New York City needs little introduction. What more can be said about a city that's already caused so much ink to spill? No words can do justice to the city's diverse restaurant scene; to call the city's people a forward-thinking bunch is so understated that it's an insult; and to call New York a cultural heavyweight, well, you'd need a whole new weight division.
It might be a challenging city to describe, but what we can do is provide you with a guide to some of New York's greatest clothing, antiques, electronics and music stores. The shopping in New York is among the best in the world, right up there with Paris, London, Tokyo and Milan. Where it differs, however, is that it's not all high end luxury goods (although there's plenty of that, too) and a discerning shopper can still score a good deal.
Despite the growing use of tablets, phones and e-readers as a means of reading, there's something to be said about the sensation of opening a book, running your hands along its pages and breathing in that inimitable new-book smell. If this resonates with you, then a visit to Strand is an absolute must during your stay in New York. This iconic bookstore, located on the corner of 12th Street and Broadway, has been in business since 1927 and is home to 2.5 million books – that's an astonishing 29 kilometres' worth.
Although the vibes of the city are undoubtedly contemporary, there's also a definite sense of history in the air. Having been in operation for nearly 40 years, the Chelsea Flea Market is an excellent showcase of these contrasts, and offers you the chance of scoring some well-priced used and vintage goods. Explore the wares of 135 vendors who are selling everything from antique furniture to vintage clothing and accessories.
The markets are located between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, and are open 9am to 6pm all year round. A $1 admission fee helps to keep the area properly maintained.
Buying electronics in foreign lands can be a tricky business, as it's very easy for dodgy dealers to target unsuspecting tourists and sell them bunk goods without fear that the buyer will return to complain. In New York, you'll want to be very wary of buying electrical goods from any store near Times Square, as they are notorious for ripping off tourists. Avoid these bad apples and check out the good ones at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue.
Instantly recognisable thanks to its massive glass cube, the Fifth Ave Apple Store is a sight to behold and stands as something of a testament to modern technology. Inside, you'll find a beautiful world of Apple products, served to you by more than 300 employees.
In case you haven't heard, vinyl is enjoying a strong renaissance at the moment, and nowhere is this resurgence more apparent than in America where LP sales reached 4 million in 2014, according to research company Nielsen. New York City is the proud home of a slew of true-blue vinyl stores, but our pick of the bunch has to be Academy Record Annex. Here you'll find a staggering collection of vinyl from a variety of different genres, and a throng of people passionately flicking through the countless titles.
With all due respect to the city's indie stores, no New York shopping experience is complete without a walk down Madison Avenue. Lined up in a neat row along the eastern border of Central Park, you'll find all your favourite high-end designer and luxury brands such as Gucci, Calvin Klein, Armani, Prada and more.