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NYC Shopping - The Racked 38 Most Essential Experiences

Updated for 2014, Racked NY NY has compiled its annual list of top New York City shopping experiences, entitled The Racked 38. It includes luxury, international brands as well as uniquely local fashion and specialty choices - they all are worthy of your consideration. The list is generally numbered in order from north to south.

On this page we offer a brief overview of the list members and a map to guide you to the locations. To obtain more information, visited the store’s official website. If you would like to see the original and complete 2015 Winter List with more complete descriptions and map, visit Racked NY's official website.

View our Map of All 38 Racked List Shopping Experiences.

Top New York City Shopping Experiences

#1  Otte

Location: 1232 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Phone:
(212) 744-4002

Overview:
Otte operates storefronts in the West Village, Nolita, Tribeca, and Madison Avenue, but its Upper East Side flagship is still worth the trip if you've already been to the other three. Inside, there's no shortage of mid- to high-range brands like Acne, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Isabel Marant, and Thakoon.

Official Website

#2  Fivestory

Location: 18 E. 69th St., New York, NY 10021
Phone:
(212) 288-1338

Overview:
Since it opened in 2012, Fivestory has garnered plenty of attention for its extremely well-edited selection of high-end merchandise. Expect pricey designer goods from Peter Pilotto, Balmain, and Preen, and mainstream lines like Alexander Wang and Carven.

Official Website

#3  Kate Spade

Location: 789 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10065
Phone:
(212) 988-0259

Overview:
We don't mean to gush, but Kate Spade's Madison Avenue townhouse-flagship is truly a remarkable store—it encompasses four floors, boasts firework-esque chandeliers and gilded bird cages for decor, and carries all of the brand's offerings, from ready-to-wear to accessories to home goods, and everything in between. Plus, it's the only place you can shop the higher-end Madison Collection.

Official Website

#4  Barneys New York

Location: 660 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10065
Phone:
(212) 826-8900

Overview:
Barneys' decidedly unstuffy approach to high-end style makes it a favorite of fashion types, from ladies who lunch to downtown hipsters and everyone in between. And there have been a handful of significant improvements of the past few years, from the merger of the men's and women's co-ops to the revamped shoe salon and men's accessories floor.

Official Website

#5  Bergdorf Goodman

Location: 754 5th Ave., New York, NY 10022
Phone:
(212) 753-7300

Overview:
Bergdorf Goodman is known for lavish window displays, world-class designer shopping and the 9th floor John Barrett salon, where Bergdorf blondes get their highlights. If stores were people, Bergdorf would be Barneys' impeccably coiffed older sister who might not have a great sense of humor, but her clothes cost more than most houses. The fifth floor, dubbed 5F, is where you'll find contemporary brands.

Official Website

#6  Saks Fifth Avenue

Location: 611 5th Ave., New York, NY 10017
Phone:
(212) 753-4000

Overview:
Saks Fifth Avenue has been undergoing a major retail revival over the past few years. Most recently, they've announced plans to revamp their cosmetics floor, shops-in-shop for luxury handbags, and the café. Smaller projects include the return of its awnings and a new designer sneaker shop.

Official Website

#7  Dover Street Market New York

Location: 160 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10016
Phone:
(646) 837-7750

Overview:
The Comme des Garçons Dover Street Market is a game changer for New York City retail: it's located in a neighborhood that's definitely not known for its fashion, and is arguably the epitome of the high-end boutique alternative to Manhattan's traditional concept of a department store. It's seven floors, and carries everything from Supreme tee shirts to custom Prada—with a lot of CDG labels scattered throughout.

Official Website

#8  Comme des Garçons

Location: 520 W 22nd St., New York, NY 10011
Phone:
(212) 604-9200

Overview:
Like a high-fashion boutique designed by Dr. Seuss, this Chelsea stalwart recently underwent a major golden makeover. Mastermind Rei Kawakubo's reasoning for the color change: "When given a choice, babies gravitate toward gold."

Official Website

#9  STORY

Location: 144 10th Ave., New York, NY 10011
Phone:
(212) 242-2694

Overview:
Story describes itself as "a retail space that has the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery and sells things like a store." Every few months, it'll shut down for a couple weeks to reopen with a totally new concept. They also feature a lot of local crafters, hosting a pitch night every so often to find new talent. As of this publication, the store is "turnover," meaning they're getting set up for the next round. But we're sure that it'll definitely be something worth heading to 10th Avenue for.

Official Website

#10  Diane von Furstenberg

Location: 874 Washington St., New York, NY 10014
Phone:
(646) 486-4800

Overview:
Diane von Furstenberg's Meatpacking flagship really embraces the idea that a boutique's design should reflect the message of its clothes. The store is a bright, colorful and adamantly modern showcase for the designer's signature frocks and more. Be sure to check out the accessories shop, too.

Official Website

#11  Housing Works Thrift Shop

Location: 143 W 17th St., New York, NY 10011
Phone:
(718) 838-5050

Overview:
The Chelsea location is widely regarded as the best of the Housing Works thrift shops, which sell used clothing and furniture to benefit homeless New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. The space looks like a designer store, and it's a really good place find deals on great furniture and clothing while supporting a good cause.

Official Website

#12  ABC Carpet & Home

Location: 888 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Phone:
(212) 473-3000

Overview:
This home decor mecca maintains a warehouse-chic aesthetic for decorators who like their high-end antiques to come with a bit of character. Check out the location across the street for furniture, linens and other home accessories.

Official Website

#13  Owen

Location: 809 Washington St., New York, NY 10014
Phone:
(212) 524-9770

Overview:
A true testament to a new boutique's staying power is how well it stacks up against its competition, and in Meatpacking, Owen has its fair share of that. However, in just a short period of time, Owen's not only made a name for itself in the neighborhood, but has also developed a loyal clientele—thanks to its mix of established contemporary designers and hip, under-the-radar brands.

Official Website

#14  Personnel of New York

Location: 9 Greenwich Ave., New York, NY 10014
Phone:
(212) 924-0604

Overview:
As Jon Caramanica wrote, the potential outfits inside Personnel of New York "prioritize comfort, but they don't lean on it like a crutch." That means easy, reasonably priced merchandise from both established and up-and-coming NYC- and LA-based designers like Mara Hoffman, Objects Without Meaning, and more.

Official Website

#15  C.O. Bigelow

Location: 414 6th Ave., New York, NY 10011
Phone:
(212) 533-2700

Overview:
A West Village destination for those who prefer their retail laced with history instead of topped with buttercream frosting, this 176-year-old pharmacy is notable for its selection of hard-to-find beauty products, including European imports and a well-loved house line. And the space is old-fashioned and charming—you can picture one-time customer Mark Twain wandering around the aisles, even if you can't quite imagine him picking up a Tocca candle for $38.

Official Website

#16  The Strand

Location: 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Phone:
(212) 473-1452

Overview:
If the idea of 55,000 square feet of books sounds attractive, you must visit The Strand. The over-80-year-old establishment houses thousands of discounted new and used titles, rare books, and hard-to-find art and photography books.

Official Website

#17  Kiehl's

Location: 109 3rd Ave., New York, NY 10003
Phone:
(212) 677-3171

Overview:
Like Bigelow, this apothecary has been around for decades—it just celebrated its 163rd birthday. But unlike Bigelow, Kiehl's is obsessively modern, from its simple recyclable packaging to its frequently-updated line of magical skincare products.

Official Website

#18  Oak

Location: 28 Bond St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:
(212) 677-1293

Overview:
For all things black and asymmetric, Oak should be your first stop. Lines like Pleasure Principle and Grey Ant mingle with the store's in-house label. A lower priced offshoot cleverly called A.Ok offers a mix of clothing and accessories that achieves the store's dark-luxe aesthetic at a fraction of the cost.

Official Website

#19  Warby Parker

Location: 121 Greene St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:
(646) 568-3720

Overview:
For its first official stand-alone shop in Soho, Warby Parker took inspiration from classic-yet-modern libraries, with rows of glasses piled up to the ceiling like books. Eye exams are available for $50, seven days a week, and there's a photo booth in the back so you can get the full effect of your new frames. Be sure to also check out their Soho and Upper East Side locations.

Official Website

#20  Dolce Vita

Location: 255 Elizabeth St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:
212-226-0635

Overview:
If you're young, female, and stylish and you don't make a banker's salary, then there's a good chance your closet contains at least one pair of Dolce Vita shoes. The clothes here are cute, but this boutique is really all about the footwear, which is perfectly calibrated to be smack-dab on-trend and highly affordable.

Official Website

#21  What Goes Around Comes Around

Location: 351 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Phone:
(212) 343-1225

Overview:
There's nothing twee or fusty about this Soho vintage shop, which has made a name for itself with an enormous selection of designer pieces, many with a rocker edge, for men and women. The selection also includes high-end designer bags and jewelry from Chanel and the like. Fun fact: Gerard Maione told us that rapper 2 Chainz is a fan.

Official Website

#22  Kirna Zabete

Location: 477 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
Phone:
(212) 941-9656

Overview:
Started in 1999 by best friends Beth Buccini and Sarah Easley, Kirna Zabete has always had its finger on the pulse of what shoppers will love from their favorite high-end names (Valentino, Proenza Schouler, Céline) and some new labels that are about to blow up. When they first came up, no one in New York housed such a varied collection of designers, so they've paved the way for some of our other favorite shops. They outgrew their old storefront on Greene Street last year and covered their new space with neon signage and crazy chandeliers.

Official Website

#23  Carson Street Clothiers

Location: 63 Crosby St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:
(212) 925-2627

Overview:
Carson Street Clothiers has only been open for just over a year, but it's quickly become one of the most buzzed-about men's stores in the city. Co-owners Brian Trunzo and Matt Breen have a background in the #menswear blogosphere (see: Nice Try, Bro) and corporate law. Thanks to an in-house line and labels like Patrik Ervell and Mackintosh, the store is an interesting mix of both.

Official Website

#24  Odin

Location: 199 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:
(212) 996-0023

Overview:
The NYT once called Odin's style "spiffed up workwear," which is a perfect descriptor so long as you don't actually plan to do any work. High prices come with high quality, and this original Odin location boasts brands like Burkman Bros, Engineered Garments, and Thom Browne. Essentially, it's the perfect store for the man who resolves to dress better and doesn't mind paying more than Gap prices to do so.

Official Website

#25  Creatures Of Comfort

Location: 205 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:
212-925-1005

Overview:
Owner Jade Lai has terrific taste and a killer eye for color, as embodied by her Nolita shop's selection of cool-kid labels like Rachel Comey, A Détacher, Isabel Marant, and the house line. If you want to look like you work in an art gallery, here's where to shop.

Official Website

#26  Warm

Location: 181 Mott Street, New York, NY 10012
Phone:
212-925-1200

Overview:
Husband and wife team Winnie Beattie and Rob Magnotta really hit the nail on the head with the name of their Mott Street boutique, Warm. It's particularly cozy inside, and boasts a well-edited selection of clothing and accessories from designers like Vanessa Bruno, Tracy Feith, Araks, and Jerome Dreyfuss.

Official Website

#27  Erica Weiner

Location: 173 Elizabeth St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:
(212) 334-6383

Overview:
It's easy to find well-made expensive jewelry, and it's easy to find cheap trendy accessories made under dubious circumstances, but it's tough to find pieces that split the difference. Weiner's collection ranges from vintage to antique to new stuff that's handmade in NYC, and it's not much pricier than certain chains we could mention. If you'd prefer to shop in Brooklyn, check out her store on Atlantic Avenue.

Official Website

#28  Spiritual America

Location: 5 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002
Phone:
(212) 960-8564

Overview:
Name a buzzy label—Surface to Air, Loeffler Randall, Vanessa Bruno, United Bamboo—and chances are good that you'll find it here. But unlike a lot of similar stores, both the pricing and the selection are accessible for those of us who aren't heiress/supermodel/DJs.

Official Website

#29  Opening Ceremony

Location: 35 Howard St., New York, NY 10013
Phone:
(212) 219-2688

Overview:
Currently the destination for it-labels like Alexander Wang, Band of Outsiders and Kenzo, Opening Ceremony has benefited from major publicity in magazines, blogs, and from interviews with the well-connected founders. Their own label and collabs with the likes of Chlöe Sevigny and Jeremy Scott keep OC at the top of the retail game. It also helps that its Howard Street location makes it feel like a special nook in Soho.

Official Website

#30  American Two Shot

Location: 135 Grand St., New York, NY 10013
Phone:
(212) 925-3403

Overview:
Billed as the next Opening Ceremony and run by a pair of best friends, American Two Shot is as cool a place to hang out as it is to shop, thanks to the Café Integral coffee bar in the front of the store. The merchandise is mostly indie brands and some vintage, and you can always see what's new in store via the shop's prolific Instagram and Tumblr posts.

Official Website

#31  Steven Alan Annex

Location: 103 Franklin St., New York, NY 10013
Phone:
(212) 343-0692

Overview:
Steven Alan won over hipsters in the blingy pre-recession era with his classic low-key Americana. His Tribeca Annex is filled with plaid shirts for men and gamine looks for women, plus a carefully selected collection of pieces from like-minded brands like APC and Rachel Comey, as well as a new eyewear shop.

Official Website

#32  In God We Trust

Location: 70 Greenpoint St., Brooklyn, NY 11222
Phone:
(718) 389-3545

Overview:
The flagship for this New York mini-chain also houses the brand's offices and the studio where they make their cheeky jewelry. Ladies should go for the '70s-inspired long skirts and high-waisted shorts; guys should go for slim trousers, and to buy presents for their ladyfriends.

Official Website

#33  Space Ninety 8

Location: 98 N. 6th St., Brooklyn, NY 11249
Phone:
(718) 599-0209

Overview:
Say what you want about Urban Outfitters, but there's no denying that their latest concept store is pretty ridiculous—in a good way. There's the Market Space with dozens of local artisans, the expanded Urban Renewal section, and the basement pop-up shop, currently featuring Adidas Originals. There's the larger selection of both labels and product for men, women, and home. And aside from shopping, there's a bar, a restaurant, and a sick rooftop deck. Few stores outside of traditional department stores can lay claim to all these elements—and the architecture inside the restored warehouse is amazing as well.

Official Website

#34  Pilgrim Surf + Supply

Location: 68 N 3rd St., Brooklyn, NY 11249
Phone:
(718) 218-7456

Overview:
Step into this airy Williamsburg shop and find yourself transported to a place that makes you want to use the world "chill." Arguably your best bet in the city for purchasing a surfboard, if Rockaway and Montauk are your weekend go-tos. Bonus: cute boys by the dozens.

Official Website

#35  Bird

Location: 203 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone:
(718) 388-1655

Overview:
Jennifer Mankins' Brooklyn mini-empire has three outposts, but the 'Burg location is the biggest. The big, warm, LEED-certified space carries Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant, Rag & Bone, and other designers so of-the-moment that if you only shopped there for the rest of your life, you'd still look hip.

Official Website

#36  Swords-Smith

Location: 98C South 4th St., Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone:
(347) 599-2969

Overview:
This spacious, airy Williamsburg boutique sells both men's and women's clothing and accessories from indie labels like Degen, Lauren Moffatt, and Filson, alongside their own in-house line. (Bonus: the cute store sidekick, Ginge.)

Official Website

#37  Brooklyn Flea

Location: 176 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Phone:
na

Overview:
Brooklyn Flea is now basically everywhere—there's markets in Fort Greene (the address listed here), Park Slope, and DUMBO. The Williamsburg market is moving to a to-be-determined address in the coming months.

Official Website

#38  Article&

Location: 198 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone:
(718) 852-3620

Overview:
Lara Fieldbinder converted her namesake store into the concept Article&, in order to get back to the needs of her core customer: creative working types in New York City and beyond. Inside, you'll find the best of the new store's selection of cool, contemporary brands and the same sweet, attentive service.

Official Website


Map of Racked's 38 Top NYC Shopping Experiences

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