Like New York itself, I find shopping in Manhattan overwhelming and the sheer choice somewhat maddening though I must admit that I prefer moving about at a low-key pace to the frenetic speed that office-workers in city centres move in peak hours and lunch breaks.
I’ve always loved the laidback village-style shopping of inner city neighbourhoods rather than the bustling downtown areas, and in my hometown of Sydney always found Darlinghurst, Paddington, Surry Hills and Newtown much more fun to shop than the city centre.
Which is also why I prefer shopping in cities such as Paris, London and Amsterdam, which are really just a conglomeration of villages, compared to big cities, including one of my new favourite cities, Tokyo. (Though having said that, I still managed to write four Take-Home posts for Tokyo, didn’t I?)
As we’ve decided to focus on the East Village and Lower East Side this trip, I’ve been loving wandering the leafy streets and browsing in the vintage stores there, and in the young designer boutiques and jewellery shops in Nolita. As I’ve no room for clothes or shoes though, I’m limited to purchasing the only things a practical travel writer should sensibly buy: stationery and notebooks.
And if you’ve been reading this series, you know I’ve got a bit of an obsession with paper, primarily because I go through so much of it. Just six months into our grand tour and I’ve already gone through seven notebooks, not to mention countless pens. I find the old-fashioned way of writing with a pen on lined paper so much quicker and easier when it comes to interviews and jotting down notes on walking tours and in shops and restaurants.
There are some wonderful stationery stores here in New York, too, but there was one shop I fell in love with, as much for its absorbing selection of books on New York, as for its impeccable curation of gifts and souvenirs that scream New York (everything from umbrellas with subway maps printed on them to a beautiful line of Brooklyn products), as well as some neat notebooks, pencils and cards, such as the New Yorker series (above).
The shop is the gift store of the Tenement Museum. Make sure you set aside time to browse before you buy your tickets or at the end of your tour. More on the Museum in another post. If you’re not heading to New York soon, check out their online store here.
Tenement Museum Shop
108 Orchard Street
Lower East Side
T 212 982 8420