The “districts” — the centers for certain businesses — have good buys for specific items. The Diamond District (47th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues) is wholesale heaven for jewels. The Perfume District is on Broadway, between 20th and 30th streets. The Garment District is the place to look for fabrics (25th to 40th, between Fifth and Ninth avenues).
Butchers no longer inhabit the Meatpacking District (West 14th and Gansevoort Street west of Hudson Street) and its now the hottest, trendiest place in the city. This is the place for the top boutiques. Name the label; the store is here.
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Just north is Chelsea, where the vibe is lively and less pretentious, and the shopping is eclectic and affordable. The “must” is Chelsea Market. It’s a theme park of food with 35 vendors selling delicacies from around the world. But there’s much more. At Artists and Fleas, 30 artisans sell steam punk jewelry, custom boots and leatherwork, handcrafted stationery, real vinyl LPs, menswear and toiletries. The artists rotate every few weeks. Check out Imports from Marrakesh for Moroccan tiles, leather, home and garden accessories, and Spices and Tease for original spice blends and imported teas.
Greenwich Village is another shopping destination. Just south of the Meatpacking District, its counterculture image is strong, which makes for fun and funky shopping. It’s a mélange of boutiques, vintage clothing shops, the iconic Strand bookstore (with 18 miles of aisles); Tea and Sympathy for everything British; and locally made Li-Lac Chocolates.
If “ti amo” defines your attitude toward Italy, visit Eatalty (200 Fifth Ave.), where Oscar Ferinetti shows off as much Italian food as can fit under one very large roof. Pick up small production and organic wines at the Vinyl Wine shop (1491 Lexington Ave.), then find unique dinnerware at Fishs Eddy (889 Broadway). Global Table (107 Sullivan St.) sells quietly elegant tableware.
Beyond the districts, fashionistas on a budget gravitate to the Century 21 Department Store (1972 Building in Lincoln Square, 22 Cortland St., and 21 Dey St.), where designer fashions are 40 percent to 65 percent off. Another “budget” designer stop is Bis Designer Resale (1134 Madison Ave.) for “slightly worn” fashions.
There’s no complete list of great stores, but the official NYC website, Nycgo.com, is a good starting point for more ideas. It’s also the go-to for information on accommodations, dining, entertainment and getting around.
For more travel tips, go to www.insightguides.com.