"...there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something...commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers, the settlers give it the passion." ~ E. B. White
I've been trying to figure out why I'm continually obsessed with this city and that pretty much sums it up. Passion. You can't help but feel it everywhere. It's where the creative worlds converge and for people like moi, it's an eternal playground. On my recent trip I went to some favorite spots as well as discovered new ones so without further adieu, I present my latest musts for where to eat, shop, stay and what to see in the city that never sleeps.
STAY: I always make it a point to stay in midtown since I like to be central to the various neighborhoods of Manhattan with easy access to Brooklyn as well. This time I knew I was going to spend a lot of time in SOHO so I opted for the new Archer Hotel in the garment district. It has every amenity you need, smart design, a rooftop with unparalleled views of the Empire State Building and you can't beat the price. It's close to major subway lines and between 5th and 6th Avenues, meaning it's literally central to everything. Two other options would be the Ace Hotel and it's neighbor, The Nomad. Both have stylish digs, great restaurant scenes, and are centrally located.
EAT: A few places to grab brunch, lunch or something sweet include Sarabeth's (various locations), Cafe Habana in Nolita, BG Restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman, Shake Shack (various locations), Momofuku Milk Bar, Dominique Ansel Bakery, Smile To Go, Eataly, John's of Bleeker St (Pizza), The Library at The Nomad, Chelsea Market, and The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. For dinners that offer a vibrant scene as well as top notch food and cocktails, look no further than Tao Downtown, Beauty & Essex, The Breslin, Asiate and Il Buco Alimentari E Vineria. For drinks and appetizers, hit up Nomo Soho, The Spyglass Rooftop, Salon De Ning at The Peninsula and Le Bain and Top of the Standard.
SHOP: It's hard to say which area is the best- depends on what you're looking for and which neighborhood suits you. My mecca is SOHO and the West Village for places like & Other Stories, Aritzia, Warby Parker, Reformation, Rebecca Minkoff (the most unique technology-driven shopping experience ever), as well as every major retail chain you can imagine. I get all my beauty supplies from Ricky's, Birch Box and C.O. Bigelow, and get a mani/pedi at TenOverTen if time permits. I also love 5th Ave for luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman as well as Madison Ave for many designer flagships like Tory Burch, Missoni and Tom Ford. Herald Square also contains two mega versions of H&M and Urban Outfitters, the former which includes an entire floor of their home decor line, and the latter, an amazing beauty section with cult-faves like Ardency Inn. Union Square is another charming area that includes ABC Carpet & Home and retailers like Anthropologie and Zara. My favorite tip for glamour on the go: ditch the shampoo and conditioner bottles in your suitcase and book an appointment at Dream Dry where a blowout will easily last a few days if you've got a good dry shampoo to keep it fresh.
SEE: Broadway shows are and always will be a great entertainment option, but for a truly unique and immersive experience, you have to check out Sleep No More at the McKitterick Hotel. For all you Macbeth fans out there, it's especially meant for you, but even us non-lit people find this show irresistable. The Highline is another quintessntial New York experience. It's an elevated park with sweeping downtown views and lots of spots to sit and take it all in. I love to walk everywhere when I go to this city and I never miss a stroll thru Central Park or a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge. Museums are everywhere and some of my favorites include The Met, The Guggenheim, MOMA and The Whitney. Lastly, no trip is quite complete with at least one of these on your itinerary: Grand Central Terminal, The New York Central Library (don't forget to look up at the ceilings), One World Observatory, and the New York Botanical Garden.
If you have a favorite spot, list it in the comments below! Happy travels!