Whether you’re a tourist or local, you should be aware that shopping in New York City can be pricey. However, if you know how to find them, bargains are everywhere. As an ex-New Yorker, I go back often to stock up on everything from seasonal clothing to electronics to the latest in contemporary furnishings. As a senior shopper, I like the convenience of New York City. I can get around by cab, and there are many places to stop, eat, and take a break.
Here are some suggestions on how and where to do your senior shopping in the Big Apple.
Rules of the Game
No matter where you look for bargains in the Big Apple, don’t accept the label numbers or clerk-quoted prices, especially on more expensive items. The economy is tough these days, and New York merchants are eager for business. They’re well aware that selling an item at a lower price is better than not selling it at all. Use the wisdom of your years to be a tough negotiator, and don’t forget to ask for senior discounts.
This area in Lower Manhattan is still a great place to find bargains. However, considering the current flood of mainland Chinese goods now available in American big-box stores, the venerable neighborhood isn’t quite as exotic and economical as it once was.
Despite the competition, Chinatown, especially stores and stalls along Canal and Mott streets, is worth browsing, even if you plan to be mostly a window-shopper. Peruse the home decor, clothing, shoe, and leather bargains. If you’re in the market for the latest smartphones, check out the variety of popular electronics available. For Chinatown information, shopping news, and current events, go to explorechinatown.com.
For nostalgic tastes, merchandise, and sights of the sunny European homeland of many New Yorkers, Little Italy is the place. Stroll along the Lower East Side’s Elizabeth, Mulberry, and Mott streets. You’ll find shops that sell the latest handbags, jewelry, and shoes at a fraction of the prices you’d pay on Fifth Avenue and elsewhere in midtown Manhattan. For information, shopping news, and current events, go to littleitalynyc.com.
Chelsea, Union Square, and Meatpacking Districts
This is the hip, young Lower Manhattan neighborhood that also offers bargains for the not-so-young senior. Many big stores have their bargain outlets here in the lower-rent area, including Barneys Co-Op, Universal Gear, and T.J.Maxx.
For fresh food stands and a healthy lunch break, Union Square Greenmarket is open four days a week. It’s the largest farmers market in the city.
For those seniors with big shopping budgets, this famous uptown street still offers Versace, Cartier, and other exclusively expensive stores. For the smart senior shopper seeking real bargains along Fifth Avenue’s famed shopping areas from 40th through 60th streets, they can still be found in less pretentious shops. Some of my favorites are Gap Fifth Avenue, Banana Republic, and H&M Midtown, along with smaller stores along the off-Fifth Avenue side streets.
One of my other favorites is the Century 21 department store in Lower Manhattan, always offering interesting items at discounted prices. Some of the best shopping in New York City is also discovered by accident while walking down a small side street on the way to something else.
Seniors get 50 percent off all bus and subway fares in New York City with the Reduced-Fare MetroCard. Many businesses and restaurants will also offer senior discounts — be sure to ask.
For the smart senior, shopping in the Big Apple can be an enjoyable experience. Cabs and public transportation make getting around easy, and the varieties of merchandise and services are almost endless.