When people travel what is the first thing on their "To Do" list, along with eating and sightseeing? Shopping! Shopping is the No. 1 tourist activity in many cities, including Sydney, Australia; San Diego, CA; Las Vegas, NV; and of course New York. On your next trip or outing to the big city, take these shopping tips with you.
Venture one block off any main street (E. Broadway, Canal Street) and onto any side street and you might forget you're in New York City. Chinatown is a great place to find Chinese antiques, but you have to know where to look. Authentic antique pieces are extremely hard to find. Jan Lee, owner of Sinotique, has been salvaging relics from the Chinese countryside for over 10 years. Lee, like most antique collectors, can never fit all their pieces into the showroom. Ian Grant rule No. 16: The good stuff is always in the warehouse, and if you're lucky the warehouse won't be too far away.
Smart Shopping Tips:
* Most things in Chinatown are negotiable.
* Be patient. Always wait for the other guy to buckle first when negotiating.
* Buy items in bulk. Sometimes the salesperson will reduce your items by a few dollars or more.
With its ever-increasing cost of living, Manhattan is not the most welcoming city for artists trying to make a living. As a result, artists and craftspeople have left the island in droves for the borough of Brooklyn, where they've created the movement known as the "Brooklyn Renaissance." Several of those individuals have made a home and name for themselves, including the artisans at City Joinery, a company known for making stylish hand-made furniture. The woodworkers construct the furniture out of unusual types of wood, such as sycamore, sassafras, and myrtle. Tables, chairs, bed frames, armoires and side tables range anywhere from $1,200 to $8,000. Since all of the furniture is sculpted by hand, pieces are priced accordingly. But if you can splurge a little, City Joinery should be your first stop when furniture shopping in the New York area.
When you're in New York City and have shopping on your mind, a great place to start is Union Square Park. What makes Union Square unique is the absence of congestion. Blocked off by 14th Street, Union Square East, 17th Street and Union Square West, the park is a pedestrians-only area. You can freely walk around Union Square, in and out of coffee shops, restaurants and retail stores without being hassled by city traffic. Vendors have also found the freedom of Union Square makes the square a great place to set up shop. Visitors will find original art ranging from paintings, jewelry and pottery.
Christie's auction house is one of the world's largest art businesses. In 2006 Christie's sale totals reached into the billions. Each month Christie's holds a special auction called the House Sale where they sell a wide range of household furnishings and accessories. Most items are listed in the $500 to $5000 range, but many sell for less than their estimated value. Anyone can attend the House Sale. Want to try your hand at an auction? Register to be a bidder, receive your numbered paddle, take a seat and wait for the bidding to begin.
Smart Shopping Tips:
* Attend the preview ahead of the auction so you know what you're bidding on and how much you're willing to spend.
* Don't be the first to bid. Work off someone else's first bid. Bidding against yourself makes no sense.
* Beware of online bidders: Just because you can't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there.