Planning on a NYC Christmas holiday? Shopping in New York City this time of year is synonymous with dressed-up department stores, street vendors and outdoor holiday markets. Now there are even more retail destinations to delight Big Apple-bound shoppers.
This fall, a number of new and refreshed shopping options have cropped up across the city, particularly for those who fawn over high fashion. Several were christened with celeb-studded parties and champagne toasts during New York Fashion Week, just in time for the holidays.
Whether you’re looking to splurge on a special gift or simply window shop, here are some spots that are worth a visit:
BERGDORF GOODMAN’S NEW MAIN FLOOR
(754 Fifth Ave., Midtown | www.bergdorfgoodman.com
Lately this fabled department store has been ripe with renovations (its first major upgrade in 30 years), but now it’s ready for its close-up. The new main floor is a series of salons with an unrivaled assortment of jewelry, handbags, sunglasses and leather goods by creme de la creme labels, such as Chanel, Hermes, Valentino, Givenchy and Balenciaga.
The remodel pays tribute to the store’s 100-plus years of history by blending traditional architecture with modern elements. The space is done in an elegant pearl gray with marble floors, the occasional custom carpet and well-lit displays line the walls. The jewelry isn’t all that sparkles — the light fixtures dazzle in a mix of Murano glass, gilded bronze and rock crystal. One not to miss is the iconic chandelier installed by former owner Andrew Goodman in 1969; it’s been restored and is now situated in the Tom Ford handbag shop.
The transformation of the new main floor is part of Bergdorf Goodman’s BG 20 | 20 initiative, a five-year plan to reinvent the women’s store. If you go, though, be sure to leave some extra travel time. The department store is a block away from Trump Tower, which has seen beefed-up security and traffic restrictions along Fifth Avenue since Election Day.
(653 Fifth Ave., Midtown | cartier.com or 212-446-3400)
Revered as the last remaining mansion in Midtown, this stately landmark (built in 1904) is now reopened following a 2 1/2-year renovation. The finished product is an airier, more fluid shopping experience positioned around a grand central staircase.
Each level beholds something exquisite: Cartier’s signature collections on the first floor; the Pierre Cartier, diamond and high jewelry salons on the second floor; men’s and women’s watches on the third floor; and accessories, fragrances, leather goods and restoration services on the fourth floor. (Master craftspeople work on the fifth floor, and the sixth floor is a private exhibition area that leads to a terrace.)
The specialty salons are named after some of Cartier’s celebrity clients, including Pittsburgh’s native son Andy Warhol. His namesake space is on the third floor, where a self-portrait of the pop artist donning the Cartier Tank watch hangs on the wood-paneled walls.
WESTFIELD WORLD TRADE CENTER
(185 Greenwich St., lower Manhattan | westfield.com/westfieldworldtradecenter or 212-284-9982)
Fifteen years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, lower Manhattan has been reborn as an artery for commerce, cuisine and corporations such as Conde Nast that have moved their headquarters downtown. One of the newest additions to the neighborhood is Westfield World Trade Center, home to more than 100 stores and a number of restaurants and grab-and-go goodies. It also doubles as a transportation thoroughfare, connecting commuters with Port Authority Trans-Hudson trains and nearly a dozen subway lines.
The shopping is a mixed bag of mall brands (Forever 21, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, etc.) and luxury labels, such as Stuart Weitzman, Mont Blanc, London Jewelers and, coming soon, Dior cosmetics. There also are a few retailers with which visitors might not be familiar. (For instance, one of my favorite finds was Uno de 50, an accessories brand from Spain that specializes in handmade, small-batch designs at a range of price points.) Beyond fashion and beauty selections, there are plenty of places to pick up home decor, toys, sports and fitness gear and electronics, too.
The white steel structure, known as the Oculus, has been celebrated as an engineering marvel. It sports a unique winged shape by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is designed so that each year on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks natural light floods the main corridor.
SAKS DOWNTOWN AT BROOKFIELD PLACE
(225 Liberty St., lower Manhattan | brookfieldplaceny.com or 646-344-6300)
A short walk from the Oculus mall is Brookfield Place, yet another luxury shopping complex near the National September 11 Memorial. Formerly known as the World Financial Center (one of the buildings severely damaged by debris in the terrorist attacks), this striking glass retail hub with vaulted pavilion opened last year. It houses the likes of Gucci, Diane von Furstenberg, Paul Smith, Michael Kors and Ermenegildo Zegna all under one roof.
One of the latest stores to set up shop inside Brookfield Place is Saks Downtown, the second Saks Fifth Avenue location to open in New York. This one, however, has a more curated, boutique feel than its grandiose uptown sister store. It’s also distinct for its emphasis on emerging designers and exclusivity, with select brands only being carried in the downtown Saks.
Shoppers can enter from inside Brookfield Place or the street. Because there is no main entrance, at first glance the store’s breadth and depth appear to be sparse — but there are stylish surprises around each corner. The shoe department gives way to racks of clothes displayed in a rotunda. Continue to the lower level to explore a beauty department with natural light pouring in from the street. It all feels fresh and modern, thanks to a crisp color palette, cool light fixtures and, of course, fabulous fashions.
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