Interested in a condensed route to some of the best discount shopping in Manhattan? Don’t spend your time and energy shopping around – I’ve done the legwork for you!
“Never pay retail” is an adage most New Yorkers have ingrained in their souls. We know that due to the huge sales volume and selection of retail options here, we can usually find the best prices on anything; sometimes even better than the price at the country of the item’s origination.
Thanks to early advanced training from a mother who could be a professional shopper, over the years I have distinguished myself as a savvy buyer. I’m the person friends, coworkers and clients ask when they need to find anything; one of my areas of expertise on Tripadvisor is shopping and sourcing items.
While shopping opportunities abound in NYC, I’ve chosen the route I typically take on weekends – from my neighborhood in Chelsea to the northern reaches of the Village. I’ve also included alternatives in different parts of Manhattan.
This informal tour was designed to start at the 18th Street subway station on the #1 Line to be positioned for Loehmann’s the discount designer store. Unfortunately, Loehmann’s is no longer with us, and by the time you read this Barney’s could be back in what was their original store location. Barney’s hasn’t been a discount store in eons but they have excellent sales, including their semi-annual Warehouse Sale. If you want an look at what people with money and style are currently wearing in NYC, Barney’s is a good place to browse.
This itinerary ends just below Union Square – and can easily be done in reverse, but I purposely positioned the stores with heavier items at the end.
Marshalls; TJ Maxx; Bed, Bath, Beyond – 620 6th Avenue (between 18th-19th Streets)
This landmark building houses 3 great stores. Marshalls has great deals on clothing, shoes and accessories. They excel at cookware; I’ve seen copper pans for $49.95 (the week after I schlepped one back from Paris!), All Clad for a fraction of the price other discounters offer. It is hit or miss. Bed, Bath Beyond is not a discounter, but if you’re visiting from overseas the prices may be attractive. Everything you need for the home; huge variety. TJMaxx is my least favorite of the discounters but I occasionally find things there. They have a big children’s department and good deals on sheets/towels.
Adorama – 42 West 18th Street (between 5th-6th Avenues)
The best place for photo equipment and electronics in NYC. Huge volume keeps prices low. Where professional photographers and serious enthusiasts shop. Excellent service from knowledgeable sales people. Less of a zoo than B&H, with competitive prices. They also have a great dive shop upstairs – Leisurepro. Closed Friday night/Saturday and Jewish Holidays. Open on Sunday.
Food Break – City Bakery – 3 West 18th Street (between 5th-6th Avenues)
Not a bargain by any means, but a destination in itself. The buffet in the back can add up, but the food is fresh and inventive. The baked goods are so excellent, you’ll notice several of them are labeled in Japanese. If people from Japan seek out this obscure bakery for its pretzel croissants, that says it all! The hot chocolate is also wonderful; they have a month of special hot chocolate offerings in February.
Paragon Sports – 867 Broadway at 18th Street
Not a discounter, but they have great sales. And, if you’re visiting from overseas, the prices are hard to beat. Patagonia, North Face, Mountain Hardware clothing; huge selection of luggage, travel and camping gear; everything golf, tennis, snowboarding, skiing. Everything sports and outdoors. I wish they had a frequent shopper program!
DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) – 40 East 14th Street (between University Place and Broadway)
A shrine to shoes. Not all brands/styles, but a huge selection of women’s and men’s shoes and handbags, socks. Any sort of shoe; sneakers/trainers, flats, heels, casual to major designer. Spotted Jimmy Choo and Prada women’s shoes yesterday.
Nordstrom Rack – 60 East 14th Street (at 4th Avenue)
I have yet to visit this store, but I have visited their Chicago location. A mix of men’s, women’s clothing and accessories and housewares. Wasn’t impressed by my visit, but it may be worth a quick stop if you have time and are in the area.
The Strand – 828 Broadway at 12th Street
The best place to buy books in NYC. Discounts at least 10% compared to Barnes & Noble. Great travel, art and cookbook selection. Bestsellers discounted. Best prices on Moleskines, including the city guides. Massive selection of NYC books for visitors by the front entrance.
Broadway Panhandler – 65 East 8th Street (between University Place and Broadway)
The Bowery kitchen supply stores may have better prices on no-name restaurant pans/supplies, but the Broadway Panhandler consistently offers the best prices on major brands of cookware, kitchen appliances/gadgets, knives, etc. Their All-Clad deals can’t be beat -unless you get lucky at Marshalls.
From the Broadway Panhandler, walk back to Broadway and 8th Street for the entrance to the N,R subway lines, or continue on 8th Street 1 block east to the 6 line. You’re also a short walk from Soho, St. Marks Place and the East Village.
Other discounters worth visiting:
Century 21 – 22 Cortlandt Street (between Church-Broadway, downtown) or 1972 Broadway (between 66th-67th by Lincoln Center)
Must-visit store for discount shoppers. The shoe department isn’t what it once was, but it is still worth a trip. The clothing floors can be disorganized. I tend to gravitate toward the newly stocked racks with all the same items in assorted sizes; avoiding the jumbled racks with mixed items and sizes. I rarely walk out of this store empty handed. In addition to the clothes, they have an excellent selection of sheets, towels, cookware and some luggage.
Bowery Kitchen Supply – in Chelsea Market – 9th Avenue (between 15th-16th Streets).
Everything you need to cook at home or in a restaurant at very good prices. Not as cheap as when they were on the Bowery, but much less than other specialty store prices. Price compare with Broadway Panhandler.
Pearl River Mart – 477 Broadway (between Grand & Broome Streets)
Inexpensive stuff from China. If you need pretty chopsticks, tea sets, ceramic platter or serving bowls, paper lanterns or other decorative things, Asian food items or cookware, this is one stop shopping. Lots of great gifts and souvenirs. Cheap cotton Tshirts; I live in these on the road. Not as touristy as the stores in Chinatown.
B&H Photo – 420 9th Avenue (between 33rd and 34th Streets)
Adorama is my regular spot, but I always check prices at B&H (bhphoto.com) before buying. They’re neck and neck and sometimes B&H comes out ahead. The store is worth visiting for the experience. Make sure to look up!
Jam Paper – 135 3rd Avenue (between 14th and 15th Streets)
A great source for paper, envelopes, wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, cellophane.
Altman Luggage – 135 Orchard Street (between Rivington – Kenmare)
Best prices and selection on all major brands of luggage. Everything is better priced here.
This entire neighborhood is full of discounters. You may want to stroll Orchard, Rivington, Kenmare, Essex and other nearby streets for an hour.
If you would rather do dishes than deal with discount stores, be aware that out of state visitors, and those from other countries, can get discount cards at most NYC major department stores by showing your ID. Macy’s, Bloomingdales and others have these programs. Check online or at the stores’ information desks when you arrive.
New York is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you know where to shop. Why overpay or spend time here shopping around for the best prices when Suitcaseready.com can do that for you?
Originally posted December 15, 2011.