Cheryl shops...DSW and Filene's Basement
After a rather unfortunate incident involving Dean & Deluca and a boiling-hot chai, MW and I decided to check out the new Union Square DSW and Filene's Basement (well, except MW went to Virgin Megastore while I shopped) on Saturday afternoon. I had been rather excited about DSW, which came to Chicago when I was still in high school. And everyone else in the Tristate area was excited too, judging by the number of people there. I wonder if everyone else was as disappointed as I was. While they certainly have a lot of shoes in a lot of sizes, many were toe-up fugly, the prices were not so great ($5 off a pair of $100 shoes doesn't do it for me)...and then there was the "designer section," which, from what I can remember, the Chicago stores don't have. I'm guessing DSW felt that since this is New York, they need to appeal to those of us who like very expensive footwear, which is not a bad idea in itself. But what they failed to realize is that 1) we know a five-year-old Prada shoe when we see one and 2) we know that Marc by Marc Jacobs shoes don't cost $500 at retail, nor do Kate Spade shoes cost $350--the prices are regular retail prices with jacked-up "original prices." Shady, DSW. Shady.

I found Filene's far more enjoyable. Compared to their dungeon-like 6th Avenue store, the Union Square location, with its north-facing skyline views, is like a freakin' palace. The layout is much easier to navigate, with men's and accessories on the first floor of the store, women's clothing on the second, and housewares and shoes on the top floor. There are more clear divisions between departments and you can walk amongst the racks without knocking everything over with your purse. There's a section called "the vault", which I guess is Filene's version of Loehmann's "back room," and it had a lot of Missoni, See by Chloe, Moschino, Alberta Ferretti, and other Italian designers. I also spotted quite a few Diesel jeans in the contemporary section, and prices seemed quite reasonable. Everything is well-lighted, and while there were a lot of people there, it never seemed crowded. I didn't buy anything, but that was mainly due to my lack of funds at the time. I will defintiely incorporate this Filene's into my discount-store rounds.

In the same complex (formerly Bradlee's, where I once bought a cheap blanket because the air conditioning in my NYU dorm was sub-Arctic one summer), there's a Forever 21, which I didn't subject MW to, and there's a Whole Foods coming soon. Of course, this only adds to the already ridiculous amount of foot traffic on 14th Street, but as I looked around at the mix of people, listened to the kids beat-boxing, and smelled the nut vendors' roasted nuts (which never, by the way, taste as good as they smell), I realized it's still the downtown New York I fell in love with six years ago. It's just supersized now.

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