A melting pot of American culture, NEW YORK CITY radiates with an inspiring energy you just can’t put your finger on, and with something to offer every style, taste and budget, it sure makes for one of the greatest shopping destinations in the world
New York City is known as one of the most popular shopping cities in the world. Most of the tourist attractions are within the main island of Manhattan and it is not surprising that the shopping spots are also centred around the island.
As one of the world’s most expensive cities, you can expect shops to offer mostly branded and luxury items but if you look for the outlet malls and flea markets, you may be able to find great bargains. Here’s a look at some of the best places to shop in NYC!
Perhaps the most famous shopping area in NYC is 5th Avenue which runs alongside Central Park and stretches over 10km in length. Brand names such as Armani, Chanel, Tiffany & Co and Louis Vuitton are centred around 56th and 58th Street and that’s perhaps where you could start before making your way south towards 14th Street.
NYC’s Broadway is much more than just Times Square and musical theatres. Running parallel to 5th Avenue and stretching 53km in length, it is the longest street in Manhattan. Exploring Broadway is like going on an adventure with lots of surprises if you know where to look.
Starting at The Shops At Columbus Circle, a mall located inside Time Warner Center, you will find familiar names such as Amazon Books, Bose, Cole Haan and Williams-Sonoma.
The iconic Times Square area is a famous landmark recognisable around the world and it is also a good shopping spot. Familiar names such as Disney, Sephora, Toys ‘R’ Us and Oakley are located here. Start your exploration from the intersection between 7th Avenue and 48th Street.
If you are looking for superhero collectibles and comic books, try Midtown Comics at West 40th St and 7th Avenue. Book lovers should not miss Strand Book Store (Broadway and East 12th St) which has been around since 1927. They even have second-hand books for sale.
Malls and department stores in and around NYC
NYC is densely packed and that explains why there are not many mega malls around. But they do exist. Shops at Hudson Yards just opened this year with 93,000sqm (or 1 million sq ft) of space catering to both high-end and budget shoppers.
Another relatively new mall catering to well-heeled shoppers is Westfield World Trade Center. Located inside the Oculus at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the mall features an interesting architecture and interior design.
Most of the famous department stores in the country is represented in NYC. Macy’s has a huge flagship at Herald Square near the iconic Empire State Building. The store has some of the best window displays in the world especially around festive seasons. Shoppers from outside the US can visit the Macy’s website to get a discount card.
Century 21 opened its doors in downtown Manhattan (22 Cortlandt St) in 1961 and is now an institution known for selling designer brands at amazing prices. The seven-storey flagship store, located just a block away from the World Trade Center, was damaged during the 9/11 terrorist attacks but was re-built in 2002.
The flagship Saks Fifth Avenue (611 5th Avenue) should also be on your list of places to visit. The other one is Bloomingdale’s (504 Broadway) which features a selection of designer apparels.
Famous Markets in New York City
Most big cities have their flea markets and NYC is no exception. For antiques, artworks and vintage items, visit Annex Markets (39th St between 9th and 10th Avenues). Also known as Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, it is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 5pm.
An alternative is Brooklyn Flea (brooklynflea.com) which is open at different locations on Saturday and Sunday. Some of the items sold at the market are vintage clothing, antique furniture and quirky jewellery.
If you’re a foodie, the Union Square Greenmarket (www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/manhattan-union-square-m) is the place to go for fresh produce and local products on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Outlet Malls Outside Manhattan
If you’re prepared to leave Manhattan island and travel a bit further, you will be rewarded with some great bargains. About an hour’s drive north of downtown Manhattan is the well-known Woodbury Common Premium Outlet where you will find a wide range of branded items including Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren and Prada, offered at great discounts.
Another outlet mall located just 30 minutes from downtown Manhattan is The Mills at Jersey Gardens where you will find brands such as Burlington, Hanes, Forever 21 and Victoria’s Secret, among others.
TIPS FOR SHOPPERS
For the best shopping experience, shop early on weekdays and avoid the rush hour and weekends.
When taking the escalators, stand on the right side to allow others to walk past on your left side.
It is rare to strike up a conversation on the subways and if you need to ask for directions, approach a policeman or walk into a shop or restaurant to ask the staffs.
Photos © iStock by Getty Images