Shop 'til you drop in New York

From couture to cuisine, New York has plenty in store - just don't forget to pack your credit cards


Where do I start?

Fifth Avenue is the most celebrated shopping street in the world, and as good a starting point as any. This is where you will find many of America's most famous retail names such as Tiffany, renowned for its jewellery and glasswear, and the distinctive blue boxes and carrier bags in which they are packaged, and Brooks Brothers for classic clothing. Alongside the internationally known designer names are high-street brands, too, like Gap.

Where are the best designer boutiques?

Many of them are located along Madison Avenue, the street parallel with Fifth Avenue, in the stretch that runs roughly from 57th Street northwards. You can keep going for 30 blocks and there will be interesting - and expensive - shops on both sides of the Avenue, but for the main boutiques there is no need to go any further than 72nd Street. In this 15-block stretch, look out for DKNY and Calvin Klein between 60th and 61st; Armani and Jean-Paul Gaultier between 65th and 66th. Then there is Coach for great leather bags at 595 Madison Avenue, on the corner of Madison and 57th, and - just in case you fancy yourself as a latter-day Carrie Bradshaw, Jimmy Choo at number 716, between 63rd and 64th Streets.

I must go to Macy's

As the largest department store in the world, Macy's Herald Square is a tourist attraction in its own right. To track down one of the half-million items it stocks you may have to battle through the crowds. The store has 10 floors of shopping and occupies an entire block.

There are several other department stores in Manhattan (see page 17). Bloomingdale's is expanding from its Third Avenue store with a new branch in Soho. More boutiquey than the original store, it is aiming to attract a younger clientele.

Of the other big Manhattan stores to check out, try Bergdorf Goodman or Saks Fifth Avenue for sophisticated fashion, and Lord & Taylor for a good selection of basics, especially cashmere.

Any other bargain basements?

Visit one of the three Manhattan branches of Filene's Basement, the most central of which is at 629 Sixth Avenue (00 1 212 873 8000; www.filenesbasement.com). Filene's is a long-established company which specialises in reduced-price designer or branded clothes; it is often possible to pick up some amazing bargains here.

New York also has several flea markets, which can be great places to pick up anything from jewellery to bric-a-brac. One of the best is the Green Flea Market, a collection of stalls selling crafts, antiques, jewellery, books and plenty more besides. There are two Green Flea Markets, one at Greenwich Avenue between West 10th and 11th Streets, every Saturday between 11am and 7pm, and the other on Columbus Avenue between 76th and 77th streets 10am-5.30pm every Sunday.

And the advantage of places like this is that you don't have to pay sales tax.

Any other way to avoid tax?

In regular shops, four and three-eighths per cent will be added to your bill at the check-out; it is not included in the amount on the price tag. But a couple of times a year, usually for a week at a time, the Mayor grants a tax-free week, during which clothes and shoes costing less than $110 (£61) are exempt. The next scheduled period for this is 30 January to 5 February 2006. Future tax-free weeks will be announced on the New York City government's website ( www.nyc.gov).

One way to pay a bit less tax is to take a trip to the neighbouring state of New Jersey, where the sales tax is only 3 per cent - and prices may also be lower than in Manhattan, where overheads are high. The Mall at Short Hills (00 1 973 376 7350; www.shopshorthills.com), for example, is a pleasant indoor shopping centre with more than 175 stores including Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. It is located on Route 24 and the JFK Parkway, so you will need to go by car. Short Hills Mall opens 10am-9pm Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm on Saturdays, and noon-6pm on Sundays.

I'm getting hungry

The main department stores all have a choice of restaurants and cafés. Longest-established is Bloomingdale's' Le Train Bleu, a formal dining area set in the carriage of a train, although the store has a number of other eateries, including 40 Carrots, an excellent health-food café at basement level. But there are plenty of places where you can buy the makings of a picnic. Fairway Market is an increasingly popular food emporium and delicatessen at 2127 Broadway at 72nd Street (00 1 212 595 1888), and also has a café. And in the basement of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, at the south-west tip of Central Park, is the Whole Foods Market. Stock up on salads, sushi and other prepared dishes, and either take them out or eat at one of the tables provided within the store. It is open 8am-10pm daily.

Somewhere really cool?

Anyone with any sense of style heads straight to the Meatpackers District, an area west of West 14th Street and 9th Avenue that has turned the corner from desolate to desirable. That Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen now have stores here is a sure sign that it is heading for the mainstream, but for now there are some great little designer stores that are less well-known. Yigal Azrouel at 408 West 14th Street (00 1 212 929 7525) has a wonderfully spacious establishment, and a gorgeous collection of day and evening wear. And while you are there, don't miss the beautiful underwear sold by Catriona McKechnie at 400 West 14th Street (00 1 212 242 3200).

I need some gifts to take home

New York has plenty of gadget shops: look out for names like Brookstones, Sharper Image and Hammacher Schlemmer. At Brookstones, you could spend $80 on a floating message alarm clock, in which the time is projected in blue neon, appearing to float in mid-air thanks to "persistence of vision" technology. And if you are looking for an offbeat gift, like, say, something to use for trimming nose hair, or a rainproof barbecue grill fork, you will find it at Sharper Image.

If you are shopping for children head for Toys "R" Us - the Centre of the Toy Universe, as they like to call it - which is in Times Square, on Broadway and 44th Street ( www.ToysrusTimesSquare.com). Store hours vary according to the time of year, but it is usually open 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday and 11am-8pm on Sundays. As well as three floors of toys, there is a Ferris wheel (which lifts its young passengers from the basement level to the top of the store), a two-storey life-size Barbie House, a large candy store, and an area full of video games and accessories.

How can I get some local knowledge?

Book a tour of one of the main shopping districts. The choice includes Fifth Avenue, SoHo and Nolita (as the area North of Houston and Little Italy is known), the Garment District (the area between Broadway and Ninth Avenue, south of 40th Street famous for its clothing workshops). The tours are run by an organisation called Shop Gotham (00 1 866 795 4200; www.shopgotham.com). They start at $25 (£14) for a two-hour walking tour, and you will be able to catch up on the retail gossip at the same time as finding out the cool places to shop.

Department stores

Macy's: 151 West 34th Street, between Broadway and 7th Avenue. Tel: 00 1 212 695 4400; www.macys.com. Open 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday, 11am-8pm on Sundays.

Bergdorf Goodman: 754 5th Avenue at 57th Street. Tel: 00 1 212 753 7300; www.bergdorfgoodman.com. Open 10am-8pm Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm on Saturdays, 12-6pm on Sundays.

Bloomingdale's: 1000 Third Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets. Tel: 00 1 212 705 2000; www.bloomingdales.com.

Open 10am-8.30pm Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm on Saturdays, 11am-7pm on Sundays. Also at 504 Broadway.

Saks Fifth Avenue: 611 Fifth Avenue, between 49th and 50th Streets (pictured left). Tel: 00 1 212 753 4000; www.saks.com. Open 10am-7pm Monday-Saturday, 12-6pm on Sundays.

Lord & Taylor: 424 Fifth Avenue, between 38th and 39th Streets. Tel: 00 1 212 391 3344; www.lordandtaylor.com. Open 10am-8.30pm Monday-Friday, 10am-7.30pm on Saturdays, 11am-7pm on Sundays.

Gap in the market

There is no harm in checking out branches of the places you might visit on your own local high street like Gap. Prices in New York are lower than they are in the UK: so expect to pay $19.99 (£11) for a pair of women's jeans, for example, instead of £39.50, or $10 (£5.50) for a classic men's t-shirt as against £10.50 back home. While you are in New York, look out for Old Navy, which stocks basics at unbelievably low prices, and Banana Republic which sells better quality casual clothes to a slightly more sophisticated (and older) clientele. The latter has a good returns policy too, so if you get all the way home and change your mind, keep your receipt for your next visit!

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport