New York is famed for its amazing shopping and it’s one of my favourite cities for finding those cool hidden gems.
While I love wandering around the Big Apple and discovering hotspots as I go, it can be easy to take a wrong turn and miss the best shopping streets. Luckily, travel specialists Hayes and Jarvis have created a handy Shop NYC app for the iPhone, so you’ll never miss the best places to drop some dollars.
The innovative app features 100 of New York’s best stores handpicked by retail experts as well as curated shopping guides and reviews of all stores.
The stores are filtered into 10 categories for easy navigation, under sections including American Classics, Beauty Products, New York One-Offs, Classic Department Stores, Homewares and Food & Drink. It couldn’t be easier to plan a day of boutique hopping, or simply whip out the app when you’re in need of a bit of instant inspiration.
Shoppers can find important info such as opening hours, direct links to the store websites and even call stores directly from the app. Even though New York is known as the city that doesn’t sleep, it’s still easy to make a shopping faux pas and arrive to find the shutters closed, wasting valuable holiday time.
One of my favourite features is the route planner, calculating the walking time between stores and noting the spots that you can visit on the way. It’s almost impossible to get lost, as the real-time GPS pinpoints your location and guides you along your route.
My favourite shopping area is Downtown New York, in particular its SoHo and Nolita neighbourhoods. This hip area below Houston Street is filled with designer concept stores, independent boutiques, and American brands that are hard to find in the UK.
Here are a few of my favourite haunts on the SoHo and Nolita shopping scene…
The younger sister of J.Crew, Madewell is the place to find your downtown New York wardrobe with high quality basics, casual dresses and slouchy leather bags. I bought one of my favourite jewellery pieces – a hot pink thread and gold bead necklace – at Madewell last time I was in the US and often stock up on accessories there.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon launched their first Opening Ceremony store in New York and this SoHo store still leads the way with a well-edited selection of pieces by designers across the world. Look out for cool sneakers, exclusive collaborations and lashings of KENZO.
I’m a fan of New York-based designer Nicole Miller’s cool, playful clothes with bold prints and interesting design details. With only one other store in West Hollywood, you’re sure to find a unique dress that no one will be wearing at your next cocktail party.
The SoHo flagship store of New York designer brand Proenza Schouler is a sleek, high-tech space that houses the full collection of womenswear, jewellery, shoes, bags and accessories.
The hipper offshoot of Crate & Barrel, CB2 offers well-priced contemporary homewares and furnishings to recreate that New York loft vibe at home. You can even have a one-to-one consultation with the resident design expert every Thursday from 6-8pm.
McNally Jackson Books
It would be easy to lose an entire afternoon in this fantastic independent bookshop. Not only does it have an excellent selection of books and a cute cafe, but you can self-publish your very own book right there and then.
Of course, even the most seasoned New York shopper needs a quick refuel, so here are my top places to indulge and really make a day of it…
Hot downtown restaurant Charlie Bird takes new spin on Italian-American comfort food with plenty of New York hip hop soul. Tuck into tasty pasta, fresh oysters and seasonal vegetable dishes.
Crosby Street Hotel
Find a little corner of London in New York at Firmdale Hotels’ colourful SoHo hotel. Start a day of shopping with delicious Eggs Benedict, refuel with a decadent afternoon tea or numb the pain of weary feet with cocktails and bar bites.
Keith McNally’s French-style bistro is a SoHo institution and still the place to see and be seen. Cosy up on a red leather banquette and review your purchases over Steak Frites and a glass of Champagne.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Home of the trend-setting Cronut, Cookie Shot and other sweet creations, Dominique Ansel Bakery is perfect for a SoHo sugar fix. Be sure to get there early in the morning if you want to try the world’s most talked-about pastry.
Dean & DeLuca
I always find myself drawn to this gourmet food temple when I’m out and about in SoHo. Its posh deli sandwiches and fresh salads are to die for and don’t forget to share (because they’re enormous) a box of sweet potato fries.
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone’s Italian-New York diner in Nolita is the place to feed the soul with classics such as parmigiana subs, mozzarella-smothered meatballs, baked ziti, club sandwiches and patty melts.
Where are your favourite shops in NYC? Are you more of a Downtown or Uptown shopper?
To get the best out of New York shopping, download the free Hayes and Jarvis Shop NYC app for the iPhone from the App Store.