Ever wanted a New Yorker’s opinion on something? Where to go? How to avoid everyone? Where to find hidden spots? This week in the New York on My Mind interview series, My New York, blogger Jackie Clair shows us around her Upper East Side neighbourhood and to a secret garden in Central Park.
Are you a native New Yorker?
I am! I grew up on Long Island which is about an hour or two outside the city. I came to New York for my first job out of college and it’s been a great experience!
Why do you love living in NY?
I love living in New York City because there is so much to see and do. I feel like I could live here forever and not get bored…I have a never-ending and ever-expanding list of places that I still want to visit and things that I want to do. Every neighborhood has a unique vibe which provides endless variety. There are so many bookstores, sweet shops, and parks that I love to visit, so there’s always the fun of discovering new places and revisiting old favorites.
The Upper East Side.
What do you love most about your neighborhood?
I love that it’s quiet and residential as compared to other parts of the city. There are pre-war buildings up here with absolutely gorgeous architecture, along with some great coffee shops, restaurants and bookstores. I love Carl Schurz Park and the proximity to Central Park… but best of all is probably the proximity to Ladurée on Madison Avenue!
Favourite time of year in the city?
Autumn. The foliage and the crisp, clean air can’t be beat!
Best brunch spot?
I have a few places I really love, but Sarabeth’s is a consistent favourite. Their buttermilk pancakes are amazing and they have this delicious four flower juice that I’m obsessed with. I also love the decor of the Madison Avenue location and how spacious and bright it is.
Best meal you’ve ever had in NYC?
The asparagus, ricotta, and bacon pizza at ABC Kitchen, which is incredibly fresh and delicious. Along with that, one of their fresh, house-made cherry-citrus sodas, followed by a seasonal dessert (their menu is constantly changing)… I’ve never had a better meal than those at ABC Kitchen.
I love perusing ABC Carpet and Home. They have the most unique and beautiful design goods and textiles from all over the world, and the store itself is absolutely stunning.
Building you’d most love to live in?
There’s this gorgeous building on a corner in Carnegie Hill (a neighborhood on the UES) that’s covered in ivy when the weather is warmer…it looks like something out of the English countryside or a Jane Austen novel…that would be a dream building for sure! Alternatively, 1 Sutton Place is this amazing building that was built in 1927 for a member of the Phipps family (whose historic Westbury estate in Long Island, NY, I’ve visited with my family many times – it’s open to the public and is wonderful). 1 Sutton Place overlooks the water and has a wraparound terrace… it’s beautiful!
City’s most overlooked site?
I think the Conservatory Garden, which is Central Park’s only formal garden and quiet space. It actually consists of three gardens – one English, one French, and one Italian. It’s an absolutely beautiful place in every season, and it’s very peaceful.
If you could only choose one museum or gallery to go to, which would it be?
I really love The Frick, which is a small museum housed in the former mansion of industrialist Henry Clay Frick. You can kind of feel what it would’ve been like to live there back in the days of “Old New York”, and besides the beauty of the house, the art collection inside is amazing. It’s also a small museum so it’s not overwhelming.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art rooftop, where you can have a drink and enjoy an amazing view over Central Park. Also, tea at Bergdorf Goodman in its Kelly Wearstler-designed restaurant makes for a fun and stylish afternoon activity!
What would you do as Mayor?
Lower the rent prices!
How would you spend a spare afternoon?
My ideal spare afternoons are spent walking around, exploring a neighbourhood, and taking pictures. I love to grab coffee and a sweet treat (or several), then pop into a bookstore and spend some time browsing.
Best thing a taxi driver has said to you?
Not sure! They don’t usually talk to me.
What inspires you about New York City?
Everything, from the amazing architecture, to the stylish coffee shops, to the charming sweet shops, and the refreshing green spaces. Just walking around you see so much and it really gives you a fresh perspective when you need a little jolt.
Craziest thing about living in the City?
Just how expensive and crowded everything is! You really need to come up with strategies to work your way around the crowds. Probably the really craziest thing is how much people pay for such little space…to me it seems normal because I’ve never lived in another city, but I know that it’s really quite crazy!
Is there anything you’d change about living in the city?
The high cost of living would be the first thing I would change!
A word of advice for tourists…
Only lift your hand to hail a cab if the light is on on the top of the cab. If it’s not lit, that means the cab is occupied. Also, if a random stranger tries to “help” hail you a cab, they’re going to expect (or demand) a tip…so get away from them!
Thanks for talking to me and sharing all these wonderful things to do and see, Jackie! You can visit Jackie’s blog here.
Have you been to any of the places she talks about? I personally love hanging out on the Met Museum Rooftop, it’s one of my favourite things to do in New York.
Also… this is a great way to spend an evening in Greenwich Village.