NFT New York Shopping

New York / Shopping

For a price, you can buy anything here: a live octopus, a bag of Icelandic moss, a vintage accordion, a rolling ladder, a slap bracelet, a 3D printer, a Ferrari, a dozen cronut holes, that thing you jam into an orange to suck the juice out, anything you want. Even print books! While we occasionally lament the presence of chain stores, we'll challenge anyone to find a better city for shopping.

Clothing & Accessories
The Upper East Side is a classic destination for high fashion. Madison Avenue is the main artery in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, rounded out by Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. In this neighborhood you'll find Chanel (Map 12), Burberry (Map 12), Tiffany & Co (Map 12), and other names of that ilk. For department stores, start with the original Bloomingdale's (Map 15), which is close to these titans: Saks Fifth Avenue (Map 12), Henri Bendel (Map 12), Barneys (Map 15), and Bergdorf Goodman (Map 12) if money's no object. We assume it is an object, so check out their intricate window displays for free; they're especially good around the holidays.

That being said, there are some bargains on the Upper East Side, too. Bis Designer Resale (Map 15) sells gently worn items from the likes of Hermes and Gucci at a fraction of the original price. Housing Works Thrift Shop (Map 15) typically has a great selection, and proceeds serve those affected by AIDS and homelessness. If you can deal with the crush of midtown tourists, look for sales at Macy's (Map 9), or try Century 21 (Map 1, 14).

These days, "vintage clothing" can mean "cute throwback" or "real period costume." The cute throwback t-shirts are at Yellow Rat Bastard (Map 6), but serious applicants should investigate What Goes Around Comes Around (Map 2). Our favorites overall: Tokio 7 (Map 6) in the East Village, INA (Map 6) in NoHo, Edith Machinist (Map 4) on the Lower East Side, Monk Vintage (Map 29) in Williamsburg, and for the especially fashion-forward, Eva Gentry Consignment (Map 32) in Boerum Hill. Devotees should attend the next Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show, where over 90 dealers sell their finery from the last century.

SoHo looks more and more like an outdoor mall, but it's still a great place to shop because of the variety and uber-high concentration. Beyond Uniqlo (Map 6) and H&M (Map 6), there are countless huge names like Marc Jacobs (Map 6), Balenciaga (Map 6), and Anna Sui (Map 6).

The West Village (and the Meatpacking District therein) is the spot for small, high-end boutiques. Some are a little more accessible like Castor & Pollux (Map 5), and then others have $2,000 jeans. You can check out chic designs at Stella McCartney (Map 5), Alexander McQueen (Map 5), and department store Jeffrey (Map 5), lampooned for its snobbery on Saturday Night Live (back when SNL kicked ass).

Flea Markets & Bazaars
For a classic, grungy, sprawling flea market, try The Annex Markets (Map 11) on 39th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues or GreenFlea Market (Map 14) on Columbus between 76th and 77th Streets. The more fashionable Brooklyn Flea (Map 31) dominates Fort Greene, Williamsburg, and Park Slope on the weekends with hundreds of hip vendors offering all things handcrafted: wood furniture, picture frames, sock monkeys, gold leaf necklaces, those rings made out of typewriter keys, you get the idea. Artists & Fleas (Map 8, 29) has a similar artsy feel in Williamsburg and inside Chelsea Market. The Brooklyn Night Bazaar (Map 28) in Greenpoint takes that model and adds food carts, booze, and live music, open Friday and Saturday nights until 1 a.m. The Market NYC (Map 6) on Bleecker Street between Thompson and Sullivan in Nolita features a refreshing group of young, local designers and their clothes, jewelry, collectibles, and other artwork.

Sports & Outdoors
Paragon Sporting Goods (Map 9) by Union Square isn't cheap, but it's a landmark and it's been there since 1908. City Sports (Map 1, 12) and Modell's (Map 1, 3, 6, 9) offer a broad range of affordable sports clothing, shoes, and athletic equipment. For cold weather and mountain gear, head to Tent & Trails (Map 2), where you can also rent sleeping bags, tents, and packs.

Done with IKEA and curb shopping on trash night? Get your credit card(s) ready for the stuff you can't afford at West Elm (Map 30), Room & Board (Map 6), and BoConcept (Map 6). Have even more money to spend? Check out Ligne Roset (Map 10) and the Meatpacking District's brilliant Vitra (Map 5). If vintage is your thing, head straight to Williamsburg's Two Jakes (Map 29) or check out a smaller shop like Fort Greene's Yu Interiors (Map 31). Regular folks seeking solid pieces should look no further than the quality wood furniture at Gothic Cabinet Craft (Map 28) or Scott Jordan Furniture (Map 5).

Housewares & Home Design
You'll lose hours of your life eyeing the exotic furnishings in ABC Carpet & Home (Map 9) just off Union Square. For those with shallower pockets, there's Gracious Home (Map 8, 14, 15) and any of Muji's four Manhattan locations (Map 3, 8, 9, 12). For paint, window dressings, and other home improvement supplies, try Janovic (Map 11, 16) or Crest Hardware in Williamsburg. Prepare for sensory overload if you take on the 35 showrooms at the A&D Building (Map 13). Showrooms are open to the public, unlike at some smaller design shops nearby, which require business cards upon entry.

The adorable dinnerware at Fishs Eddy (Map 9) is a great alternative to mega-chains like Pottery Barn. Zabar's (Map 14) often-ignored second floor is a longtime favorite among the city's cooks. In Brooklyn, we love browsing for new toys and tools at The Brooklyn Kitchen (Map 29) and A Cook's Companion (Map 32). Downtown, small but sublime Global Table (Map 6) has excellent, reasonably priced housewares, and Lancelotti (Map 7) is stuffed with colorful accessories.

Three revered emporiums make the Upper West Side a culinary heaven: Fairway (Map 14, 15, 18, 32), Citarella (Map 5, 14, 15), and Zabar's (Map 14)--and then the Zabar's offshoot Eli's Vinegar Factory (Map 17) graces the Upper East Side. The much more affordable Trader Joe's (Map 6, 9, 32) is steadily multiplying, but the lines, the lines. Essex Street Market (Map 4) on the Lower East Side is a beloved institution filled with amazing meat, fish, produce, and cheese. Grand Central Market (Map 13) is equally good, located right in the eponymous station. Chelsea Market (Map 8), housed in a National Biscuit Company factory complex, has excellent restaurants, bakeries, and food vendors (spoiler: it's not really a market).

For farm-to-table, the biggest player is the Union Square Greenmarket (Map 9), which operates year-round on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, packed with talented chefs. The Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket (Map 33) in Brooklyn is also excellent and less claustrophobic than Union Square.

And now, imported foods. When it comes to Italian, Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is famed for its bakeries, butchers, and grocers, and don't forget Graham Avenue in East Williamsburg. The more centrally located Di Palo Fine Foods (Map 3) has regional Italian goodies and acclaimed fresh ricotta. Friendly Despana (Map 3) will satisfy all your Spanish desires, including $100-a-pound jamon iberico. Sahadi's (Map 32) has an impressive range of Middle Eastern specialties, and make time to visit their neighbors on Atlantic Avenue. For Indian and pan-Asian spices, teas, and groceries, try Kalustyan's (Map 10). New York Mart (Map 3) is a solid one-stop for Chinese goods, and not just dehydrated scallops! There's even a destination for anglophiles, Myers of Keswick (Map 5), and Aussies, Tuck Shop (Map 6).

Cheese mongers? Among the best are Murray's (Map 5) in the West Village, Lamarca Cheese Shop (Map 10) in Gramercy, small but powerful Stinky (Map 32) in Carroll Gardens, and Bedford Cheese Shop (Map 29) in Williamsburg. If you're low on cash, East Village Cheese (Map 6) is your go-to. They don't give out free samples and the line is always long, but it's one of the cheapest options in Manhattan by far. Then you'll need bread to go with your cheese, of course. Our favorites are Sullivan Street Bakery (Map 11), Grandaisy Bakery (Map 2, 14), and Amy's Bread (Map 8, 11). For prosciutto to accompany the bread and cheese, hit Faicco's Pork Store (Map 5), Emily's Pork Store (Map 29), G Esposito & Sons (Map 32), or Choice Greene (Map 31).

Coffee is absolutely everywhere, so maybe there's no point in trying to pick a favorite, but we do enjoy the beans at Porto Rico (Map 4, 5, 6), or Colombe (Map 2, 6) for an excellent step up. Tea drinkers (yes, there are many in this coffee-fueled town!) should consult the knowledgeable staff at McNulty (Map 5), or connoisseurs can head to the exquisite Bellocq (Map 28). For something harder, Astor Wines & Spirits (Map 6) is always reliable and affordable, but BQE Wine & Liquors can be even cheaper (Map 29).

Art Supplies
You can't put a bird on it 'til you stock up on paint! Check out Blick Art Materials (Map 6), convenient to both NYU and Cooper Union. You can find the best selection of paper at New York Central Art Supply (Map 6) on Third Avenue. SoHo Art Materials (Map 2) on Wooster Street is a small, traditional shop that sells super premium paints and brushes for fine artists. Don't forget to check out both Sam Flax (Map 13) and A.I. Friedman (Map 9) for graphic design supplies and portfolios. Lee's Art Shop (Map 12) is a fabulous resource; how it has survived midtown rents is anyone's guess. As for Williamsburg, Artist & Craftsman (Map 29) is a good bet for supplies. In Fort Greene, the Pratt Store (Map 31) is a combined art supply store and college bookstore.

These beloved shops and their adorable cats are disappearing faster than anything else in the city, but thank goodness The Strand (Map 6) is still here with 18 miles of new and used books, and those tantalizing $2 carts outside. Right down the street is the smaller Alabaster Bookshop (Map 6), then Spoonbill & Sugartown (Map 29) in Williamsburg is full of art and design books, and Unnameable Books (Map 33) in Prospect Heights is fun for browsing. Idlewild (Map 9, 29, 32) is mecca for travel guides and travel literature. The gift shop at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (Map 4) is a great place to start digging into NYC history, as is Freebird Books (Map 32) above Red Hook.

Musical Instruments & Accessories
Unfortunately, 48th Street is no longer Music Row, but Roberto's Winds (Map 12) still chugs along over on 46th. Our favorites for gigging rock bands include Matt Umanov Guitars (Map 5) for guitars and amps, Rogue Music (Map 9) for keyboards, and Ludlow Guitars (Map 4) for guitars and basses. Go see the jumble of world instruments hanging from the ceiling at Music Inn (Map 6), which is among the last of a dying breed. Classical violinists and other civilized types should visit Strings and Other Things (Map 14).

Music for Listening
CDs and cassettes are scarce these days, but vinyl is still supremely cool. The avant-garde Downtown Music (Map 3) is a mainstay, and if you're into trolling through used bins, head to Bleecker Street's Rebel Rebel (Map 5) and Bleecker Street Records (Map 5). Or check out one of North Brooklyn's many options, like Earwax (Map 29), Academy Annex (Map 29), or Permanent Records (Map 28).

If you can't remember what a regular 2D printer is (and why should you?), go straight to the 3D photo booth at the MakerBot Store (Map 7). B&H (Map 8) is the top destination for professionals and amateurs when it comes to photography, audio, and video, plus they have a decent selection of computers. Note that the hectic megastore is run by Orthodox Jews who strictly observe the Sabbath and holidays, so always check the hours online before heading over. For photographic equipment especially, remember the holy trinity of B&H, Adorama (Map 9), and K&M Camera (Map 3). B&H is the mothership, Adorama's great if you're nearby, and K&M is the only one open on Saturdays. Remember to flash that student ID if you've got it, as some art stores offer a discount. Audiophiles are wonderfully served by Stereo Exchange (Map 6) and the jaw-dropping Sound by Singer (Map 9). For all things Mac, try Tekserve (Map 9), the (other) Apple specialists.

Weird & Bizarre
First on the list is Brooklyn Superhero Supply (Map 33), where your anti-gravity elixir and gold lame sidekick cape are waiting. Evolution (Map 6) is mandatory for those with a dark side; think macabre biological jewelry, preserved scorpions, and bat skeletons. Equally bewitching is Enchantments (Map 7), your incense-filled emporium for motherwort, frankincense tears, and all things wicca. Scribes and pen nerds, report to City Hall's Fountain Pen Hospital (Map 3). And then you'll need the ultimate accessory for your library, so call the Putnam Rolling Ladder Company (Map 6). Antique button collectors, check out the Upper East Side's Tender Buttons (Map 15). Western Spirit (Map 2) is the city's only wild west themed store, selling not just Texan kitsch, but Lucchese boots and turquoise bolo ties. If you need authentic NYC memorabilia, whether it's a lucky NYPD horseshoe or a real taxi cab medallion, go directly to the New York City Store (Map 3). Full disclosure, that medallion isn't actually usable--those can sell for over a million bucks.

Shopping Districts
In the age of internet shopping, these districts are fading out, so see them while you can. The Garment District (25th to 40th Streets, Fifth to Ninth Avenues) has fabrics, buttons, zippers, ribbons, sequins, and doo-dads of all sorts. The Diamond District (47th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) is the world's largest market for the precious stone. The Flower District (28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues) is right above the Perfume District (Broadway in the 20s and 30s). Bowery below Houston is chock full of restaurant supply stores, and Bowery below Delancey is the Lighting District.

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian

Pain D' Avingnon
It seems funny to have to recommend a bakery that's been in NYC for almost 15 years (and in business since 1992), but Pain D' Avingnon keeps a very low profile considering it's one of the city's best bakeries. They supply the bread for some top notch places (Eleven Madison Park, Momofuku Saam Bar and the Mandarin Oriental, among many others), but they stay refreshingly simple in their consumer approach: until recently, they only had one location in the city – a tiny stall at Essex Market (now they're in the Plaza food court and Smorgasburg). The bottom line: they bake up excellent European-style bread and sell it for a great price. Stop by once a week and never buy supermarket bread again.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

I love all food, but if I had to pick one type of cuisine, Italian would be near the top of the list. Luckily, New York still has plenty of excellent Italian food stores to help me stock up on everything I need for nightly feasts of pasta, sausages, cheese, sparkling water, olive get the picture. Buon Italia, Di Palo, Alleva, Todaro Bros., heck even tourist mecca Eataly, all get the job done. But there's one tiny place in Greenwich Village that has a special place in my heart: Raffetto's. They make their very own ravioli which you can buy fresh or frozen and entering their shop brings you back to when the city was all mom & pop shops, before chain stores took over. So go pay them a visit and show your support, just like New Yorkers have been doing since 1904.

Posted By:  Kari Dimmick
Photo:  Kari Dimmick

Tea & Sympathy
In a city that's just as well known for its indelicate disdain as it is for its incomparable allure, there lies a little morsel of sweet sympathy tucked between the bites of bangers and mash. NYC offers plenty of places for high tea paired with high toit, but here it's all about comfort. From your first step into this delightful, little tea room to your initial taste of authentic, British fare, you'll swear you've walked straight into a delicious daydream with your best friend, Earl Grey, where you'll dance among the cozy clouds of clotted cream. What's better, they offer the most pleasant of care packages to send to fellow mates who may be longing the Land of the Rose. Inside these gifts of goodness coined "tuck packages" is an array of savory splendor ranging from chocolate bars to marmites and all the British essentials in between. They've got your spot of tea and you've got a world of reasons to visit. On you go! Chop Chop!

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Only in a high-octane city like New York can you buy a luxury power nap, because you just can't HANDLE this 21st-century urban stress anymore! Scream at your assistant to get the f*** in here, book a nap at YeloSpa, summon your driver, and before you know it, relaxation is yours. But you don't even have to be a wealthy sociopath to enjoy a YeloNap, because it only costs $1 per minute with a 20-minute minimum. If you can wrap your brain around paying for something that's naturally free, you won't be disappointed. Not only will they greet you in their plush interior with fruit-infused water, you'll select your own soundscape and aromatherapy scent. Then you'll step into an intimate room with the world's most comfortable, deeply reclining "zero-gravity" chair accompanied by a cashmere blanket. If you don't manage to fall completely asleep, you'll at least feel deeply relaxed, and you'll wake up to an artificial sunrise. In this city, I can think of much worse ways to spend $20.

Posted By:  Leigh Raynor
Photo:  Leigh Raynor

Yunhong Chopsticks Shop
I once was invited by a friend who worked in TV production to sit in the background of an episode of a matchmaking show. While the couple went on their awkwardly staged first date, my friends and I gorged ourselves on free sushi. Free lunch AND fifteen minutes of fame, who could ask for more? Well, that is until my abysmal chopstick skills banned me from the background of any shot as sushi rolls went flying across the room. If you relate to this story, and want to avoid this type of humiliation in the future, Yunhong Chopstick store is the place for you! This hole in the wall boasts chopsticks in various colors and designs for a range of prices. Grab your own pair, practice, practice, practice and "stick" it to all the haters!

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