holiday shopping in NYC
November 23, 2005 3:53 AM   Subscribe

NYC Christmas shopping question.

I'm planning to take my two preteen girls up to the city for some shopping for family/friends. Looking for a downtown(?) neighborhood with a lot of interesting little shops with reasonable priced tchotchkes, maybe vintage clothes, someplace concentrated enough we can take a train/bus to, or put the car in a lot, and spend a few productive hours on foot. Come to think of it, it'd be great to get a transportation recommendation w/ your answer (take this train/bus, or drive but put the car here).
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
With a few hours you could wander the streets of the East Village and Soho. There are lots of vintage clothing / consignment shops in those areas.

Where are you traveling from?
posted by gfrobe at 4:07 AM on November 23, 2005

I'd start in the East Village - 9th street to Tompkins Square Park, than walk South zigzagging as you see fit down to the lower East Side (Rivington, Ludlow, etc.)
posted by extrabox at 6:01 AM on November 23, 2005

Don't bring a car into Manhattan, especially during the Christmas shopping season. The traffic is insane, parking prices are horrendous, etc.

Best option: train to Penn Station or Grand Central, depending on where you're coming from.

Second best: Bus to the Port Authority.

For the real New York experience, buy Metrocard day-passes and take the subway or a city bus to your shopping destination(s). HopStop will get you there.

I second (third?) the recommendation to start in the East Village/LES, but I'm actually going to suggest that you work your way west across town, perhaps stopping for an inexpensive but filling lunch near Washington Square Park (Mamoun's Falafel, anyone?) and finish up in the West Village, which also has its charms, funky-little-store-wise.
posted by enrevanche at 6:09 AM on November 23, 2005

9th St. in the East Village (eat of 3rd ave. to ave. a) has lots of little boutiques, including a few that are primarily for kids, along with weird pop-culture and consignment shops. in the west village, bleecker west of 6th ave. has a lot of the same kind of stuff, only a bit more upscale. if you go east, ave. a has some neat stores as well, if you go west, carmine st. and greenwich ave. are chock full of stuff. Also, the streets just south of washington square park above houston are really good. finally, check out the holiday shopping kiosks in union square park, which open today, i think...
posted by AJaffe at 6:52 AM on November 23, 2005

I'm either thirding or fourthing The E. Village route. Tons of neat boutiques and vintage hoo-ha. Alkemis Local provides some map-with-photos goodness. (Center on Houston and The Bowery and zoom in.)

Of course, if you're up on a weekend, what remains of the Chelsea Flea Market is an excellent eccentric-tchotchka resource.

If your preteens are at all into the secondhand clothing thing, the four-story Salvation Army is a must-stop. It ain't downtown, but it is close to the Port Authority, if you're coming in that way. (And you get to pay via pneumatic tube!)
posted by milquetoast at 6:55 AM on November 23, 2005

Canal Street is a great place for tiny stores selling all kinds of things at decent prices. See pictures on this page. The first link has subway directions.
posted by darsh at 7:52 AM on November 23, 2005

I agree with the East Village - Lower East Side idea. While there are a tremendous number of stores in Soho, many of them are the same ones you would find in any upscale mall. The small shops in the EV & LES are much more fun, and often run by the owner/ designer. Also, the sidewalks in Soho get so crowded that it can actually be hard to move. And yes... DO NOT DRIVE ... it can be hell, take the train.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:10 AM on November 23, 2005

Definitely East Village! Don't miss Love Saves the Day.

Add my voice to the chorus of those saying don't even think about driving. Take the train into the city, then subway or bus it from there. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 9:11 AM on November 23, 2005

If you're in Soho Pylones is cute.
posted by terrortubby at 9:18 AM on November 23, 2005

Love Saves the Day is fun to browse in, but everything there, to me, is overpriced.

I still lament Little Ricky's on 1st Ave. around the corner from the Hell's Angels... and Wowsville records...
posted by AJaffe at 11:15 AM on November 23, 2005

The street vendors in Soho have beautiful stuff -- art, jewelry, scarves, leather, sculpture -- that looks a lot like what's being sold for ten times the price (or more) in the shops. I did almost all my Christmas shopping there last year and intend to do so again. But it's cash only, so be prepared ... And yeah, no car!
posted by thinkpiece at 1:29 PM on November 23, 2005

I second the train and the SoHo street vendors. I don't know if you shop frequently in the city, but it is really, really expensive to buy pretty much anything from a non-chain store. Shockingly expensive. Those cute cool boutiques in the east village? Yeah, try finding a shirt less than $75. Even the consignment shops are expensive. That could be a real bummer for a couple of little girls (it is a constant bummer for this not-so-little girl). The SoHo street vendors, however, have lots of cool stuff for not so much. And The Market (warning: flash) in um nolitaish near soho also has somewhat cheaper indie stuff.
A young kid might find some of the kitschier stores in G.Vill (right north of SoHo) cool, also. But don't even bother with the West Village unless you're prepared to lay down some serious money.
posted by ch1x0r at 3:35 PM on November 23, 2005

OK, these are all great suggestions, I'm coming from Philly so I'll probably put the car in a garage in newark and take a path train over. ch1x0r hits the nail on the head with my biggest concern, which is that everyone was going to be disappointed that nothing was affordable. But the street vendor route sounds perfect. Thanks everyone!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:50 AM on November 24, 2005

SSF, driving to Newark is fine if you want, but Amtrak will take you from city center to city center in a jiffy and you can park in town - and if you're patient, you can actually take SEPTA to Trenton, connect with New Jersey Transit and ride all the way to NYC:
How do I get from New York City to Philadelphia by train?

NJ TRANSIT's Northeast Corridor line provides train service between New York Penn Station at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan and any point along the line to the Trenton Rail Station in New Jersey. In Trenton you will need to transfer to SEPTA's R7 train to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. To obtain SEPTA information, please call 215-580-7800 or link to SEPTA from our Connecting Services page.
posted by enrevanche at 5:49 AM on November 24, 2005

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