Start your day in the Meatpacking District and head straight to Chelsea Market, where you can kill two birds with one stone by stocking up on some great souvenirs while grabbing breakfast at one of the many food stalls. Head to Posman Books for a great range of cookbooks and travel guides; Spices and Tease for a huge selection of homemade spice and herb blends, gourmet salts, and imported teas, or The Filling Station for amazing cooking oils and ingredients like organic Persian lime oil and dark chocolate or wild blueberry vinegars.
Spend the afternoon exploring the independent stores of the East and West Villages. These brownstone-lined streets harbour some of the most trendy boutiques in New York, so put on your comfortable shoes and prepare for some pavement-pounding. In the West Village, try Personnel of New York on Greenwich Avenue for laid-back womenswear, fragrances, homewares and gifts; Brooklyn Industries on Hudson Street for designer bags, graphic t-shirts and accessories, or Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker for yes, cheese, but also for speciality foods and gifts. Over in the East Village, head to Trash and Vaudeville vintage punk clothing store on East 7th Street for probably the biggest selection of black skinny jeans in NYC; to Azaleas on 2nd Ave (at E 9th Street) for luxury lingerie and swimwear, and Obscura Antiques and Oddities on Avenue A for animal skulls, retro medical aids, scary dolls and other curios.
If you’ve still got some energy but want to go someplace where everything’s close at hand, head to the Time Warner Center at the far end of Midtown for the Shops at Columbus Circle. Here you’ll find more than 50 upmarket shops and boutiques, from big name stores like Coach, J. Crew and Sephora to designer brands such as True Religion, Hugo Boss, Lucky Brand and Ted Baker.