We had a wonderful time shopping in the well-stocked and ubiquitous departmental stores along Fifth Avenue in New York City, but we decided to indulge in another kind of retail experience on Boxing Day – boutique hopping, as I would call it – along Bleecker Street when we realised there were good eats in its vicinity.
To carefully replicate this itinerary, you will need:
1. His and Hers umbrellas
2. Comfy and good-looking shoes
3. A certain craving for unpretentious burgers
4. A curiosity for Sex and The City and cupcakes
5. (Optional) Loads of cash if you’re not satisfied with window shopping
Get on the subway and stop at 8th Ave-14th St station, and make your way to Corner Bistro, one of the last bohemian bars in West Greenwich village. Have a cursory look at the small menu and invariably order a Bistro Burger and a portion of fries. Sit back and marvel at the quick turnover of customers, who almost always come in for Bistro Burgers. Be amused as you are served a floppy burger, with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and gherkins spilling out its sides, on a styrofoam plate. Launch into the burger, rather quickly and I advise that you do this in the most unglamourous ways to maximise your satisfaction. Have plenty of napkins ready to wipe the gooey cheese and grease off your face, the protruding crispy bacon always gets in the way, especially if you have chubby cheeks like me. Always, always lick your fingers and go ‘mmmmmm‘ as you savour the moist, juicy beef patties. Finish up, pay up and walk proudly out of the bar, into the sun hopefully and make your way to Bleecker Street.
You have got to work up that excitement as you quickly glance down the long, long street, and realise that Bleecker is packed full of wonderful boutiques such as 7 For All Mankind, Marc Jacobs, yada yada. Rub your hands in glee and start walking and shopping, if you prefer.
Gasp in surprise as you stumble onto Magnolia Bakery, and hope against hope that you bump into Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex and The City ladies. Nah uh, you see a picture of Carrie and Miranda instead, that’s better than nothing, especially when you are retracing their footsteps by entering the bakery. Admire the quaint, messy, laidback bakery, and drool at the wide selection of the most beautiful cupcakes. Don’t forget to give the cheesecakes a try too, especially the chocolatey smooth Red Velvet and tangy Keylime ones. Don’t worry if you can’t have your cake and eat it there and then, I know you just had a burger, just get a couple of the beauties and make sure you have them back in the hotel when you get hungry.
Throw a lingering glance at the phenomenal bakery and continue shopping your way down Bleecker Street. The designer boutiques seem to be burning a hole in your pocket now and you chance upon Pia’s Place, a nondescript little shop that appears to sell kitsch accessories. Don’t be too quick to dismiss it, pop in, have a look, and you will find some funky, edgy, or pretty pieces that can lift your outfits, rather affordably, if I might add at less than US$20 apiece.
Congratulations, you’ve just eaten and shopped your way down Bleecker Street, whilst avoiding the maddening crowds that flock to Fifth Avenue on Boxing Day. Well done, honey, now, run back to your hotel and savour the sweet treats, you deserve it!
Corner Bistro is located at:
331 West 4th St, New York, NY 10014
Magnolia Bakery is located at:
401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
Pia’s Place is located at:
300 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014