One of the things that made my trip to Northampton, England so enjoyable was that, while preparing for my trip, I was able to find detailed street maps for the town of Northampton on the Internet that included factory shop locations and hours, as well as suggested routes and recommended modes of transportation. As a result, I was able to utilize my time in Northampton effectively by mapping out an efficient plan of attack.
With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to do something similar for travelers looking to spend a day visiting some of New York's many dens of sartorial pleasure, with a particular emphasis on some of the better places to shop for men's shoes in the city. To the extent that our route will take us by any other points of interest, the Uptown Dandy will try to point them out. Since spring is beckoning, we'll take advantage of the nice weather and walk the city streets - but I'll also try to note the best public transportation routes as well. Keep in mind that, when all else fails, you can always hail a yellow cab . . .
In keeping with the title of this blog, let's begin uptown, where there are certainly fewer high-end men's shoe shops, and work our way south to midtown Manhattan. Begin by taking the M1, M2, M3, or M4 buses on Madison Avenue to 72nd street. You can also take the Lexington Avenue 6 train to the 68th street or 77th street stations and walk west towards Madison Avenue (direction Central Park).
Ralph Lauren's Rhinelander Mansion is located at 867 Madison Avenue (at 72nd street). An old New York mansion converted to house all things Ralph Lauren, there's quite a decent selection of shoes here.
Ralph Lauren's Rhinelander Mansion (72nd & Madison)
Proceed directly up the main stairway to the second floor. Make a right at the top of the stairs and walk to the room at the end to get a glimpse of some of the offerings available from Edward Green via Ralph Lauren's Purple Label Made to Order program. Make a left at the staircase and walk to the room at the far end of that hallway and you'll find Ralph Lauren's Purple Label Ready to Wear offerings. A combination of English & Italian-made shoes, prices range from $700-1300. Keep an eye out for seasonal sales that, in some cases, will offer up to 40% off on models made by Edward Green, Crockett & Jones, and Gaziano & Girling for Ralph Lauren.
Take a walk up the flight of stairs to the right of the RTW shoe display to the Polo Ralph Lauren floor, and you'll see English-made shoes from Crockett & Jones, priced between $700-800. These include the ever-popular Polo Ralph Lauren Darlton & Marlow models in shell cordovan.
Darlton Wingtip in Shell Cordovan
(this almost looks like a two-tone shoe in person)
Darlton Wingtip in Shell Cordovan
Marlow Plain Toe Blucher in Shell Cordovan
Our next stop will be John Lobb, so exit the Rhinelander Mansion and walk left (or South) down Madison Avenue (the street numbers should be getting lower). Before you get there, though, keep an eye out for these shops. They're not exactly shoe-oriented but they're worth popping your head in if you have the time:
Etro (720 Madison Avenue, 63rd/64th Street)
Beretta (718 Madison Avenue, 63rd/64th Street)
Domenico Vacca (702 Madison Avenue - 62nd/63rd Street)
Brunello Cucinelli (683 Madison Avenue - 61st/62nd Street)
Directly across the street from Cucinelli, under more of New York's ubiquitous construction scaffolding, is the John Lobb shop. A small boutique, the shop has several models on display in a variety of leathers, including museum calf. Shoes from the classic line, such as the City II, are in the $1200 range. Prestige models, such as the Tudor boot, are closer to $1600-1700.
John Lobb (680 Madison Avenue (61st/62nd Street)
At this point, take a brief detour off of Madison Avenue and walk west one block to Central Park South near Fifth Avenue. In Part Two of the walking tour, we'll take a peek at some of the shoes available at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, and the Crockett & Jones shop.