If you're in the mood for high-end shopping, head straight up Fifth Avenue to the palatial department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf Goodman. When you feel like sticking closer to home, Midtown South Central can oblige you. While you can find plenty of chain stores such as Macy's, and Lord & Taylor, be sure to also check out some of the shops that are unique to this neighborhood.
Head to J.J. Hat Center on 5th Avenue for a vast array of vintage-style hats ranging from felt fedoras to tweed newsboys. With a knowledgeable staff offering custom fittings, this longstanding gem is worth visiting both for the selection and the high quality of service.
At first glance, Fishs Eddy on Broadway looks like it wants to sell you New York tourist goodies. However, just step inside to find silverware, glassware, ceramics and table linens in every style, whether you're searching for a classic look or something a little more whimsical.
During the holiday season, head south to the Union Square
Holiday Market to discover a vast array of stalls and vendors featuring home decor, jewelry, clothing, artwork and accessories. Cross the names off your gift list while you sip some hot chocolate. If you come on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, you can also take advantage of the Union Square Greenmarket for all your fresh-produce needs.
On a non-farmers-market day, locals in Midtown South Central shop at the Whole Foods on 7th Avenue, or they head to Avenue of the Americas near Madison Square Park to buy groceries at Fairway or Trader Joe's. The neighborhood is also home to several specialty grocers, like Sunrise Mart on E 41st Street, where you can find authentic Japanese prepared foods and ingredients.