If you’re jetting off to New York on a Christmas shopping city break over the next few weeks, then chances are you’ll have a few famous destinations in mind… Bloomingdales and Macy’s perhaps, or Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. Or maybe you’ll be heading to some of the hugely popular chains along Fifth Avenue with a pre-determined list of must-haves in mind.
But for a slightly more uncommon gift that makes the act of buying almost as rewarding as the giving, skip the big store crowds and make a beeline for New York’s chic and bountiful boutiques. To start you off, here’s a mere handful of our favourite one-of-a-kind emporiums…
Chelsea’s New London Pharmacy (246 Eighth Avenue) has your wellbeing at heart and stocks a range of products designed to put the equilibrium back in your life including the Juara facial collection and the French Bioderma range of skincare for babies.
Gorgeous, chandelier-bedecked Aedes de Venustas in the West Village (7 Greenwich Avenue) stocks a wide range of rare and heavenly fragrances and the staff will take the time to find something exactly right for you. The oldest candlemaker in the world, Paris’s Cire Trudon has a store on the Lower East Side (248 Elizabeth Street); the scent descriptions are especially evocative – Manon is ‘fresh cupboard and swilled down tile floors’.
You can find New York eco-brand Malin+Goetz products in the city’s department stores but for the full experience visit one of their own sleek and minimalist stores in Chelsea (177 Seventh Avenue) or the Upper West Side (455 Amsterdam Avenue) and discover a range of beauty products made from the finest-grade high level ingredients.
Home sweet home
Hell’s Kitchen’s Delphinium Home (353 W47th Street) stocks a fun, colourful range of vintage-inspired and contemporary accessories for the home, kitchen and bathroom. Brooklyn’s Modern Anthology (68 Jay Street, Dumbo and 123 Smith Street, Boerum Hill) has a fantastic collection of typography and industrial-inspired furniture, accessories and apparel for the home and person; we love the nautical lamps, vintage darts and cast-iron bottle openers.
Super-chic Chelsea homeware store Nest Interiors (172A Ninth Avenue) houses a thoughtfully curated range of bespoke items at prices to suit all budgets, from throws and pillows to unusual one-off ceramics and glassware. Or head to Jonathan Adler (53 Greene Street or 37 Greenwich Avenue) for whimsical, mid century-inspired potttery, wall decor, vases, cushions and throws.
A veritable time capsule of treats-gone-by, Economy Candy on the Lower East Side (108 Rivington Street) is where you can revisit the favourite sweets of your past and stock up on super-sized bags of gumballs, jellybeans, chocolates, chews and caramels to see friends and family through the season.
Soho’s tiny Kee’s Chocolates (80 Thompson Street) are handmade on the premises every day; select from such delectable flavours as lemon basil, honey kumquat and blended pepper. Also in Soho is MarieBelle Fine Chocolates (484 Broome Street), home to exquisitely decorated ganache squares, with an elegant tea salon in the rear (though we eschewed the tea and opted for the thick, rich hot chocolate instead).
Head to feet
If you’re after a classy hat for the man in your life, as far removed from a baseball cap as possible, Midtown’s JJ Hat Center (310 Fifth Avenue) is New York’s oldest and has been fitting its customers with timeless fedoras, derbys, pork pies and berets since 1911. For every outfit you own, Chelsea’s Eye Candy Store (225 W23rd Street) has the accessories to match – vintage gloves and belts, boho sunglasses, costume jewellery and a bewildering range of hats, shoes and bags. Azaleas is a pretty little lingerie and swimwear boutique in the East Village (140 Second Avenue) and the West Village (125 Greenwich Avenue) with a well-edited range of undies from established and up-and-coming designers.
High heels may look the bees knees but flats at where it’s at for pounding the streets of New York – they also make great presents. The Upper East Side’s French Sole (976 Lexington Avenue) specialise in ballet pumps and flats and manage to fit a huge range into their petite store. Flight Club in Greenwich Village (812 Broadway) stocks rare and vintage trainers for sneaker freaks, from SB Dunks to limited Jordans and old-school Pumas. Plenty of caps, beanies and other apparel too.
Virgin Atlantic operates daily flights to New York from London Heathrow.