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 the blocks off Broadway near 10th and 11th streets, where the scene includes Kentshire Galleries (reviewed separately); 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 three 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. If you don’t find what you (probably weren’t even) looking for, try the West 25th Street market, on a lot between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, also open on weekend days.
In 2008, the Brooklyn Flea (www.brooklynflea.com) popped up in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, garnering much fanfare for its enormous, varied selection of art, collectibles, jewelry, clothing, and housewares. The outdoor Brooklyn Flea is open on Saturdays from April to early December, filling the schoolyard of Bishop Loughlin High School with scores of amazing new and used goods—and usually live or DJ’ed music as well as local restaurants’ booths—from April to December (rain or shine). Find it on Lafayette Avenue between Clermont and Vanderbilt avenues (Subway: A, C, G to Clinton/Washington). Meanwhile the Flea heads indoors on Sundays, to the Skylight at One Hanson Place (the former Williamsburg Savings Bank building) at Flatbush Ave. (Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, R to Atlantic-Pacific aves.). The Brooklyn Flea quickly became so cool that it’s opened winter-holiday outlets in varying locales (including NoHo)—check the website for the latest.
In addition to the reviewed options, consider visiting one of the many locations of the French beauty superstore Sephora (tel. 212/980-6534; www.sephora.com). For high-quality skincare products based on natural formulas and ingredients (think sugar, milk, and soy)—as well as makeup not tested on animals—check out Fresh at five locations around the city, including 57 Spring St. (tel. 212/925-0099; www.fresh.com), where you can invest in a glorious facial. You can also stop by Henri Bendel for a free makeover at their fab beauty counters.
Bookstores are a good example of the big chains vs. the little guys. And since the biggies are easy enough to find, this section will point you to the independently owned and specialty bookstores that underscore just how literary New Yorkers really are. Not to mention how much local bookdealers will value your patronage.
In addition to reviewed entries, don’t forget the giant Scholastic Store in SoHo for children’s books and events. Then for more politically driven readers, there’s Revolution Books, 146 W. 26th St. (tel. 212/691-3345), which specializes “progressive, radical and revolutionary intellectual life.”
Retail Fashions: The Top Designers -- The legendary locale for the classic designer names has always been Fifth Avenue and 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 Fifth Avenue and 56th Street (tel. 212/826-2600; www.gucci.com) as well as their Madison Avenue location at 840 Madison Ave. (tel. 212/717-2619), 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).
To add to the panache of the glamorous strip, Giorgio Armani recently added an enormous, stunning new store at 645 Fifth Ave., at 51st Street (tel. 212/980-3037; www.giorgioarmani.com). The opening took place in 2009, filling all four floors of the ultramodern space with celebrities who came to ogle selections from each of the designer’s collections.
The Upper East Side’s Madison Avenue is the heartland of haute couture these days. The biggest names in modern designs line up along the platinum-coated boulevard; between 59th and 80th streets, you’ll find Calvin Klein, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana, Emanuel Ungaro, Givenchy, Hermès, Issey Miyake, Krizia, Max Mara, Prada, Polo/Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, and many more; the density is greatest in the high 60s.
Uptown is nice, but established avant-garde designers hold court in SoHo. Highlights include Anna Sui, 113 Greene St., just south of Prince Street (tel. 212/941-8406; www.annasui.com), who specializes in boho fashions with a glam edge. Marc Jacobs, 163 Mercer St., between Houston and Prince (tel. 212/343-1490; www.marcjacobs.com), excels at modern takes on classic cuts. Girlie designs are the specialty of Cynthia Rowley, 376 Bleecker St., at Perry Street (tel. 212/242-3803; www.cynthiarowley.com). SoHo has become so designer hot that plenty of established names have moved in, including Louis Vuitton, 116 Greene St., between Prince and Spring streets (tel. 212/274-9090; www.vuitton.com); always avant Helmut Lang, 142 Greene St., near Spring Street (tel. 212/563-0586 or 212/334-2487).
And there’s a new power-shopping contender in Manhattan: Bleecker Street in the West Village, which already is being compared to Rodeo Drive and the Champs-Élysées for its sky-high rents and elite retailers. Stroll this street to check out the new Michael Kors and Burberry shops, as well as Jack Spade, Ralph Lauren, and Juicy Couture.
Talented up-and-comers have set up shop on and around Bond Street in NoHo; on Elizabeth, Mott, and Mulberry streets in Nolita; along East 9th Street in the East Village; and on the Lower East Side, in the blocks south of Houston Street.
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 see everything you might only expect on the Internet. Check out Ann Taylor at 645 Madison Ave., at 60th Street (tel. 212/832-2010; www.anntaylor.com); the Art Deco–styled Banana Republic flagship at Rockefeller Center, 626 Fifth Ave., at 50th Street (tel. 212/974-2350; www.bananarepublic.com); and the reliably chic DKNY, 655 Madison Ave., at 60th Street (tel. 212/223-DKNY [223-3569]; www.dkny.com). J. Crew has a big bi-level SoHo store at 99 Prince St., between Mercer and Greene streets (tel. 212/966-2739; www.jcrew.com), as well as a large store on Rockefeller Plaza at 50th Street (tel. 212/765-4227). 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). And you can see the full line of bags, shoes, accessories, and more at the kate spade flagship at 454 Broome St. in SoHo (tel. 212/274-1991; www.katespade.com).
One of the newest additions to affordable, superstylish fashion is the U.S. flagship of Topshop, a U.K. competitor of H&M, which opened in SoHo in 2009 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).
Just Kids -- If you need the basics, you’ll find branches of Gap Kids, Baby Gap, and the Children’s Place all over town—in fact it’s usually harder to avoid one than to find one. The department stores are also great sources, of course.
TriBeCa is home to an especially good stock of excellent children’s stores, both affordable and elite. In addition to the ones listed below, wander around West Broadway, lower Hudson Street, and their side streets to explore tiny shops like Babesta, “for trendsetting tots,” at 66 W. Broadway (tel. 212/608-4522). Also duck into the East Village’s Dinosaur Hill for one-of-a-kind clothing.
In addition to the New York classics reviewed, you’ll also find Trader Joe’s bargain-priced groceries and wine shop just southeast of Union Square, at 142 E. 14th St. (tel. 212/529-4612). The Essex Street Market (tel. 212/388-0449; www.essexstreetmarket.com), on the Lower East Side at Delancey Street, rivals larger markets in town with its fresh, locally sourced produce, cheeses, and specialty goods.
For first-rate Fifth Avenue gifts, don’t forget Tiffany & Co., whose upper level boasts wonderful small gifts, all crafted in signature Tiffany silver or crystal and wrapped in the unmistakable turquoise box.
Home Design & Housewares
Dealers line Broadway around the queen of home-furnishings department stores, ABC Carpet & Home. The second floor of Zabar’s is another excellent source for high-end kitchenware, while Pearl River is the go-to for affordable Asian dishware and teapots. We're also big fans of Broadway Panhandler in Greenwich Village.
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. 725 at 56th Street (tel. 212/688-1811); ultraglamorous Harry Winston, no. 718, also at 56th Street (tel. 212/245-2000; www.harrywinston.com); Cartier, housed in a stunningly restored mansion at 653 Fifth Ave., at 52nd Street (tel. 212/446-3400; www.cartier.com); and, best of all, Van Cleef & Arpels, 744 Fifth Ave., at 57th Street (tel. 212/644-9500; www.vancleef.com), which also has a boutique at Bergdorf’s.
Some of the smaller boutique names are on Madison Avenue in the 60s. Fred Leighton, 773 Madison Ave., at 66th Street (tel. 212/288-1872; www.fredleighton.com), specializes in magnificent estate jewelry.
Among the following shops, also consider stopping by the East Village’s New York Adorned, 47 Second Ave. (tel. 212/473-0007; www.nyadorned.com), one of the city’s best tattoo parlors, which recently opened a jewelry outpost in Nolita at 269 Elizabeth St., sells an amazing collection of handmade, unique, local jewelry for all budgets.
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. For semiprecious stones, head 1 block over to the New York Jewelry Mart, 26 W. 46th St. (tel. 212/575-9701). Virtually all of these dealers are open Monday through Friday only.
In addition to the reviewed choices, the NBA Store (also home to the WNBA, let’s not forget) was relocating from its Fifth Avenue megastore as of press time. The new address has not yet been announced; call tel. 212/515-6221 or check www.nba.com/nycstore for current details.
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 of Art -- 200 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn (tel. 718/638-5000; www.brooklynmuseum.org). 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 -- 2 E. 91st St., at Fifth Avenue (tel. 212/849-8355; www.cooperhewittshop.org). Here you will find smart, artistic gifts, housewares, books, toys, and the coolest office accessories, all for (mostly) reasonable prices.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum -- 108 Orchard St., between Delancey and Grand streets (tel. 212/982-8420; www.tenement.org). 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.
Morgan Library & Museum -- 225 Madison Ave., at 36th Street (tel. 212/590-0390; www.morganlibrary.org). There are always new and interesting gifts at this charming museum gift shop, from bags to stationery to jewelry to—what else?—books.
Museum of Sex -- 233 Fifth Ave., at 27th Street (tel. 212/681-6337; www.museumofsex.com). 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. Cheaper copies of chic shoes are sold at the few remaining shops on 8th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue in the Village, formerly known as “Shoe Row”; alternately, you can roam Broadway between Union Square and Canal Street for your kicks at places like David Z and Shoe Mania. Uptown, Tip Top Shoes, 155 72nd St. (tel. 212/787-4960), is a true shoe bonanza.
Most department stores have two shoe sections—one for designer stuff and one for daily wearables.
In addition to the sports shacks reviewed, consider a visit to the city’s most intimate (some may say jampacked) family-owned sportswear and outdoor-equipment retailer, Tent & Trails, at 21 Park Place (tel. 212/227-1760), just a stone’s throw from City Hall.
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 decidedly less fancy Trader Joe’s Wine Shop in Union Square, 142 E. 14th St. (tel. 212/529-4612), may not have the high-end bottles you’ll discover at the following retailers, but it is the best place for quality on a budget (though the place is invariably so crowded you might have to wait in line to get in!).
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.