The best places to shop in New York's coolest neighbourhoods
Just south of Houston Street on Broadway and clustered on smaller surrounding streets like Prince, Spring and Mercer, you’ll find the best concentration of shopping opportunities in Manhattan. Here, flagship emporiums like Prada and Louis Vuitton, mix with cheap chic high street-style spots and, while you may find some of these in other cities like London and Paris, the prices here are usually even better in US dollars, especially around the sale times in January and August.
The area is also known for one-stop New York specialty stores and fabulous smaller neighborhood designer boutiques. The bonanza may explain why around Christmas I see groups of Brits, Italians and French crowding the area. Apparently, they fly over with one empty case, just for the shopping hauls.
Start your itinerary on Broadway (in part because I find the bigger shops sap one’s energy quickly) at places like American Apparel (stores at 429 and 712; +1-212-226-4880; americanapparel.net), where you can stock up on basics like t-shirts, sweatshirts and sexy underwear and swimsuits; Uniqlo (546 Broadway; +1-917 237-8811; www.uniqlo.com), a Japanese transplant that has wonderful sweaters and tops at great prices as well as a good selection of jeans – I particularly like the skinny model; and Bloomingdales (504 Broadway; +1-212-729-5900; www.bloomingdales.com) a smaller, more navigable space than the Midtown location, but with a good array of cosmetics, designer brands and lingerie.
Still on Broadway, Ricky’s (590 Broadway; +1-212-226-5552; www.rickyshalloween.com) is one of my must-stops for its terrific selection of beauty products like Mop and Bumble & Bumble hair lines and fun presents, including great fancy dress/Halloween costumes.
You’ll also find big name brands like H&M (558 Broadway; +1-212-343-2722; hm.com), Gap (528 Broadway; +1-212-431-2686; www.gap.com), New York’s Topshop flagship (478 Broadway; +1-212-966-9555; www.topshop.com) and Zara (580 Broadway; +1-212-343-1725; zara.com) on this stretch. Further along, near Broome Street, is Scoop NYC (473-475 Broadway; +1-212-925-3539; www.scoopnyc.com) with its chic handpicked collection for men and women. J brand, Citizens of Humanity, Missoni, Theory, Tory Burch and plenty of Diane von Furstenberg are among the lines they carry .
The side streets: Prince and Mercer
After you have trotted along Broadway for a bit and are tired of the crowds, head off to one of SoHo’s side streets like Prince, where you’ll find spots like the cult Apple Store (103 Prince Street; +1-212-226-3126; www..apple.com) with its selection of iPhones, iPods, laptops and accessories at a serious discount compared to the prices in Europe – even if you aren’t in the market for electronics it’s a great place to check your email.
You'll also find American classics like Club Monaco (121 Prince Street; +1-212-533-8930; clubmonaco.com), a grown-up, but still fashionable chain where you can find stylish work clothes that are still relatively affordable and preppy J Crew (99 Prince Street; +1-212-966-2739; www.jcrew.com) – I especially like their Crew Cuts line for kids, President Obama's daughters are often photographed in dresses from the collection.
Around the corner on Mercer, the Marc Jacobs store (163 Mercer Street; +1-212-343-1490; www.marcjacobs.com) is always worth a look, even if you can’t afford the wares and Kirna Zabete ((96 Greene Street; +1-347-694-4258; www.kirnazabete.com) is an inspiration – a cutting-edge designer shop. L’Wren Scott, Stella McCartney and Lanvin are among the brands stocked by former fashion editors who own the store, which explains why they are always ahead of the curve.
In this area of Soho, I also highly recommend APC (131 Mercer Street; +1-212-966-9685; www.apc.fr), the French emporium with its hip but wearable women’s and men’s collections and new American darling 3.1 Phillip Lim (115 Mercer Street; +1-212-334-1160; www.31philliplim.com).
Nolita (North of Little Italy)
You can’t leave the area without exploring the shops in Nolita (North of Little Italy), a wonderful and unique cluster of smaller boutiques east of Broadway along Prince, Mulberry, Mott and Elizabeth streets.
For example, the fashionable shoes at Siegerson Morrison (28 Prince Street; +1-212-219-3893; www.siegersonmorrison.com) are a New York woman’s staple and are less costly than brands like Jimmy Choo or Louboutin.
Steven Alan (229 Elizabeth Street; +1-212-226-7482; www.stevenalan.com) designs classic American men’s shirts in great prints and checks. For vintage and consignment items I always go to Ina (I found a beautiful Phillip Lim dress there recently for about 100 bucks) where fashionistas drop off loads of designer stuff after only one wear (21 Prince Street; +1-212-334-9048; www.inanyc.com) and for funky one-offs Charlotte Ronson (her brother is famous DJ and music producer Mark Ronson), where I find sexy little dresses and fun shoes (239 Mulberry Street; +1-212-625-9074; charlotteronson.com).
After all of the shopping you’ll need a little sustenance: Café Gitane (17 Prince Street; +1-212-625-2001) is a Nolita staple with a French-Moroccan menu and a beautiful crowd (242 Mott Street; +1-212-334-9552) or try the wonderful Café Habana, with Cuban favorites like a succulent Cuban sandwich, pulled pork and grilled corn.