As with any city you revisit you try, or at least I do, to not fall into the tourist trap. Having visited New York a couple of times previous to this I didn’t consider myself a novice to the sights and scenes, but in no means did I consider myself a local. I had already familiarised myself with my favourite areas, shops and places to eat, so for this trip, I really wanted to stick to those places, and enjoy being somewhat of a local.
Arming myself with Liz, CEO and Co Owner of Oneteaspoon, we hit 3 different hotels and stayed in 2 very different locations.
With plenty of friends who had lived there, or still do, I also gathered a new list of shops and new brunch spots for my favourite areas. Here’s what we got up to.
Day 1 -3
As soon as we arrived we head to our first hotel - The Roxy Hotel, in the TriBeCa area. This would be our home for the next 3 nights. Tribeca, Soho and Nolita are by far my favourite areas in Manhattan. I love the small never-ending streets of cool individual boutiques, pop-ups, galleries mixed in with the odd flagship designer store. Take the Gucci store, for instance, that’s like an art gallery in itself!
The Roxy is very Jazzy, literally, it has Jaz playing non-stop, either from a full band in the basement or upstairs in the dining area. Its also equipped with a cosy cinema downstairs. The hotel itself has an old New York Art Deco vibe about it. Its dimly lit, and serves the best Pecan Pie we’ve ever tried. Or 4 slices down Liz would certainly argue it did either way.
One of my favourite restaurants in this area is Pascal Jones, a modern Italian. The most amazing pasta and pizza I’ve ever eaten! If you are after something more fancy but traditional, try Robert De Niro's Italian Locanda Verde and try the Italian white bean bruschetta!
For breakfast, I highly recommend ‘Bubby's’ If you are after a typical American breakfast. They have the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten! Ever!! I even bought a bag of pancake mix to take home. For a non-American breakfast, I always go to Balthazar’s. French and beautiful inside. It serves all meals but I’ve only ever been for breakfast. Crazy good Croissants.
For Brunch try Petite Boucherie incredible Croque Monsieur's. They even do Veggie ones with mushrooms instead of ham. And of course, if you’re on Prince St, it would be rude not to pop into the world-famous Prince St Pizza Shop for a quick slice!
Shops to hit in this area -
Intermix, a great store, not too big so it becomes overwhelming, carefully edited, and packed full of all the mid to high end more current designers, Ganni, Retrofete, Golden Goose etc.
The Real Real - my new favourite store, think of Vestaire but as a shop. Pre-loved vintage designer. But not so vintage that the price is extortionate/collectable like the ‘what comes around goes around’ vintage store. No, this store has last season must-haves at half the price. Men’s and Women’s. If I could only go to one store, this would be it.
Stadium Goods - if you are after sneakers, then look no further. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many sneakers in one place before. And rather cleverly, they are all wrapped. Like with some fancy cling film. Keeping them clean and at the same time eluding to a show space for sneakers. You can hold them and touch them, but then you request your size and out pops a fresh pair. Very Cool.
Reformation - great brand. At the forefront of attainable sustainable fashion. Wether its a pair of vintage Levi’s that have been reworked or a sustainably made simple tee shirt its got it.
For Vintage try 'The Quality Mending Co' again its small and highly curated. You aren’t traipsing through a shit ton of crap to find one gem. On the contrary, every piece is gold, although a little pricey.
Outside of this area but well worth the trip include a little trip or half a day to Bergdorfs Goodman, for all your designer needs.
It has everything, from fashion to Jewellery, to home and books and even Kids. Even if you aren’t in the market for a designer find, I’d recommend browsing the shop purely from an inspiration point of view. Great merchandising, mannequins and window dressings.
Not to mention it’s an absolute ritual of Liz’s to go here and have the lobster Mac and cheese from the top floor restaurant. Be sure to book though, we reserved a table months in advance and we were still waiting 30 minutes! It's worth it though. Great views if you get a window spot, and great for people-watching.
You feel like you're in the middle of an episode of gossip girl LOL
Dover ST Market. Probably my all-time favourite department store. Its high end but cool. Seriously cool. Not your typical high fashion designers. This is highly curated and edited with the most current and exclusive designers. Some of which you will never have heard of. Which makes it all the better. Discovering new designers is such a great experience. Everything is also presented in an art installation manner. It's not a typical retail shop, the clothes aren't on typical racks. It's not fast fashion. Its an art installation, an experience, a feast for the eyes. Its how retail should be.
Day 4-5 For the weekend we headed to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The last time I came to New York I caught the train here and spent the day but it wasn’t long enough. So this time we spent the weekend. If you are thinking of doing the same make sure to do it over a weekend. It can become quite dead during the week. What I love most about Williamsburg is it definitely has more of a residential feel about it. You can imagine yourself living there. Everything is walkable, there’s cute little cafes and pubs on each corner and there are lots of boutique shops. It's very cool and definitely past the 'up and coming' mark. It's already there. Nothing is too built up or commercial and has a very cool industrial vibe. It also has incredible vintage shops. You're bound to find at least 2 on each street you walk down. My favourite is 10 ft Single by Stella Dallas. We stayed at the Williamsburg Hotel. Very cool, modern and industrial. It also has an old water tower on the top of it, which has been renovated into a bar, Incredible views over Manhattan! Places to eat and drink - try the ‘Shelter’ if you want a fireside drink or a wood oven baked pizza. For patisserie and bread, you must check out 'Bakeri' every type of sweet treat you can think of! Super quaint and cosy inside, think of an English Nanas living room. Plus all the staff wear denim overalls! For all American Pies, you need to go to Marthas Country Bakehouse. I swear to the almighty I have never seen so many pies in one place before. For swanky evening drinks with a view try the Wythe Hotel rooftop bar. Insane cocktails and views. For something a little different we ate at our hotel which has a Lebanese inspired menu. Which was delicious! But the best thing about being in Williamsburg for me is walking the streets and checking out all the different restaurants. There’s so much to chose from and one after another. So check out the menus on the front of each one and decide from there. Usually, the final decision depends on which one can fit you in!
We headed back to Soho and stayed at the Ludlow. Perfect hotel to end on. Super cool inside. The rooms are a little small granted but the decor is incredible, O and the bathrooms are definitely selfie-worthy LOL. It has a rooftop sun lounge area which in the summer would be a great sun trap/view point of the city. Downstairs also has the best French Restaurant outside of being in Paris. Its called Dirty French. Even if I wasn’t staying at this hotel I’d go to this restaurant.
Now without being a super tourist, we did check out some hot spots whilst back in Manhattan which included,
Grand Central Station. Not your average train station. It's like a palace! To see it is to believe it.
Central Park, definitely plan out a route before you turn up otherwise a quick walkthrough will turn into a 3-hour walk from end to end. I’ve only ever done this in the winter so I’ve always opted for the quick 25-minute walk through haha but if it was warmer I’d definitely do the full tour and paddle boat on the lake experience. Failing that, grab a coffee, sit on a bench and just take in the park vrs city view juxtaposition. It's definitely a surreal experience. In the winter it also has Ice skating.
Aire Ancient Baths, right in the heart of TriBeCa, this is an underground ancient bathes experience. With 7 different pools, hot, cold, jacuzzi or salted. Very dark and mysterious, you wouldn’t think you are in New York at all. If you are after relaxation this is your spot. I recommend ending it with a 45-minute massage. I left feeling very chilled Indeed.