NEW YORK CITY.
even with the (un)controlled chaos, the smells, the noise, the crowds, this is a city that is after my heart. always.
I just came back from my 3rd long weekender in Manhattan and I miss it already. Whether its 1 day, 1 weekend or 1 week its never enough in my mind.
as far as I’m concerned, NYC doesn’t really need any introduction.
My peeps keep asking me for my favs. therefore - here goes;
Here are some TIPS, you can take em or leave em, it’s all good:
1. I flew PORTER AIRLINES from Toronto Island to Newark. NEVER AGAIN. (at least until the island airport gets U.S. preclearance that is). Waiting in line at Newark with a flight of Air India passengers will drive even the most calm person insane. This is a case where it is actually WORTH IT to drive to Pearson, pre-clear customs, fly from there, land in LaGuardia, and grab a 20 min cab ride. Newark is more like a 45-55 mins - if you’re lucky. Blah…
2. Quikbook is a great tool for booking hotels. I used it the last 3 times cause their rates where at least 30 % lower than the hotels were offering direct. I LOVE QUIKBOOK.
3. OpenTable is your/my friend. Use it whenever possible. NYC restaurants are often hard to get into without a rez. even for brunch or breakfast. Use it.
4. My list below is the “REAL DEAL”. I had a great experience at each and everyone of these over my last 2 trips, I shit you not.
5. I drank a crazy, insane amount of coffee on each trip. Yes NYC has tons of places to feed this addiction however truth be told most of it really sucked. So much really terrible coffee I can’t even begin. The places I list below saved the (my) day…
6. in my mind there is no food trend more overplayed and overrated than the “cupcake”. Manhattan is equally (if not more) guilty of foisting this craze on its citizens as the next metropolis (hello T.O….) with a cupcake shop on every block. I tried. and tried. and tried until I was barfing red velvet but without exception they all suck. The lineups at Magnolia Bakery? someone please explain. ok rant over.
without further ado…
MY LIST [A-Z]
Abraco tiny, miniscle Portuguese style espresso bar (thankfully the coffee is not Portuguese).
Aesop this cult-ish Aussie skincare outfit just opened its coolest US store. Filed under the “so hip it hurts” folder. ;)
Americano (The) **Just opened** A modernist lodge from the peeps that brought you Habita in Mexico City and Deseo in Playa. Love the design so the cafe/bar/rooftops are worth a looksie. Not sure about the rooms thou, they look a little sterile for my taste.
Barrio Chino tacos, tequila, margaritas at a local hang. in Chinatown no less. me love so much…
Bathtub Gin a hidden “speakeasy” themed bar located behind a not especially attractive coffee shop. NYC'ers will argue with you that this trend is soon to be dead, however the vibe, drinks and food here are solid. a good night out that doesn’t involve douches or clubkids (for now anyways…)
Blue Bottle Coffee Co. one of the West Coast’s best roasters lands in the hipster haven known as “Brooklyn”. worth the trek.
Bouchon Bakery French pastries to die for. I buy goodies from here to take to Central Park just across the way. skip the joe.
Central Park needs no words. Must visit. Never gets old.
Doughnut Plant I can never eat just one. I don’t eat donuts in Canada, so I justify it. The Banana or Coconut cream filled doughnut is basically a deep fried orgasm.
Esquina (La) a “corner” Mexican hole in the wall, not much to look at, but they cook up cheap and cheerful tacos and burritos. yum-my.
Five Leaves a.k.a. International Hipster H.Q. coffee bad. seating barely tolerable. service passable. Brunch and burgers phenomenal.
Flight 001 as a AAA+ rated travel nut, this is a must-stop.
FoodParc high teck food court but with good food. RedFarm Stand is the standout - I ate something like 20 dumplings from them alone.
Gild Hall is the best hotel in downtown (or FiDi) THE. BEST. I’m a big fan of the “English hunting lodge meets 60’s mod” design. a bullseye. (f.y.i. they offer great weekend rates).
Gimme Coffee they gimme exactly the espresso drink that I want and need. Love love LOVE! They best espresso bar in the Nolita/SoHo/NoHo area.
High Line (The) the best thing to happen to NYC in a long time and right now my favourite experience. As an avid people watcher this place is scenery heaven for me. Don’t forget to look up at the Standard Hotel as you are bound to see some nudity ;)
La Guardia Airport what a f'ing armpit, smelly, unfriendly dump. Actually all 3 of the NYC area airports are hellholes however since you gotta fly into one of them, this is my choice. YES Porter Airlines is more convenient, however they go into NEWARK. Trust me - don’t do it.
Luke’s Lobster SO the lobster roll is almost $20 (gulp) but let me tell you that it’s worth every penny (bite) ;-) The East Village location is my go-to.
MoMA it’s MoMA bitches. Anyone with any kind of interest in the Modern Arts know about it already. I could spend 2-3 hours in their SoHo design shoppe alone.
Museum of Chinese in America a new museum located in Chinatown. Very eye opening, I loved the exhibits here and I LOVED the design of the industrial space, the antithesis of the “New”.
New Museum most Contemporary art is very hit and miss for me, however their current exhibit “OSTALGIA” is a MUST SEE. a BONUS is the citywide view from the top floor ***open weekends only***
Ninth Street Espresso their triple shots power my day. Staff too surly to be cute, but the espresso is actually worth it.
Noguchi Museum for fans only as its quite the trek out to Queens. Giant fan so it was worth every smelly, vomit inducing minute in a NYC taxi pour moi.
Nolitan Hotel (The) is a brand spanking new hotel where I stayed on my last trip. I am a little on the fence with this one, being so new and all. It’s a small-ish hotel housed in one of the fugliest buildings I have seen in a long time, however it’s saved by really good customer service and great amenities like crazy comfy beds, lightning speed wifi, local toiletries and free (his + her) bikes. The glass enclosed showers have windows that overlook both the street and bedroom - for all you showoffs. All the concrete they built this hotel with doesn’t lend itself to a quiet stay thou - its a pretty noisy place. If you can get a good rate (under say $350) I say go for it.
Num Pang a Cambodian sandwich shack located next to a particularly busy and stinky car park. It’s so Manhattan its almost a cliche. Both the Pork and the coconut shrimp sandwiches are winners.
Project No. 8 I don’t usually buy anything here (cannot afford) but love to look. A boy can dream right?
Public just like in Toronto, brunch is a religion in Manhattan and there are thousands of choices. If you’re visiting for only 1 weekend don’t waste it - GO HERE. I’m serious. The menu is interesting, not intimidating but also with some classics.
RBC NYC The SLAYER is one sexy, sexy machine. This is the only cafe downtown worth your time IMHO.
Rubirosa Basic pizza and pasta done so right I could cry. Staff is ubercute and uberfriendly.
Schiller’s Liquor Bar YES YES I can hear you screaming - it’s a bit of a tourist trap now, but truthfully, the food here is very consistent, the drinks are stiff, the vibe (even with the turistas) is still very “LES” and the design me likes. There are “cooler” restos in the same area, but none are as solid or have the staying power. I’ve been coming here for years and have yet to be disappointed. Bonus is they are open *VERY* late on weekends for after-party dinners.
6 Columbus My favourite hotel in Midtown. Close to Central Park, Broadway Theatres and recently opened is a rooftop terrace lounge (go b4 it closes 4 winter). Nicely designed lobby and rooms. It’s very masculine, which I love. Plus the girls at the check in desk are hot.
Sleep No More an interactive theatre/dance performance meets David Lynch/Alfred Hitchcock film inspired nightmare. You spend 2-3 hours exploring a carefully curated haunted house while witnessing something based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth with blood, murder, witches and nudity galore for your entertainment.
Standard Hotel THE hotel for voyeurs with glass enclosed showers. What this hotel lacks in outer beauty more than makes up for that with phenom views of the Hudson and over the High Line. The rooftop bar is quite “the scene” at night that may or may not be your thing. They try SO hard to be cool that they even have their own TUMBLR that is very packed with shitloads of stuff you may or may not like.
Taim Mobile Truck I am a falafel fiend, however good ones are hard to find anywhere in North America. The balls here are the closest to the ones in Tel Aviv I have found so far. Sooo delicious. and spicy.
Thompson LES another brand new brutalist “block” of a hotel, this time built to tower over the Lower East Side. Surprisingly, for all the concrete, the rooms and beds are super comfortable and service really friendly. I’m not a Thompson Hotel slut, honest! ;-)
Uniqlo pretty much the only “chain” store I will shop at. Yes its a crowded madhouse steaming like a sauna, but the quality and prices make me go back each time.
*all the random images above are my own, various taken all over Manhattan, not all locations are included in my list. excuse the iPhone look and some were “instagrammed” while some where not. I’m kinda a lazy picture taker.. ;-)
*all opinions and observations are my own. I have not received any payments or incentives to include any recommendations listed above.