5 Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth in NYC

When thinking about some of the great eats in New York City, delis and pizzerias most definitely come to mind. The problem is, you can only have so much pastrami and so many sloppy slices before you begin craving a change of pace. Here are some sweet suggestions for your NYC visit:

Magnolia Bakery
Magnolia has been the bakery hotspot since Carrie Bradshaw devoured one of their delicious pink buttercream icing cupcakes on an episode of Sex and the City. What people don’t know is that the banana pudding is actually their showstopper. The creamy, puffy pudding, along with fresh bananas and vanilla wafers will have you saying “What cupcake?” Now with multiple locations around Manhattan, you shouldn’t have to wait in line… for too long.

Dylan’s Candy Bar
Walking into Dylan’s Candy Bar will make you feel like you stepped right into a scene from Willy Wonka. Founded by Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan, this store featuring rows and rows of candy ranging from Swedish fish to hard tack to chocolate will certainly give you a sugar rush. If that’s not reason enough to feel like “a kid in a candy store”, pull out a dollar bill and head to the chocolate fountain where they’ll give you your choice of fruit to dip in the velvety chocolate falls.

Serendipity III
A young John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale come to mind when you think Serendipity. The restaurant where they filmed the romantic flick, actually known as Serendipity “III” or “3” was made famous by the sweet love story and is known for their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, which at one time drew celebs in like Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol and Jackie O. This popular location, its rich history and, of course, its dessert, makes the wait for a table worth it. They do not accept “dessert-only” reservations so to avoid waiting too long it’s recommended to reserve a table for a full meal.

Owned and operated by the same Italian family since 1892, this Little Italy gem will instantly have you in a cannoli craze. And if that doesn’t suit your fancy, rows and rows of other delicate pastries displayed in their cases certainly will. Enjoy a savory sweet, sip their famous espresso and take in the old-world ambiance and you’ll surely feel like you’re in a scene from a classic movie.

Baked by Melissa
Cupcakes in New York City have become “a thing” much like pizza. One of the biggest problems when it comes to having one of those hearty cakes, however, is deciding on oh-so-many flavors! If only you could have one bite of each. With Baked by Melissa, you can. Her bite-sized cupcakes in flavors like Peanut Butter & Jelly, Mint Cookie and Chocolate Chip Pancake give you a taste of variety without feeling the guilt.

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 www.shop-nyctours.com/guidedtours. We look forward to shopping with you!

Teen Fashion and Fun Tour – Teen and Two Adults Had an Equally Awesome Time!

Saturday’s Teen Fashion and Fun Tour was great, not only for the teen, but for the adults too! There were 3 ladies—one being a young lady of about thirteen. I can honestly say that all three of them enjoyed the tour immensely. From Fifth Avenue’s Abercrombie and Bendel’s to Noho’s and Soho’s Joyce Leslie and TopShop, they shopped, shopped, shopped! They enjoyed the fashion videos I showed them along the way and seemed to gain a lot of knowledge from them. (They were making comments about info from the videos when they visited some of the stores.)

It was a rainy day but fortunately, with the spot-to-spot transportation provided, it didn’t really make a difference. They barely even needed their umbrellas.

As usual, in the West Village, I picked up their cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery while they browsed the Marc Jacobs Special Items Store. The ladies told me that they had been to the Georgetown Bakery outside of DC and were anxious to compare the cupcakes to Magnolia’s.

When they finished their shopping, we dropped them off at their final destination, which was Chelsea Piers. (Sometimes I can drop people off at a place of their choice as long as it’s in Manhattan and time permits.) On the way to the Piers, they ate their cupcakes and came to the conclusion that Magnolia’s icing was much better but that if they combined it with Georgetown’s cake, you would have the perfect cupcake!

As the tour came to an end, the ladies said they had a wonderful time and that they would have never found the stores I took them to on their own. In fact, they were in Soho the day before the tour and said they had no idea about TopShop (which was one of their favorites) and passed it up. They also absolutely loved having their own transportation around the city. The commented on how nice it was to not have to walk everywhere. They also said they would tell all their friends about ShopNYC Tours and that I should consider starting tours in San Francisco (which is where they were from.) I think I’ll have to stick to NYC for now, but it’s definitely a possibility in the future!

If you’d like to have a ShopNYC Tours experience, visit www.shop-nyctours.com to book a tour.

Teen Fashion and Fun Tour Birthday Party

Last Saturday’s Teen Fashion and Fun Tour was a really great time. There were three teenage girls and one of them was the birthday girl! She was visiting from Chicago and her uncle was treating her. (He came along too!) As for the other girls, one was from the city and the other was from Queens. So they were a really cute, diverse and interesting group.

When the limo pulled up, they were super-excited. I can’t imagine being in NYC when I was 13-years-old and riding in a limo with friends….. So though I never experienced it myself, I could kind of guess what they were feeling!

First stop, as usual, was the Abercrombie & Fitch Flagship. They absolutely LOVED it! From the male models, to the strong aroma of A&F cologne, they totally enjoyed the whole experience. After they shopped, they took pictures with the model at the front of the store. They were SO excited! One of the girls even said, “Wait til I show my mom!”

Next stop was Henri Bendel, but they weren’t that crazy about it. I mean, it’s not exactly in the teen budget, but they had fun browsing for a minute.

Following Bendel’s they saw the Disney Store, which isn’t normally a stop on the tour, but since we were ahead of schedule, I told them we had time to take a look.

The last store we had time to stop in on the UES was the Juicy Couture Flagship, which is always a teen favorite! They had fun browsing there for over 20 minutes (which is quite a long attention span for teens, of course!)

Next it was back in the limo and time for the “teeny” cosmos which they enjoyed very much. (They especially had fun taking pictures with them.) We were headed to the West Village to the Marc Jacobs Special Collections Store, but I realized we had about 30 minutes before they opened. So I suggested we stop at Joyce Leslie in Noho first. All the girls loved it here because the prices are 100% absolutely “teeny.” I’m sure the uncle (who was treating the birthday girl) appreciated them too though. Who wouldn’t? Cute t-shirts under $10 and cute dresses not more than $20. Heck, I’m a HUGE fan!

Last destination was the West Village. I knew they would LOVE the Marc Jacobs Special Collections Store. There was also a street fair on the same block, which was fun to browse. Although, as expected, they spent most of their time in MJ. This store is raved about all around the world. People don’t understand how things are sold for a small fraction of the regular MJ price. I don’t really understand it either. All I know is that it’s awesome for people who like labels. You can still get the MJ label without paying a fortune. The birthday girl absolutely adored this store and she came out with quite a few gifts from her uncle. The other girls made some small purchases too.

When we got back into the limo to return to the starting point of the tour, I pulled out their special treats. Magnolia Bakery is on the same block as the MJ Special Collections store and what’s a birthday party without a delicious cupcake?!? So on the way back uptown, the teens took some cute cupcake pictures and left not one crumb behind. All in all, the tour was a success!

If you’d like to plan a tour for a birthday party, a bachelorette party, or any other special occasion, visit the Contact page of www.shop-nyctours.com and inquire about our private group tours. Hope to shop with you soon!

Private, Customized Tour for Two Lovely Ladies

As I walked into The Plaza Hotel with my ShopNYC Tours tote, I must say that I felt a little anxious about the palace-like decor and what it conveyed. Were my customers staying here and, if so, were they going to be friendly or a bit prude? I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe they were just exploring and touring The Plaza and staying somewhere a little more “low-key” like The New Yorker? I quickly found out. Just as I entered, they were conveniently standing in front of me, saw my tote and we introduced ourselves.

There were 2 ladies and a gentleman who quickly explained that he wasn’t going on the tour, but rather just seeing them off. We walked out to the car and he took a photo of them getting in. Then he smiled and waved goodbye. The ladies were somewhat quiet when we first got into the car and even up until we neared the first stop.

When we arrived at East 11th Street, I think they were a little apprehensive about the neighborhood. They asked if it was more of a local area and I told them that it was but assured them that the most interesting boutiques are located in “local” neighborhoods. I wasn’t really sure what they were going to think about the boutiques on 11th Street but figured I would find out! The boutiques in this area are mostly bargain/consignment boutiques, which can turn some people off. Within a few minutes though, one of the ladies was trying on a pair of shoes in Tokyo Joe’s so I knew they were liking it!

Next up was O Mistress Mine, which they loved! One of the ladies bought a black patent-leather handbag with red, satin lining and the other almost bought one of their vintage hats. They had a great time exploring O Mistress Mine, as people usually do.

Even though they were loving the vintage and consignment, I decided to take them down to East 9th Street where they could find a nice mix of vintage and trendy fashion boutiques. It’s a beautiful block and it was a little difficult to see that since they were filming Step Up 3. But I guess they thought it was interesting that they were filming there. We visited a fairly new place that I hadn’t been in before called DejaVu, which is both a boutique and tailor service. I was extremely impressed with it. They had a beautiful collection of dresses (some made in France) that were actually pretty affordable. They also had some beautiful, unique handbags in the back.

Some other places we visited on East 9th were Local Clothing, Fialka and Meg. We were going to head to East 7th Street but were running out of time allotted for the East Village so we decided to head over to Soho.

I knew that they would absolutely love Chelsea Girl (I could tell by their reactions from the videos) and I figured that they might like Laurel Canyon as well. I was also sure to point out INA since they took a liking to some of the designer consignment in the East Village.

At Chelsea Girl, one of the ladies tried on several vintage dresses but didn’t have any luck with the sizes. At INA they did more browsing and then headed across the street to the jewelry store, Lunessa, where they made a few purchases. Last stop in Soho was Sacco and this is where they made quite a few purchases. One of the ladies fell in love with their headbands which consisted of unique feathers, flowers and bows (a la Gossip Girl) while the other found a comfortable and stylish pair of shoes.

Next up was their requested stop–Lulu Guiness. This was something they told me they wanted to do when they first booked the tour. Since Lulu Guiness is located in the West Village, I wanted to allow time for more than just one stop because I knew they would absolutely love the neighborhood.

When one of the ladies stepped into Lulu Guiness, you’d have thought she stepped into her personal heaven. She quickly scoured through every little, unique handbag with glee! They didn’t have the one that she wanted in the correct color, which was disappointing, but the disappointment quickly went away when I pointed them in the direction of the Magnolia Bakery, where they bought two cupcakes. On the way to the West Village, I had shown them the video of Darling, so they decided that in the remaining time they wanted to shop there. So we hopped in the car and headed that direction while they finished their delish cupcakes.

They really adored everything at Darling. They both ended up purchasing a lovely pair of earrings. And one of the women bought a belt as well. So the tour ended on a good note for both of them!

On the way back to The Plaza, the ladies said they had a wonderful time. They said that they thought 4 hours of shopping would be too much, but that it went by so quickly. They also commented that they would have never found the boutiques that I introduced them to if it weren’t for the planned shopping tour itinerary and transportation. I was really glad to hear it. That’s what I’m trying to provide people: a relaxing, unique, comfortable NYC experience that you just can’t have when you’re on your own in the Big Apple.

If you’d like to have one of these NYC experiences, visit my website for more info at www.shop-nyctours.com. Thanks for reading and I hope to shop with you soon!