14 Aug 2014 A guide to discount shopping in New York City

Discount shopping in New York City can be an addiction. Because the city on the whole is expensive, knowing where to shop can become an obsession. Residents will often tell that they hardly ever pay retail. How to shop New York on the cheap? There is always the sidewalk vendors and Chinatown for the knockoffs, mind you I am not advocating anything here, but that is our dirty not so little secret. Many come to the city and insist on visiting Chinatown. It’s on your conscience. Legally there are the discount department stores and outlets and of course the sample sales.

Sample Sales

Everyday of the year except for the major holidays, you can find a sample sale offering top designers, somewhere in the city. Sample sales can yield clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, toiletries, furnishings, just about anything you desire. The caveat you need to know where and when to go, if it is cash only, how to get your purchase home and if you need an invitation. Finding the sample sales is easy if you know where to look. No, I am not talking about walking down the street and seeing a sign.

You need listings and to find the listings. Limited listings can be found in New York Magazine and Time out New York. Online listings that offer free subscriptions include: topbutton.com, dailycandy.com, New York Magazines Best Bets daily newsletter. Many of the sample sales are located in and around the Garment District so plan wisely and dress comfortably.

Department Stores

Century 21. Just about everybody visiting New York City knows about Century’s located at 22 Cortlandt Street between Church Street and Broadway in the shadow of Ground Zero. This location is open seven days and early during the week to accommodate Financial District workers. The best time to shop is between 9 am and noon and again after 2 pm. Avoid during lunch time or go on the weekend. Deep discounts on top American and European designers are available. Many years ago, I purchased my first Dooney and Bourke bag for $90, a basic bag that sold for $150. Stores are also located in Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey.

Find Outlet. Located in Chelsea at 361 West 17th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, Thursday thru Sunday 12 pm to 7 pm and Nolita at 229 Mott Street between Prince and Spring Streets, daily 12 pm to 7 pm. Tons of designer stuff.

Gabay Outlet. Located at 225 First Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets, they carry overstocks from high end department stores like Bergdorf Goodman at 50-80% off.

Syms. There are two locations, downtown at 42 Trinity Place, this location opens before 9 am, and midtown at 400 Park Ave. Discounted designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Kenneth Cole are but two of the variety carried. The bigger discount the longer the merchandise is in the store.

Loehmanns. 101 Seventh Ave is now considered the flagship but multiple locations. Loehmanns is not what it used to be. Designers are still available and the Back Room is still there but I don’t think the discounts are as steep as elsewhere. I personally find them to be more expensive than the other locations mentioned.

Enjoy your trip and remember that when shopping in New York City, plan wisely, try planning a route that is easily accessible from one area to the next via public transportation. You will not find parking easily during the week and Saturdays. On Sunday you will have to grab your parking space early and it does not make sense to move the car multiple times. Dress comfortably, layers in the winter and comfortable shoes.

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