Let’s say it right away – museums may be fun, but one of the reasons people are coming to NY is shopping. All people coming here plan at least one day as exclusively devoted to shopping for new clothes. I used to do it, too. Let me warn you right away: I like to shop at discount places since I truly hate the feeling of seeing an expensive thing I bought recently suddenly being sold for 50% off.
Here are the most popular places:
Macy’s on 34th St (which I wrote about last time). It’s definitely not my kind of place, but all tourists come here. Important information: if you show your foreign passport at a specially designated place there, you will get a 10% discount. Across from Macy’s, there’s the largest lingerie store, Victoria’s Secret (highly recommended!). Macy’s also has a branch in Brooklyn; you just need to get off at Atlantic Avenue-Barclay’s Center station.
Outlet Century 21. I like coming here since interesting brand clothing can be found here at half the price. The most popular store of theirs especially in the World Trade Center area. My favorite location is in Bay Ridge (Brooklyn, a bit far away) and a smaller one in uptown Manhattan, at 66th St. & Broadway Avenue. Even though you will feel lost at first, you will find your way quickly (I recommend a look at handbags, shoes, and sunglasses).
Broadway below 14th St. (Subway station Broadway-Lafayette: B, D, F, M trains). Go downtown and on both sides of Broadway, you will find all the big brands (Uniqlo, Mango, Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, H&M, Topshop, Steve Madden, etc.). Once you reach Spring Street, cutting through Broadway, you can do one of three things: (1) follow down and go to store after store; (2) go right and find yourself in SoHo, where you will find the most expensive stores around (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc.), or turn left, ending up on Elizabeth, Mott or Mulberry Street, where you will find boutiques by lesser-known, but really interesting designers (prices will be lower than SoHo ones, but still can be pretty high). If you decide to go even further, you will reach speciallyLower East Side, and streets such as Allen, Christie, Rivington, Stanton, Orchard, and Ludlow, filled with boutiques offering a quite unique product. Prices vary, but you can always find a bargain (you can come here by F, M and J trains – the station’s name is Essex Delancey).
There are three more places I wish to recommend near 14th St, namely: DSW and Burlington stores at Union Square, where you will find reduced prices, as well as my favorite store, Beacon’s Closet, which I already wrote about. And once you go uptown, you will run into TJ Maxx and Marshall’s at 19th St. and 6th Ave. (recently, though, you can rarely find something interesting there).
Those places are the most popular ones, but there are dozens of interesting places hidden all over Manhattan and Brooklyn (especially in Williamsburg). My advice is: once you see something you like, just get it and don’t plan on “coming back here a day or two from now”. Most likely, you won’t, and then you will regret not being more decisive.