Lower East Side
It still oozes urban grit, but the LES has undergone huge transformations in recent years to become a hip, fashforward nabe. Begin with a spot of people-watching on a counter perch at cute caff El Rey / 100 Stanton St. (cnr Ludlow St.) (see Lunch), then launch your retail assault next door with trendy togs at Pixie Market also at #100 / 212 253 0953 / pixiemarket.com, crossing next to the diagonally opp. corner for Yumi Kim at #105 / 212 420 5919 / yumikim.com, full of girly frocks and flirty accessories. Gallop two blocks on Stanton and right at Norfolk to discover femme fashion haven Maryam Nassir Zadeh at #123 / 212 673 6405 / mnzstore.com, with an exquisitely curated selection (w) plus knockout jewels. Exit left and bound right into Rivington, past Suffolk St. to #161 Narnia / 212 979 0661 / narniavintage.com / a treasure trove of vintage finds, then retrace your steps to old-fash sweets store Economy Candy at #108 / 212 254 1531. Take the next right up Ludlow to find another eye-catching vintage stash at #151 Some Odd Rubies / 212 353 1736 / someoddrubies.com, then cross to Reformation at #156 / 646 448 4925 / therefor mation.com, a fashionista fave for reworked fabrics and handmade dresses. Continue up to The Rising States at #168 / 646 649 2410 / therisingstatesnyc.com / with contempo and indie w/wear brands; Assembly at #170 / 212 253 5393 / assembly newyork.com / has relaxed duds and objects (m/w), and for the eco-conscious there are vegan makeup prods at #174 Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics / 212 675 2404 /occ makeup.com. If your tum is grumbling, head up to the left cnr and tickle your pickle at the famed Katz’s Deli / 212 254 2246 / or grab a scoop of gelato at Il Laboratorio across, otherwise retrace down and take a right on Stanton and left into Orchard. First, pop into San Francisco import Self Edge for raw Japanese denim at #157 / 212 388 0079 / selfedge.com, and cult skater shack Reed Space next at #151 / 212 253 0588 / thereedspace.com. Barrel down to Moscot opticians at #108 / 212 477 3796 / moscot.com / the choice of Johnny Depp + other kool kats. Across at #103 is the fascinating LES Tenement Museum (see Activities) – culture vultures can end here, while insatiable shoppers push on a couple more blocks. The Cast at #71 / 212 228 2020 / thecast.com / has edgy leatherwear; Anna Sheffield at #47 / 212 925 7010 / annasheffield.com / has exquisite jewellery handcrafted by the New Mexico native, and Project No. 8 at #38 / 212 925 5599 / projectno8.com / is a cult emporium that redefines ‘musty gift shop’ with quirky, curated lifestyle finds. Final stop for downtown dandies, Alexander Olch at #14 / 212 925 2110 / olch.com / is the last word in luxury neckwear, from ties to pocket rounds, in a medley of colours and fabrics. OMG, you Olympic shopper!