A shopping holiday in New York: The city never sleeps - nor did the credit cards

 

So what you need to do is pack very few clothes, in a small suitcase. Then put that suitcase inside a big, empty suitcase." My sister's silence at the other end of the phone lasts a moment, then the penny drops.

This is a shopping holiday – the chance for Claire, who has never been to America, to spend her hard-earnt-and-saved cash in a whole new array of shops. We're talking volume, rather than monetary value; she knows that I had to buy a new case to transport home some bargain saucepans from Target on a previous trip. We've both been saving for this for ages, and since we're both foodies, we budget for breakfast, lunch and dinner out too – to sustain our epic spree.

But there are first-timer's nerves. New York is not a city for the faint-hearted and Claire is alarmed by my smackdown of the cabbie who tried to charge extra for crossing a bridge from JFK en route to midtown. A flat fare's a flat fare (and I want to prove how savvy I am). Late night, travel-frazzled and slightly daunted by the sheer scale of Manhattan, a shouting match on the sidewalk as suitcases are hurled at a doorman is not exactly "Have a nice day" personified.

Luckily, the Bryant Park hotel offers sanctuary in the midst of metropolitan madness. I've done my research; it's a favourite among fashionistas, for its proximity to the twice-yearly collections venue but during non-catwalk season, it's a brilliant base. We can walk to Grand Central, to burger-bar-of-the-moment Shake Shack, to the Monkey Bar, to the Rockefeller Center (and the bumper Anthropologie and JCrew stores at its base, ahem) easily. The whole of Fifth Avenue beckons, and SoHo's delights are a Noo Yawk bus-hop away.

Those first-night nerves have been calmed by a room with vast beds, a sonic device emitting soothing sounds, from rainforest to birdsong. And there's a bath the size of a small pool. There are mirrors that allow us to scrutinise every outfit with a semi-professional eye. And we're high in the 25-storey building with dazzling views of Manhattan. By day two, the US never-been is happily striding with the Carrie Bradshaws to the deli two blocks over for espresso and bagels. If Claire thought that New York was the city of social x-rays and supermodels and size zero and skimmed milk soya decaf lattes, she's thrilled to be proved wrong.

Then there is the shopping spree. Old Navy runs out of till roll when we settle up; and the assistant in the Kate Spade handbag store in SoHo greets Claire like an old friend when she goes back a third time to get "just one more" iPhone case in silver patent leather. It's easy to forget that pharmacies and food shops are as fun as designer stores and swanky restaurants. Notepads, sneakers, chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds, mugs, caps… and so on. And on.

It's not all shopping. In our five days we try to have five holidays' worth of experiences, just in case we never make it back (children, work, weddings, health issues are all jostling for attention). Opera at the Met: check. Midnight dinner at the Spotted Pig: check. A walk along the entire length of the High Line: check. A day and a night in Brooklyn, complete with you-couldn't make-it-up artisan chocolate makers, achingly hip no-reservations brunch spot, vintage clothing of extraordinary beauty and movie with cocktails seat-side at the Nitehawk Cinema: check.

Best of all is grabbing coffee and heading down to the midtown ferry stop to catch a ride across the east river and back, doing a faux commute to catch the city's skyline from multiple angles.

New York – from the top of the Rock to the bottom of a dirty-martini glass, we love you. From the whoosh of the L-train at Union Square station to the ugh of the ATM covered in vomit next to a Billyburgh brewery, we love you. Boy did we need those extra suitcases. Mwah!

The Bryant Park Hotel is centrally located in Midtown Manhattan, in the historical American Radiator Building. See bryantparkhotel.com or call 001 877-640-9300 to make a reservation

Shop till you drop

* Pointy slippers, Argan oil, kaftans, saffron, frankincense, hand-stitched leather totes, neroli flowers: there's nowhere as seductive to shop as Marrakech. And don't forget the new town's clutch of contemporary designers. lalla.fr

* Toronto is known for its 'Mink Mile' district but Film Festival city also has a wealth of indie outlets and design stores. Queen Street West has a quirky selection, from fair-trade wool to contemporary galleries. Book a walking tour with local arts writer, Betty Anne Jordan, to find the latest shopping spots. artinsite.net

* For that all- under-one-roof experience, Dubai delivers, with malls dedicated to everything from gold to electronics plus big-name fashion labels. The city even has a shopping festival (until 3 February). dubaishoppingfestival2013.com

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen