When you think about shopping (and I mean serious street shopping, not online shopping) there are a few iconic places that probably pop in to your head. There’s Oxford and Bond Streets in London, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, and New York’s insanely luxe 5th Avenue.
Bleecker Street, which runs from the very edge of the Meatpacking District to the Bowery in Manhattan, is by no means exclusively about retail. The lower section is one of the liveliest in the city at night, and is home to dozens of bars and comedy clubs. But as you head northwest, you slowly come out of the old, bohemian Bleecker street and into one of the best new shopping districts in the world.
Between Christopher Street and 8th Avenue, Bleecker holds Jean Michel Cazabat, Alexis Bittar, Ralph Lauren, Comptoir des Cotonniers, 7 for All Mankind, MAC, Burberry and Burberry Brit, Jo Malone, Michael Kors, NARS, Marc Jacobs (men’s, women’s, and Bookmarc), Lulu Guinness, Intermix, Sandro, Bond No. 9, Jack Spade, James Perse, Zadig and Voltaire and several smaller boutiques (Sucre, Satya Jewelry and Pinky Otto are musts).
Though this corner of the West Village has changed immensely in the past 30 years, the sobering effect of all of the chic shops is not appreciated by everyone. One longtime resident of the Village, a man named Jefferson, notes that, “This used to be a neighborhood where you could walk down the street and all the shopkeepers knew you and all their stores were full of interesting things. Now it’s a big mall.”
If you find yourself tired of the big mall, you don’t need to go far for what remains of the old-fashion Bleecker: good (if slightly overpriced) food and specialty shops. Heading south on Bleecker, you’ll start to come upon the gourmet food shops, cafes, and the odd greasy spoon dotting the blocks that still holds Bleecker Street Records and Kidding Around. Don’t miss A.O.C. l’aile ou la Cuisse for a lovely Parisian lunch, Five Guys NYC for a legendary burger and fries, Cafe Wha if you’re feeling nostalgic, or the newly opened David’s Tea to check out more varieties of tea than you ever could have imagined.