New York is my favorite city to visit when I need a jolt of inspiration. It’s like coffee for the soul!
Spring is the perfect time to visit because brave New Yorkers are in shorts while we are still in winter coats. Here is a roundup of my favorite Manhattan spots!
I usually arrive mid-afternoon and head right to Balthazar. I sit at the bar and feel like I’m at the center of the action. The fabulous people are starting the weekend and are alive with energy. Famous faces and the latest fashion trends are always on display. It’s the perfect beginning. This is the classic spot for steak & frites and profiteroles, or to simply enjoy the oyster bar and a glass of sparkly.
Then I head out for a walk in SOHO and check out my favorite shops like Anthropologie, J Crew and Aritzia. I also window shop at the smaller boutiques. I buy my favorite peppermint tea at Harney & Sons, browse Rag & Bone, and Kirna Zabête. There are always pop up shops, sample sales and new stores to discover.
Around 4PM, it’s usually time to get a blow out at Dry Bar. Cookies, cocktails and a transformation are always a great way to kick off a Friday night. You can book your appointment online here. I’ll typically see a play and then go for a late meal.
Saturday morning starts religiously at Little Owl. I have a boat sized latte, maybe two, and their killer buckwheat pancakes. The vibe always puts me in the best mood. After brunch, a stroll down my favorite street Bleecker is in order. Every step is a walk in paradise in my favorite brownstone-lined neighbourhood.
With the fashion industry in transition, a lot of new boutiques have popped up on Bleecker like Après Sea that I could move in to. I always check out Intermix, Ulla Johnson, and Rag & Bone (yes, I am obsessed). A lot of European labels have opened boutiques here like ba&sh. I always hope I’ll run into Sarah Jessica Parker who shops at Zadig & Volatire btw. A walk by Carrie’s steps is always a good idea for those Sex and The City fans (64 Perry St). Here is a list of boutiques on Bleecker.
Buvette is the next stop when you need a rest. We once spent a whole rainy afternoon sitting at the bar. A drink, turned into a snack, which turned into dinner. It’s one of my favorite New York memories.
Once you are moving again and ready to eat, pasta at the roman eaterie LUPA is a sumptuous way to treat your taste buds. Small, darkly lit and filled with cool creatives, this is one of my favorite spots to overindulge and talk up with the locales. If we don’t have plans, we will stay here for hours and then head out for some jazz. Sitting at the bar is fun way to enjoy this spot. Or try IL BUCO for Italian. There are no words.
Sunday morning starts at The Boathouse in Central Park for mimosas, live piano, and a tasty basket of homemade breads and cakes while we watch couples row across the iconic man-made pond. There is always a photoshoot happening on the rocks, and lots of people waiting for a table outside. White linen table cloths, freshly squeezed orange juice and colorfully clad international fancies are fun to watch.
A walk through epic Central Park to watch the saxophone player fill the air with cool, while bubbles float through the air, and the local choirs fill the tunnels with heavenly music. It’s perfection. People soaking the sun’s rays, children playing with toy boats or climbing on the Alice in Wonderland statue, joggers, dog walkers, and creative marriage proposals can all be spotted while you enjoy nature’s wake from slumber. The tulips bloom in a rainbow of colors throughout April and May.
Now it’s time for a walk down 5th Avenue for the shoppers, or a walk through The Plaza where they offer high tea. Or you can head over to Chelsea Market for a walk on the highline and maybe enjoy sun tanning on the wooden beds if you are lucky enough to get a spot. It can get crowded, so head inside for delicious fresh seafood at the fish market. Check out the local art galleries, or get your hair cut at the famed Sally Hershberger salon, hairdresser to the stars. I always ask the locals, including hairdressers, for recommendations on what to do and where to go. The galleries are plentiful so just walk and enjoy!
For dinner, I’d head to Spice Market, Stanton Social which would also be amazing on a Friday or Saturday night for a party, or Prune. I’d book a comedy show for afterwards. The great thing about New York is that taxis aren’t expensive so you can easily switch neighbourhoods.
As they say, you don’t sleep very much in New York.
I usually want to sleep away from noise of downtown, so these are my top three picks where I’ve had a great experience.
This hotel has an amazing rooftop terrace with a view that you can’t beat. They can also lend you a bicycle. It’s in the very cool Nolita neighborhood and across from The Butcher’s Daughter which is known for their amazing healthy smoothies. The nearby Rin Tin Tin is a great place to get a drink or a delicious meal. I love their couscous, and that musical instruments decorate the ceiling. Tall plants and an artsy crowd make this place a necessary stop. I also adore Café Gitane for their avocado toast. I have sat in this restaurant, read magazines, and felt very comfortable being alone. The Cuban restaurant Café Habana is delicious for a quick and zesty lunch. INA is a great vintage shop full of Chanel, Vuitton and tons of designer bags, shoes and beautiful clothes. You’ll probably want to have a cupcake at the Little Cupcake Bakeshop and then check out all the cute boutiques, not to mention the awesome bookstore McNally Jackson.
This hotel is so beautiful and as the name says, it’s grand. (It’s particularly glorious dressed up for the holidays). I once sat in their bar after I’d already maxed out on cocktails and sipped a mint tea just so I could people watch and soak up the jewel colored velvet sofas. This hotel is heaven. It is also really well located for those of you who want to focus your visit on SOHO shopping and restaurants.
The restaurant at this hotel is a must see. It is one of the most beautiful spaces I’ve seen in Manhattan. The lobster ravioli is so delicious. The hotel rooms are decorated in blue and white, and make you feel like you are sleeping on a cloud. They spritz the hotel with delicious scents, and the jet set crowd is sprinkled with recognizable faces.
The Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art)
The classic choice. Not only is the space incredible, but it’s full of famous art and has a floor dedicated to photography. There is something for every taste. May 7th, 2018 is the Met Gala Ball so if you are in New York and want to see every top tier celebrity, you can stand outside and watch them arrive. It’s quite the spectacle.
MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art)
This is the museum I go to when I want my mind flipped upside down. There is always an artist showing here that changes how I see the world.
This Gallery is where you go to see Klimt’s famous The Lady in Gold. It’s a beautiful museum that is smaller than MOMA and The Met, which can both be overwhelming. I particularly loved seeing the black and white photos of Klimt and his wife.
Little Owl is a must for the waffles or buckwheat pancakes. Book in advance. The service is amazing. I once went back the next day and the hostess remembered the wine I liked. These people are pros. This place is famous because it is in the movie “No Reservations” …O and it’s in the opening shot of that tv show you may have heard of called “FRIENDS”.
Prune *Warning* They do not do speciality coffees. It is strong and by the pot, so if you need a latte or cappuccino, this place is not for you. That being said, the food is so exceptional that I tried the salmon eggs benedict and I don’t even like hollandaise sauce. OMG. I have yet to try them for dinner, but I have only heard good things. They also have a cookbook for those of you who like to recreate meals you love at home. They do not take reservations, but in good weather, I never mind waiting outside and chatting with people in the sun.
The Boathouse As I mentioned, I love this place. (It’s where Carrie fell in the pond for you “Sex and the City” fans.) They do not take reservations, so be prepared to wait. It’s worth it.
Balthazar You can do a sit-down brunch, or if you want to just grab a café au lait and a croissant, try their pretty boulangerie next to the restaurant.
Bubby’s If you love scones and eggs (and pie!), this is your place.
Olive's for the tastiest sandwiches. I usually grab one to enjoy in the cab on my way to the airport as I watch the Manhattan skyline slowly disappear.
CATCH in the meatpacking district has amazing seafood and a party atmosphere. The rooftop terrace and multiple levels mean you can go from dinner to dancing in the same spot.
ODEON In Tribeca, it is the classic French bistro. Lena Dunham loves this spot so much she tattooed the name on her body. Start with a drink at the bar and please make reservations.
Seamore’s For a casual night of beer and fish tacos, this place is perfect. Their orange vanilla ice-cream is ridiculous.
Lucky Bee For Thai food and an instagrammable décor, this is a fun and happening spot.
Uncle Boons This is also a Thai restaurant with food and décor that transports you to another continent. Incredible.
P.S. I reached out to my favorite New York foodie Shani Silver (Former Director of Digital Content at Domino Magazine) for her top picks in her words. She introduced me to Seamore’s and Lucky Bee.
4 Charles Literally the best burger I've had in NYC, maybe anywhere. 100% need a reservation.
Estela One of my faves, a really great window in NYC dining. Also recommend a rezzie or show up early and grab a seat at the bar.
Marta SUCH good pizza and an amazing wine list w/ very knowledgeable sommeliers. Definitely a huge step up from dollar slices (though those are amazing too!).
You really can’t go wrong in this city. Enjoy! Be sure to walk across to Brooklyn Bridge and check out the Brooklyn Flea Market. But that’s another story…