‘THE TRUE NEW YORKER SECRETLY BELIEVES THAT PEOPLE LIVING ANYWHERE ELSE HAVE TO BE, IN SOME SENSE, KIDDING’, JOHN UPDIKE
THERE ARE many reasons we are fond of the city that never sleeps (and yes, those reasons extend beyond Seinfeld, Mad Men, Gossip Girl and of course, our number one, Sex and the City).
While it is nothing short of painfully cliche, it is the heartbeat of New York City that really reminds you you're alive - the rumbling subway, smoking street carts selling all manner of fried foods, the traffic whizzing past, even the 'I'm walking here' to brutally interrupt your daydreaming.
As Lumira Founder & Creative Director, Almira Armstrong, begins the sweet eight hour journey between London and New York City, we compile our absolute must-dos in the Big Apple!
One word: Pizza. This local favourite in the heart of Nolita is the very reason Italian food has such a reputation in this city. Yes, you come for the pizza, but you stay for the homemade pasta. What can we say, where there are carbohydrates and wine, we will follow. Make like a true New Yorker and beeline for a seat at the bar.
Maison Premiere is the place you have heard about, it’s the place you have bookmarked and it is the place you need to lock in on your itinerary. Reminiscent of the ambience of Parisian cafes, Maison Premiere will transport you. Did we mention it’s also famous for its oyster list (and its Absinthe list)? With some thirty different oysters to select from, you will have a hard time selecting just a few. Once you have settled on your oysters (or another delectable seafood option), try your hand at the cocktail menu. With cocktail in hand and oysters on their way, the world outside will feel like a million miles away!
We perhaps should have entitled this piece, ‘Reviews of all the foods that make New York such a shining culinary star’. While you could absolutely pop past your local Shake Shack and tick off a very decent NY burger experience, the DuMont Burger (found in Brooklyn) is really the crème de la creme of New York’s burger joints. Professing itself as creating “note-worthy” burgers, we would dare to go as far as saying that these humble folk are creating something, nothing short of, amazing.
Two Hands Cafe is owned and operated by Australian gents who are just casually taking NYC by storm (they also recently opened their Two Hands Restaurant & Bar). The coffee beans here are courtesy of boutique roasting company, Integral Coffee. While the beans aren’t Australian, and instead are sourced from Nicaragua, the style of coffee being served up is and so are the delicious breakfast dishes (read: avocado on toast just like at home). If the breakfast and java aren’t enough to tempt you, let their healthy smoothies tantalise your taste buds – a delicious way to kickstart your day!
Hop on the L Train and take yourself to Williamsburg. Wander a few blocks down the road and find Toby’s Estate, an Antipodean favourite. The café is large and light-filled. Bring your laptop and get your emails done – you will be in good company, with entrepreneurs, designers and freelancers whiling away the hours at the many tables around the space. However, the most endearing quality about this café is the fact that the kitchen staff have excelled at toast just the way Australian’s prefer it - with a clean 70/30 butter to vegemite ratio.
We first discovered Intelligentsia when we were in Los Angeles – it was our go-to option for the first caffeine hit each morning. So, as you can imagine, finding the New York outpost – situated in Chelsea’s High Line Hotel – was quite the prize. While their quality of coffee was certainly our priority, we have to admit the delicious pastries served up fresh each morning hit the sweet spot also.
The Bowery Hotel
The Bowery Hotel is a truly inspired modern twist on a New York classic. It’s all high-ceilings, beautiful plants and mismatched furniture. However, nothing here is without consideration and, as an opus, pays a wonderful tribute to the understated yet long appreciated glamour of this city. Pop past Gemma, the delicious in-hotel restaurant, with a strictly no-bookings policy and indulge in the Eggs a la Gemma – this is how every breakfast should be served!
Ace Hotel has created its own brand within the NY community: a spot to work and play with likeminded creatives. The buzzing lobby, complete with Stumptown Coffee shop, Breslin Bar and an oyster bar, serves as a great meeting spot for acquaintances, allies and associates! And this is all before we’ve even mentioned the Opening Ceremony store. The rooms are quaint (read small), but comfortable and really, you’re here for New York City! We would stay here in a New York heartbeat!
The Standard High Line
It goes without saying that The Standard is the last word on luxury in New York City. The rooms are impeccable, as is the service and the views of Midtown and Greenwich Village. If a long hot soak in the tub at the end of a big day exploring sounds like your thing, this is your place. If you can bear to drag yourself away from your new luxury “home”, take the time to explore the trendy Meatpacking District, before venturing back to the Biergarten below The Standard.
The Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art (formerly The Whitney), situated in the Meatpacking District is, like most galleries in NYC, packed out every day. However, it is absolutely worth the crowd to peruse the incredible works of American artists housed inside – Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol are amongst some of the many greats found here. Post-gallery, walk the High Line as the sun sets over Manhattan!
No trip to New York is quite complete without stopping by the beautiful Love Adorned boutique in Nolita. The store is a treasure trove of incredible jewellery, homewares and art. Save your pennies – Love Adorned will have you simply falling in, well, love!
Picnic in Central Park
Make the most of New York’s final warm days before Winter kicks in and t-minus zero degrees takes a firm grip on the city and picnic in one of the world’s most famous parks, Central Park. We like to venture to Dean & DeLuca to stock up on delicious sushi, cookies and juices before heading straight to Central Park – a welcome respite before hitting those avenues once again!