Before the pandemic, New York was breaking European visitor records. And it is that tourists are like their blood, if they do not circulate in its streets, the system lacks oxygen and cannot move forward. For this reason, now that the US government has decided to open its borders to vaccinated travelers on November 8, the city has turned on all its cogs and seductive power to attract foreign tourists.
Flights are lower than ever, hotels are launching very attractive offers and there are all kinds of activities. In other words, we’re in for an amazing time to travel to the Big Apple. And given that in Spain we have the December long weekend (which this year allows up to five days of festivities) and that a few days later we will have the Christmas festivities, we have prepared a selection of seven curious shops where you can buy souvenirs, Christmas gifts or other.
FAO Schwarz – for toys
This circuit through the neighborhoods of what is called “The Big Apple” will take us from the upper part of New York (Upper Manhattan) to New Jersey, on the outskirts of the city. We will go from north to south. First of all, we suggest you visit one of the most spectacular toy stores in New York and, therefore, on our planet. If their original and legendary store, founded in 1870, was located on Fifth Avenue, they had to close in 2015. In 2017, they reopened in Rockefeller Center and, when you walk through its gate, the child in you comes out. automatically.
There are plenty of toy stores scattered all over town – Lego, American Girl Place, Disney or Build-a-bear – but FAO Schwarz is pure fantasy. There are all the gifts a child can imagine. Cuenta con dos pisos divided into different sections: plushes, magic games, muñecas, golosinas… Por cierto, imprescindible pasarse por la secunda planta, donde es possible encontrar el piano gigante en el suelo que tocaba con los pies el personaje de Tom Hanks en the film Wholesale.
New Apple Store – for technology
The mythical Fifth Avenue is the heart of the city. It is one of the high places of shopping. It is perhaps the most exclusive shopping street there is. Around the corner from 57th Street is (it is said) the most expensive stretch in the world. There, the windows of brands such as Tiffany and Co., Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Bergdorf Goodman shine and shine.
However, one of the things that catches the eye the most as you stroll down the avenue is the towering glass cube of the Apple Store. Actually, it’s not a new store; it would be more correct to say that it has been renovated. Although the fact that it doubled in size in September 2019 allows us this language license. Today it is a city icon and receives more visitors per year (57 million) than the Empire State Building itself. By the way, they are open to the public 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Fishs Eddy – for household items
And going down a little further south, along Broadway, we reach Midtown (the central part of Manhattan). Broadway is synonymous with nightlife, art and culture. It is the most exceptional street in the city. It is 53 kilometers long – it is one of the longest in the world – and it goes from north to south, but unlike the others, its trajectory is a kind of diagonal. When it crosses the various avenues, some of the most popular squares are formed.
Shortly before crossing Park Avenue on 19th Street, we came across Fishs Eddys. And if we talk about making original gifts, this shop must be highlighted on the list of must-visits. It’s really weird.
Just step inside to take a peek at its oddly rustic decor, with creaky wooden floors and shelves overflowing with kitschy crockery. Of course, it’s the perfect place to find a cup (we call them cups) from memory. The variety is almost endless, from the typical skyline from Manhattan to Obama and Hillary cartoons or the classic “I love New York”. But, as we said, it’s not just cups, there are plates, glasses, tea towels or kitchen aprons. It’s definitely a great recommendation if you’re planning to decorate your kitchen or give someone a surprise Christmas gift.
Strand Book Store – for books
We continued on Broadway until we reached 13th Street. Between 1890 and the 1960s there was an area (roughly between Fourth Avenue and Union Square) called book line where second-hand bookstores and carts full of old editions dominated the streetscape. Then the books were diluted by the voracity of technology. Strand Book is one of the few survivors. Millions of copies of all kinds and all coats pass through its shelves every year. A legend defines them: 18 thousand poundsi.e. 29 km of books, in Spanish.
There is nothing less (today it is a miracle), with four floors dedicated to books. There are modern, old and contemporary classics, award-winning books, even a floor dedicated to children and young people. But what is most striking is the second floor, the Rare Book Room (rare pieces), of which the unique copies are: among others, an original edition of Alice in Wonderland and the Ulises by James Joyce signed by the same author (for those interested, it costs 45 thousand dollars).
Bloomingdal’s – for Christmas gifts
It’s clear that New Yorkers are passionate about Christmas. And let’s face it, in winter it is generally very cold (indeed, in December temperatures often drop below 0 degrees). Despite the freezing weather, there is always something that tempts you to come to town. In December, for example, the atmosphere is absolutely festive with illuminated windows (there is a route that crosses the most spectacular shops), giant Christmas trees, Christmas decorations and crowded markets open from the beginning of the month. until Christmas. Eve.
In any case, in our list of suggestions could not miss a great store like Bloomingdale’s. His Christmas universe is a luxury. Few places on the planet depict these dates with such fancifulness. As your plant shows christmas shop, where the decoration is impressive. Also, if you are traveling with children, it is worth visiting the corner where Santa Claus collects the letters with the gift lists.
Brooklyn Flea – for antiques and art
There are few things as entertaining as browsing a flea market for relics. You become an archaeologist: scratch hidden treasures. If you decide to travel to New York, you have many options available to you. There’s a flea market (they call them flea markets) in almost every neighborhood.
One of the most surprising in the city is that of the Brooklyn district. A good tip is to cross the historic bridge and stroll through one of the trendiest areas of the city. The Dumbo Flea and the Williamsburg Flea offer spectacular views of the skyline of Manhattan.
A good tip is to cross the historic bridge and stroll through one of the trendiest areas of the city.
Antiques, decoration, clothing, utensils, art, gastronomy… there is practically nothing that you cannot find. It is the kingdom of vintage. They are usually exposed in the open, when temperatures allow, which is why many end up closing in October or November. Beginning in November, however, the Smorgasburg and Brooklyn flea markets are moving from their open-air premises to 25 Kent Ave in Williamsburg, sheltered from the cold.
Empire Outlets in Staten Island – for cheap
Travelers are increasingly insatiable. We are no longer satisfied with Manhattan, or even Brooklyn, we are looking beyond. Consider that New York City is made up of five boroughs officially called boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. It is towards the latter that we will head to find a new mall (opened in 2019) full of discounts, offers and bargains. It’s the Empire Outlets and its more than 100 stores.
In fact, there are others electrical outlets the largest in New Jersey (The Mills at the New Jersey Gardens) but the beauty of the Empire Outlet is that we will get there by free ferry. It’s very easy and quick. It is orange in color and departs from the Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan’s Financial District and heads to the island in just 25 minutes. And whether you’re shopping or not, it’s a must-do experience in itself, as on the way you pass very close to Liberty Island where the majestic and iconic Statue of Liberty stands.