by Julie Smith -- July 08, 2014

Just back from a great retail-centric visit to NYC. In addition to cheering on our colleague, Retail and Consumer Products Practice Leader, Ben Burke, as he won one of just two “Top 25 Consultants” awards in the retail industry, we spent a couple days scouring the island for innovative retail experiences. This is the first of a few blog posts based on what we saw and experienced.

In homage to the New York Times Travel Section’s “36 Hours in…” column, where they profile what you should do when you visit a specific city, here are our recommendations for 36 hours of shopping (and eating) in NYC.

Day One:  Mid-town

First Stop:  High end jewelry shopping experience at affordable prices

Start the day at BaubleBar (5th Ave near 27th Street) with a private appointment for inexpensive yet highly stylish costume jewelry.

Stop 2:  “They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway”

Head uptown to Times Square to TKTS (Broadway and 47th Street) and shop for discounted same-day theater tickets (note: most shows are “dark” on Mondays).  No trip to NYC is complete without a Broadway show and TKTS is a great way to buy them.  Yes there is a line, and yes, in the summer it is in the hot sun of Times Square (there are other locations too), but it is worth the 20 minute wait for 30% - 50% off a great show (note, not all shows are great - do your research before you buy).

Stop 3:  Upper East Side meets Midtown

While Bloomingdales is at 60th and 3rd, so are two great dessert establishments that are worth at least as much time and attention. Serendipity 3 (60th St near 3rd Ave) may be the best food experience in all of NYC. With a fanciful and eclectic retail mix including kitchen items, fashion accessories, and toys lining the indoor waiting space, Serendipity 3 captivates diners before they even order. The food is good. The desserts are amazing….mmmm. Frozen Hot Chocolate and Butterscotch Sundae are my favorites. Dylan’s Candy Bar (60th St and 3rd Ave) the best candy store around, and just a few steps away, delights with a stunning array of classic and inventive candies displayed in a fanciful and enticing manner. Relive the childhood you wish you had and feed your inner child.

Stop 4:  Stroll down Madison and 5th Avenues

While both these streets are known for shopping and you could truly spend days in each store, I recommend you hit the following:

DoDo (Madison Ave at 60th St): Fine jewelry charms to mark occasions.

Coach (57th St and Madison Ave): Classic styled handbags and accessories.

FAO Schwarz (58th St and 5th Avenue): Flagship toy store made famous around the country after the movie Big.

Uniqlo (5th Ave and 52nd St): Japanese fast fashion.

Godiva Chocolatier (5th Ave and 52nd St): Makes a mean chocolate-covered strawberry.

Stop 5: Dinner

Walk back up 5th Avenue to Momofuku Ma Peche (W. 56th St near 5th Ave) for dinner and drinks, and where the dim sum style carts bring an amazing array of delicious plates and desserts. My favorites are their take on the pork bun and the cake truffle.

Stop 6: Broadway show

Find the theater for your show. Traffic will be packed (walking or subway beats cabs here). Get there a few minutes early.

Day Two:  Downtown

Stop 1: Bagels. Get them near where you are staying. My favorite place is the Bagel Cafe at the corner of 3rd Ave and 30th Street.

Stop 2: SOHO. Great shopping. I could spend a week in SOHO shopping and eating. Here’s the whirlwind tour. For lunch, grab a slice of pizza, food to go at Dean and Deluca, sweets at Mariebelle, or walk up a few blocks to Peanut Butter & Co (Sullivan St btw. West 3rd and Bleecker St).

Desigual (Broadway and Houston): High energy fashion from Spain.

Ricky’s (Broadway and Houston): Best drugstore beauty shop for finding interesting and useful products and an array of wigs.

Dean and Deluca (Broadway and Prince St): Ultra-high end grocery.

Nespresso (Prince St and Mercer St): Selling coffee one pretty metallic pod at a time.

Warby Parker (Greene St and Prince St): Showroom for the largely online eyewear company.

Alessi (Greene St and Prince St): Modern home accessories.

Paul Smith (Greene St and Prince St): Men’s and Women’s clothing and accessories.

Fab (Wooster St and Houston): Physical showroom for primarily online retailer.

Maclaren (Wooster St and Houston): Baby gear.

Adidas (Wooster St and Prince St): Fitness store in an ultra-hip urban setting.

The Apartment by The Line (Greene St and Spring St.): Contextual based shopping; everything in this impeccably decorated loft is for sale, including the clothing.

Nicole Miller (Greene St and Spring St.): Designer Women’s clothing.

MarieBelle (Broome St. and Wooster): Chocolatier extraordinaire.

Stop 2:  Chelsea

Visit Story (10th Ave and 19th St). Story is a revolving retail experience that changes its theme and inventory every 6 – 8 weeks. Right now it features “Cool Story” with interesting, fun, and quirky items (and great ice cream) for summer fun.

Stop 3:  Hell’s Kitchen

Walk a couple miles on the High Line uptown (or hop in a cab) to Gotham West Market (11th Ave and 45th St). It’s an industrial setting with restaurants and retail in a shared space. From eating, to shopping, to cooking classes, this space combines two of my favorite things (food and interesting kitchen gear)

Stop 4:  Drinks and Dinner

Cross the street and head up three blocks to roof top drinks at Ink48’s The Press Lounge (11th Ave at 48th St) which provided an amazing view of the skyline normally reserved for New Jersey residents. There are many amazing restaurants in NYC. Here’s just one to try: David Burke Treehouse (Grand St and Avenue of the Americas) for those with energy to burn. Follow up with after dinner drinks at the Standard Biergarten (Washington and 13th St).

In future posts, I’ll tell you what we experienced across all the innovative retailers, how it’s different, why it matters and what it means for the rest of retail. Stay tuned.