Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vintage Boutique Tour for Browsers

Yesterday's tour was unique.  It consisted of 2 women: one from Vermont and one from California.  They were on a short weekend getaway.  I could tell from the beginning that they weren't going to be big shoppers, which was completely fine.  I think what some people don't realize is that my tours are meant for shopping, but even if you're not a shopper, you'll have a wonderful time just experiencing the neighborhoods and browsing the boutiques.  On my tours, you can have an AMAZING experience even if you don't buy on thing.  

We began, of course, in Soho--but on the west side of Soho.  I always explain to people that the east side of Soho is where they have the more commercial stores (Old Navy, H&M, Victoria's Secret) and high-end designer stores (Prada, Chanel.)  I focus on west Soho on my tours because it's a quaint, clean, quiet area of Soho where there are a lot of individually owned, smaller boutiques.  In fact, there's actually something called "S3" (which stands for Shop Small Stores) that smaller, locally-owned boutiques have created to promote shopping in their boutiques.  At any rate, the ladies really seemed to enjoy the neighborhood immensely.  They weren't spending a lot of time in any of the stores because they were just browsing--not shopping but it still allowed them to enjoy themselves.  One of the ladies commented on how it was fun just simply exploring.

After Soho, we headed to the East Village and they really enjoyed Buffalo Exchange on East 11th Street.  They spent quite some time browsing but didn't end up buying anything.  It was the same with O Mistress Mine.  They loved looking through Wanda's (the owner's) collection but they didn't make any purchases.  Again--they were just having a nice time strolling through the stores and exploring.

On our way to East 9th Street something very exciting happened!  We saw Leonardo DiCaprio!!!  Yes--even though I'm a local, I admit, I was very excited.  We weren't sure if it was him so one of the ladies said she wanted to go back to the cafe where he was sitting to get a drink.  She didn't really buy a drink, of course.  It was just to confirm that it was him.  And it definitely was!  I couldn't believe how grungy he looked.  You know, he's one of those Hollywood stars that dresses very chic and sophisticated for the most part.  He looks very polished on the red carpet whereas someone like Johnny Depp tends to look a little more grungy.  But to my surprise Leo looked like a regular East Villager.  I do think, however, that he had to TRY to look this way.  He was TRYING not to stand out which was cool, I guess.

Anyway, on East 9th Street, they explored Fabulous Fanny's and Cadillac's Castle for a bit.  They were also excited to see AuH2O so we headed to East 7th Street immediately after that.  One of the ladies bought a pair of Obama earrings for her mom and the other tried on a top but didn't make a purchase because it didn't fit.  They definitely had a really strong interest in Kate's boutique though.  

We had a little time left after East 7th Street so I decided to take them to St. Mark's Place.  I figured they might enjoy seeing an area that was still a little "off the beaten path" but also a little more touristy and with shops that have some lower prices and some souvenirs.  (I knew they had teenagers they might want to buy for.)  So we strolled along St. Mark's.  I told them that was one of the perks to it just being the two of them.  I was able to show them something that wasn't part of the usual itinerary.

Following St. Mark's, I asked if they'd like to visit the West Village since we still had an hour left with the car service, but they decided to head back to the hotel.  They said that they had a wonderful time already and they were anxious to change clothes and have dinner before their show.  One of the ladies was actually waiting for her lost luggage to arrive at their hotel so she also wanted to get back to check on it.

I think the tour started out a little rocky but as time went on, the ladies realized that there was no pressure to shop.  I was happy just showing them around and they were happy just exploring.  

If you'd like to browse with ShopNYC Tours, visit for more information about us!  I hope to shop--or browse with you soon!

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