Enjoy some boutique hopping in NYC's beautiful residential surroundings
As you will probably notice from this guide the West Village is my very favorite neighborhood in New York. Why? The blocks are beautiful, leafy and filled with gorgeous residential townhouses plus one-of-a-kind shops and charming restaurants. It’s a very pleasant place to spend a day wandering around and I am not the only person to think so, hence the high concentration of celebs who have made their home here - keep an eye out for Sarah Jessica Parker and Julianne Moore for example - and the pricey real estate that’s still flying high even during the recession. And the shopping here is also of an A-list caliber. In fact, there are few greater New York pleasures than boutique hopping and stopping into local cafes and restaurants along the way.
I always make sure to stop into Flight 001 (96 Greenwich Avenue; +1 212 989 0001; www.flight001.com) where I can find everything from excellent luggage by brands like Mandarin Duck and Samsonite, stylish pill dispensers and wash bags, guidebooks from the likes of Wallpaper and other voyage essentials that are both fashionable and useful (I also always find great gifts here for other frequent flyers). Nearby at the Equinox Gym (97 Greenwich Avenue; +1 212 620 0103) - which is not so much a gym as the Prada of workout options - a very handy shop on the ground floor stocks everything from great leggings to sleek tracksuit tops and little numbers to throw on to show off a well-toned physique. This is the kind of fitness gear, from brands like Y3 and yoga-favorite Lululemon, that even Gwyneth and Madonna would approve of. Meanwhile, Mxyplyzyk (125 Greenwich Avenue; +1 212 989 4300; www.mxyplyzyk.com) is fun for quirky house wares and funny greeting cards as well as all matter of things you didn’t even know you needed.
Over on Sixth Avenue, CO Bigelow is a pharmacy meets beauty emporium (414 Sixth Avenue; +1 212 473 7324; www.bigelowchemists.com) where I have done serious credit card damage in my day. Although harmless price-wise when you don’t buy everything at once, once you load up on lovely Diptyque candles, Mama-to-be stretch mark creams, and the pharmacy’s own line of creams and salves, you can spend a hundred bucks in the blink of an eye here. Interesting fact: both Mark Twain and John Belushi filled their prescriptions here back in the day.
Then it’s time to head to 10th and Bleecker streets. Castor & Pollux (238 West 10th Street near Hudson; +1 212 645 6572; www.castorandpolluxstore.com), a little gem of a shop, sells great classics like Swedish favorite Filippa K and a signature sweatshirt with intertwining horses that’s the weekend go-to of many a fashionable Manhattanite. I always make sure to stock up on basic v-neck t-shirts in buttery cotton at James Perse (411 Bleecker near 11th Street; +1 212 620 9991; www.jamesperse.com) before heading to Kid O (123 West 10th Street; +1-212 366 5436; www.kidonyc.com) for great children’s presents. The spot is unfortunately currently closed due to a recent fire but keep checking the website for the reopening date.
When Marc Jacobs opened an array of shops on Bleecker Street, including the offshoot for fashionable tots, it was the ultimate sign that the stretch was the new epicenter for Manhattan shopping. As much as I like the upper line of the designer you can find much better deals at Marc by Marc Jacobs (403 Bleecker Street; +1 212 924 0026; www.marcjacobs.com), his diffusion label where I have found items like stylish wellies and offbeat printed t-shirts in the past. I also like 7 for all Mankind (7 Bleecker Street; +1 212 255 2705; www.7forallmankind.com) for its California-cool silky tops and vests as well as its well known denim line and sexy wedges, but men will prefer Rag and Bone (104 Christopher Street; +1 212 727 2990; www.rag-bone.com), the cult jeans line that was founded in 2002. They also carry well cut blazers and cozy cashmere coats, and their full men and women’s collections.
Fashion editors also stock up on handbags at Lulu Guinness (394 Bleecker Street; +1 212 367 2120; www.luluguinness.com) before hitting pricey Bonpoint (392 Bleecker Street; +1 212 647 1700; www.bonpoint.com) for their print-worthy kids - it carries gorgeous printed dresses and delicate knits from the Parisian designer - and getting their sugar fix at Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker Street; +1 212 462 2572; www.magnoliabakery.com), made famous by Carrie and her crew in Sex and the City. I prefer to take my shopping break at Café Cluny however, a jewel box of a restaurant (284 West 12th Street; +1 212 255 6900) where you can have a relaxed lunch or a pot of hot tea before resuming the shopping spree.
More expert advice on New York
For suggestions on where to stay in New York, see my New York City Hotels – Award winning expert hotel reviews, from cheap to luxury hotels in New York City page.
Read my overview on Shopping in New York City.