Manhattan is one of the greatest shopping cities in the world, known for its upmarket boutiques and designer-driven fashion houses. Nowhere is the retail experience more iconic than along the stores on Fifth Avenue.
The street earned its chic reputation in the 1860s, when Caroline Astor—mother of The Knickerbocker Hotel’s founder John Jacob Astor IV—began hosting lavish parties at her new mansion on Fifth and 34th. New York “society” soon saw the avenue as an important hub, and high fashion followed a few decades later, extending northwards to Central Park.
Today, the shopping options are dazzling, from the southeast corner of Central Park at Fifth and 59th, south to the New York Public Library and Bryant Park.
Many international designers and luxury brands showcase flagship stores on Fifth Avenue, including all the European powerhouses. Nearly every store is a household name. Italian fashion is represented by the likes of Fendi, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Bottega Veneta, Valentino, Versace and Prada. Jewelry seekers can choose from Cartier (whose storefront features an iconic, diamond-encrusted jaguar), Harry Winston, De Beers, Bulgari and, of course, Tiffany & Co.. Switzerland’s finest watch companies are also there, with Breguet, Blancpain, Tissot and Rolex—conveniently next to the Swiss chocolate company Lindt.
New York-based fashion retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel, and Bergdorf Goodman are also retail anchors on Fifth Avenue.