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New York City Guide

New York Shopping

Everywhere you go in New York, you'll run into shops, shops, and more shops. No wonder people come here from all over the world to stock up on everything from the latest fashions to vintage clothes, books to electronics, jewelry to musical instruments. Some of the most expensive and unusual stores in the world are here, but discount stores and chain shops also abound. As with most everything else, New York has it all.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Shopping in New York

The Strand, New York's largest secondhand bookstore, claims to stock more than 2 million books.
©2006 Mark Chang
The Strand, New York's largest
secondhand bookstore, claims
to stock more than 2 million books.

Different areas of town are known for different types of shops. Fifth Avenue between 42nd and 59th Streets has traditionally been home to some of the city's most famous stores, such as Gucci's and Bergdorf Goodman's. In more recent years, however, tourist magnets such as the Warner Brothers Studio Store also have set up shop here.

One of the classiest but also friendliest shops along Fifth Avenue is Tiffany's, located on the ground floor of Trump Tower (at 56th St), a glittering rose-and-gilt edifice packed with boutiques. One of the trendiest but also cheapest stores along Fifth Avenue is H&M (at 51st St), a branch of the hip Swedish department store. Fun for both shopping and browsing are posh Saks Fifth Avenue (at 49th St) and vast, imaginative F.A.O. Schwartz (at 58th St).

Bloomingdale's (1000 Third Ave, at 60th St) is one of the city's trendiest and most glamorous department stores. The Manhattan Art & Antiques Center (1050 Second Ave, near 57th St) houses about 100 small antique shops. World-famous musical-instrument stores line West 48th Street east of Broadway.

Herald Square, at 34th Street and Sixth Avenue, is home to Macy's, the king of department stores, covering an entire city block. Smaller chain stores such as The Gap are also here. Lower Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 14th Streets holds branches of the Banana Republic, Club Monaco, Anthropologie, and other stylish clothing shops.

SoHo is known for its trendy, expensive boutiques, many located along Broadway, West Broadway, Prince, and Spring Streets. Also in SoHo, and in the East Village, you'll find thriving vintage clothing shops. One of the largest is What Comes Around Goes Around (351 W. Broadway, near Broome). In NoLiTa, you'll find the small boutiques of hip young fashion designers, while Orchard Street on the Lower East Side remains known for its old-fashioned bargain clothing shops.

Speaking of bargains, one of the city's oldest discount department stores is Century 21 (22 Cortlandt St, near Broadway), directly across the street from Ground Zero. Another famed discount clothing institution is Loehmann's (101 Seventh Ave, at 16th St).

Among Gotham's best independent bookstores are Three Lives & Co. (154 W. 10th St, near Sixth Ave) and Shakespeare & Co. (716 Broadway). The Mysterious Book Shop (129 W. 56th St, near Sixth Ave) sells mysteries only. The Strand (828 Broadway, at 12th St) is a New York institution. By far the city's largest secondhand bookstore, it claims to stock more than 2 million books.

Looking for a unique gift? Try Kiehl's (109 Third Ave, near 13th St), where you'll find old-fashioned chemists selling natural beauty products, or Star Magic (1256 Lexington Ave, near 85th St), selling science kits, mobiles, and other space-age gifts. Kate's Paperie (561 Broadway, at Prince) sells handmade paper products. B&H Photo-Video (420 Ninth Ave, at 34th St) is the best camera shop in town.

All this is just the tip of New York's shopping iceberg. To find out far, far more, pick up a copy of Gerry Franks's Where to Find It, Buy It, Eat It in New York, a self-published book that has enjoyed phenomenal success for many years. The current edition is nearly 600 pages.

If you're looking for a hopping after-hours scene, New York is the perfect city for you. Read the next page to learn more about nightlife and entertainment in New York.