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Christmas Shopping in the Big Apple

26th July 2012 • Posted in Where2 Magazine

New York City is a dream tourist destination at any time for its famous buildings and museums, iconic landmarks and fantastic parks, but for shopping it just has to be pre-Christmas. If you want to shop ‘til you drop, the Big Apple is the place to do it... and is offering some very special shopping breaks and holidays at really brilliant prices to tempt you!

To help you to spend your time (and holiday money!) wisely, asked Clare and Adrian Palmer, frequent travellers and keen New York shoppers, for some ideas of where to shop. “We went all over” says Clare, “from Broadway and Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue and the Rockefeller Centre. Don’t miss the famous department stores. Bloomingdale’s is ultra-modern and has a whole floor dedicated to designer jeans – heaven!

Macy’s is quirkily old-fashioned and still has its old wooden escalators. At Tiffany’s uniformed staff in every lift not only ask you which floor you want but follow this up with a running commentary! Barneys is fabulous too. And everywhere you go the staff are amazing. When they greet you, they ask for your name and tell you theirs – a very personal approach.”

New York where2 image

So, what about prices, and styles? “Styles,” answers Clare, “are mostly global. But prices can be much lower in the US. Old Navy was brilliant for long-sleeved tee-shirts and, even when there are no sales, a good currency exchange rate can mean you get some bargains. Macy’s offered a discount card when we were last there. Just go to the Visitor’s Centre in the store, show your passport, and as an international visitor you can get 11% off. We also saw lower prices than in the UK in GAP, Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch (a £ sterling price in the UK could more or less translate into a US$ price!).

“Other stores we liked included FAO Schwarz for toys on Fifth Avenue – it’s the oldest toy store in North America.

Then there’s Toys ‘R’ US which has a ferris wheel inside it! GAP Kids is the best place for children’s clothes. We also recommend Century 21 (it’s a bit like TK-Max) and Banana Republic has a much better range than at home – lots of really nice, smart casual clothes. Visit the Paragon sports store, too. It sells just about everything for every sport you can think of.

“We so enjoy the different sights, sounds and culture of New York. We love the breakfasts with blueberry pancakes and maple syrup. At lunch we’d choose between pastrami on rye sandwiches or salads. Our all-time favourite evening meal was the New Orleans Cajun and Creole cuisine we had at the Delta Grill on Ninth Avenue at 48th Street – fried green tomatoes, fried ochre, and jambalaya chicken bits – out of this world and so reasonable!

“If you can bear the queuing, do also visit Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side of the city.

It’s really atmospheric and is where that famous scene from When Harry Met Sally took place...

The River Café is also a fantastic restaurant – quite pricey but the service is impeccable (the doorman will open your car door for you!) and they have a pianist every night.

The café is next to Brooklyn Bridge and has spectacular views over the river towards Manhattan.

“And of course Central Park in winter is just gorgeous. We were there once when there was ice-skating so we sat and watched, sipping mulled wine!”’s Top Shopping Tips

Check out the Department Store windows of SAKS fifth avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Henri Bendel. At Henri Bendel’s they do free gift wrapping in beautiful striped boxes with real ribbons.

Don’t forget, the prices you see in shops exclude sales tax which will be added at the till.

DSW is a giant discount shoe shop in Union Square, where all sizes are on display, so you can try on hundreds of pairs of shoes without waiting on the staff to bring you sizes.

The best Christmas markets are at Columbus Circle next to Central Park, and inside Grand Central station.

Wholefoods Market in the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle is an impressive high quality supermarket, with a great hot buffet and salad bar. 

If you want to find some bargains and are prepared to take a day trip, you can get a bus to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets from the Port Authority bus station. You’ll find a mixture of high street and high end shops including Calvin Klein, Gap, Diesel, Gucci, Reebok plus many more.

Happy Christmas shopping!

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