NYC’s Affordable Versions of Madison Avenue

S. Klein in Union Square looking east c. 1983 (Thanks to Dan Larson for the photo)

Ok, they’re hardly high-end, but there are areas of the city where I’ve always found great deals on some stylish items, although it does depend what you’re looking for and how discerning an eye you have. Some of those places include Fulton Street in Brooklyn, 125th Street, West 34th Street and 14th Street/Union Square–even lower Broadway around one of my personal favorites, Century 21–in Manhattan, the area of Queens Boulevard around the Long Island Expressway on the border of Rego Park and Elmhurst, and Fordham Road in the Bronx. Being a Manhattan native who grew up near Union Square, I still gravitate to 14th Street. And how it has changed! When I was younger, Zeckendorf Towers was a boarded up S. Klein (above). The building that now is home to a Whole Foods, Filiene’s Basement, DSW and Forever 21 was Mays Department Store and Union Square Park was a needle park.

Anyway, back to the present day. I used to buy tons of jewelry in the Flatiron District at those wholesale places (the more you buy, the greater the discount). Now that same concept has spread to other areas, including 14th Street. For example: Gem Story on West 14th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. I admit, I wouldn’t wear a lot of the inventory, but there are simple items you can pick up that will go with anything. I bought two sizes of these black bracelets (below) for $2.99 each. Of course they’re plastic; no one has to know they’re not Bakelite or a more expensive material.

I also discovered a place a couple of doors down, Fashion Express. You can only try on over your clothes, but they do accept exchanges (FYI: The sizes run small). As you can see in the picture below, they have some cute short and long strapless jumpers, which are $10.99 and $11.99 respectively. That’s better than Forever 21. I bought this rayon one (left). The shorts are gathered at the bottom.

And I couldn’t believe it when Nordstrom Rack opened on 14th Street! What a great addition. I’ve only shopped there once–the location in the Bergen Town Center (another great spot if you have a car) in New Jersey. In early March, I scored a pair of leather wedge sandals (right) for,
drum roll, please: $29.99 (a 70% mark down).

Those are just a few picks. But if you’re going for “the look for less” thing, you can’t go wrong shopping in any of these areas.


About bloggains

I’m a journalist who likes to live well, but will never pay full price. In this new world of the Groupon et al., how can we get a bargain on the things we actually use? That is where I come in. I’m a single girl on a budget with a penchant for fashion, good food, and travel who likes to take care of herself in the process. So, I decided to blog about the everyday ways I save money while still living pretty well. Hopefully it can help you live life fully without paying full price!

3 thoughts on “NYC’s Affordable Versions of Madison Avenue

  1. Danielle

    I love the history of union square and the wedges!

  2. Ellen

    Sam, you need to do an ode to the street vendor jewelers on lower 5th avenue! I have some great finds from them….

  3. thanks !! very helpful post!

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