Monday, 30 November -0001

Shop till you drop in the Big Apple

As a New York first-timer, Mary Killen found that this alpha city is one of the most exciting places on earth… especially if you have a credit card

Written by Mary Killen
I have just made my first-ever trip to New York and I reeled with happiness. For some reason I had always preferred The Bonfire Of The Vanities depiction of New York to first-hand, bespoke anecdotes from people who had been there, lived there and interacted in social circles to my taste.

Well, my informants were right. Just being in Manhattan made me feel purposeful and excited. I loved swarming through the streets as part of a human tide of people who were going places – not just a drifting mass of human flotsam and jetsam. To be in New York in the first place you have to be something of an alpha – the city is very tricky to navigate and it is very different to how it was 20 years ago.

What I loved was the tremendous character of each distinctive district – each one just a few blocks from the other before the delineations begin. It was also the numbered streets. Whether you are going Uptown or Downtown, the counting off of the streets makes you feel a perpetual sense of progress.

We stayed in the Crosby Street Hotel. This two-year-old development takes up the space of a former car park in Downtown SoHo and is owned by an English couple, Tim and Kit Kemp, who also own a few boutique hotels in London, and whose quirky and stylish tastes are complemented by top-ofthe- range comfort, quality and brilliant food, drink and service.

The beds! The chairs! You will not find better-upholstered, firmer support anywhere. The hotel has a cosy feeling and people are waiting outside to welcome you each time you return to its cobbled street. New York has a tendency to undo you but in the Crosby Street Hotel, you immediately feel that you are deeply secure.

Your nerves may be frayed from the New York experience but nothing else is frayed in this brand-new, state-of-the-art hotel, which has won New York's first state-of-the-art Green Award. They even have a small rooftop kitchen garden where herbs for their cocktails are grown, alongside some vegetables.

You do not want to leave the hotel once you have arrived, but that would be a shame. Apart from all the known excitements, there is the recent addition of the High Line, a restored former railway track that originally brought meat into the Meatpacking District. It had fallen into disuse but so many wonderful flowers selfseeded, that a residents protection group sprang up and it is now the coolest place to go for a walk in New York. Musicians, yoga classes, and other entertainments populate the High Line and the decking is soothing to walk upon.

china-town

However, for those who have had a slack attack and want to luxuriate in their immediate locale, then you need hardly leave the streets around the hotel to have the ultimate shopping experience. Here are some of my spending tips for those who are lucky enough to be able to afford it.

Where to spend It...

AESA + ELECTRIC FEATHERS BOUTIQUE

35 Crosby Street, NY 10013: 001 212 837 2648 Brand-new store conceptualised by friends Leana Zuniga and Randi Mates for one-of-a-kind gems and silky dresses.

AESOP NOLITA

232 Elizabeth Street, NY 10012: Toll-free 001 87760 AESOP, www.aesop.com Naturally packaged cosmetics for über-ecological shoppers. Everything very delicate and reclaimed copies of The New York Times were used as a building material to signal 'highbrow' as well.

ARITZIA

524 Broadway, NY 10012: 001 212 965 2188, www.aritzia.com   A Canadian export on Broadway, a menagerie of feminine, affordable chic with edgy finishes and cuts.

CROSBY STREET HOTEL

79 Crosby Street, NY 10012: 001 212 226 6400, www.firmdalehotels.com

FRYE

113 Spring Street, NY 10012: 001 212 226 3793, www.thefryecompany.com A classic American shoe store – also ecologically correct and selling longlasting, well-made footwear.

HELMUT LANG, THEYSKENS' THEORY

93 Mercer Street, NY10012: 001 212 242 3240 A concept boutique that fuses contemporary design with fashion retailing.

IVANKA TRUMP FINE JEWELRY

109 Mercer Street, NY 10012: 001 212 756 9912, www.ivankatrumpcollection.com Ivanka, 'daughter of the Donald' has moved from Madison Avenue to this larger SoHo site where she sells shoes, handbags, watches and jewellery.

JOHN DERIAN COMPANY

6 East Second Street, between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery, NY10003: 001 212 677 3917, www.johnderrian.com Quirky oddities, ephemera, rugs, furniture and linens.

LOUIS PURPLE

323 Lafayette, NY 10012: 001 212 219 8559 A surprisingly inexpensive and friendly place, offering bespoke French tailoring for men, using wonderful Italian and English fabrics.

REI

The Puck Building, 303 Lafayette Street, NY 10012: 001 212 680 1938 Outdoor specialist where health addicts can buy the kit for snow sports, camping and wilderness walking.

THOMAS SIRES

243 Elizabeth Street, NY

10012: 001 646 692 4472, www.thomassires.com This Nolita boutique has many covetable goodies with a Franco-Japanese theme. There is clothing, toys, and trinkets. Some children'sparty- friendly prices, eg, $4 (£2.50), lots of lovely things at $100 (£65), and a top price of $800 (£520).




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