We went to Nordstrom's wild new NYC store that has a gym for your face, a fake Burberry cafe, and a conveyor belt of shoes
Bethany Biron/Business Insider
- Nordstrom opened its massive New York City flagship and women's department store on Thursday, drawing massive crowds of shoppers to behold the seven-store behemoth in all its glory.
- "The role of the store is changing, but stores matter a lot," Shea Jensen, Nordstrom's senior vice president of service and experience, told Business Insider at the grand opening.
- I visited Nordstrom NYC on opening day and it felt like going to a retail amusement park. Here's a closer look at what it was like.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
At long last, Nordstrom NYC is finally here.
The much-anticipated flagship and women's department store officially opened its doors Thursday, luring massive crowds of sharply dressed shoppers who came from near and far to behold the store in its seven-floor glory. As they browsed the 320,000 square feet of retail space on West 57th Street, a DJ spun pop tunes from the likes of J.Lo and Diana Ross while employees doled out samples of mochi doughnuts to keep spirits high.
I felt the excitement firsthand, as I was among the masses traipsing through the behemoth store on Thursday morning. Walking into Nordstrom NYC felt like visiting a retail amusement park, from the highly curated product assortment, Instagrammable interactive pop-up shops, and vast array of food options.
This was, of course, by design. Shea Jensen, Nordstrom's senior vice president of service and experience, said even though customers are shopping online more than ever before, the idea of an aspirational physical department store still plays a vital role in retail.
"The role of the store is changing, but stores matter a lot," Shea told Business Insider at the grand opening. "They're a place to discover, to become inspired by fashion or new brands. They're also a place to access great help through fit or styling expertise. They're a place to see, touch, feel, and try on the product."
After two hours in the store, it was easy to see how one could easily spend an entire day getting lost there - both literately and figuratively, as I got lost more than once on my grand opening visit. It's just that big.
Take a closer look at what it's like to visit Nordstrom NYC, below.
As I made my way down West 57th Street, I saw several Nordstrom branded buses, shuttling people in from the outer boroughs and parts of New Jersey for the grand opening.
Once I got closer, I caught a glimpse of the gleaming wavefront facade, specially designed to maximize natural light in the store.
Time to head inside!
I arrived shortly after the opening at 10 a.m., and it was already packed with shoppers.
The lower level is dedicated to handbags and other leather goods.
There were also several luxury brands featured prominently on the ground level, including Christian Louboutin.
A mannequin in a bedazzled ensemble greeted me as I made my way past the escalator bank.
After making my way through the handbags, I hit the beauty section ...
... which comprises two stories.
At the top of the stairs, I saw customers making reservations for spa services at Nordstrom Beauty Haven.
The beauty department was filled with unique light fixtures and plush millennial pink couches.
The floor was brimming with helpful employees, assisting customers amid the eccentric wallpaper.
There are several augmented reality stations across the department, where you can virtually "try on" shades of lipstick and hues of foundation.
And if you get thirsty, there's a Dirty Lemon vending machine.
In addition to the vast array of products, there are several beauty services available on the floor, including facials by Face Gym, a favorite of celebrities and notable figures like Meghan Markle.
There is also a Drybar for all your blowout needs.
On my way out, I spotted this gender-neutral bathroom sign made out of lipstick.
Next, I headed downstairs to the shoe department.
The first thing I noticed was the Shoe Bar, where shoppers can grab a drink as they shop.
The shoe department was bright and vibrant, filled with fun sneakers like these and general whimsy.
I felt just as excited as this woman did about those purple glitter boots.
Customization is a big theme throughout the store. Here, you can personalize your shoes for some extra flare.
Here's an example of a pair of customized shoes.
There's also a handy section dedicated to shoe and handbag repairs.
There was also a conveyor belt of children's shoes.
There are several odes to Nordstrom's history throughout the store. In the shoe department, I found a commemorative molding of the late Blake Nordstrom's footprints.
After I left the shoe department, I started to get hungry. Luckily, this level has several food options including Oh Mochi, which sells mochi donuts.
Before making any decisions, I decided to take stock of my options first, and started with samples of the mochi doughnuts.
Then I popped over to see what Jeannie's Cafe had to offer.
I was tempted by the gelato.
But ultimately I went for the strawberry citrus mochi doughnut. It did not disappoint.
Feeling refreshed from my doughnut, I went to the Nordstrom X Nike pop-up.
The store was filled with unique and eccentric items and featured interesting elements like blue chairs made of repurposed running track material.
There was also a wall of television sets.
This butterfly purse was giving off some real Lite-Brite vibes.
Then I headed up the stairs directly above the Nike shop to the Burberry pop-up.
There I found a food-less Burberry café, which feels like it was made exclusively for Instagram. As I was arriving, two likely influencers were taking photos of each other posing.
Oh, and there were also some clothes.
Next, I headed to check out the floors of women's apparel. Between floors, there were either historical images from Nordstrom's early days or interesting art pieces.
The Everlane "pop-in" was especially popular. It's part of a new rotating feature of brands to be featured in the store.
In the denim department, I saw this display of disembodied legs in designer jeans.
There was also a full area dedicated to denim alterations, where you can also customize your clothing, just like in the shoe department.
There are several brand-specific shops on the upper levels, including this Comme des Garçons shop.
There is also a YSL shop, where I spotted this incredible jacket.
Then I popped over to the outerwear atrium, since I'm in the market for a new winter coat.
There were some unique displays, like these coats dangling from bungee cords.
Somehow there were even more handbags on this floor. Here you can see the wavefront architecture working its natural light magic.
Here were even more handbags.
Starting to feel tired and thinking it might be time to call it a day, I worked my way over to Broadway Bar to see if anything might strike my fancy.
There I met Staten Island resident Jessica Peragine, who took the day off to go shopping with her friend Karen Flanagan.
Unfortunately I realized I didn't have time to eat, but I did snag some pictures of their meal, which looked amazing. Flanagan told me about her successful day of shopping, which involved a pair of Gucci loafers.
Feeling satisfied with my visit, I decided to head out. Now only time will tell if Nordstrom's retail experiment will pay off, but either way, I'll be back.
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