Spotted: Celebrity Sightings with ShopNYC Tours!

Check out just a few of the exciting celeb sightings that shoppers have spotted on our tours.  Just proves you don’t have to be a Gossip Girl to mingle with the elite!

Dicaprio was seen hanging with friends in the East Village clad in jeans, sneaks and a backwards baseball cap during the Vintage Boutique Tour while singer Sheryl Crow was spotted grabbing a latte at Starbucks in Soho during a Customized Mother/Daughter Shopping Tour.  Gaga, spotted during our Teen Fashion Tour, was bargain shopping at Necessary Clothing in Noho.  After all, every Lady needs to watch her pennies!

A Potted History of the New York City Cab

What the black hackney carriage is to London, the yellow and checked taxicab is to New York City. Licensed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, the 13,237 cabs rolling around the city are the only public transport vehicles permitted to stop and pick up passengers in response to a street hail. In honour of this modern icon, we take a look at the history of the New York taxicab.

In July 1897, the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company began running 12 electric cabs round the city. By the following year, it operated 62 cars, before its rebirth as the more modern-sounding Electric Vehicle Company. In 1899, the firm had 100 taxicabs running.

On May 20th that same year, the USA’s first ever speeding ticket was issued to one Jacob German, driving one of the Electric Vehicle Company’s taxicabs. Another national first occurred on 13 September, when Henry Bliss became the first victim of an auto accident, after being hit by a taxi. By the dawn of the next century, there were a thousand electric taxis on the city streets.

Following the financial crisis known as the Panic of 1907, and the loss of a huge portion of its fleet in a devastating fire, the Electric Vehicle Company collapsed. After such huge progress had been made, New York City was back to the horse and carriage. This was an expensive way to get around. Legend has it that, in 1907, Harry N Allen couldn’t believe the extravagant cost of a 0.75 mile journey, and decided to start a taxicab service that charged by the mile. He imported 65 gasoline-powered cars from France, and so began the New York Taxicab Company. Originally red and green, Allen repainted them all yellow so that they could be seen (and hailed) from a distance. In just a year, Allen had over 700 cabs in his fleet. The fare was 50 cents a mile – about a tenth of the cost paid by Allen on his mythical horse and carriage journey, but still well beyond the budget of most New Yorkers.

By the roaring twenties, industrialists began to recognize the huge potential of the taxicab market, with General Motors and the Ford Motor Company among those joining the ranks (ha!) of the New York Taxicab Company. The most successful of these new companies was the Checkered Cab Manufacturing Company, which produced the instantly recognizable, and hugely popular yellow and black taxis which became an integral part of 20th Century New York.

Following the depression, there was a glut of drivers on the market, and no passengers to fill the cabs. As a way of regulating the licensing, New York City brought in the medallion system, which is still in operation today. Around 29% of all taxis are owner-operated, with the rest leased by fleets.

The yellow taxicab is one of the many little bonuses you get when visiting New York which, along with hot dog stands and steaming vents, make you feel as though you are in a movie. To see for yourself, check out the Flight Centre website, where you’ll find flights to New York.

ShopNYC Tours and The Market NYC (Young Designers Market) Special Promotion!

ShopNYC Tours has been taking their clients to The Market NYC in Nolita for the past year, which ALWAYS provides one of the most amazing experiences for unique finds (some of which can’t be purchased anywhere else in the world)!  And now, the Saturday and Sunday trips to the market will be even better!  We are happy to announce a special promotion with several of the FABULOUS designers at The Market NYC–who will now be offering 10% OFF to all ShopNYC Tours shoppers.  Take a look at some of those participating:

ShopNYC Tours Last-Minute Giveaway – Fashion Show Tickets to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week!

Don’t miss out! ShopNYC Tours is giving away tickets to 2 lucky winners to SIX–yes SIX fashion shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week! But we won’t give them away to just anybody. Write a short 250-word or less blog in the comment space below (or at about why YOU should be the one to attend Fashion Week. Describe your inner fashionista! Tell us where you’re from, what you do for a living, who your favorite designers are and why, and where you like to shop in NYC. Be sure to send your name (the same one used in your post) and e-mail address to so we can contact you if you’re chosen. Shows will be this Sunday, September 12th and Tuesday the 14th. Giveaway ends at 5pm EST on Friday,September 10th (before you head to Fashion’s Night Out) so act quickly! May the best FASHIONISTA win!!!!!

Combo Tours – Teen/Recessionista Shopping and Vintage/Chic Boutique Shopping Tours

Last week’s Teen/Recessionista Shopping Tour skipped all the showy flagships and headed straight for the bargains!  From their hotel, the towncar took us straight downtown to Noho where we stopped at Necessary Clothing.  The teen found a super cute pair of gladiator sandals for just $19.99.

Next door, at Joyce Leslie, she found a lot of really cute tops and tanks while her mom browsed some of their jackets.  I figured it would be a fun addition to head over to the Juno New York Sample Sale since the mom admitted to being the shoe addict when we drove through the shoe district. I also knew that the teen was looking for some black flats and they have a huge selection of them.  The stop was a success!  Not only did the teen find her black flats, but she found a cute leather bracelet as well.

Our next destination was TopShop and the ladies were super excited after I showed the a short video about the store.  The teen was a huge fan of Urban Outfitters so I knew she’d love TopShop too.  We definitely spent the most time here.  How could we not with the three levels of endless clothing, shoes and accessories!  The teen tried on a few things while the mom found some cute clutches for just $5.

After TopShop we headed over to the West Village to the Marc Jacobs Special Items store.  The teen found a cute, hawaiian-print MJ tote and a few souvenirs for her friends at home.

As we headed back to their hotel, they enjoyed their yummy Magnolia Bakery cupcakes.

The other combo shopping tour we had last week was for a mother and daughter from the UK.  They wanted to visit some chic boutiques along with some vintage boutiques.  They were such lovely ladies.

We began the tour near Union Square and headed south on University Place where we headed to Jodi Arnold NYC and Pia.  Following, we headed over to the shoe district where they visited some of the best shoe stores in the city along with Monk Vintage, where they enjoyed browsing the unique pieces.

From here, we headed past Washington Square Park and I told them a little bit about the historical MacDougal Street.  We stopped at Cover Up and the daughter bought a cute headband that was also very practical in that, it was knitted and covered her ears.

Moving on, we walked over to Thompson Street, where I took them to Purdy Girl, where the mother found a beautiful necklace (all their jewelry was half off) and then to Stella Dallas, where the daughter found a pair of vintage shoes she absolutely loved.  I told them that we had to visit both Purdy Girl stores, so we walked to the LaGuardia Place shop next, and we also visited Helianthus, which was just a few steps away.

At this point, I figured we should go to Soho, where they could find some more mainstream contemporary fashion at New York Look.  The daughter was looking for a trench coat and I knew they’d have a good selection.  She actually ended up loving a few of their spring handbags.

We were running on schedule for once, so I suggested we go to the Meatpacking District.  The daughter had asked about ScoopNYC and I knew that their best stores are located on Washington Street.  On the way, we made a quick stop at Chelsea Girl Couture where I told them they could find the famous Moon Bags by Patricia Smith along with some dead stock Diane Von Furstenberg.

We hopped on the subway up to the Meatpacking District next, and made a stop at Darling.  The mother sat for a little, while the daughter tried on a few of their gorgeous, colorful silk dresses.  From here we walked (it was a beautiful day) by Elizabeth Charles and Tracy Reese up to Gansevoort Street.  Since the ladies were Carrie Bradshaw advocates, I mentioned Christian Lou Boutin and they wanted to take a quick peak inside.

Finally, we made it to ScoopNYC (they visited Scoop and Scoop Street) and I pointed out that the Diane Von Furstenberg flagship store was across the street.  This was where the daughter found an adorable dress.

From here, I escorted them back to the subway and pointed them to their hotel.

If you’d like to take a customized combo shopping tour, visit our website for more information at  We look forward to shopping with you!

Prom Shopping Experience – Dress? Check! Makeup? Check!

Last weekend’s Prom Shopping Tour was a success!  The mother and daughter came to NYC hoping to find something unique that no one else in Boston would have.  We started the tour watching the 2010 Prom Trends video so the teen could show me which dresses (styles and colors) she did and didn’t like.  After explaining to me that she wanted something long and cream- colored with a low cut back, I decided we should start out downtown at the more unique boutiques (which would be either hit or miss) and then end up in midtown/the Upper East Side for some bigger department stores with more options.

First stop was Unpomela, where they had a limited selection but some really cool dresses.  There was one in particular that the teen was going to try on but the price was just slightly above the average prom dress price.

We moved on next to a few of the sample sales where they had some great deals on a few gowns, but nothing that peaked her fancy.  Over on West Broadway, we tried New York Look, Ariella and Max Azria.  They had some cute short dresses (which is a huge prom trend this year) but not much of a selection for long gowns.

I knew it was time to head uptown to the stores where there would be gowns, gowns, and more gowns.  On the way, we took a look at the Prom Hairstyles video.  The teen really liked the side sweep hairdo with loose curls, which actually ended up to be the perfect style for the dress she chose.

Uptown, we started in the garment district where they have gowns galore.  We came across a few that were similar to what she was looking for, but not the exact style and color that she wanted.  We skipped over some of the accessories stores since we hadn’t found the dress yet and headed over to the huge BCBG flagship store on Fifth Avenue.  They had some beautiful dresses on the second level, as usual, but nothing that quite fit.  Same with Saks Fifth Avenue: beautiful gowns at reasonable prices but nothing exact.

Our last stop was Bloomingdale’s and it was a winner!  There were several gowns in the color and style that she wanted but she also picked out a completely different color: a beaded aquamarine blue dress.  It was really beautiful!  In the dressing room, it came down to a cream-colored dress and the blue (both of which had very unique backs.)  I gave my two cents and said she should get the blue since it was more youthful and fun.  Cream is definitely something you can wear when you get older.  Her mother agreed.  Dress?  Check!

We had a little extra time to shop for shoes after she bought the dress and decided that since the beading had some purple in it, that purple, metallic purple, or dull silver would work best.  I was disappointed in Bloomingdale’s non-designer shoe selection though.  $1500 for prom stilettos is a little steep…  They decided they would just get shoes at home.  (The teen said that she would be kicking them off early in the night anyway!)

We headed over to the MAC makeup counter where one of the makeup artists applied a beautiful blue and purple smokey eye for the teen.  Mom watched very closely so she could recreate the look on the big night!  Makeup?  Check!

If you’re interested in enjoying our NYC Prom Shopping Experience, visit our website for more information at  We look forward to prom shopping with you!

Craving Consignment

It was a private limo tour for a group of lovely ladies in their 40s. They left the husbands and kids at home and although they were searching for designer pieces, they had no intentions of paying full price. So we headed to some of the most amazing consignment shops in the city.

At first, they had mentioned shopping for vintage, but when I explained to them the difference between vintage and consignment, they decided that it was more the consignment that they were craving. Vintage, I explained, is from another era, (even though the 80s can be referred to as vintage now)…. Yeah–I don’t think Madonna and Cindy would be thrilled to hear this…nor is my mother. Consignment, on the other hand, is second-hand as well but it can be from someone’s closet just last week. In the case of New York City, many of the consignment shops contain ready-to-wear from recent fashion weeks along with red carpet recently worn by the likes of Chloe Sevigny and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Our first stop was West Soho–INA. They carry some of the most amazing consignment in the city. Their shoe collection contains names such as Lou Boutin, Choo and Blahnik–enough said. One of the women was looking for a recent Gucci handbag, but she wanted it at a consignment price. That’s the one thing about consignment that can be difficult–having one specific thing in mind. Because there is only really ONE of everything when you shop consignment. It’s very rare that you’ll find two of the same pieces.

The next stop was the street vendors for many along with a bite for lunch at Snack–a stylish Soho cafe. It was a beautiful day so they enjoyed leisurely strolling the streets.

After West Soho, it was back in the limo and time to head to the East Village. I wanted to introduce them to Buffalo Exchange. INA was a little pricey for their liking. There was a small distraction when we headed over to East 11th Street–Viniero’s Bakery–a delicious distraction. The ladies loaded up on treats to take back to the hotel for later. They have some of the most amazing pastries in the city.

Buffalo Exchange didn’t really peak their interest although some of the ladies enjoyed browsing Min K next door and Tokio Joe’s (aside from the crowded factor.) I figured we should try out Tokio 7. They carry very similar designer consignment as INA but the pricing is a little more reasonable and the clothing slightly more dated. Nonetheless, they really enjoyed it and some of them even tried on some things.

By this point, since they had decided to incorporate lunch and dessert into the tour, we only had time for one more stop. I figured that Cadillac’s Castle would be the best option. This was one of the most successful stops where almost everyone left with something including jewelry, shoes and dresses. Cad’s Castle really is a hidden gem and their prices are extremely reasonable for what you can find. All in all, it was a great tour and the ladies had an enjoyable afternoon.

If you’d like to tour some of the most amazing consignment shops in NYC, visit for more information. We look forward to shopping with you!

Customized Family Shopping Tour – Something for Everyone!

It was a nice surprise coming to realize that we could customize a shopping tour perfect for an entire family. The tour was for a lovely family from Berlin, Germany consisting of dad, mom, teenage daugther and a six-year-old little girl. We started the tour at Henri Bendel where the mother was quickly drawn into the beauty department to try a new product. The teenaged daughter perused the signature accessories section in the Gazebo shop while the six-year-old watched her mom get made over in awe. The dad picked out some things to surprise the girls with while they were busy and then joined the teen on the second floor to check out some of their fragrances. On our way out, the mother and teen picked out some signature Bendel accessories to take back home to their friends.

From Bendel’s, we headed downtown to the Meatpacking District where they had quickly toured earlier on their trip but didn’t have time to experience the shopping. We started out at Tracy Reese, where the mom and the teen had fun trying on some colorful dresses and boho blouses. I knew this would be a great start for the two of them since Tracy’s line is both youthful and sophisticated.

From Tracy Reese, we stopped quickly next door at Elizabeth Charles, where there were some beautiful New Zealand designs along with some Australian designs, although nothing that really suited the ladies’ taste. And since I started to get a feel for their style by this point, I suggested that we head over to Scoop. (I also knew that there would be something for the dad at Scoop Men and for the youngest daughter at Scoop Kids–although to my dismay, the kids’ store has closed and they discontinued the line.)

Scoop, however, was definitely successful for the mom, and the teen tried on some things as well. The teen was specifically searching for a handbag and I knew that they would have a cool selection. Also, while the dad shopped at Scoop Men, I suggested the mom and teen cross the street to the Diane Von Furstenberg flagship to check out her famous wrap dresses and her handbags.

By this point, the youngest daughter, who had been on her best behavior was slightly restless, so we headed over to the West Village so I could get their cupcakes at the Magnolia Bakery. It was here that I also introduced them to the Marc Jacobs Special Items Store where I helped the six-year-old pick out a small NYC necklace with a heart and a statue of liberty charm. I suggested that the dad head over to Jack Spade, where he found a few things, and I sent the mom and teen to the Mulberry store to search for handbags since the teen hadn’t found what she was looking for yet. They also checked out Olive & Bette’s which is always a great option for the chic shopper.

Since the six-year-old had been so patient, her dad took her to the Little Marc Jacobs store where he bought her a beautiful wool-knit poncho. Her eyes just lit up when she put it on, so he couldn’t say no 🙂

We headed back to the limo and since we had time for one more stop, I suggested TopShop. I knew that they could all find something there (even the six-year-old could fit in their 00 Petite sizes!) They enjoyed their cupcakes on the way and I gave them a quick run-down of the store layout so they could find their way around more easily. Afterall, it is a HUGE store!

At this point we were out of time with the limo and they decided to stay at TopShop to continue shopping. Before I left them, they asked me about a place for dinner so I suggested the new Scott Conant restaurant in the East Village, Faustina. They absolutely loved it and they sent me this e-mail on their way back to Berlin:

Dear Natasha,

Now we’re on our way back home to Berlin. We’re still i
Pressed of the tour we had with you. We all want to thank you again for your assistence, your charme and helpful tips. Even the Faustino was à great event and we enjoyed the meal and the very sympathic waitresses. Thank’s for all.

Best regards

Gudrun, Mara, Jo and Marco

If you’d like to take a customized shopping tour of NYC, visit our website at We look forward to shopping with you!

All-in-One Unique NYC Shopping Tour

ShopNYC Tours wanted to provide our shoppers with a shopping tour that offers VARIETY like no other! Why??? Well, most people come to NYC with a packed itinerary and reserve just a small window of time (usually 2-3 hours) for each activity that they want to do.

So let’s say a group has just a few hours set aside for shopping and the group consists of people with different preferences, styles, needs, budgets, etc. For example, a family comes to NYC and the mother wants to look for clothing, the grandmother wants to look for housewares, the father wants to look for a souvenir t-shirt and the teenaged daughter wants to look for accessories. In another case scenario, there’s a group of friends: one wants to buy a $300 handbag, one wants to buy a $75 pair of shoes and the other wants to find second-hand clothing for 10 bucks. With our All-in-One Unique NYC Shopping Tour you will have access to ALL of these things over the course of the 3-hour tour. There will be boutiques with women’s clothing and accessories, home decor items, unique gifts, beauty products, teen clothing and accessories, and men’s clothing. The prices will range from $5 per item up to $500 per item. The shops will offer a variety of high fashion, vintage fashion, bargain shopping and consignment.

The other thing that’s unique about this tour is that even though you’ll be shopping with a group, you’ll have the opportunity to shop in the stores that appeal most to YOU. There will be clusters of shops and each person will be given a map. The tour guide will give you a certain amount of free time and then you can follow the map and decide which shops you want to visit first, second, and third, or you can just spend the entire time in your favorite shop!

Our All-in-One Unique NYC Shopping Tour is offered every Saturday from 11am-2pm for just $34. It’s a guided, walking tour and departs at the Southeast corner of 14th Street and Fifth Avenue. For more information and to buy tickets, visit We look forward to shopping with you!

The Complete NYC Prom Shopping Experience!

Are you coming to NYC to shop for your prom dress??  ShopNYC Tours can help!  With our Complete NYC Prom Shopping Experience, you will shop everything from chic and contemporary prom, to vintage and unique prom.  Not only will you get access to some of the most amazing prom dresses NYC has to offer, but you will also have the opportunity to get your prom accessories (tiaras, rhinestone bracelets, earrings, beaded purses and shoes!)

ShopNYC Tours realizes that prom is one of those special times when teens want to look and feel their best.  We realize that they also want to wear something special that no one else will have.  With our Complete NYC Prom Shopping Experience, you will be shopping and sightseeing in the fashion capitol of the world where the possibilities are endless!  Your style-savvy guide will show you videos highlighting the latest prom trends for 2010 along with ways for you to find your own unique style.  We want you to feel confident, beautiful, comfortable, and most importantly, like YOU when you put on that dress!  (Afterall, mom will be so camera happy that it will be a night you NEVER forget!)

Not only will you find the hottest and latest prom attire on this tour, but you’ll also get a special makeup tutorial session at the Makeup Forever Flagship Store in Greenwich Village.  This is definitely not your average makeup store!  Their products are used by professionals for film, television, and Broadway and they have in-store professional makeup artists who can give you the tips you need to shine.  You’ll learn how to stand out with their makeup (especially with their Diamond Powder Eye Shadow that’s perfect for prom!)

Oh–and there are a couple other perks we forgot to mention…  Along the way, you’ll enjoy some complimentary “Teeny” Cosmos along with cupcakes from a world-famous bakery.  Shopping AND sugar?!?  It doesn’t get much better than this!

If you’re interested in taking the Complete NYC Shopping Experience, visit our website for more information at  We look forward to shopping with you!