I remained apathetic about the shopping throughout my stay in NYC. The central city district is dominated by the same chains that cover London. Areas in the Lower East Side have some interesting stores, but they aren't in dedicated shopping districts and browsing several stores means a lot of walking. We came across a couple of holiday markets and found some cool stuff there. I was impressed with the independent jewellery designers who had stalls there. Lots of delicate and minimalistic designs in gold and silver instead of massive beaded and statement pieces.
I didn't spend much time in Soho or Greenwich Village. I'm sure that I could have found some great areas there but the main streets were dominated by the same chain stores that are everywhere else. I did find one remarkable boutique that carried Gat Rimon, a fairly obscure label that I'm currently obsessed with. We also saw Kevin Devine perform in a fantastic charity bookstore called the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe.
On our last day I set the morning aside to explore the awesome boutiques along 9th street in the East Village near where we were staying. This was the only collection of shops that really excited me. Alas when I hit them up at 10:30 am on a Saturday, I discovered that they were almost all closed till midday. The women at the Eileen Fisher boutique (Where I bought a dress that fit like it was made just for me) informed me that in this neighborhood, most people are too hungover to be either working or shopping before midday on a Saturday. I got lucky though. I discovered Meg where one of the women in the store gave me a free canvas tote because I mentioned that my best friend's name was Meg and that she'd love their stock. I picked up something small for Meg there, but had to get out before I spent money I don't have on their amazing clothing. So much silk.
I returned to 9th street that evening to find the shops all open, some of them having parties and getting an early start to the night. There was a hairdressing salon on the street that specialized in short haircuts for women. I came fairly close to going in and getting the majority of my hair lopped off.
I spent most of the time in these shops wishing that I'd had steady work in the U.K. this year, but unfortunately, without a permanent job in my current home, I was priced out of most of the boutiques.
My final stop was an awesome store that stocks vintage clothes, new clothes and a stack of interesting bits and pieces. Dusty was kind enough to offer me some champagne and tell me about the time Jonsi from Sigur Ros was in her store. She was super lovely and you should definitely check out her blog.