New York City is one of my favorite places to visit and probably has some of the best shopping in the world. From Madison Avenue's designer boutiques to funky one-off shops in the Meatpacking District, shoppers can find virtually anything. But finding good stuff cheap can be hard. Here's my guide to finding serious bargains in one of the most expensive cities in the world:
Stay Below 40th Street
A lot of the major designer boutiques and stores are uptown on Fifth and Madison avenues. My general rule is to stay downtown to find any bargains.
Funky and Cheap -- St. Marks Place
A great part of the East Village is St. Marks Place, which is Eighth Street between Third Avenue and Avenue A. There are all kinds of hip and funky boutiques here and other cool stores with prices lower than in other neighborhoods. It's a great place to buy all the newest styles without paying full retail, as you would in neighborhoods like Nolita and Soho. For really cheap stuff, there's a street market on St. Marks between Third and Second avenues.
If you like old junk -- I mean undiscovered treasures -- New York City's flea markets are great places for finding it. I like the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market (West 39th between Ninth and 10th) for the best selection. The market is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
Further downtown is the West 25th Street Market (between Broadway and Sixth Avenue). Also open every weekend, this one is great for furniture and household items.
An exception to my rule about traveling north of 40th Street, the GreenFlea is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It's on Columbus Avenue between West 76th and West 77th streets on the Upper West Side. All the markets offer free admission.
Outlets -- Head to Secaucus
Only minutes from Manhattan in New Jersey, The Secaucus Outlets offer deeply discounted shopping from many major brands. This outlet mall has 75 stores, and the state of New Jersey has no sales tax on clothing or shoes, saving shoppers even more money. The outlets are easily reached by bus (and car) from New York City, and there are two large traditional malls next to the outlet mall, offering even more shopping options.
Where to Find Current Sale Information
I like two sources: Racked NY as an online guide to the latest sales and fashion news and Time Out New York as a print and online source. Time Out is great to find the latest sample sales and other store news and events. Racked NY offers an irreverent look at the New York fashion industry, along with all the latest information on sample sales, store openings, and other essential shopping info.