We’ve all seen them in the movies and TV sitcoms; the impeccably turned out woman laden with shiny shopping bags tottering down 5th Avenue in heels. We assume it’s not how real New Yorkers shop and the assumption is mostly accurate, though there is nothing stopping you from trying to emanate that woman – aside from bunions and an unpredictable downpour of rain. Instead follow our tips for the best off the beaten track shopping in New York.
The island of Manhattan has all the international chains, American brands and independent boutiques you can think of so you’d struggle to not be soothed by retail therapy while there. However, Manhattan also has some worthy flea markets and public street markets offering tourists in New York a different shopping experience. Seek out Upper Manhattan’s Greenflea Sunday Markets on Columbus Avenue for vintage clothes and jewellery, antique furniture and household items, and even some stalls offering made to measure tailoring.
A special market experience can be found at The Market NYC at 159 Bleeker Street. Promising “Shopping, Music & Fun” here is where New York’s up and coming designers showcase their craft on Saturdays and Sundays. And finally for the ultimate NYC flea market experience, find the trio of flea markets held in Hells Kitchen. Open all weekend this is the only place to find vintage furniture and antiques that you will then struggle to transport home.
No longer the poor man’s Manhattan, Brooklyn has seen a growing number of boutiques and independent stores pop up to keep the young professionals who are flocking to the area happy.
It is questionable which came first Urban Outfitters or FredFlare on Meserle Avenue as this independent store sells super cool stuff for your apartment, retro looking shades in every possible colour and an impressive selection of vintage inspired threads.
Don’t expect to leave empty handed. Once upon a time the words “Brooklyn boutique” was an unheard of phrase but now it applies to shops like Dear Fieldbinder and Dalaga NYC who showcase beautiful collections of ladies’ clothes.
SoundFix, an independent record store based on Berry Street, Williamsburg is proving that vinyl is still in demand and find the similarly named but actually unrelated DigitalFix on Bedford Avenue for the most impressive collection of audio electronics and design that side of the East River.
Further north in Long Island’s Queens district, Astoria is where you’ll find a hub of great shopping choices. The beautifully named Loveday 31 on 31st Avenue is a treasure trove of vintage treats and to complete your throwback outfit find Vardiman Eyewear on Broadway, which is apparently a Manhattan shopper’s best kept secret for sourcing vintage and designer sunglasses. Queens is New York’s most multi-cultural borough and you can find a book in nearly every language at Seaburn, which specialises in foreign and second hand books at bargain prices.
To keep little and big kids happy whilst walking in Forest Hills find Krause’s Candy Kitchen for something to boost your energy as you stumble home with an impressive collection of shopping bags, almost like that girl in the movies…
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