For Brooklyn shoppers, it's well worth knowing about Long Island's various shopping malls. Why? Because, first of all, Long Island has a lot of shopping malls. Secondly, some of these suburban malls offer a quite different shopping experience than Brooklyn's mom-and-pop stores, boutiques, and Atlantic Malls, Kings Plaza Mall, and Fulton Mall.
For instance, Brooklyn lacks a factory discount mall and also a high-end mall; you can find both on Long Island.
Plus, a day trip to a Long Island mall offers a trip to that other universe: suburbia. For some, that might be a nostalgic moment; for others, it will be a reminder of why they chose to live in Brooklyn.
Here's a birds-eye view of what malls are located on Long Island. For a day trip (or weekend) combine a trip to the mall with that visit to friends, relatives or to the beach.
For those unfamiliar with Long Island, Suffolk County is further from Brooklyn than Nassau County.
1. Expensive: Long Island Malls with Upscale, Expensive, Designer Stores
Brooklyn has Barney's outpost on Atlantic Avenue and many boutiques, but for most high-end, fashionable, designer label merchandise one has to shop in Manhattan. And shopping in Soho or Gansevoort, or on Madison Avenue might not be quite as convenient as shopping in a mall where the stores are lined up next to one another (and near a parking lot, too).
Looking for designer boutiques with expensive ladies and menswear — with high-end international labels the likes of Hermes, Fendi, and Chanel — perhaps for a job interview or special event? Head to Americana Manhasset Shopping Mall.
For such upscale department stores as Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom — and numerous well-known national brands (including someone can find at Atlantic Center or Kings Plaza malls)— head to Roosevelt Field Mall inGarden City, one of the nation's ten biggest shopping malls.
2. Discount: Outlet Malls in Long Island
Especially when shopping for kids clothing, it's possible to save a bundle by buying at factory outlets. Carle Place Discount Outlets is a good place to start. And, at the tip of the Island in Riverhead, one can find the popular Tanger Outlets mall.
3. Shopping Malls in Nassau County
Going to Bellrose, Hempstead, Great Neck, Oyster Bay? There's a range of Shopping Malls & Outlets in Nassau County, from the Manhasset's upscale mall (see above) to outlet malls.
Is It Cheaper to Shop in a Long Island Mall?
Shopping at a Long Island mall for bargains may be worth the trek financially — if you're careful about what you buy, shop the sales, share the gas expenses with someone else, and bring a sports bar or fruit for a quick snack so you don't fritter away dollars on snacks and meals.
However, even if its not cheaper, mall shopping can be simply efficient. If you can accomplish the purchase of shoes, coat, bag and basic clothing for a new work wardrobe, or the necessary outfits for the kids' school year, a little more expense might be worth the time and energy saved — transportation notwithstanding.
Finally, consider the sales tax. New York City charges a sales tax, which is not levied in Long Island. From the perspective of saving sales tax, it's not worth the trouble to shop in Long Island if you're spending $50; that's the price of a tank of gas for some cars. But the difference in clothing tax might prove to be a small boon under certain circumstances: if you're already in the vicinity for business or to see friends or relatives, if you're purchasing expensive items or buying gobs of stuff: pots and pans for the new apartment, or clothes for the family.
(Note that NYC sometimes runs tax-free promotions on purchases of clothing and shoes up to a certain amount, as does NY State. Generally, the amounts have been $55 and $110.)
Getting There by Car, Public Transportation
Car: As the bird flies, Brooklyn is very close to Long Island; in fact, historically Brooklyn was once part of Long Island. Long Island malls, unlike Brooklyn's malls, were built for a car-culture, so it's best to drive. That said, there's a seven letter word that will determine the duration of a trip to Long Island, and home again: t-r-a-f-f-i-c.
And, Long Island isn't called "Long" for nothing. Before heading out to the Tanger Outlets mall in Riverhead, check the map. It's far.
Train/Bus: Public transportation may be an option; many Long Island towns are easily accessible from Brooklyn by the Long Island Railroad (from the Atlantic Terminal on Flatbush Avenue). To get directions to the mall of your choice use the MTA Trip Planner website.