NYC’s sheer volume of retail options can overwhelm even the most dedicated and savvy shopper. Here are a few suggestions to hone your list — borough by borough.
Start your retail journey on Greenwich Village’s Thompson Street, where offerings include Stella Dallas, quality vintage clothing at affordable prices (mostly under $100), and Purdy Girl, a cheerful boutique selling owner-designed clothing and accessories for women, and which also has a second location on the Upper West Side. If you’re a music lover who prefers vinyl to Spotify, head down the street to Generation Records. This neighborhood staple carries both new and used LPs and CDs, with a focus on punk and heavy metal. They also sell T-shirts, videos, and posters. If you need a gift for the chess-lover in your life, stop by Chess Forum for a wide selection of chess sets, clocks, and classic board games, like Checkers and Backgammon. They also offer private and group chess lessons (prices vary) and pick-up chess games for $5 an hour.
A few blocks west on Greenwich Street, you’ll find Personnel of New York, a women’s clothing and accessories store that highlights emerging designers and independent brands. They also carry a carefully curated array of home goods and gifts. Joseph Hanna Fine Leather Goods, a few doors down, may be a little pricier, but the bags, briefcases, and laptop carriers are designed to last a lifetime. Travel enthusiasts will love Flight 001, which carries guidebooks, packing accessories, and everything you need to make that long-haul flight in coach bearable. Finally, you can’t take a trip to the fictional home of Carrie Bradshaw without shopping for shoes. Head one block over to Eighth Avenue, where Shoegasm carries a huge selection and has great sales.
It would be impossible to adequately cover every one of Brooklyn’s 70-plus neighborhoods, so here are some chic spots in and around Boerum Hill.
For women’s clothing with a conscience, Kaight features independent designers and emphasizes sustainability and fair-trade practices, while Meg stocks products made for women by women and donates some of its proceeds to local causes. For a younger vibe, check out Brooklyn-based Flavour, which has several locations across the borough. Here you’ll find fun t-shirts, dresses, and accessories, most of which are under $50. Kimera sells custom-made wedding and occasion dresses, but also offers a limited selection of off-the-rack options for surprisingly affordable prices. (Like wedding dresses under $1,000!) Kimera shares space with Iris Lingerie, whose owner once designed a bra that was featured on the Oprah Winfrey show.
For men, Antler & Woods carries “limited edition quality goods for all seasons.” This hip, high-energy men’s boutique features street-inspired fashion, accessories, and bags. Nearby you’ll also find Modern Anthology, which sells vintage-inspired clothes made by independent designers. They also carry cool gifts and home items.
For fun and quirky gifts, Exit 9 Emporium sells everything from Hillary Clinton action figures to classic Rubik’s Cubes and carries a nice selection of Brooklyn-centric products. Hunting with Jake is a home goods store that also sells vintage and vintage-inspired housewares — including glassware, pottery, and jewelry.
Finally, for alternative beauty and health products, check out Anwaar Co., which specializes in “high quality unadulterated raw materials from across the globe,” like all-natural soaps and hair pomades. A few doors away, find Radicle Herb Shop, a herbal medicine and healing store that sells custom blends of herbs, teas, spices and essential oils.
Queens’ Jackson Heights is known for its Little India neighborhood, where you’ll find dozens of shops to buy colorful saris, scarves, pashminas and fabrics. Some to explore include Amit Fabrics, Rahul Couture, and India Sari Palace. For jewelry, try Alankar Jewelers, Sona Mandi Jewelers, or Kunal Jewelers.
A few miles west in Astoria, you’ll find most of the big-box and national chains, but there are also plenty of independent options. For gifts, try Lockwood, whose wares include locally-made cocktail mixers, novelty socks with profane messages, and dachshund-themed kitchenware. For sassy lingerie and shapewear, including special waist-trainers known as fajas and Colombian-style butt-lift jeans, try Cali Caliente. Vintage enthusiasts will fall in love with Loveday 31 and its collection of vintage party dresses, bags, shoes and accessories.
Finally, the up-and-coming neighborhood of Long Island City, just one stop from midtown Manhattan, is home to Mimi&Mo, a tiny shop near the waterfront that sells funky clothing for adults and children, along with fun gifts and toys.
The Bronx’s East Fordham Road area is great for bargain hunters. It has large national retailers like Marshall’s, Macy’s Backstage, and Skechers Factory Outlet, but you’ll also find smaller chains like Jimmy Jazz, Fallas Department Store, and Danice, all of which sell clothes for men, women, and children at super affordable prices. Think T-shirts under $3, hoodies for around $8, jackets for $20 and jeans for $30. If you’re a woman looking to dress up for the club, try Bon Bini or Hot Point, which have younger and trendier styles, most of which are under $50.
For men’s street fashion and outerwear, head to Urban Classic, “where the old school meets the new school.” Here you’ll find top hip-hop brands like Black Pyramid, Vie & Riche, and Smoke Rise. Dr. Jay’s, which has additional locations across NYC, also carries hip-hop-wear for men and women.
For truly original gifts, visit Original Products on Webster Avenue. Touted as the “Home Depot of spirituality,” this 15,000-square-foot botanica carries everything you’ll need to cast a spell or break a curse, from essential oils and herbs to saint candles and protective talismans. This spirituality superstore also carries spell books, tarot cards, and religious figurines and offers readings and consultations with a staff of spiritualists.
Staten Island may not be known for shopping, but that could change in 2018 when the Empire Outlet Mall opens on the waterfront. Until then, if you feel like making the epic trip, here’s a list of some boutiques you can find there: Emily’s, Sanctuary Boutique, Just B Boutique and Wiggle Piggins.