Shopping in New York City

Shopping in New York City

So you’ve moved to a new country. You probably have a new home to sort out, a new job to start, new friends to make, a new wardrobe to fill…

New York City is famed for shopping, and with good reason. If we get statistical for a minute, 6,374 miles of streets are home to roughly 3,500 clothing based stores. Furthermore, in 2011 NYC played host to 10.6 million international visitors (with the highest percentage of these coming from Britain). These visitors managed to spend a whopping $34.2 billion and, on top of entertainment and food, shopping made up a large part of this revenue.

Okay, a shopping spree probably isn’t high on the list of priorities for most new expats. But living in or around America’s Big Apple inevitably creates an urge in the fashion focused – the urge to prance down Fifth Avenue in an impractical yet eye-catching ensemble.

So, if you live for fashion then this is the article for you. We’ll advise you on the best places to shop-til-you-drop in your new city, no matter how many freshly converted Dollars you have to spend!

If you’ve got serious cash to flash or just don’t mind a spot of vicarious window shopping then Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side and Midtown’s Fifth Avenue are must visits. Celebrated boutiques for design houses like Chanel, Prada, Fratelli Rossetti and Hermes dominate Madison Avenue and the fifteen blocks of show stopping stores are also home to Barneys. Some people might think that Barney was just a weird purple dinosaur from the 1990’s but fashion lovers know that Barney’s is the place for cutting edge designer pieces. With a mix of reasonably priced, expensive and super expensive items Barney’s is a welcoming haven for many budgets.

Fifth Avenue is equally smothered in big names and the window displays are worth seeing even if you’ve got nothing to spend. You’ll find Versace, Tiffany & Co and Bendel’s as well as Bergdorf’s (famed for its dangerously tempting handbags and its iconic shoe ‘salon’). Saks high-end designer store is also down Fifth Avenue. In Saks you don’t need to decide whether to stay loyal to your country of origin or to pledge allegiance to America – major designers from both Europe and the US are represented. Plus, there’s a whole department for swimwear. There’s even a H&M for the thrifty fashion lover. If you fancy a change from clothing then stop off at American Girl Place. It’s a bit on the weird side, being the 43,000 square foot home of a frightening collection of eighteen inch dolls clothed in historical dress, but it has to be seen to be believed. Fifth Avenue is also sandwiched between the Rockefeller Centre and Central Park.

If these offerings are too mainstream for you then refresh your edgy, urban style with a trip to Bedford Ave, NYC’s home to alternative style. Orchard St on the Lower East Side and East 9th St are also well worth a visit as they burst with vintage clothing and unique stores.

If you still have money to burn after that (unlikely as it seems) then ignore the ominous sounding name and head down to the Meatpacking District. It has yet more clothing stores (including ones for Brit brand’s Ted Baker and All Saints) as well as bridal boutiques like Gabriella New York, famed furniture stores like Hudson Furniture Inc and more unusual offerings.

SoHo is basically NYC’s humongous shopping centre and, even though it’s not as arty as it once was, it’s still a prime destination for the eclectic shopper. Vintage, indie and up-and-coming clothes/accessories mingle with those of established designers like Kate Spade and Catherine Malandrino in hundreds of shops, both big and small. If designer is way beyond your price range then Soho still has plenty to offer in the form of less costly boutiques and chain stores. As good as SoHo is if you’re not a fan of crowds you’ll probably be better off avoiding it, it’s jam packed everyday of the week.

Broadway is another must visit street, if only for Bloomingdales. ‘Bloomies’ has been a NYC icon since 1872 when it became one of the first fashion retailers to stock more than one type of garment. By the 1920’s Bloomingdale’s covered an entire block and an institution was born. Now the destination shop stocks an incredible amount of designers, from ABS by Allen Schwartz to Zac Posen. Bloomingdales sets itself apart with its fantastic level of customer service, offering personal shopping and concierge facilities as well as translators and store directories written in 9 languages. The huge variety of goods and prices means that even the most wallet conscious shopper can buy something worthy of putting in a ‘Big Brown Bag’.

All this shopping may well leave your funds a little depleted, so stick near Broadway and head to Century 21. Designer leftovers for both men and women at up to 40 per cent off make this a must visit for the savvy shopper.

There are so many incredible places to shop in NYC it would be impossible to cover them all in a single article but check out these well known shopping highlights and let us know if you discover hidden gems!

The Expat Hub
This post was written by
If you’ve already moved abroad, if you’re in the process of moving abroad or if you’re only thinking about it, the Expat Hub is here for you. For expatriates looking for advice, support and information, we’re the number one online stop.