Category Archives: New York Shopping

Woodbury Commons, Shopping Mecca

by Danielle, New York Guest Concierge

After living in NYC for 7 years I FINALLY went to Woodbury Commons and now I know why it’s one of New York’s most visited attractions. It was amazing. The best outlet store selection, anywhere.

First of all, it’s really well laid out. You’re never too far from your car or bus stop, yet you almost feel like you are in an amusement park. They have nice, clean restrooms scattered throughout the property along with lockers to store backpacks or any extra package that you don’t want to carry anymore. There are plenty of drink and ice cream vending machines around every other corner, should you have not opted for one of the many lemonade, ice cream, or kettle corn stands. There is also a regular food court that is inside and climate controlled.

Woodbury Commons is an outdoor facility but the stores are so well-designed that you can pop out of one and into another in just a few seconds.

And let’s talk about those stores. Such a wide range of choices!! From very high end–Gucci, Coach, Barney’s–to moderate–Levi, Gap, J. Crew. My husband and I didn’t know where to start, so we hit them all! Well, we walked to every area and passed at least all of the stores. We were more judicious about where we actually needed to shop.
Some store did have lines outside, letting people in a few at a time. While a bit frustrating, I totally understood when we entered the Tori Burch store. If you are shopping for the higher end items, you want more personal attention and less craziness when trying on $200 shoes.

The craziness. Not that bad. We went on a holiday weekend and while yes, there were plenty of people there, I didn’t feel completely crushed or frantic. If a store was crazy busy (Ralph Lauren), we just went to another store and came back later. The stores have plenty of inventory, so I wasn’t worried about missing out. My husband walked away with 2 nice polo shirts later on in the day, no problem. And people come here to shop. Many many people had suitcases in tow that at the beginning of the day were empty, but by the end of the day was full of fantastic purchases. Very smart if you plan on taking advantage of all this place has to offer.

The best way to get there is by bus if you aren’t doing a private charter for a group. The buses game at regular times and can hold all of your wares at the end of the day. Plus, you get to look at the beautiful view while someone else worries about traffic.  And lets not forget the setting! We were in the beautiful Catskill mountains just an hour outside of NYC! It really was gorgeous and overall a wonderful day. We will definitely be returning!

Click here to book your Woodbury Commons day trip online, or e-mail us at info@newyorkguest.com to plan a shopping-centric trip to NYC!

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William: City Sights, City Lights!

Hello Readers! My name is William and I am one of New York Guest’s newest concierges. I recently got the chance to experience a double-decker bus here in the BIg Apple and boy did I have a great time. Read on for all of my inSIGHTS!

Think you know everything about New York City?  Think again.  Double-Deck Bus Tours are great for first time visitors to The Big Apple as well as seasoned vets!  This tour is full of many different tour guides, fully loaded with knowledge about the city; each one comes with their own style and flavor, and all of them are friendly and completely approachable.  Hopping on and off is convenient and highly encouraged, as it is one of the best ways to take in the local culture, which changes from neighborhood to neighborhood.  Their thoughtfully designed routes ensure that you will not miss any of the breathe-taking attractions New York City has to offer its guests and its natives. 

Our day started with a laid back ride on the subway into the centrally located Times Square area where we wanted to pick up the uptown loop tour.  We found several City Sights helpers at the bus stop and they showed us exactly where the bus would be pulling up.  A whole 2 minutes later, the bus came.  After a zealous welcome from the tour guide, the exchange of passengers getting off and new ones getting on was so fast my girlfriend and I found ourselves in two plush seats before we were able to finish checking out all the fashionable clothes worn by the locals passing by.  There were plenty more to gawk at as we got underway.

Cruising along up 8th Avenue to Columbus, our guide was ablaze with energy as he told us about the neighborhood we were driving through, the history behind the statue of Columbus in the circle, Central Park, and the infamous Time Warner Building which boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world.  Unlike other tours where the guide talks at you, this guide was very interactive, asking questions about some of the passengers and testing their knowledge of the city before unleashing his own fount of information.  As we passed by Lincoln Center, the Dakota, and Strawberry Fields, my girlfriend remembered Zabar’s was in the area, on the corner of 80th Street and Broadway.  Zabar’s is a favorite market and grocery of locals from all over the city and the outer boroughs.  Our mouths began to water as we thought of their abundant variety of cheeses, meats, fresh fish and shellfish, prepared foods, and the thing that put them on the map – rye bread so fresh it’s hot when the baker hands it to you.  At that moment, we knew where our first stop was.

Hoping off the bus across from the Natural History Museum, it was a short walk to the famous grocer’s market.  The decision was tough, but we settled on some pork sticky buns and a buckwheat and vegetable salad lightly dressed with lemon vinaigrette.  Delicious! Of course, we had to get four loaves of the famous rye; one for dad, one for grandma, and one for each of us.

                Getting back on the bus at the Natural History Museum was a cinch.  It pulled up to the curb just as we got there, and looking down the street a bit, I saw another one coming on.  Again, we were welcomed on with open arms, and found seats right up front.  As we took off, our guide once again began a flow of information.  Occasionally, an inquisitive passenger sitting behind us asked a question, and the guide was able to go into great detail in her answer.  Another passenger was asking where they should get off to go a certain spot she wanted to see.  Realizing English was her second language, the guide began talking to her in Spanish, then she was right back up sharing her love and knowledge of the city with us. 

We continued on past St. John the Divine Cathedral, the tomb of former American President Ulysses S. Grant, and Columbia University before deciding to satisfy my girlfriend’s penchant for African art and fabrics by hopping off the bus in Harlem, right in front of the Apollo Theater.   Right away we found a street vendor selling scented oils, and quickly purchased a vile of the rose oil – Mmm.. Decadent.  Meandering around this famous part of New York, we casually browsed other vendor stands, and stopped to chat with Ben, a local who lived a few blocks away.  We asked him what some of his favorite  were, and he gave us a quick breakdown of the area.  Soon enough, we found ourselves in the Harlem Market.  We strolled through countless booths selling all sorts of African goods; jewelry, fabric, hand carved walking sticks, tribal statues, handbags, hats – the list goes on.  I was amazed at the craftsmanship! The prices were low and there was room for haggling.  After we were done shopping, we hung out for a half hour or so chatting with some of the merchants.

After a quick glance at our City Sights map, we saw there was another stop for the bus right in front of the market!  Awesome, no backtracking!  Within 5 minutes a bus was pulling up to the curb.  Larry welcomed us on board and we had plenty of seats to choose from.  


 Tired from all the shopping we decided to ride the bus the rest of the way around the loop.  We made our way out of Harlem and onto 5th Avenue, which we followed along the east side of Central Park.  We passed many of the sites we had visited often, but thanks to Larry we learned things we had never known.  I know the Metropolitan is huge, but I did not know it was the largest art gallery in the world! (Really thought the Louvre had it beat)  After learning the history of how the Frick Collection came to be, I was reminded that I had planned to go see it, but forgotten about it.  The tour guide once again ignited my desire to check it out.  He also gave a great history lesson on Grand Army Plaza which is found at the southeastern corner of Central Park.  Here there was almost too much to see, but our guide pointed everything out to us; The Plaza Hotel, F.A.O. Schwartz, The Ivy Bridge in Central Park, as well as the numerous statues of South American liberators alone Central Park South. 

Turning down 7th Ave, we enjoyed a pleasant drive at cruising speed as we passed Carnegie Hall and headed into the heart of New York City, Times Square.  This is where we started off, so we decided to depart, and leave our tour guide, Larry, a handsome tip for all his wonderful information.

Riding the Subway home, my girlfriend and I reminisced about our day.  The zany tour guide who first picked us up, and bid us, “Good eats!” as we headed to Zabar’s; the beautiful architectural work encompassing Central Park; the rich ethnicity and open-hearts of the locals in the Harlem marketplace; and the new things we learned about the things we knew everything about.  City Sights is a must for first timers, and even more so for those who know so much about the city, they need to be surprised.  We saw so much of our city that day, and were able to casually peruse it the way we wanted to, finding and exploring our own path to inspiration. 

If it’s your first time or fifth time in New York City and you want to really see New York, give us a call.

Make sure to mention this blog post and you will recieve 10% off of City Sights vouchers now through August 31st!

We look forward to hearing from you! (212) 302-4019 or info@newyorkguest.com

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The Highline’s Newest Highlight

Recently one of my great friends from college got home from a trip of a lifetime to the Western Hemisphere. Being a travel lover, I just had to hear all about her trip through Bali, Australia, Japan, and India. A few of my other friends felt the same way so we decided to meet at the newest beer garden to pop up in New York City, the Lot on Tap.

My Friends and I enjoying the High Line

 The Lot on Tap recently opened with the addition to the second section of the High Line.

The High Line was built in the 1930’s as an elevated freight line to avoid train traffic and accidents on the west side of New York City. This service stopped running in 1980 and when the city wanted to tear it down, a non-profit group called “The Friends of the High Line” took action to make sure this historical structure was preserved. In 2002, the group was granted permission and worked for the next seven years to create a beautifully landscape public park.

The High Line public park runs between 10th and 11th Avenues from Gansevoort Street to 30th street. The first section of the High Line (from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street) opened in June 2009 and the second section (West 20th Street to 30th Street) just opened on June 8th of this year.

 The Lot on Tap is operated by Collicchio and Sons (yes, Top Chef fans, this is one of  Tom’s creations!) and is open from 12pm to 11pm daily. The Lot on Tap offers seasonal wines, locally brewed beers (I highly recommend Captain Lawrence’s Liquid Gold), soda, and water. There are even food trucks stationed on the lot, like the infamous Red Hook Lobster Truck.  I don’t think you can beat an ice cold drink and a lobster roll on a hot summer day. 

The Lot of Tap is a great place to relax at the end of the day. Aside from the Lot on Tap, the High Line Park offers stunning views of the west side and amazing landscapes by some of the best designers. There are often pop-up shops and arts and craft fairs along this path during the summer. I also highly recommend you check out Chelsea Market for unique shops, farm-to-table restaurants and gourmet stands. 

If you’re looking to take a stroll on a nice summer day, the High Line is the place to go!

 Looking to enjoy the sun and some fun in New York City? Contact me at blenowicz@newyorkguest.com and I would love to share the great activities NYC has to offer! -Beth

Looking for unique event space for a corporate event or wedding? The High Line is a great venue that is unlike any other. Give my colleague Lora a call at (212) 302-4019 or email her at lgreen@newyorkguest.com  for more information.

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You Are What You Eataly

Greetings again!  Alicia here, one of New York Guest’s expert concierges!  Since it’s my duty to be familiar with the most popular city destinations, (especially ones that involve food!!), this past Sunday, I set out to visit the acclaimed Batali/Bastianich collaboration – Eataly!  I thought that it was time I experienced the Italian specialty mother-ship myself, considering the growing popularity as a lunch destination for so many our guests! 

Carbs Anyone?

Upon entering Eataly, I was instantly amazed at the size of the multi-level space.  In August of 2010 this Food Network trio took over the entire first floor of an office building creating an Italian food extravaganza!  Eataly includes a variety of full service restaurants, an Italian marketplace, a wine and cheese bar (live music on Sunday afternoon) a butcher, a world class bakery, a rooftop beer garden and even an Italian brewery.  It’s a place where New Yorker’s and its guests can sample and shop (with a glass of wine in one hand) the highest quality of Italian products while others relax and dine on Italian dishes – classic and reinvented!

The marketplace is clearly designed to inspire cooking and does not disappoint!  Every Italian grocery product you could imagine was there . . . fresh pasta,  gourmet meat, beautiful vegetables, cheeses, sauces, and even cookbooks, while the restaurants served up specialty dishes which included seafood, pizza, fresh pasta, meat and even Vegetarian Italian!  If planning a visit, it’s important to note that only one of the restaurants will accept dinner reservations.   So be prepared to wait for a table – it may be a while!  On the up side, while waiting, you can stroll the isles of the market or enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate at the wine bar while you wait.  It is most definitely worth the wait!

Veggie Heaven!

I opted to skip dinner and go straight for dessert (brilliant call on my part)! The espresso and gelato station was amazing!  After sampling every flavor of gelato and irritating all the people behind me in line, I decided on the classic chocolate gelato.  And it was worth it!    On my way out I grabbed an espresso to go and called it a day! 

Overall I really enjoyed my Eataly experience.  I could do without the crowd  . . . but hey, that’s New York! 

 My best advice to guests that plan on visiting . . . Enjoy!  However, be prepared to spend a fair amount of time inside.  This is not a place for a quick bite to eat.   Go on weekday afternoon and late evening as it is rumored to be less crowded.  (weekends are a madhouse! )

Next time I will be sampling all the “flavors” of the wine bar . . . stay tuned!

 

Want to know a secret? Eataly is opening a rooftop beer garden on the fifteenth floor! Rooftops and beergardens are ever so popular here in New York. Eataly has ingeniously decided to combine the two! Supposidly the highest brewery in the states, La Birreria boasts 8,000 square feet of drinking, eating and brew-watching. It opens June 3rd, so make sure to check it out and tell us all about it!

 

Have an upcoming trip to New York City this spring/summer???  Call us at (212) 302-4019 or email info@newyorkguest.com  Our expert concierge staff is here 24/7 to assist you with any arrangements such as restaurant reservations, theater tickets, airport transfers or any other questions you have about New York City!  

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Wholesale Heaven! A Look inside Beth’s Recent Shopping Experience

 I can’t say I have ever minded living in the fashion capital of the world. Shopping has always been one of my favorite things to do (just ask my mom) and I will find ANY excuse to buy something new! With the bitter cold winter that we had coming to an end,  I have been anxious to shed my parka and snow boots in exchange for sundresses and wedges. Always looking for new and fun designs, I decided to go on a women’s shopping tour of the Garment District. The Garment District is a large section of the city, spanning from 34th and 42nd Streets to Fifth and Ninth Avenues. The area is home to many of the world’s best designers, as well as fabric and accessory stores. With an area so big and samples sales everywhere it can be hard to navigate through it all on your own. Luckily, my colleague Lora and I got the opportunity to take a guided tour.

Fashion Avenue

Our tour started out at the world’s largest trim store, where we met our tour guide, Sarah. The store had any accessory or trim you can think of stocked to the ceiling! My mind was racing with ideas for new and fun do-it-yourself fashion. The walls of accessories went on for miles and I settled on some cool feathers. I think I will use them on an upcoming headband creation! I will definitely be back there soon to pick up some more pieces. After the trim store we went to seven different sample sales. A sample sale is when you get to shop designer discount racks and save a ton on your purchases. We got the chance to shop vintage jewelry pieces, new season furs and last season clothing and accessories up to 75% off! It was truly amazing and we would not have known about these sample sales if we hadn’t been on this tour. Lora and I both bought  great necklaces that were custom made by a private label firm that makes pieces for some IT designers like Escada and Tory Burch.

Giant Needle & Button in NYC’s Fashion District

Aside from the women’s tour there are also men’s tours of the Garment District, Soho boutique tours, upscale stores like Bloomingdales and Bergdorf Goodman and private tours as well (all complete with a personal shopper). I highly recommend these New York shopping tours to groups as well as individuals looking for a bargain or an upscale experience. I even booked the Soho Boutique Tour for my girlfriend’s birthday. You can never do enough shopping, right?

A Typical NYC Wholesale Showroom

Coming in to scratch that shopping itch? Let us help you by booking a New York shopping tour! Call me at (212) 302-4019 or email me at Blenowicz@newyorkguest.com. I look forward to helping you find the best clothes and deals in the Fashion Capital of the World!

— Beth

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New York City: Off the Beaten Path!

Many think of glitz and glamour when they think of New York– especially Manhattan. The bright lights, fancy restaurants, luxurious hotels and posh nightlife are some of the main reasons travelers visit this great city!  There are so many other reasons to visit as well. New York City is the capital of self expression as well as diversity. There are so many interesting activities and attractions that sometimes get lost in the glitz of this city; some are also FREE! Are you looking to experience the city a little differently on your next trip to NYC? Looking for something other than the regular sightseeing and hotel options? This post is for you!

The Lobby of the Ace Hotel in Chelsea

The Ace Hotel defines diversity as this is not your cliché New York property!  The hotel’s decor is comprised primarily of works from local designers and artists creating a more urban/hip style. When you enter the hotel, the lobby is reminiscent of a HUGE Living room. Guests are drinking tea, coffee, “beverage of choice” and mingling in this common space. The rooms at the Ace Hotel are elegant, but simple. The Ace Hotel is not fussy, but fun!  There is a really nice shop in the hotel selling clothing that is designed by local up-and-coming designers; another one-of-a-kind aspect of the Ace!

In regards to touring the city there are many unique activities from which to choose:

If you are into Movies and Television there is a great tour that I personally took that is a great way to experience New York City from a different perspective.  The New York TV and Movie Sites Tour is 3.5 hours of fun and loaded with awesome information. Not only do you visit the actual sites, but you learn facts about the films/shows and the filming process as well. You don’t realize before you take this tour how many TV shows and movies feature gorgeous New York City.

The Graffiti Tours of New York are also different way to see the sites. The tour will teach you the history, techniques, visuals, and vocabulary needed to understand graffiti as an art form. This new tour option is a great way to see another side of the city that is truly unexpected– email me directly for more tour information and pricing.

Hudson River Skate Park

The Hudson River Skate Park is FREE! If you enjoy Skateboarding or even just watching it this is a great place to go.  I also suggest visiting The STRAND Bookstore. There are so many rare finds and interesting reads; more than 2.5 million used, new and rare books, a renovated main store and a growing author events program.

For those who like a thrill, why not take a New York Helicopter Tour over the Island o f Manhattan? It is really thrilling and the views are unlike any other! This is an eclectic way to see the “regular” but spectacular NYC Landmarks!

The Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour is also exhilarating! Pedal over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn Heights, considered to be America’s first suburb, boasting amazing skyline views across the water and then head back across the river on the Brooklyn Bridge, gliding peacefully above vehicular traffic and stopping to take amazing panoramic photos of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and more. You explore downtownManhattan, the hub of the American financial system, plus Battery Park, South Street Seaport, Wall Street and more!

Shopping in New York Citycan range from Upscale 5th Avenue Stores, department Stores and of course VINTAGE! There are many great Vintage shops from which to choose. My Colleague Lora enjoys BEACON’S CLOSET in Williamsburg Brooklyn; read her post on vintage shopping! I enjoy What Goes Around Comes Around located in SoHo where the clothing and accessories are retro and unlike no other!

Whatever your interests may be, I am happy to customize your trip! Please contact me for assistance with your travel plans toNew York City. Call me at (212) 302-4019 or email me at JUrban@newyorkguest.com. I look forward to help you with a great, unusual itinerary of New York City!

–Jana

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Lora: Shop Vintage!

Come to New York City and you will surely find your 5th Avenue designer duds and your Soho best-sellers.  But being the Fashion Capital of the World, New York City has so many hidden vintage gems.

I love shopping; some might even say I have an addiction. BUT I am a very savvy shopper! Nothing thrills me more then a great bargain. Sure, I could go to Bloomingdales or H & M with everyone else (which of course I sometimes do), buy something off the rack at full price then walk down the street and see at least 5 people with the same top. Or I could seek out the hidden vintage gems New York City has to offer. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe what I have found! I am constantly getting compliments on my pretty purchases and I love to say I shop vintage!

Beacon's Closet - My initiation to all things vintage

Truth: At first, I couldn’t do it. There is something about buying something new and fresh that has no comparison. Putting on clothing that someone else has worn took some getting used to. But once I got over that, I was in vintage state of mind.  My first vintage experience was at Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I went to the Brooklyn Brewery with some friends and across the street this hot pink building was calling my name. I went in and was a bit overwhelmed by the endless racks of clothes. But I decided to sift through and found some great stuff! The price tags were amazing: I found designer duds for CHEAP and I can be confident no one else will be wearing the same outfit.

Do these come in my size? Hope so!

I was hooked but I didn’t exactly try to seek any new stores out. I was convinced that I would have to travel to Williamsburg when I wanted to get my vintage fix.

Was I wrong! One of my favorite things to do is explore new neighborhoods in the city. I love to ride my bike and explore New York City and each time I am delighted to find something new. Sometimes I find a new vintage store. It’s definitely hit or miss, which my bank account is okay with. However, when I hit, I hit big and my shopping addictive self feels NYC-satisfied!

Contact me for shopping suggestions!

 

If you are coming to New York and need any shopping tips, please call me for my expert advise– I have the receipts to prove it! Reach me at LGreen@newyorkguest.com or at (212) 302-4019.

My other favorite Vintage Spots:

New York Vintage
Screaming Mimi’s
1 of a Find
Buffalo Exchange
Cheap Jack’s
Chelsea Girl Couture

— Lora

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