Neighborhood: West 30s
Type of Place: Women's Clothing

While the clothing booths of the San Lorenzo Market in Florence don’t sell the finest of Italian fashion, an intent shopper could sift through the Ciao Bella tees and the chunky sweaters to find precious clothing. After exhausting our semester abroad funds, my shopping cohorts and I once delved deep enough to find matching pomegranate sarongs for $9.99. When we returned to Fairfield beach senior year, the sarongs were beacons of fashion light for coastal Connecticut. More importantly, it gave us one more opportunity to tell our classmates: “I bought this in Italy”.

Before the Greyhound departed, I decided I would roam the nearby shops of the Port Authority and buy my two gracious hosts in Massachusetts small tokens of appreciation with the $40 left in my wallet. As I walked the first two blocks I realized the only options in perhaps the must un-glamorous hub of Midtown was a Payless Shoesource and a 2 for $125 Suits store. Then I saw Steps which lured my budget with its giant 50% off signs. But it was clear upon seeing the first displays this was not clothing meant for a law student in Boston; or a Southborough resident that summered in Maine.

Steps on 7th Avenue (with many various locations throughout the city) is meant for Manhattan nightlife. It is perfect for club-hoppers intent on turning heads, but don’t want to worry about dry-cleaning cocktail stains the next afternoon. I was welcomed by tunic tank tops in noisy patterns of psychedelic pinks and greens ($12.99). At these, I truthfully scoffed. But after browsing more, I found myself nodding at a flowing long sleeve cardigan in cream ($14.99). I realized I judged the venue too quickly; just as I did to the San Lorenzo vendors.

For the same babes on budgets, Steps had shelves of hip-hugging jeans, some with interwoven glittered thread ($16.99). Cuffed tweed shorts with a tied belt of the same material ($9.99) seemed to be manufactured solely for strutting the Meatpacking District in heels. There was an entire selection for the woman who wished to look professional but had no start-up cash for fabulous suits or trendy office wear (pinstripe work pants and basic v-necks $9.99). It was hard to think that any price in this store superceded $30 but on the racks there were 3/4 sleeved knit sweaters ($39.99) which turned out to be on sale after all ($19.99).

As I left the store, feeling defeated, shielding my eyes from the neon pink tanks with the rhinestone disc appliqués, a fitting heart-shaped sundress caught my eye. The thick straps tied into bows while the dress was light and button-down. I wouldn’t board the Greyhound empty-handed after all. It had stripes that came in candy red or navy blue, which seemed the perfect design for their New England beach days at the Cape or Kennebunkport ($16.99). And when someone would compliment them on their lovely sundresses, they could proudly reply “This is from New York.”
  - Tanya Benedicto; March 2, 2008

463 7th Ave (35th & 36th Sts)
New York, NY 10018
(212) 244-9013