Top Shelf showcases luxury vacations, goods, restaurants and more that you can indulge in after your investing pays off.
It was winter, of course, and I stood in awe under the famous Christmas tree, watched skaters gliding out on the rink at Rockefeller Center, strolled by Trump Tower … and then kept on strolling to Grand Central Station, taking the subway to a more affordable part of town.
Yes, I finished my stay in the city with a few cheap slices of pizza and new clothes courtesy of a thrift store in Williamsburg (but one awesome thrift store, mind you).
One day, though, I’m sure (OK, I hope) Fifth Avenue will be quite a different experience for me. Because when you can afford it, the historical road — “synonymous with wealth, privilege and luxury,” as Fodors put it — offers an amazing strip of upscale retail stops.
Saks (SKS) Fifth Avenue is one obvious example, as the 89-year-old, 10-story flagship department store sits rights across from the Rockefeller Center. It has an eighth-floor shoe department, revamped in 2007, which has been marketed by Saks as “so large, it deserves its own zip code.”
(Granted, the zip code for the shoe floor is 10022–SHOE … and those last four characters aren’t actually necessary. But still, it makes for a nice quip.)
And beyond the absurd array of high-end offerings, the store also includes a high-class bridal salon, offering gowns from Amsale, Carolina Herrera and more, along with bridal shoes from Chanel, Gucci (GUCG), Prada (PRDSF) and Jimmy Choo … to name a few.
Or you could just hit up Gucci or Prada’s namesake stores if you want a more specific selection.
Walk up just six or seven blocks from Saks, and the luxury parade continues. Tiffany & Co. (TIF) is another famous Fifth Avenue feature, boasting a granite exterior and window displays that will make you drool. This is another old kid on the block, with the flagship location opening its doors in 1940.
Just a couple more streets will take you to one of the newer kids on the block, but already one of the most popular: The Apple (AAPL) Store. You’ve likely seen photos of the giant glass cube featuring the company’s simple logo … especially because, a couple years ago, research showed that the store is the most photographed location in the city.
That kind of striking design doesn’t stop outside, though. A spiral glass staircase and transparent cylindrical elevator bring you down to the underground store that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s like Walmart (WMT) … only so different.
And that’s just three examples of stores you can find on Fifth. And if I haven’t struck your fancy with any of the big-name retailers just mentioned, have no fear. The list goes on.
Looking for more luxury? Try Brooks Brothers, Versace, Cartier, Cole Haan, Nine West or others.
Or if you want the feel of the big city without the price tag, there are some more affordable retailers — ones you could likely find at your local mall — mixed in as well. A few names include Gap (GPS), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and H&M (HNNMY) … although these locations look much more luscious than any I’ve stepped foot in.
And if you need a gift or toy for a child, you can swing by Disney (DIS), American Girl Place — owned by Mattel (MAT) — or FAO Schwartz. The final one is the most storied, as it is the oldest toy store in America and the NYC location is … well … the only one. Employees dress as toy soldiers, while the store’s floor piano and Grand Hall entrance are also popular features.
After years of careful planning and smart investing pay off, Fifth Avenue is the perfect place to stroll, spend and let it sink in: You can afford to enjoy one of the most popular luxury shopping strips there is.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow her on Twitter: @alyssaoursler.