Is New York City’s hottest new attraction a department store?

Oct 25, 2019

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Hear us out: You might want to factor in a visit to a department store on your next trip to New York City. No, not Macy’s on 34th (though that’s cool too, especially if you have kids into the whole Santa thing), but today we’re talking about the new Nordstrom flagship store.

The new 320,000-square-foot department store officially opened on Thursday, and it’s clear there’s a lot for both serious shopaholics and casual window-shoppers.

We’re not just talking about the fact that you can order a glass of wine or pizza while you shop, but that doesn’t hurt.

The store — located on 57th and Broadway along the aptly named “Billionaire’s Row” — has more than 10,000 handbags, 100,000 pairs of shoes and 6,000 pairs of jeans, according to AM New York. But retail is just the beginning of the over-the-top experience (and I do mean that in a good way).

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

We’re interested in all things NYC, so we went to go check Nordstrom out on opening day. It was equal parts amazing and terrifying. It was as busy as you’d expect, if not busier, but everything still felt relatively organized. The sales associates were happy and helpful, although probably as overwhelmed as the shoppers.

In fact, when I asked one of them how to get to the Drybar, he replied, “Yeah, we have no [freaking] idea where anything is.” So, that’s ‘good’ and speaks to the size of the place.

The sprawling Nordstrom has a full lineup of spa and salon services, and cult-favorite brands such as FaceGym and the aforementioned Drybar are on location in case you need a rigorous facial “workout” or blowout. FaceGym, because we know you’re wondering, claims to exercise your face in the name of beauty.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Related: Avoid tourists at these secret NYC spots

There’s also a Sisely-Paris for (less aggressive) facials and massages; an Anastasia Beverly Hills and Blink Brow Bar for eyebrow touch-ups; and a Kate Somerville shop for fillers and Botox. You can even get a $30 manicure at Base Coast, which is basically unheard of on this side of the Hudson. File all that away in case you need some one-stop glam on a future trip to NYC.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Turns out, the Drybar — along with other stores-within-the-store, including Heydey, FaceGym and the salon — were, well, “complicated” to find. And those were the associate’s words, not mine. To get there, you have to walk past the beauty area on the first floor, and then go up a staircase to the mezzanine level.

I also inquired with some other sales associates about the aforementioned glass of wine or pizza you can get delivered to you while you’re trying on your summer swimsuit. Unfortunately, the service won’t be available until Nov. 7.

And here I was, all excited to order a pizza while I try on a dress for the TPG Awards, all for you. I do it all for you.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

I may or may not have a minor obsession with sneakers, and so I was itching to scope out Nordstrom’s collaboration with Nike. But during my visit, I noticed plenty of other buzzy brand setups, such as Acne Studios, Reformation, Everlane, Trunk Club and more. You could say I was like a kid in a candy store, but I was more like a tiny, overwhelmed puppy seeing the world for the first time.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

You’ll see the special Christian Louboutin exhibit as soon as you walk in on the ground level floor. My heart said yes, but my wallet said no.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

My personal favorite spot, though, was the shoe bar on one of the lower levels. Shoes and sparkling wine — what more could you ask for? (Another glass is often the right answer.)

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Nordstrom’s new flagship arrives at an interesting time for New York City’s brick-and-mortar retail culture. While Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are doubling down on flashy storefronts in the Big Apple, mainstays such as Barneys and Lord & Taylor are struggling to see another day.

Online shopping has become ubiquitous — and exponentially more convenient in many ways. While some would argue there’s no need to deal with the crowds when you can just peruse Nordstrom online in your pajamas, others would argue you can’t beat going to a store and seeing the merchandise in all its real-life glory. Of course, getting a blowout, manicure and snack at the same time as searching for you next perfect pair of jeans certainly helps.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

If you want your shopping (or browsing) to be a destination experience instead of an on-the-couch in jammies event, you’ll definitely want to brush up on our tips for maximizing your Nordstrom purchases before heading to this new flagship. The retailer revamped its loyalty points program last year — and, silly name aside, the Nordy Club, as it’s called, really upped its game. It’s also possible to stock up on Nordstrom gift cards at places that offer some bonus points such as grocery stores and office supply stores. Sadly for the online shoppers who like to earn extra points or cash back, Nordstrom itself hasn’t been in a shopping portal in some time, though Nordstrom Rack usually can be found.

No matter whether this new NYC store is calling your name or not, we always recommend shopping using a card that will earn you bonus points and miles on your shopping purchases; our favorite for department store shopping right now is the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) since department stores are a 4th quarter 5% cash back (5x) bonus category (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter), but we also like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

The information for the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Let the games begin.

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