Fifth Avenue, Manhattan’s traditional stretch of luxury retail, has been upstaged in recent decades by Madison Avenue. But Fifth is still home to a relatively short section of high-end shopping, beginning around Rockefeller Center (48th Street) in Midtown, and running north to the Plaza Hotel (58th Street).
As you can see, while there’s a plethora of luxe loot to be found here, the street is not especially exclusive: sumptuous department stores and opulent boutiques rub shoulders with banks, souvenir shops, and mass retailers like Forever 21.
Still, Fifth Avenue retains some elegance, although heavy traffic, construction, and very tall buildings (which make the avenue feel like a tunnel) detract from the pedestrian experience. We’re using my car and driver now, of course, but when you return, make sure you have a limo.
Ritzy retail: Bergdorf Goodman, Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Cartier, Coach, Giorgio Armani, Harry Winston, Henri Bendel, Louis Vuitton, Piaget, Prada, Rolex, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, Valentino, Van Cleef & Arpels, Zegna.
Michelin-starred restaurants: Le Bernardin; The Modern; Aquavit.
AAA five-diamond hotels: the Ritz-Carlton Central Park; the Peninsula; Park Hyatt New York.
Experiences: after exploring Rockefeller Center, gaze up at Trump Tower (East 57th Street) before checking out the original Saks Fifth Avenue outlet (between East 49th and East 50th streets), an eight-story emporium with a top floor dedicated entirely to women’s shoes.