New York has always been the Great Attractor when it comes to American fashion, from the original creators themselves to the shops that sell the seasonal lines. Serious fashionistas are always out in force on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, where many of the larger and well-known stores are headquartered—Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, et al. Yet, to get the most out of your New York shopping experience you’ll need to visit some of the myriad one-of-a-kind boutiques that offer glorious twists on new threads that you can model on your own private runway. Here are a few of our suggestions listed by neighborhood to get you around the city.
The elegant cast-iron architecture, the cobblestone streets and the distinct artist vibe give Soho a look and feel unlike any other neighborhood. Big-name brand stores have moved in, supplanting many artists’ studios and galleries, but plenty of unique shops still keep this neighborhood vibrant.
Soho has gone international with the addition of Desigual, 594 Broadway, with colorful Spanish designs; the sleek Uniglo, 546 Broadway, from Japan, and a London import, Topshop and Topman, 478 Broadway, catering to both women and men.
The cool girls are shopping at Anthom, 25 Mercer St., with a bright and spacious interior in order to accentuate the styles of local designers such as Samantha Pleet and Yune Ho, as well as yet to be “discovered” designs from around the world.
If your tastes run to the eclectic, then American Two Shot, 135 Grand, should appeal with its lines from Porter Grey and Timo Weiland, and ongoing events such as art shows to augment the fashion.
Lower East Side
Frankie, 100 Stanton St., is a relatively new shop that caters to the career-minded woman, so instead of cocktail dresses or crop tops, you’ll find more sophisticated items like cocoon tops, alpaca boyfriend coats and more from international indie labels.
A favorite among fashion folk, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, 123 Norfolk St., on the Lower East Side specializes in avant-garde pieces selected and displayed artfully. The displays here tend to attract cult-like devotion among fans, especially when it comes to the shoes.
Dover Street Market, 160 Lexington Ave., features seven small floors of cutting-edge wares by big-time designers and a few up-and-comers. The walls sport cool art, such as the 60-foot-long sleeve of yarn by street knitter Magda Sayeg that winds through most of the space.
Upper East Side
If you struggle with the art of mixing trendy items with basics, consider the contemporary styles found at Mixology, 1467 3rd Ave. This boutique unleashing your inner mixologist. While the brand is considered a fast-fashion chain due to its affordable pricing, the shop carries bohemian designer labels, including BB Dakota, UNIF and For Love & Lemons.
When Personnel of New York, 9 Greenwich Ave., first opened, the neighbors were impressed and that’s saying a lot in this city. That means easy, reasonably priced merchandise from both established and up-and-coming NYC- and LA-based designers like Mara Hoffman, Objects Without Meaning, and more.
In a neighborhood full of dedicated designer stores, In Support Of, 342 W. 13th St., champions eco-friendly, under-the-radar designers who produce locally. Each year, a portion of its proceeds are donated in support of a different charity, hence its name.
Rachel Comey, 95 Crosby St., is housed in a rustic, industrial-style shop with a shoe display that could cause a few slack jaws. The selection of luxury clothing, bags and shoes is unsurpassed in the city. The NYC designer has her own cult following locally.
Harlem Haberdashery, 245 Lennox Ave., dressed rapper Jay Z for his Empire State of Mind video, so if it’s good enough for Jay Z, then… Guys can blend their preppy foundations with urban adornments—everything from graphic T-shirts to custom-made suits. Plus, it is housed in a brownstone where Malcolm X once lived.
Your parents would never imagine that Brooklyn would become so intergalactically hip over the last couple of decades, but the borough just keeps on impressing with resurgent neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Williamsburg and DUMBO.
The scenic cobblestone streets of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) are filled with high-end shops such as Loopy Mango, 55 Washington St., with its bulky hand-dyed yarn, knitting supplies, antiques and knick-knacks.
Park Slope is better off having Bird, 316 5th Ave., a fashion-forward women’s boutique where prices run the gamut. It has been in business for 15 years and shows no sign of flying away. Bird offers a broad selection of local and international designers including Stella McCartney and purses by Mansur Graviel.
O.N.A., 593A Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights, is a contemporary women’s wear store stocked with reasonably priced clothing and accessories from indie designers. O.N.A. is a play on “she” in owner Magdalena Jaworska’s native Polish, and features clothing racks made from galvanized pipes, and reclaimed-wood tables and shelves. Top picks include Blank Jeans, Olive & Oak frocks and Greylin cutout blouses.
Concrete + Water, 485 Driggs Ave., is a lifestyle shop in Williamsburg selling high-quality goods during the day, but hosting an occasional trunk show at night. The 1,300-square-foot boutique carries menswear, women’s wear and home goods from emerging brands and well-known designers.
Where to Stay
A downtown Manhattan hotel that is oh, so modern. It features a rooftop lounge with club overlooking the skyline and an outdoor pool with private cabanas. Rooms from $265/ night.
A Kimpton hotel located just over a mile from Central Park in Midtown West. Free lobby wine reception every evening. Rooms from $195/ night.
The original boutique hotel in downtown Brooklyn. Sleek minimalist design accented with works by emerging artists. Convenient to the Brooklyn “scene.” Pet friendly. Rooms from $239/night.
Located in the heart of Soho, this boutique hotel offers contemporary rooms and a rooftop bar with a stunning view. Rooms from $299/night.
Soho Grand Hotel
This luxury hotel is close to shops, galleries and popular restaurants. Rooms from $199/night.
Where to Dine
This Greenwich Village mainstay is a favorite of locals for its Spanish/Mediterranean tapas cuisine. A great spot to bring a group.
64 W. 10th St., 212-505-7777
Authentic Italian restaurant located in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. Chef Al DiMeglio specializes in the cuisine of Ischia, a small Italian island where his grandmother grew up. 26 Broadway, Brooklyn 347-987-4500
The Cupping Room Café
Get a good breakfast before shopping, or after. This popular Soho all-day eatery offers big portions of pancakes, omelets and stuffed French toast.
359 W. Broadway, 212-925-2898
There’s a good chance for a celebrity spotting at Chef Andrew Carmellini’s modern American eatery in Soho. Better chance of a good meal though.
131 Sullivan St., 212-677-6200
Russ & Daughters
Get your Jewish comfort food here. Yes, it’s big and loud. Don’t worry they will get to you. Herring, matzo ball soup, knishes, lox and pastrami to write home about. The soul of New York. 179 E. Houston St., 212-475-4880