All the Reasons Why I Love New York
All of us have our favorite places – the ones where we feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store despite being in a foreign country. I’ve already told you about my love for certain Italian cities, but today I’d like to write about an other town which, as far as magic goes, has very few rivals: the one and only New York City!
My latest trip to New York was in the fall, which in my opinion happens to be the best time to visit the city, if only for the breathtaking spectacle of the autumn foliage in Central Park. With its imposing skyscrapers and its bright lights, its myriad different neighborhoods and its dazzling assortment of people, the Big Apple strikes me as an endless expanse of opportunities. It is also a place where I can constantly reinvent myself, whether I want to be a glam ma’am at a Sunday brunch or a fitness fanatic sweating in Central Park, a crazy gal looking to party til dawn or a mom stocking the fridge at organic markets. And whenever I’m in “the city”, I’m always inspired by the new things I see or experience: if you’ve been there… I’m sure you know what I mean!
And for those of you who haven’t been there, or who may be planning a return visit, I’d like to share some of my favorite spots and activities in this amazing city. No matter how much stuff I mention, I’m bound to forget something, so if you know any highlights that have been left out of my post, be sure to mention them in the comments section!
The Best Areas to Shop or Go for a Walk
Everyone knows that taking a walk down Madison Avenue is like taking a walk in heaven… But one of my favorite areas for an ultra-cool shopping experience is the West Village, even though it may be the least New York-like place in New York. With its winding tree-lined streets, where people sit leisurely at any of the countless cozy cafes, the West Village feels more like a laid-back European city than a bustling North American metropolis. Then again, the ultra-chic boutiques, the 24-hour restaurants, and the sheer amount of people you see, are always there to remind you that this is, indeed, “the city that never sleeps.”
On the other hand, those who like a vintage vibe in their homes or wardrobes will love the East Village, a neighborhood shrouded in an enchantingly Bohemian atmosphere with many cool clothing and furniture shops. One particular street I enjoy strolling down, especially on Sundays, when I’m looking to pick up a truly original gift or an unusual food, is the extra-long Sixth Avenue, which heads straight to Central Park. Sure, it’s not exactly quiet, but it embodies New York’s contagious, electrifying quality like few other spots in town!
When, on the other hand, I get tired of the chaos, I like to have a stroll in the historic Gramercy Park neighborhood, where the charms of yesteryear can be felt around every corner. The area – one of the most exclusive in New York – is famous for its architecture, with distinctive red brick townhouses dating back to the days before the American Civil War. Then, of course, there’s the Meatpacking District, which used to indeed be home to meat processing plants, but today is one of the hottest neighborhoods in town, with many of NYC’s coolest clubs and hordes of party people always looking to live up the night. Finally, I can’t forget to mention Chelsea, which is truly a mecca for those, like me, who love contemporary art. Every time I go it’s on my “must do” list: I simply refuse to leave town without taking a thorough tour of the galleries, and I usually end up buying at least one piece. There are always so many breathtaking, truly original works to be admired… even if I don’t physically purchase anything, I always go home with a suitcase full of inspiration!
My Hot Spots for Dinner or Drinks
I’m sure I’m not the only one who enjoys a good meal, especially when traveling abroad. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to really get in touch with a different culture. And in New York, you can get in touch with pretty much every culture in the world: the city’s culinary offerings are endless, so whatever you’re in the mood for – from a classic steak and fries to a bowl of Vietnamese Pho soup or an authentically Indian Tandoori chicken – you’ll be able to find it in the undisputed restaurant capital of the world.
During my trips to New York, I love taking in the refined elegance and the ultra-chic mood of The Polo Bar, a trendy establishment created by renowned fashion designer Ralph Lauren. While food and drinks are impeccable, my favorite part about this place is the surprisingly fun ambiance, both in the bar and in the restaurant downstairs (hint: make reservations at least one month in advance). Another great one is ABC Kitchen in the Flatiron District, which features a more relaxed and informal vibe, with a deliciously varied menu ranging from spectacular veggie burgers to scrumptious desserts. Do yourself a favor and try the coffee ice cream with caramelized popcorn and chocolate fudge… Y-U-M-M-Y!
For brunch, on the other hand, I love Luxembourg Cafè, just a few steps away from the Lincoln Center, a French-style brasserie which serves, among other things, the best eggs Benedict in town. As for Japanese food (a true passion of mine), the options in New York are many, but my N. 1 is still Blue Ribbon Sushi. Any of its three locations will do (Uptown, East Side and Soho), and while they don’t take reservations, you can always have a drink at the bar while you wait for your table. If fish is your thing, you can’t go wrong with Milos (best Greek salad and salt-baked fish in town… I have them every single time!), and while we’re talking about seafood, remember to check out one of New York’s institutions, the storied Grand Central Oyster Bar inside the eponymous train station, with its enormous display of every conceivable type of oyster. If instead you require a professionally prepared drink, head to the Carlyle Hotel bar on the Upper East Side or to Cipriani in the Financial District (where, in addition to a fabulous Bellini, you can also enjoy outstanding, authentic Italian cuisine).
When I feel the inevitable “day after” guilt after indulging the taste buds to such an extent, I’ll burn off the calories at Sports Club/LA (an exclusive spa-gym from which I always leave feeling reborn) or, if the weather’s right, go for a walk/run/bike ride in Central Park. And while we’re speaking of parks, of the many lovely ones throughout New York City, the one in Tribeca holds a special place in my heart: what a great spot for a picnic (maybe with some just-baked bread, “designer” cheese and fresh fruit from one of the many farmer’s markets), but also for shooting the breeze with a friend, or simply for relaxing in the company of a good book or your favorite playlist. Usually, my trips to New York are absolutely jam-packed. Be it for work or for leisure, between people I need to meet and places I want to see, there’s always so much on my agenda… And sometimes, I just need a couple of hours to unplug, relax and recharge. Thankfully, New York also offers plenty of opportunities to forget you’re in the middle of one of the most relentless and hectic places in the universe!
When all is said and done, I’ve become convinced that the most exciting way to discover this city is to dive into its jungle of streets and just roam around aimlessly. Keep your eyes (and your mind) open, and you’ll discover something fabulous around every corner.
A pair of black Nappa leather biker boots by Loriblu
Black dress by Alexia Ulibarri
Colored shirt dress by Jorge Ayala
Shirt and pants/skirt by Lorena Saravia