Among the wealth of shopping opportunities on Manhattan’s well-heeled Upper East Side are several notable boutiques that stand out above the crowd.
Dotted with a mix of classic brownstones and upscale high-rises, the pretty residential district is renowned for its wealthy denizens, fancy restaurants and designer shops along Madison Avenue. Its retail offerings encompass everything from global luxury fashion chains through to quirky independent stores. If you’re coming to Manhattan and would like to sample the shopping scene, we’ve picked out 5 of the most unique boutiques on the Upper East Side.
Creel and Gow
Set within the former stables of a historic townhouse, Creel and Gow rides a fine line between the eclectic and the downright wacky. A veritable cabinet of curiosities, the posh décor shop houses a curated collection of original, one-of-a-kind items including rare finds, natural specimens, handicrafts and antiques, all sourced from around the world by a team of avid collectors and globe-trotters. Whether you’re seeking to add some originality to your home or searching for the truly unique gift, this boutique is the place to head.
131 East 70th Street
The Niche Shop
Situated on 81st Street, this vintage clothing shop has enjoyed rapid success since opening as a touring pop-up in 2021, quickly become one of the Upper East Side’s go-to shopping destinations for vintage and second-hand clothing. With sustainability at the forefront of their minds, the store’s founder hopes to help create a circular fashion ecosystem in which shopping second-hand is the norm, rooted in the belief that clothes made with quality and care deserve a second lease of life – or even a third or fourth, too. The store houses a wide collection of vintage and second hand clothing, with each item hand-picked by the owner for its mix of craftmanship, style and personality.
311 East 81st Street
It’s easy to find established fashion brands on the Upper East Side, but the area is also a willing showcase for up-and-coming designers. This swanky boutique occupies a beautiful townhouse on Madison Avenue, where it attracts a steady stream of patrons with its assortment of apparel and accessories from emerging names in the world of design. The store also features rotating art installations as well as a wide collection of home items, from tabletop décor and objets d’art to cozy cashmere throws and made-to-order sculptural vases.
1044 Madison Avenue
In 2022, Italian luxury footwear brand Aquazzura launched its first American flagship store with a suitably glamorous home on Madison Avenue. Featuring a 17-foot glass storefront and arresting black and white interior, the elegant two-floor boutique combines classic Florentine mainstays with a contemporary New York look and feel. Gold shelving and pendant lamps offer a dash of opulence, while pink marble walls and neutrally toned suede sofas bring a harmonious softness to the space. On display throughout the store are Aquazzurra’s hallmark of seductive, playful wares, together with exclusive offerings, made-to-order styles and the brand’s debut bridal collection.
939 Madison Avenue
With stores across the US, fat-fashion brand Mixology’s Upper East Side outpost houses a vast selection of premiere but affordable women’s clothing, with a specialism in mixing and matching high-end designer pieces. Its names is taken from the world of cocktails, in which mixologists “mix and mash” ingredients to create delectable drinks. In the case of apparel, the store is manna from heaven for those who like to blend the trendy with the basic when it comes to how they style themselves.
1422 3rd Avenue
By Paul Joseph