Shopping, dining and cafes in New York
Chinatown and its neighbouring Little Italy have long been icons of the New York scene. While Little Italy is mostly confined to only a few streets now, the bustling exotic mix of Chinatown still thrives. Visit Mott street for the crowded open air market, with vendors selling everything from precious silks to fried rice. Don’t be afraid to bargain (beware of cheap CDs and videos, though, as they may be stolen or bootlegged).
For breakfast, try the cheery spacious atmosphere and Chinese baked specialities at the Tai Pan Bakery (http://www.taipanbakeryonline.com/) , or try a hotcake baked by 70-year-old Shao Chen, from the All Natural Hot Mini Cakes street cart. For dinner, there are a multitude of Chinese restaurants serving all your favorites, or head across to Little Italy. Try Angelo’s of Mulberry St (http://www.angelosofmulberryst.com/) for a wonderful sparky Italian atmosphere, and fabulous fresh Italian food.
The Village’s funky bohemian atmosphere still thrives despite some development and gentrification. Try St Marks’ Place for its many men and women’s eclectic fashion stores, including labels and vintage. For something out of the ordinary, try Tokio 7 (http://tokio7.net/) for the best in Japanese tailoring, or Barbara Feinman Millinery (http://feinmanhats.com/) for exquisite hats.
When you’re hungry check out Downtown Bakery (http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2012/05/mexican-eats-downtown-bakery.html) , a former Italian bakery now selling some of the best and cheapest Mexican food in town, or South Brooklyn Pizza(http://www.yelp.com/biz/south-brooklyn-pizza-new-york-2) for an old-fashioned pizza orgy. Or for something a little more upmarket or different, try the Momofuku Ssam Bar (http://momofuku.com/new-york/ssam-bar/) . This is a Korean restaurant specialising in wraps – try the shredded pork and lettuce wrap, or a delicious duck dish or two (not to mention fabulous desserts!)
Lower Manhattan and the Financial District
Century 21 Discount Department Store (http://www.c21stores.com/) is a must-see for bargains galore in men’s, women’s and children’s designer outfits, as well as handbags, cosmetics, lingerie and housewares. New stock arrives almost hourly, so you’re almost always sure of a great buy.
For high-end shopping, there’s Tiffany & Co in Wall Street(http://www.tiffany.com/International.aspx?&) , Hermes in Madison Avenue (http://www.hermes.com/index_au.html) , or True Religion Brand Jeans in 3rd Avenue (http://www.truereligionbrandjeans.com/) .
Enjoy Sarabeth’s East Café (http://www.sarabethsrestaurants.com/upper-east-side/) , located a block from Central Park, for great brunches, or go celebrity-spotting at Bonsignour (http://www.yelp.com/biz/bonsignour-new-york) , for upmarket café food and to-die-for soups!
Lower East Side
This area started as the centre for the rag trade in New York, and nowadays is a haven for lovers of cutting edge clothes, furnishings, artworks and retro goods. Check out Houston Street for all things clothing-related, or The Dressing Room (http://www.the-dressingroom.com/) – a combined bar and boutique.
For great coffee, try Café Grumpy in Essex Street (http://cafegrumpy.com/) , with fresh baked pastries every day, plus fresh bread on weekends (while you’re there, check out the other vendors at the Essex Street Markets). Or there’s Pause Café (http://www.pausecafenyc.com/) , which serves juices and smoothies as well as great coffee.
Have a wonderful time shopping, sipping and eating in New York!