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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Shopping Heaven - Macy's and Fifth Avenue in New York

My one check-in bag weighed 15kg when I flew off. After all the shopping in Indiana, that one check-in bag weighed 35kg. AND, after all the shopping in New York, I had two check-in bags, 1 which was 29inch and weighed 25kg and the other which was 32inch and weighed 28kg. 53kg minus 15kg = 38kg worth of shopping, and a new Samsonite bag to boot (the 29inch). Go me.

A large part of my purchase consisted of footwear - this is how much footwear I bought in New York (save for 1 pair from Indy) and brought home. The ones in the top row all belong to me - from the left, 2 Ferragamos and 5 Coach. The ones in the bottom row belong to my sister and mum - from the left, 1 Louboutin, 1 Chanel, 2 Coach (these are my gifts to my mum) and 1 Chanel - the cost of my sister's 1 pair of Louboutin shoes is just slightly lesser than the cost of all my shoes. If you count the cost of her 2 Chanel footwear, these are like 30% more than the cost of my shoes so yeah, I had a good time shopping, - "swiping my card" for what items that never would be mine and feeling well, high on spending. Thanks Sis :)

New York is a "shopaholic"'s dream come true - esp if one is into big names and fashion. Just perfect for my little sister who has more branded stuff than any person I know. I was totally floored when her boyfriend got her a pair of Louboutins last month which cost S$1400 - for something that goes on your feet and pound the ground, that's a hell lot of $. However, when I was at Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's and Sak's shopping for my sister, I saw tons of Louboutins, Prada shoes, Chanel shoes, Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahnik on display or just lying around. The picture below taken at Bergdorf shows all Louboutin shoes at the forefront of the pic and Blahnik's in the middle. Shoes that are in the high hundreds to a few thousands (USD). And the ladies there snapped pairs of these without batting an eyelid twice.

My own shopping was confined largely to Macy's which was just one street away from my hotel along the same avenue. Macy's doesn't carry Ferragamo or Prada, much less Louboutins or Blahnik's. However, they have one of the widest range of Coach shoes and with the visitor card, I'm talking about a 10% savings which really helps given the tax rate in NY for non-clothes item is a whopping 8.875%. Macy's is really huge but the layout is such that the women stuff are found in one building/annex while the men's stuff on another so ladies can have uninterrupted shopping pleasure without having to look at men's stuff. Macy's has clearance racks and items less 30 - 70% so it is possible to find some really good buys (I didn't).

Fifth Avenue in New York is the equivalent of Singapore's Orchard shopping belt. Fifth is the shopping belt and Saks at Fifth Avenue is one of the premium department stores, a class up from the above-mentioned Macy's. No clearance racks of course, and when I asked if the items there ever went on discount, the saleslady gave me The Look and mentioned something about friends and family day - tourists however do not get any discounts whatsoever.

While strolling along Fifth Avenue, I took some pictures of the unique-looking buildings where well-known brands had set up shop and presence, such as Cartier below.

And of course, Trump Tower which was open to the public (up to the fourth level where there is a public garden) and has a store on the entrance level selling all sorts of Trump stuff, like neckties and even a teddy bear with a Trump T-shirt. The bears were seriously cute and only prudence stopped me from bringing one back home with me (Trump is 1 of my heros).

Some other unique buildings along Fifth Avenue such as the one below which has three gold statues as part of its facade - I adore pearls (much less Mikimoto pearls!) and like diamonds, they are a wild extravagance - existing purely to give pleasure through their beauty.

But seeing and day-dreaming costs nothing and I guess that is part of the appeal of window shopping at Fifth Avenue. There is of course the infamous LV - I think this is the flagship store.

And I couldn't help stepping into F.A.O simply because I had seen this famous toy store featured in oh-so-many movies. I think this is a store that cannot be missed if one has children or has brought children to New York - the range of toys that one can find pleasure and amusement in for hours is enchantingly bewildering and the stuffed toys - talk about every size and type! Going into this store almost (just almost) made me wish I had a child of my own!

Bergdorf Goodman must be one of the classy and upmarket departmental stores I've ever come across - nothing like Macy's of course and even more, well, geared to the rich, than Saks is. According to 1 of Bloomingdale's salesman, Bergdorf has the widest range of Louboutins (Bloomie does not carry these even though it has Chanel, Prada and Ferragamo shoes).

While walking along, I also stumbled across The Plaza. I had recently watched Brides War and remembered how it was each girl's dream to be married at this hotel and even from a distance, I could see why. It looks mighty impressive, even when viewed from a distance and although I really would have loved to check it out, I couldn't make myself cross over because my legs were crying out in pain - I'd been walking all the way from 34th, mind! And my ultimate goal was to get to Bloomingdales which was on 59th!

Still, in any case, I made it to the fringe of the famous Central Park - someone told me that this was one of the "must-go" places in NYC and of course I'd heard of it before (given how often it is featured in the detective novels that I like) but I figured that going to Bloomingdale on 59th and Lexington was infinitely more important for a pseudo "shopaholic" like myself. Therefore, right after this picture, I turned my tired feet in the direction of Lexington Avenue...I tell you, I've never walked so much in my entire life in one day (I swear this is quite the truth) and the next day, I couldn't get out of bed till almost 11am!

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