans of midcentury furniture and Americana with a twist should browse Lafayette Street in SoHo/NoHo.
The famous Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market (tel. 212/243-5343; www.hellskitchenfleamarket.com) used to be a outdoor emporium on Sixth Avenue, but now the bargain bonanza is spread across two locations. The first is in Hell’s Kitchen, also known as Clinton, on 39th Street, between Ninth and Tenth avenues, on Saturday and Sunday. Despite the quality vendors, the assemblage is hit or miss—some days you’ll find treasures galore, and others it seems like there’s nothing but junk. The truly dedicated arrive early on Saturday, but Sunday is consistently good. In addition, there’s an indoor branch called the Antiques Garage, with antiques spread across two floors of an indoor garage in Chelsea, on West 25th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues. It’s open Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
Brooklyn Flea (www.brooklynflea.com) is Williamsbrug, Brooklyn on Saturdays and DUMBO, Brooklyn Sundays offers an enormous, varied selection of art, collectibles, jewelry, clothing, and housewares; see the website for addresses, as they vary by season (indoor and outdoor). The organization is also the founder of food festival Smorgasburg.
We have a full selection of bookstores reviewed here. In addition to reviewed entries, don’t forget Revolution Books, 437 Malcolm X Boulevard (http://revolutionbooksnyc.org), which specializes “progressive, radical and revolutionary intellectual life.”
Retail Fashions: The Top Designers -- The legendary locale for the classic designer names has always been on and around Fifth Avenue and/or 57th Street. There’s been some exodus to Madison Avenue, but with luxurious flagships like Gianni Versace Boutique at 647 Fifth Ave., between 51st and 52nd streets (tel. 212/317-0224; www.versace.com), the avenue still reigns supreme. Other deluxe designer tenants from Italy’s haute couture world are Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo, no. 655, between 52nd and 53rd streets (tel. 212/759-3822; www.ferragamo.com). Gucci still shines at 725 Fifth Avenue (tel. 212/826-2600; www.gucci.com), while classic Chanel is at 15 E. 57th St., between Fifth and Madison avenues (tel. 212/355-5050; www.chanel.com), with the freshly hip tartans of Burberry just down the block at 9 E. 57th St. (tel. 212/407-7100; www.burberry.com). Giorgio Armani has its flagship at 760 Madison Avenue (tel. 212/980-3037; www.giorgioarmani.com).You'll find other boutiques from famous designers on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and down in Soho. See our article on Best Shopping Streets, for more on that.
Happily, in 2023, high fashion discounter Century 21 reopened, long after having to shutter at the height of the pandemic.
Fashion Flagships -- Visits to New York flagship stores are an experience you won’t find anywhere else, including at their smaller city storefronts and boutiques. These sites are display cases for the complete line of fashions, so come here to get a chance to try on everything you might only expect on the Internet. This includes the reliably chic DKNY, 655 Madison Ave., at 60th Street (tel. 212/223-DKNY [223-3569]; www.dkny.com). J. Crew has a big store at Rockefeller Center (tel. 212/966-2739; www.jcrew.com). Old Navy’s mega-flagship, featuring its affordable basics and signature trendwear, is at 610 Sixth Ave., at 18th Street (tel. 212/645-0663; www.oldnavy.com). Affordable, superstylish fashion from Topshop, a U.K. competitor of H&M, is at Broadway and Broome Street (tel. 212/966-9555; www.topshopnyc.com). Two blocks up is the “global flagship” of sleek Japanese clothier Uniqlo, 546 Broadway (tel. 917/237-8800; www.uniqlo.com).
In addition to the New York classics reviewed on this website individually, the Essex Street Market (tel. 212/388-0449; www.essexstreetmarket.com), on the Lower East Side at Delancey Street, offers fresh, locally sourced produce, cheeses, and specialty goods, including many geared towards New York's large Latino community.
Home Design & Housewares
Jewelry & Accessories
Every big-name international jewelry merchant has a shop on Fifth Avenue in the 50s: glam Italian jeweler Bulgari, 730 Fifth Ave., at 57th Street (tel. 212/315-9000; www.bulgari.com); royal jeweler Asprey & Garrard, no. 853 at 57th Street (www.asprey.com); ultraglamorous Harry Winston at 701 Fifth Avenue (tel. 212/245-2000; www.harrywinston.com); and Cartier, housed in a stunningly restored mansion at 653 Fifth Ave., at 52nd Street (tel. 212/446-3400; www.cartier.com).
The Diamond District -- West 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues is the city’s famous Diamond District. They say more than 90% of the diamonds sold in the United States come through this neighborhood first, so there are some great deals to be had if you’re in the market for a nice rock or other fine jewelry. The street is lined with showrooms; and you’ll be wheeling and dealing with the largely Hasidic dealers, who offer quite a juxtaposition to the crowds. For a complete introduction to the district, including smart buying tips, point your Web browser to www.diamonddistrict.org. Virtually all of these dealers are open Monday through Friday only.
Shop The Museum
New York is a memorable place, which means beyond the museum stores reviewed, there several more worthy shops to check out. And most of them will allow you into their shops without having to pay the museum admission charge.
Brooklyn Museum -- Where better to find a genuine “Brooklyn” coffee mug? For the kids back home, Spanish Bingo might be a fun challenge, while Global Feminism coffee mugs will enrich your feelings of sisterhood.
Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum -- Here you will find smart, artistic gifts, housewares, books, toys, and the coolest office accessories, all for (mostly) reasonable prices.
Tenement Museum -- You’ve searched everywhere, but only here can you find those “Heroes of the Torah” glass set you’ve always wanted. There’s also an impressive collection of Irish-, Italian-, and Jewish-themed books and other terrific and unique New York souvenirs here.
Museum of Sex -- Finally, a museum store where you can buy faux-fur handcuffs! Among much more exotic things.
Designer shoe shops start on East 57th Street and amble up Madison Avenue, becoming pricier as you move uptown. But down in SoHo you’ll track down the more trendy styles. Most department stores have two shoe sections—one for designer stuff and one for daily wearables.
If your kids love to read, don’t miss Books of Wonder. For vintage toys, stop by one of New York’s great flea markets (see “Antiques & Collectibles”); and kitsch and vintage, it's impossible to beat Toy Tokyo which has many Japanese anime toys, but a lot of other sorts of fun gadgets and gizmos, too. And The Lego Store is right in Rockefeller Center, with lots of areas for building (as well as the entire Legos "genre" for sale).
Wine & Spirits
The Union Square Wine & Spirits has bottles you won't find many other places, including a lot of made-in-New-York brands. Astor Wines and Spirits, on Laffayette street, near the Public Theater, also carries a number of New York state wines, along with bottles from across the globe, usually at very good prices. For unusual sakes, head to Sakaya on east 10th street between First and Second avenues. Uptown, Sherry-Lehmann Wines (505 Park Ave at 59th st) has been slaking thirst since 1934. Its known, particularly, for its deep collection of Bordeaux.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.