Tag Archives: shopping

Soho New York

New York Shopping

A city famous for its sartorial elegance and Bohemian chic, New York is a shopper’s paradise, hawking everything from the very latest designer fashions to flea market bargains in addition to foods and goods from every corner of the globe. Clothing is not taxed in New York and the bargains have got even better of late, as the US recession has led to widespread discounting on everything from electrical goods to designer fashion. (Read more on New York Cost of Living.)

Madison Avenue
Madison Avenue

The smartest shops are located on Madison Avenue, where most top designers have flagship stores. Nearby, Fifth Avenue is a magnet for the label conscious and well heeled. Standing at one of the most famous corners in Manhattan, Tiffany & Co, 727 Fifth Avenue, is an icon of the American Dream. Famous department stores include Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Herald Square, Bloomingdales, 1000 Third Avenue, at 59th Street, and Barney’s New York, 660 Madison Avenue, at 61st Street, which is the trendiest of this retail crop. Both Macy’s and Bloomingdales now offer free ‘personal shoppers’ on request, to help navigate their huge ranges. The famous Ladies’ Mile, which, one hundred years ago, was the epicenter of uptown fashion, with department stores stretching from 14th Street for a mile along Sixth Avenue, is now a major discount centre. However, the spectacular Victorian buildings have been restored and stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Old Navy Clothing Co, Barnes & Noble and Filene’s Basement have spearheaded a revival of the historic shopping strip.

Soho New York
Soho New York

SoHo is the most European of New York’s neighbourhoods and its shops resemble those at Covent Garden, with high-end clothing outlets and shoe stores, make-up and beauty salons, art galleries and antiques shops, and modern furniture showrooms. The EastVillage and the Lower East Side harbour street fashion and cutting-edge young designers, with vintage shops, music stores intermingling with designer boutiques and eclectic outlets. Discount shops selling authentic American goods, such as Levi’s, are located throughout the city, particularly along Broadway, between Houston Street and 14th Street.

There are numerous markets to appeal to bargain hunters. The Annex Flea Market, known as the 26th Street Flea Market, on Sixth Avenue, made famous by Andy Warhol, is open on Saturday and Sunday from dawn to dusk. The best bargains are vintage clothing and fine linens. Many ‘green markets’, selling locally grown produce, freshly caught fish, desserts and breads, are located around the city, the most central of which is at Union Square, opening on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 0800–1800.

Shopping hours depend on the neighbourhood. Business areas, such as Wall Street, open as early as 0800, while shops in areas such as SoHo and EastVillage open late at 1100. Many stay open until at least 1900. Department stores are open 1000–1800 and 1200–1700 Sunday.

In New York, everything but life’s most basic necessities is taxable and the sales tax of 8.5% on all consumer goods – apart from clothes under US$110 – is one of the highest in the country. Visitors to New York are unable to claim a tax refund for goods purchased..


Upper East Side

From the edge of Central Park at 59th Street to the top of Museum Mile at El Museo del Barrio at 105th Street, this is the city’s Gold Coast. The neighborhood air is perfumed with the scent of old money, conservative values, and glamorous sophistication, with Champagne corks popping and high society puttin’ on the Ritz.


On the corner of Lexington and 59th Street is Bloomingdale’s – one of the NYC shopping icons, a beloved sanctuary for stylish consumers. On Madison Avenue, window shopping can be intoxicating: so many tempting boutiques, so many famous names to flaunt on everything from socks to shoes to satin sheets to chocolates.

Between Lexington and Madison Avenues, Park Avenue is an oasis of calm with wide streets meant for strolling, lovely architecture, and a median strip that sprouts tulips in season and sculptures at other times of the year. Railroad tracks ran in this median before World War I. This grand street stretching down to midtown is one of our city’s most coveted residential addresses.

Once Manhattan’s Millionaire’s Row, the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 72nd and 104th Streets has been renamed Museum Mile because of its astonishing number of world-class cultural institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. This stretch is lined with the former mansions of the Upper East Side’s more illustrious industrialists and philanthropists.

The neighborhood is a cornucopia of treasures, including the intimate Frick Collection, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy of Design’s 19th 20th-century collections of American Art, the Jewish Museum’s Gothic-style mansion bursting with artwork and ceremonial objects tracing over 4,000 years of history, and the graceful Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution (pictured at left). An added attraction to strolling along Fifth and Park Avenues are the many fascinating non-museum displays on view to the careful observer, especially in the evenings, many apartments keep their window treatments open, so it’s possible to get a discreet peek inside the posh residences and maybe pick up a decorating idea or two.

And speaking of neighbors, the mayor lives up here too, but not in Gracie Mansion. Gracie Mansion, the usual mayoral abode, is a historic house on 88th Street and East End Avenue overlooking the East River and surrounded by a waterfront park.

Central Park lines Fifth Avenue. Go into “the yard” and discover a zoo, a castle, a reservoir, an an ice-skating rink, a boathouse where you can rent rowboats, a
gorgeous “secret” conservatory garden, and plenty of trails for walking, jogging, bicycling, and horseback riding. It’s a park for all seasons, from ice skating in winter to free, summertime performances of Shakespeare’s plays and concerts on the Great Lawn that crescendo to dazzling displays of fireworks. After the show, you could head over to the bar at one of the neighborhood’s tony hotels, like The Mark or The Carlyle.

upper east side map