Just like all of those cliché t-shirts (of which I own zero), I heart New York, it's true. It was inevitable really.
Recent catch ups with some of my NYC based besties, along with some serious binge watching of the series Younger (Hilary Duff stars as the best friend and hello Nico Tortorella as the boyfriend... you can judge me, but it's hilarious… it also may or may not be the cause of my recent blog hiatus), has New York firmly on my mind.
It's almost a decade since I first visited New York and even though I've cumulatively spent close to a month exploring the city, I feel like I've barely even scratched the surface.
So though it might only be eight months since I moved back to Melbourne, I definitely see myself moving away again at some point. Who knows, maybe I'll move to New York... at least i know my family will visit - the 'I heart New York' slogan rings true for them too!
Many of my New York faves are cliché, but I hope you enjoy anyway. L x
New York real estate is notoriously expensive, which makes finding a decent place to stay on a budget quite the challenge. This is made even more difficult by the laws that govern short term rentals and essentially Airbnb (it's effectively illegal for New Yorkers to rent out their apartments for less than 30 days).
I've been lucky enough to stay with family and friends (thanks Audrey & John, Wilson, and Lys), splitting my time between Manhattan and Brooklyn (where my heart truly lies). But there are few hotels (all in Manhattan) that I'd be more than happy to stay in.
Arlo has two boutique locations, in SoHo and NoMad, and is one of the better value options. The Public is hotelier Ian Schrager's (super cool) latest venture and not nearly as steeply priced as his other equally beautiful NYC offering, The Edition. The Mad Men-esque stylings of The Standard can be found on the High Line and in the East Village, whilst The Ace has casual cool nailed in Midtown. My dream spot though, is 11 Howard in SoHo, designed by Space CPH - dreamy beyond words.
ARCHITECTURE & SIGHTS
Walking is my favourite way to get around most places, and despite it’s long avenues, I love walking around NYC. Meandering along the High Line and a stroll through Central Park are two of the first things I do when arrive and are popular with tourists and locals alike. And when you’re done with walking you can sit back and watch the world go by in Washington Square Park or catch your breath in my favourite oasis, Paley Park - you’d never know it’s only 15 minutes from Times Square, it’s that peaceful!
There are of course the requisite landmarks, the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, 9/11 Memorial, Grand Central Station… but for me the Chrysler Building outshines the Empire State Building, and even it doesn’t have anything on the Flatiron - a true New York high rise. I'm also obsessed with the Lincoln Centre Plaza... breathtaking.
I’m dying to check out the Oculus to see if it lives up to the photography. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common these days to be let down by architecture in real life… I love photoshop but it can really kill the real life vibe sometimes.
It’s been a long time since I’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, but it’s definitely a must do. In my opinion though, the best vantage point of this famous landmark has to be from DUMBO on the Brooklyn side. Plus there’s much to explore in the streets of Brooklyn.
NYC is blessed with such a wealth of museums and galleries, that I never seem to make it to all of the ones I plan to! MoMA, MoMA PS1, the New Museum, The Whitney, The Met Breuer, The Gagosian, dia:Chelsea, David Zwirner (currently showing two of my all time favourites, Yayoi Kusama and Richard Serra, until December 22) are all exceptional. The Solomon R Guggenheim, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is an obvious must for the archinerds. But it’s The Met, with its incredible annual Costume Institute exhibitions, and the rooftop view over Central Park, that I never miss.
For the contemporary art lovers, there lies a gem in SoHo that should not be missed - Donald Judd’s Spring Street apartment. Judd's NY residence and studio can be viewed almost exactly as he lived and worked in it, with works curated and installed by the artist himself - Frank Stella and Dan Flavin, to name two of my favourites. If you’re interested in visiting, make sure you book tickets well in advance, as the guided tours are small!
If you have time, I can’t recommend a day trip upstate to visit dia:Beacon highly enough. If the names Louise Bourgeois, Walter de Maria, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, and Richard Serra excite you, then this is your Mecca. You can train to Beacon from the city, or even better, hire a car for the day and drive upstate. If it’s a fine day, visit the open air sculpture park, Storm King - I hear it’s amazing and it’s on my list for next time!
FOOD & DRINK
First things first, coffee. AKA, giver of life. The USA gave the world Starbucks (WAY too generous), so for the coffee snobs out there, it goes without saying that it can be difficult to find a decent coffee in NYC. Difficult, but not impossible, especially with the recent influx of Melbourne inspired cafes. My go-tos include Bluestone Lane, Grumpy’s, Birch, La Colombe, Intelligentsia (with locations across the States... lifesaver) and Hungry Ghost. But it’s tiny hole in the wall cafe, Little Collins, that I make sure to visit as much as I can when I’m in town (yes, it is counterintuitive for a Melburnian to visit a Melbourne cafe whilst overseas), for the killer coffee and avo on toast.
If my first stop is Little Collins, then my second stop is certainly Sweetgreen (thanks for the intro, Lys). Since opening in Washington DC a decade ago, the fresh salad chain has expanded to several locations across the States. It’s all about the Spicy Sabzi.
As with coffee, the style of American food isn’t always to my taste (though you won’t find me turning down fries, ever). I usually visit at least one of Buvette, Westville, any of the Momofukus by David Chang, or The Butcher’s Daughter when I’m in NYC; I know what I’m in for.
It wouldn’t be a visit to NYC without pizza. One word: Roberta’s. And if you’re a Manhattan now you don’t even need to trek to Bushwick to get your fix.
Sweets. Something the Americans do well (if you’re partial to very sweet sweets). Milk Bar (David Chang and Christina Tosi’s brainchild) is the pinnacle. Get the Crack Pie. You won’t regret it (except if you’re vegan, then maybe you will).
I’m a matcha soft serve addict and Cafe Zaiya serves one of the tallest you’ll ever see. Delicious too. Ok, so I’m actually addicted to ice cream in general. So if you’re like me, then you’ll also want to check out Ice and Vice and Van Leeuwen.
And if you’re still craving sugar after all of that, try out Dō for me, serving up scoopfuls of cookie dough. Because who doesn’t love eating cookie dough before it goes into the oven? This way you don’t even have to bake!
(Window) shopping in SoHo is my favourite. I love the area and the boutiques are just my kind of thing. Think NikeLab, Opening Ceremony, Gentle Monster, Alexander Wang, Reformation, ACNE, Mansur Gavriel, just to name a few. Oh and up an unassuming street entrance lift, you’ll find The Apartment by The Line, an apartment filled with beautifully curated things. Total dream apartment situation.