Big sav­ings in the Big Ap­ple

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL - RHI­AN­NON MC­DOWALL

WITH world-renowned mega­s­tores Macy’s and Bloomin­gales, and count­less high-end brands along the iconic Fifth Av­enue, New York is a shop­per’s dream.

Add to that a pic­tureper­fect lo­ca­tion, great food, and hol­i­day at­mos­phere, and it would be hard to beat the first class shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence that the Big Ap­ple has to of­fer.

Sadly, as we know, it all comes at a price – so once you’ve forked out for your flight and ho­tel it may not leave much left over for the ac­tu­ally shop­ping.

And with the pound strug­gling against the dol­lar, your money may not go as far as you like.

But New York shop­ping doesn’t end in the city, and with out­let malls such as Wood­bury Com­mon Pre­mium Out­lets and Mills at Jersey Gar­dens, you can still en­joy a trip to the shop­ping mecca and grab your­self a bar­gain.

Both malls are run by Si­mon Shop­ping Des­ti­na­tions, and are not dis­sim­i­lar to the likes of Cheshire Oaks near Ellesmere Port – pro­vid­ing miles and miles of out­let shops where you can pick up a bag or a pair of jeans at a quar­ter of the orig­i­nal price.

There are reg­u­lar buses from New York City cen­tre to both malls, with a re­turn ticket cost­ing around $30 - a small price to pay when you con­sider the sav­ings to be made.

We sand­wiched our city cen­tre shop­ping with a visit to each of th­ese malls, start­ing with a day at Wood­bury Com­mon Pre­mium Out­lets – just over an hour north of Man­hat­tan – and a visit to Mills at Jersey Gar­dens be­fore our flight back from Ne­wark Air­port.

With a care­ful­ly­planned flight at 7pm, we man­aged al­most a full day’s shop­ping at the mall be­fore we headed to the air­port, which was five min­utes away.

With reg­u­lar shut­tles for trav­ellers di­rect to the air­port, it takes any has­sle or pres­sure out of get­ting to the air­port on time. And it’s in Jersey, which means there is no sales tax – a small sav­ing, but a sav­ing none­the­less. Again there are reg­u­lar buses be­tween New York City and the mall.

There are plenty of deals to be had when it comes to Amer­i­can sta­ple brands such as Vans, Con­verse, Nike and Ralph Lau­ren.

I was shop­ping with four oth­ers who all man­aged to grab a bar­gain bag from Coach, DKNY or Kate Spade, as well as re­turn­ing with arm­fuls of clothes, boots and train­ers.

The real sav­ings come from the coupon book­lets – a sav­ings pass­port, which of­fers you even more money off your shop­ping. Some stores give you dis­counts for spend­ing over a cer­tain amount, while oth­ers sim­ply re­duce the price if you pay by Master­card. Just be pre­pared to wade your way through dozens of pages of of­fers.

And if, like me, you don’t have a math­e­mat­i­cal mind, make sure you go armed with a cal­cu­la­tor. The end­less cal­cu­la­tions and cur­rency con­ver­sions can cer­tainly send your head in a bit of a spin.

It’s also worth grab­bing your­self a map, and if you’ve got lim­ited time, work out a gen­eral route.

There’s noth­ing worse than ar­riv­ing back at your ho­tel to re­alise you com­pletely by-passed the Amer­i­can knick knacks at Bed, Bath, and Be­yond.

Of course, no trip to New York would be com­plete with­out a visit to Man­hat­tan. As well as hit­ting Fifth Av­enue and all the big depart­ment stores, we made the most of a City Pass, which gives you ac­cess to a num­ber of at­trac­tions in the town, al­though some of the venues do re­quire pre-book­ing.

We also man­aged to squeeze in a walk along the High Line – and old dis­used railway line which has been trans­formed into a gar­den oa­sis – and the Rock­e­feller Cen­tre, which gives panoramic views of the city, ar­guably bet­ter than those af­forded by the Em­pire State Build­ing.

We spent our first night at the his­tor­i­cal Thayer Ho­tel at West Point which shares the cam­pus with an his­toric mil­i­tary academy.

About 20 min­utes from the mall, it was lo­cated on the banks of Hud­son River in the heart of a beau­ti­ful na­tional park.

It was in stark con­trast to our Man­hat­tan ho­tel - The In­tercon­ti­nen­tal New York Bar­clay - which was just off Park Av­enue. Five min­utes from Cen­tral Park and a stone’s throw from the near­est subway sta­tion, it was per­fect for us to nip back and dump our shop­ping be­fore head­ing out for more.

Also worth a men­tion was our din­ner at Patsy’s Ital­ian, a tra­di­tional fam­ily owned Ital­ian which was a favourite of Frank Si­na­tra and has since wel­comed a plethora of high-pro­file celebrity din­ers.

With scal­lops the size of golf balls and its pump­kin ravi­oli, it’s def­i­nitely worth a visit.

The High Line

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