Shopping In New York City
( Originally Published 1940 )
Although the question "What can I buy in New York?" could be easily answered with the one word, "Everything," such an answer would hardly be of any assistance to you. Therefore I am mentioning here various articles or categories of goods in which you are likely to be most interested, and listing a few of the places in New York where you can find them.
There are hundreds and thousands of places I cannot list. If I tried to mention them all, this little guide would not only be the size of the Classified Telephone Directory, but would defeat its own purpose, which is to be selective for ready reference. So I am confining myself to the more famous stores, and urgently advise that you do a lot of window shopping along Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, and the side streets just off Fifth and Madison Avenues from 42nd Street north to both Street.
Fifth Avenue is still the great shopping street of New York, although it is not quite so smart as it used to be. In recent years there has been a steady increase in the number of cut-rate "linen" shops along Fifth Avenue, and the smaller smart stores, and some of the large ones, are deserting it for Madison. Neither street should be neglected, nor should 57th Street, where between Sixth and Park Avenues are grouped many of the most famous specialty shops of New York.
On 57th Street is gallery after gallery selling ART OBJECTS, such as paintings, modern and ancient, sculpture, and so on. On 57th Street among others are the Durand-Ruel Galleries (12 East 57th Street), the Parke-Bernet Galleries (30 East 57th Street), and near by at 730 Fifth Avenue is the world-famous Duveen Gallery. Then, if you feel the urge to take home a contemporary statue or painting, there is the Grand 'Central Gallery, with a main office in the Grand Central Terminal, and with branches here and there. There are many others, and I mention these in particular because they offer many showings which make them small art museums in them-selves. You will find the special art showings listed in the current issues of Cue. .
For GENERAL SHOPPING you can hardly beat the great DEPARTMENT STORES. Macy's, at 34th Street and Broadway, is world famous, and here you can find almost anything in the medium-high to medium-low price range. In the same district is Gimbel Bros., and across the street from Macy's (correctly R. H. Macy and Co.) is Saks 34th Street.
Saks has two stores in New York, the one at 34th Street mentioned above, and the well-known Saks Fifth Avenue, at Fifth Avenue and 49th Street, which ranks right up with B. Altman and Co., at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, as being one of the two smartest large stores in New York. With one notable exception, most of the better stores are above 34th Street. That exception is Wanamaker's (John Wanamaker) which has never found it necessary to leave its two huge buildings at Broadway and 9th Street.
McCreery (James McCreery and Co.) at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street has a faithful clientele, and Lord and Taylor, Fifth Avenue and 38th Street, is just about on a par with Altman and Saks Fifth Avenue in general perfection. Then on 42nd Street, with an entrance from Sixth Avenue as well, is Stern Bros., a justly popular store. Again downtown on 14th Street, between Fifth and and Sixth Avenues, is Hearn's, selling frankly on a price basis, and usually offering startlingly good values at the prices charged.
WOMEN'S CLOTHING is of course the great feature of every department store, and of many other stores as well. There is Klein's in Union Square, where the purchaser grabs her own selection from the racks and tries it on herself, and where it seems that half the women in New York make themselves look smart at little expense. And at the other end of the scale are the famous Bonwit Teller, at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street; Best and Co., at Fifth Avenue and 35th Street; Franklin Simon and Co., 414 Fifth Avenue at 38th Street (the Classified Directory lists this one among the department stores); the very smart Bergdoff-Goodman Co., at 754 Fifth Avenue, between 57th and 58th Streets; and on 57th Street the super-correct Hattie Carnegie, just to the east of Fifth Avenue, and the super-super Henri Bendel, just to the west of Fifth Avenue.
Here I feel that I should mention some places for MEN'S CLOTHING before the family budget runs out altogether. First should be mentioned Brooks Brothers, at 346 Madison Avenue (at 44th Street), one of the oldest firms in the city. You will find nothing cheap in this store, but neither will you find any-thing but the very best. The same is true of F. R. Tripler and Co. at 366 Madison Avenue (46th Street), and of Finchley at 566 Fifth Avenue (near 46th Street). There are a few smart and expensive men's shops in the Rockefeller Center neighbor-hood. For more moderate prices, try the various stores of Rogers Peet Co., of Broadstreet's, of John David, and of Weber and Heilbroner. Frankly on the cheap side are Crawford Clothes and Bond Clothing Stores. And Barney's Clothes, I 11 Seventh Avenue (at 17th Street), is becoming a New York institution with the men who have to dress well for little money.
SPORTS CLOTHES, either for men or women, can be purchased at any of-the stores mentioned above, and if you want an establishment up among the absolute best, try the famous Abercrombie and Fitch, at Madison Avenue and 45th Street. This famous sporting goods store is one of the places that must be visited, if only to do window shopping.
Another grand place for SPORTING GOODS are the three stores of A. G. Spalding and Bros. You will probably find the one at 518 Fifth Avenue (near 43rd Street) the most convenient. If you are a devotee of winter sports, Norse House, on West 46th Street just off Fifth Avenue, will supply real imported Norwegian SKIS, and all other winter sports gadgets as well. Most, if not all, of them are brought over from Scandinavia.
Although FURS can of course be bought at most of the better department stores, a very good place that specializes in them is the well-known Revillon Freres at 684 Fifth Avenue at 54th Street. I have also heard good reports of I. J. Fox, 393 Fifth Avenue, near 36th Street; C. G. Gunther's Sons, 666 Fifth Avenue, at 53rd Street; and Russek's at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street.
If your budget runs to JEWELRY, the world-famous Tiffany and Co., long at Fifth Avenue and 37th Street, is now proud of its splendid new building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, a mile further uptown. Then of course there is Cartier, Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street; Marcus and Co., 679 Fifth Avenue, near 54th Street; Black, Starr & Frost-Gorham at Fifth Avenue and 48th Street; Udall & Ballou, Fifth Avenue and 57th Street; and many more on Fifth and Madison Avenues.
HOUSEHOLD GADGETS, such as cocktail shakers, bread slicers, or anything else for the playroom, kitchen, or bar, always make amusing souvenirs. They are remarkably good at either Hammacher Schlemmer and Co., 145 East 57th Street, or at Lewis and Conger, 45th Street and Sixth Avenue.
For GIFTS not too expensive, try that super-gift shop Ovington's, at Fifth Avenue and 39th Street. Smaller, with very distinctive articles, is Rena Rosenthal, at 485 Madison Avenue at 52nd Street, and if your friends or you yourself have any sporting instincts, they, or you, will enjoy something from the Sporting Gallery and Book Shop at 38 East 52nd Street.
For unique imported articles, such as JENSEN SILVER, ROYAL COPENHAGEN POTTERY, ORREFORS GLASS, try either Georg Jensen at 667 Fifth Avenue near 53rd Street, or Sweden House at Fifth Avenue and 51st Street. Both stores are decidedly on the expensive side.
For very inexpensive souvenirs, desert Fifth Avenue and the uptown shops altogether, and go to some of the Russian-Rumanian-Syrian-Armenian BRASSWARE shops on the Lower East Side, particularly in and around Allen Street. It is like taking a shopping trip to the Orient.
GLASSWARE is good at either Georg Jensen's or Sweden House, and at Collamore Davis and CO. 17 East 52nd Street, if you want the finest of the imported varieties; also at all the better department stores. If you want the very best of American glass, which is certainly the equal of any coming from abroad, try Steuben Glass from the establishmentof the Corning Glass Works, 718 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street.
TOYS are at their best at the great establishment of F. A. O. Schwarz, at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street. The salespeople are very pleasant, and let you enjoy the train table for hours without urging you to buy anything. Among the department stores, Macy's claims to have the largest all-year-round toy department of any store in the world.
PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT is available in numerous stores.
Willoughby's, at 110 West 32nd Street, is known to photographers all over America. Eastman Kodak Stores are at 356 Madison Avenue (at 45th Street), 745 Fifth Avenue (near 58th Street), and 235 West 23rd Street.
Although it would be possible to go on indefinitely, I think that I have listed enough places already to make a devastating gap in any but the most unlimited budget. And if you will only window shop a little while you are doing your sightseeing, many other things will suggest themselves to you. You might like a lighter from Dunhill's (Alfred Dunhill of London, Inc.), 62o Fifth Avenue, at 50th Street, or a leather wallet or bag from Mark Cross, 655 Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street, or hundreds of other articles from hundreds of world-famous stores whose signs will greet you like old friends because their names are household words. So tuck aside enough money to get home on, and have a good time.