A Shopper's Paradise

There's a store up the street from our offices here in New York called Boyd's Madison Avenue. That it's on

Third Avenue
, just below Bloomingdale's and next to The Home Depot, is evidence that it moved a few years back from a more glamorous neighborhood. But even in its new quarters, Boyd's still offers an array of magical items that only a tiny, big-city department store can provide. Here, one can find apothecary items such as "Vocalzone throat pastilles" (they're to keep your voice clear) and imported toothpaste for $12.99 that you know works in more mysterious ways than Crest or Colgate ever could. Boyd's lingerie department serves up underclothing designed to make any odd figure look fabulous under a tight-fitting evening gown and it has all sorts of cosmetics priced for hundreds of dollars that you can sift through aimlessly on a rainy day while you're waiting to meet someone for a lunch date nearby. When my husband once asked if I could find him a long-handled shoehorn like the one he'd used on a visit to The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, I knew that Boyd's would have one. Of course they did; I was even able to choose from a selection of handles, as each had a different type of animal's face etched into it. In the end, I opted for the dog over the horse.

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC

And so I was dismayed the other day when walking by, to see that the store is closing; everything was 60 percent to 80 percent off. While this scenario usually sates my ultimate fantasies (I can buy whatever I want, as much as I want!), I felt terrible. I walked through the narrow, cramped aisles, selected a black-sequined lipstick case with a shamrock embossed on it that was marked down to $9.99 and left.

The worst part of this whole thing is that Boyd's is on my list of favorites to recommend to friends visiting Manhattan. In an effort to quell my sadness, I reached out to a few of my travel industry friends for their tips on where they head to when they touch down in a far-flung city.

Jack Bloch of JB's World Travel Consultants always visits Herend Porcelain in Budapest for "unique beautiful pieces." His wife, Navah, loves Topshop in London, where you can buy in-style clothing of all sorts. Bob Watson of Watson and Watson says that while he's in London, "A must stop is Turnbull & Asser for men's shirts and ties. If you're visiting during their twice-yearly sales, all the better." In Hong Kong, Bob goes to Lily Shoes at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for custom-made footwear; for eyeglasses, he likes the NewRegentOpticalCenter on

Nathan Road

Anastasia Mann of Corniche Travel loves the Paris Flea Market, which "is a bit out of town but an easy cab ride. The front part of the market looks a bit like a low-end bazaar, but when you go toward the back you can find tiny stalls with incredible antiques and paintings and many collectibles, and the prices are negotiable." Even better: "All the way in the back is a very small but delightfully "French" restaurant called Chez Louisette with accordion players and cabaret-type singers. People share long tables for lunch and the performers pass a basket for tips. It makes for a delightful weekend day in Paris!"

Randy Maged of Ask the Travel Maven, says that when in Florence, "You must shop at Luisa Via Roma where they have all the lines of the finest Italian clothing and handbags. If you have only a few hours to shop in Florence, you could spend them all here."

Sharri Whiting, our correspondent in Rome, travels to Montefalco in Umbria, "where the linens are simply wonderful. The town is full of little stores that sell gorgeous table and bed linens; this is pure linen that was loomed in the countryside. The best one is across the street from the SanFrancescoMuseum." Whiting says she is also "addicted" to the Italian ceramics from the ancient town of Deruta. "The greatest place to go is Majoliche Originale Deruta, where Grazia Ranocchia manages her family's factory. They'll make pieces to order and guarantee their arrival. Their selection of one-of-a-kind lamps is superb." In southern Africa, Whiting says she has to go to Horst Knop, a goldsmith and jeweler in Windhoek, Namibia, who makes "irresistible gold and silver pieces, inspired by the desert and made with tourmalines, amethysts, diamonds and more. I am stopped all over the world and asked where I got my beautiful necklaces," she says.

Stateside, Vickie Meeuwsen of Carlston Wagonlit Travel's corporate offices heads to 1154 Lill Studio in Chicago, where you can custom design your own purse; her colleague, Steve Loucks, loves to visit Colony Records when he's in New York "for its breathtaking array of CDs, vinyl records and Broadway memorabilia. It's like a museum," he says.

For my part, I'm looking for a substitute for Boyd's here in Manhattan. I'll let you know when I find it!

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