What’s in a Name? 5 Popular NYC Neighborhoods

In New York City, there are dozens of neighborhoods to visit and while their names may seem simple, many of them are actually abbreviations, acronyms or portmanteaus.

“Neighborhoodification” has been occurring over the past two decades when new boutiques, trendy restaurants and hip residents move in to a particular area and create one of these unique names. Confused yet? Here is the name breakdown and lowdown for five popular NYC neighborhoods:

Soho (South of Houston Street):

Blocks of boutiques, famous name-brand shops, and cafes make Soho a more-than-desirable spot for an afternoon of shopping and lunch. In this historic cast-iron district, you will experience beautiful architecture and various art galleries, featuring artists from across the globe. Weather permitting, discover blocks and blocks of new, inspiring artists in a sea of street vendors including talented jewelry designers, painters, and photographers.

Nolita (North of Little Italy):

Nolita has also become known for its boutique shopping and quaint cafes. While Soho possesses a certain hustle and bustle, Nolita is full of quiet spots that give the neighborhood an off-the-beaten-path flair. Nolita is also the home to The Market NYC, a flea market where local independent artists, designers and entrepreneurs sell their creations, which is a must-see for any fashionista.

Mepa (Meatpacking District):

MePa is the spot for nightlife whether you’re looking for a full-on club or a low-key lounge. Find high-fashion designer shops including Diane Von Furstenberg and Stella McCartney without the same overwhelming Soho crowd. MePa is also the starting point for the High Line, a public park built on an old freight line elevated above the street, which is perfect for a relaxing stroll with beautiful views.

Fidi (Financial District):

FiDi is the home of Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, and with the work crowd comes some great lunch spots and happy hours. Battery Park is just steps away, where you can catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty, the World Financial Center and New York Harbor. Snap a picture with the Charging Bull, one of NYC’s biggest tourist attractions.

Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street):

Home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country, Tribeca is known for its out-of-this-world restaurants and celebrity sightings. The once industrial cast-iron buildings have now been converted into beautiful loft residences, drawing only the rich and famous. Tribeca is also home to the Tribeca Film Festival, founded by Robert De Niro in 2002, which brings in nearly three million visitors to the neighborhood each year.

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

Teen Shopping Tours for the Birthday Girls!

Last weekend’s Teen Shopping Tours, despite the weather, were fun, fun, fun! On Friday, the tour was for a 13-year-old birthday girl, her mom and her grandmother. I picked them up in a limo at 10am and we headed to our usual first stop on the Upper East Side. What made this tour extra special was that we had a stylist meet us at the first stop (the Abercrombie & Fitch Flagship). Kelly Mealia of Kreative Kouture and Ollie & Boo Jewelry had several outfits whipped out in no time and after a whirlwind in the dressing room, we were on our way to Henri Bendel while the mom purchased their favorites.

At Bendel’s, we focused mostly on accessories since most of their women’s clothing would be too large for the tiny teen. Kelly hand picked several headband options and again, it was a quick show for mom and grandma (who even bought some things for themselves–how could they not at the “Girl’s Playground”???). 

After the Bendel mini-spree, it was back in the limo and down Fifth Avenue to the Juicy Couture Flagship store where once again, Kelly put several cute pieces together to form some fabulous outfits. And the grandma picked out one of their signature terry-cloth track suits for HER daughter 🙂

On the way to Noho/Soho, Kelly rode along with us and showed her beautiful jewelry collection, Ollie & Boo, which had just been seen on The Today Show the previous morning. The teen picked out her favorite earrings and Kelly left us at this point of the tour. 

We continued on to Soho, where we stopped for a quick lunch break. While mom and grandma finished up eating, me and the teen headed over to the much-anticipated TopShop! This store was awesome because all 3 of the lovely ladies found clothing that worked for them here. The teen ended up getting an adorable jumper and a sweet bohemian top while the mom bought a stunning black cocktail dress and the grandma a beautiful floral blouse. 

We were running out of time at this point so we had to head uptown to the MAC store where it was time for a teen makeover in preparation for her photo shoot. While the make-up artist applied some colorful and fresh eyeshadow and lip gloss, the grandma got a “smokey-eye” lesson. 

At this point of the tour, it was time for me to leave them as they continued on to the photo shoot on location in the Meatpacking District with Caitlin Greer Photography. 

These gals were super sweet and had a wonderful time, as did I! It made me want to take a shopping trip with my mom and grandma….so fun!

On Saturday, the tour was for a Sweet 16 Birthday and the group came into the city for the day from New Jersey. I met them at Penn Station where the limo picked them up. From here we headed uptown to Henri Bendel, where I assured them they would enjoy browsing the “Girl’s Playground.” 

Since they wanted to focus more on unique, NYC shopping, we skipped Abercrombie & Fitch and Juicy Couture and headed downtown to Noho to Joyce Leslie and Necessary Clothing. On the way, they enjoyed their “teeny” cosmos. Since they’re from New Jersey they were actually familiar with Joyce Leslie but they definitely loved shopping at Necessary Clothing. They found some amazing clothes, shoes and accessories at this stop but I assured them that they needed to save up some energy for TopShop–and they did!

TopShop was a super-successful stop as the sales going on were absolutely AMAZING! There was something for everyone and they made a lot of their purchases there. 

After this stop, we headed to the West Village and they enjoyed their cupcakes along the way. There was a line at the Marc Jacobs Special Items store (as there often is) so I waited in line for them while they browsed Olive & Bettes and Juicy Couture Bleecker Street. 

We were running out of time and I had mini-makeovers planned for the teens after the tour at Makeup Forever so we quickly finished up in the West Village. (Their mom told me these teens loved, loved, loved makeup so I knew this would be a nice addition to the tour for them!) 

The limo dropped us off at Makeup Forever and while they waited for each teen to get their makeover, I mapped out a quick itinerary for them to eat dinner after, continue discount shopping and end up back at Penn Station. All in all, it was a fun birthday!

For more information about ShopNYC Tours OR to book a tour for YOUR teen’s birthday, visit www.shop-nyctours.com!