In May, the New York on My Mind team of two, hopped over the Atlantic for New York to conquer the city for the 15th or so time. All year I look forward to my annual trip to New York, to tucking into a good juicy burger, hunting out a new secret restaurant, stumbling on curious and unexpected sights, gallery hopping my way around Chelsea. Those were my goals for my trip to Manhattan, this time around, among a few other things…
What We Did
The West Village is a leafy haven in the middle of the crazy city, so it’s usually my first destination on the GPS for a jet-lag fuelled wander through its quiet, leafy cobbled streets. Even though I’ve done it so many times before, I never get bored and always notice new details…
Like this tiny narrow ‘half house’ at 9 1/2 Jane Street, behind a gate up an alleyway in between two rows of houses. Cute! It was common in the 19th century for extra little houses to be built at the back of terraces, as extra accommodation to generate rent.
And stoops – who doesn’t love a New York stoop?
So many beautiful brownstones…
Every Thursday night in Chelsea, the galleries have receptions for their new shows, which you can get
dressed up and gallery hop around – and they give out wine. More information here.
For an evening with a difference, we bought tickets to Magic After Hours, a cosy show hosted by magician, Noah Levine, in the perfect setting – the oldest magic shop in New York called Tannen’s, which you discover in the least likely of locations at the end of a corridor on the sixth floor of an ordinary Midtown office building opposite the Empire State Building…
Perhaps one of my favourite unexpected adventures on this trip was sneaking into the magnificent Oak Bar and Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel near Central Park. It closed in 2011 – only open for private events – and I never got to live my Mad Men dreams and have a drink in there, sigh, so sneaking in to feel the nostalgia was the next best thing.
Find the Oak Room in The Plaza Hotel at 768 5th Avenue.
I love hunting out a ‘secret’ style restaurant wherever I travel, like the Kuma Inn on the Lower East Side. Don’t be put off by dirty, scruffy doorway. Instead, go through it and up the stairs…
Ta da! A a cosy restaurant perfect for date night serving delicious small plates of Filipino, Thai and Asian dishes!
Find Kuma Inn at 113 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side.
When I return to New York, not only do I want to eat at all my favourite restaurants, I also want to try lots of new places – I’m willing to go anywhere! Pretty much 80% of any trip to New York is based around eating and drinking…
Find Tartine at 253 W 11th Street.
No trip to New York would be complete without sampling the burger and shoestring fries at the Spotted Pig, a constantly busy corner gastro pub full of cosy corners and busy right up until the early hours every night.
Find The Spotted Pig at 314 West 11th Street, West Village.
I love having drinks in the Rusty Knot. It’s a hip nautical-themed divey-style bar that feels like your grandfather’s basement, with fish tanks, ship paintings, wooden walls and red armchairs. It’s also right on the Hudson River, perfect for a late-night walk by the water to see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
Find the Rusty Knot at 425 West Street.
Where We Shopped
Not a New York trip goes by without a visit to John Derian. It’s probably my favourite home store in New York – if not the world? – and one of those home shops you want to just move into. His signature decoupage plates and paperweights feature flowers, frogs, ships and gorgeous typography and fill the shop, alongside striped rugs, scented candles, cheeky art books, woodblock prints and colorful quilts.
Find John Derian at 6 East 2nd Street.
If baggage allowance was no issue, I could go nuts in Strand Bookstore, a landmark shop with 18 miles of books that opened in 1927 and pretty much stocks any book you can think of, as well as a good line in souvenirs.
Find Strand Bookstore at 828 Broadway, at the corner of East 12th Street.
I went nuts in this bohemian home store packed out with Moroccan everything imagining what I’d put in my imaginary New York apartment.
Find Timbuktu at 45 2nd Avenue.
Where We Stayed
We usually stay here, but decided to try somewhere new, so our home for the week was the Art Deco-style Walker Hotel, a cosy prohibition-style place, with the perfect location on West 13th Street, just off Sixth Avenue in the heart of Downtown Manhattan close to Greenwich Village and Union Square.
The lobby was the perfect place to curl up after a day pounding the pavements.
The Art Deco-style rooms come complete with their own dial phone…
..and complimentary toiletries from C.O Bigelow, the oldest apothecary in the United States founded in 1838 in New York City! It’s still going strong on Sixth Avenue and a great place for a souvenir.
Find the Walker Hotel Greenwich Village at 52 West 13th Street.
Until next time, New York City!