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Welcome to Drunk Shopping, our feature celebrating the time-honored tradition of getting totally wasted while the sun's still shining before buying a bunch of debatably useful stuff that the sober you would be too timid or too restrained to take home. Each Friday we'll cobble together a new itinerary starting you off with a boozy Saturday or Sunday brunch before meandering through a few neighboring retailers and happy hours notable for seasonal specials, limited time availability, fantastic deals, recent openings, or new shipments.
It's Friday afternoon. It's sunny. It's June. It's Drunk Shopping! This weekend, meet us in "Nomad." Don't know what the hell Nomad is? Well, we guess you're not a realtor, realty journalist, optimistic local resident and/or business owner, or fan of the uber-hip Ace Hotel. Nomad, formerly "Armpit," is the area North of Madison Square Park. Still sort of tragic but theoretically up-and-coming, it's populated mainly by crummy wholesalers, aggressive street vendors, and take away shops you don't ever want to try. Bustling on weekdays, you should find the streets relatively calm on the weekend. However, the often mobbed Ace lobby—our spot for brunch—is the exception.
You can brave the wait and the prices for a sit-down brunch at the Breslin. Or do what we're doing: Grab an unbelievable sandwich (the Eggplant Parm includes fontina cheese, yellow squash, pickled jalapenos, and barbecue potato chips) at No. 7 Sub, a perfect cup of coffee at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and the something stronger of your choice at the hotel bar. Then camp out in the lobby amongst the antlers and terrariums and cow hides and incredibly chic hotel guests before letting someone else at that plush leather couch so we can get shopping.
You're already there—why not stop in to the Ace's hotel gift shops? Not your standard Empire State Building shot glass emporium, the Ace's two shops are No. 8a (Project No. 8's third outpost) and Opening Ceremony. Fancy that—two of the hottest boutiques in town, now on 29th Street. No. 8a is a fashion-hipster take on the type of shop you might find in a Marriott. Instead of Crest and bottle openers find high end toiletries, designerly souvenirs, luxurious pajamas and travel gear, and, well, Margiela. Meanwhile, Opening Ceremony is pretty much an Opening Ceremony—with some gifty/travelly items in the mix—plus spring markdowns just happened! That means 30% or more off Alexander Wang, Band of Outsiders, and the rest. Bonus: On weekends you can get a Minx manicure.
Next head north to Midtown proper—you're practically there, you might as well stop into the Theory womenswear sample and overstock sale on W. 36th Street and Alice + Olivia's sample sale just further north on W. 40th for work wear and party dresses, respectively. Yes, it's a bit of a hike—but you're a seasoned city shopper and not a suburban whiner on a sale tour. Suck it up.
Now, back to Nomad for some sun and (more importantly) some more booze! Just over ten blocks south is Madison Square Park—and it's gorgeous. Grab a wine or a beer (or spike a frappe) from Shake Shack and people watch amongst blooming flowers and lush, sprawling lawns. There's also a coin-operated restroom that might be a worthwhile stop before trekking further south.
On Fifth Avenue south of the park, duck into the menswear counterpart of Theory's sale for career wear in any color you want (as long as it's tan). And, hey, you're in the middle of what we call the Gramercy Mall—Broadway and Fifth above Union Square—why not poke around Zara or Gap or Cole Haan or Restoration Hardware or Coach or ? You get the idea.
That was a lot of walking. Let's go drink in the dark. The Watering Hole on E. 19th Street is perfect. Why? Because they have a daily happy hour until 7pm every night of the week. And you deserve at least four $4 well drinks.
Enjoy! And please do share your Drunk Shopping tips, tales, and war stories in the comments!