It's coming and there's no way to stop it—so you might as well embrace it and get some holiday shopping (and treat-yourself shopping) done at deep discounts. Black Friday has become a holiday in its own right, and New York is one of the best places to be for the retail extravaganza with a smorgasbord of stores offering everything you could dream of within walking distance. You don't have to wait in line overnight at Best Buy to enjoy Black Friday. See some of the city's most unique boutiques, check out places that are giving proceeds to charity, and if you have to hit department stores, pick the less crowded ones.
With all this talk about the meaning of Thanksgiving being lost in the retail frenzy, By Brooklyn is giving shoppers a chance to do some good and celebrate the spirit of giving. The Carroll Gardens boutique focuses on, you guessed it, Brooklyn, with a curated selection of elevated yet accessible jewelry, tees, totes, housewares, baby items, snack foods and more, all from buzzworthy BK brands and artisans.
Starting Black Friday and going until December 24th, 10% of every purchase you make will go toward Shop for Good, and you choose the school or charity you want your money to benefit. You'll just need to submit a Shop for Good flier at purchase—to find out more, check the organization's website and let Kevin Bacon fill you in.
By Brooklyn is located at 261 Smith Street between Degraw and Douglass Streets in Carroll Gardens (718-643-0606, ByBrooklyn.com)
Lord & Taylor
It wouldn't be Black Friday without a trip to a department store: that's where you snag everything from handbags to coffee makers in one shot. It's also where the deals are usually the most aggressive, with extra percentages off on already-marked-down items, clearances and “door-buster” promotions. Everyone tends to think of Macy's first when they plan their Black Friday shopping, which is exactly why you're going to go to Lord & Taylor. Lord & Taylor will be a bit less jammed and a bit calmer.
Lord & Taylor also has beautiful holiday windows (Getty Images)
The deals will still be on par with Macy's or any other department store's slashed prices, only you'll have a wider range of inventory, from casual and affordable to a bit more high end. Last year, there was 30-50% off regular-priced sportswear, dresses and coats, plus a coupon for 20% off all sale and clearance items.
Lord & Taylor is located at 424 Fifth Avenue between 38th and 39th Streets (212-391-3344, LordAndTaylor.com
Life:Curated's eclectic array of clothing (ranging from classic and understated to statement-making, all with that urban-cool, Brooklyn vibe), accessories, jewelry, beauty items and home goods makes it a solid one-stop haven for gift shopping—and you-shopping, too. This is the place you go when you're looking for something unique that you won't see everywhere else, yet is functional, too—think antler jewelry holders and lizard-head wall hooks.
On Black Friday (and through to Monday), Life:Curated will be offering 30% everything in-store and online, which brings the average price point here down to basically irresistible.
Life:Curated is located at 186 Grand Street between Driggs and Bedford Avenues in Williamsburg (347-689-9143, Life-Curated.com)
Leave it to Anthropologie to do something crafty, magical and straight from a Pinterest page for even the craziest retail day of the year. You'd almost want to roll your eyes if it wasn't actually pretty undeniably fun and, potentially, a great deal.
The headquarters of all clothing and home-related things artsy, bohemian and eclectically elegant, Anthropologie will take a festive route to sales by turning its stores into a holiday party. All shoppers will receive an old fashioned party popper, each containing retro gems like paper crowns and confetti and a surprise ranging from “something super sweet” to a $500 gift card.
Anthropologie has multiple locations in Manhattan, check website (800-309-2500, Anthropologie.com)
A favorite of the style set, Babel Fair makes you feel like you're shopping bazaars, boutiques and markets across the globe in one compact, curated space. Effortless yet trend-conscious clothing, accessories, home items and quirky gifts represent a range of designers and artists from Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Argentina and the United Kingdom.
Keeping up with its fresh vibe, Babel Fair's approach to Black Friday is social media-based: follow them on Instagram and/or on Facebook and just show the sales associate ringing you up that you're a follower on your phone to get 20% off everything.
Babel Fair has two locations: 260 Elizabeth Street between Prince and Houston Streets in Nolita (646-360-3685, BabelFair.com); 294 Bedford Avenue between South 1st and Grand Streets in Williamsburg (718-387-1310, BabelFair.com)
Brooklyn shop Swords-Smith has made waves in the New York shopping scene with its thoughtful mix of easy-to-wear statement pieces from indie brands and local designers. The store is a go-to for everything from Yestadt Millinery fedoras to Soulland printed sweatshirts, along with a gift-perfect lineup of candles, cards and glassware.
For Black Friday, select items in store and online will be on sale and there will be free shipping online. There will also be a spend-and-get in store and online: spend $75 to get a $20 gift card, $150 for a $30 gift card, $250 for $50 and $400 and up for $100.
Swords-Smith is located at 98 South 4th Street between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street (347-599-2969, Swords-Smith.com)
If you are one of the brave souls up for the truly intense crowds of Black Friday, one place it will be worth calling on your nerves of steel is H&M. The fast fashion paradise is already cheap, and they'll practically be giving stuff away on Black Friday.
Select items will be up to 70% off, so considering how low a lot of those prices start, that's a pretty appealing deal. Many prices will be starting at $9.95. Knits will be starting at $4.95. $4.95 for a sweater! That's all of your cousins scratched off your gift-shopping list, right there. And the first 100 shoppers will be given scratch-off cards worth up to $300, which would go pretty far in this case.
H&M has multiple locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, check website (855-466-7467, HM.com)
You'll find unique gifts for hard-to-please family members plus little treasures for your co-workers, dog walkers, kids' teachers, and other small-token recipients on your list for at Delphinium Home, a burst of personality in Hell's Kitchen. Delphinium takes the meeting of form and function to heart, with useful and necessary home goods, kitchen items and accessories that range from colorful to tongue-in-cheek. Basically, the clever items here will make anyone smile, and will actually serve a purpose.
The store is taking a real neighborhood approach to Black Friday: no blowouts, no door-busters, no opening on Thanksgiving. Instead, they're offering 15% off to Gothamist readers all day in store on Black Friday. Just mention Gothamist when you check out.
Delphinium Home is located at 353 West 47th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues (212-333-7732, DelphiniumHome.com)
Courtney Iseman is a writer who is willing to make the tough sacrifice of constantly shopping so she can report on the best ways to do it in New York. You can read her thoughts on things like fashion and folk bands at courtneyiseman.com.