If you stand at the southeast corner of Central Park, in the landmark Grand Army Plaza, you’ll see the Pulitzer Fountain set against a semi-circle of pear trees. The fountain’s sculpted centerpiece is Pomona, the goddess of abundance; serenely oblivious to the passing tourists and traffic, she rests an overflowing basket of fruit against her hip. Similar bounty awaits the fragrance-lover just beyond this graceful figure, through the doors of Bergdorf Goodman.
Bergdorf’s fragrances and cosmetics are located on the store’s lower level, one floor down from street level. The layout of the beauty level is slightly confusing, so it’s easiest and best to start in the “fragrance room” located near the center of the floor (see image below). There, you can sample numerous fragrance lines with the assistance of well-informed sales staff. Some of these lines are difficult to find elsewhere in their complete range (Creed) or their multiple formulations and special editions (Annick Goutal); some of them are difficult to find elsewhere, period (Yu by Mane).
Once you have oriented yourself and done some browsing in this fragrant heart of the beauty floor, you may wish to venture outwards — if you have plenty of time to spare. The beauty level includes other, smaller fragrance areas dedicated to single brands of perfume (Tom Ford is just one example), as well as a daunting array of cosmetics counters that offer their own scents. These counters range in personality from the grande dame Estée Lauder, where a choice selection of whimsical solid-perfume compacts and vintage toiletry items (all for sale!) is displayed alongside Lauder’s more widely distributed fragrance items, to ingénues such as Paul & Joe, whose duo of sweetly-designed perfumes is tucked amongst the brand’s pink-packaged makeup.
If this rich harvest of fragrance has exhausted your energy, you can refuel with lunch or tea at Goodman’s Café, in the corner of the beauty level. Afterwards, you could even pass the rest of the afternoon by taking a stroll in the Park.
Fragrance brands (in addition to those mentioned above): Acqua di Parma, Ajne, Antonia’s Flowers, Asprey, Badgley Mischka, Boucheron, Bvlgari, By Killian, Caron, Chanel, Chantecaille, Clinique, Clive Christian, Donna Karan, Eau d'Italie, Ermenegildo Zegna, Etro, Fendi, Gucci, Guerlain, Houbigant, Ineke, JAR, Jean Patou, Jo Malone, Judith Leiber, Kiehl’s, L’Artisan Parfumeur, La Prairie, Lalique, Laura Mercier, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Missoni, Robert Piguet, Prada, Pucci, Rochas, Sabi, Serge Lutens, Sisley, Stella McCartney, Valentino, Van Cleef & Arpels, Viktor & Rolf, Yves Saint Laurent, 10 Corso Como.
Not to be missed: The in-house boutiques for Jo Malone, Guerlain, and JAR.
Details: 754 Fifth Avenue (at 58th Street), New York, NY 10019; (800) 218-4918; website.
— Report and images filed by Jessica M.