Shopping: Are You In or Out?

The Oculus, a popular indoor mall in the Financial District.

Often referred to as the “Fashion Capital of the World,” New York City boasts its reputation as one of the greatest shopping destinations. Lined to brim with shopping hubs, such as SoHo, Fifth Avenue and Union Square, NYU’s so-called campus is surrounded by shopping. All the variety makes it hard to chose the ideal shopping location, but when the decision is made, there’s no stopping the flooding out of your bank account. Although, it always hurts to check it after the damage has been done.

While huge, indoor malls wrap everything into a sealed box surrounded by parking lots, the retail and boutique shops dotting streets in neighborhoods like SoHo make it feel like a shopping town.

According to Gallatin first-year Brenah Johnson, different characteristics of shopping malls and individual retail shops outdoors stand out when people have different shopping goals.

“I prefer outdoor when I only want to go to one store and indoor when I’m planning on doing a shopping spree,” Johnson said. “Outdoor shopping spaces separate stores, and I usually only visit one or two stores because of the distance and/or weather. Whereas indoor spaces feel more unified and I could stay inside the mall shopping at different places all day, plus they provide other services like food and restrooms.”


However, there are a number of people start to enjoy the freeness in open-air shopping streets, instead of wandering around enclosed malls.

“I might be wrong, but I feel like the shop of each brand in shopping malls doesn’t have as many clothes as it has in outdoor streets,” LS first-year Jojo Qiao said. “Individual shops offer me the opportunity to be familiar with the unique style of each brand, so I grow to like shopping in some specific stores in SoHo, including Mango, Madewell and Zara. Shopping in individual shops on streets also pushes me to make decisions whether I want to purchase or not faster, whereas in shopping malls where stores are closely next to each other, you get the chance to compare different goods in different stores, hesitating for a long time.”

On the other hand, despite the perks of shopping at individual stores, many students still prefer to shop indoors in malls. While New York City may not be as well known for its malls, our city has its fair share. From the Oculus in the Financial District to The Shops at Columbus Circle, lovers of shopping malls are still able to get their fix.

According to GLS freshman Christine Chyu, department stores provide her the most compact and efficient way to spend her afternoon immersing herself in a sea of clothes.

“I somehow have this feeling that a shopping mall is a world of its own,” Chyu said. “If you are shopping in stores on the streets, you can hear and see the cars; you are aware that you are connected to the outside city noises. But when you are shopping in large shopping malls, you can fully concentrate on yourself and the clothes, forgetting all other worries in life.”

In the midst of midterms, take a little time out for retail therapy — no matter your shopping location preference. Add some more joy to your wardrobe (not so much to your wallet) and welcome the warmer weather that comes with spring. While the joy of shopping may be a materialistic one, there’s nothing wrong with letting yourself splurge every once in a while. Whether it be in mall or a store, shopping always feels just as sweet.


Email Sherry Yan at [email protected]



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