We spend A LOT of time in gorgeous New York City shooting fashion stories and celebrity covers. So we came up with this handy guide full of all the things you WON'T find in the tourist books.
We consider New York to be our second home. That’s because we never do the tourist-y things when we’re there; we don’t go up the Empire State Building, or trek to see the Statue of Liberty (although, we have done that and both are v. cool). We do things only the NYC hippest locals would do.
So, with that in mind, here’s our guide on what to do in the city that NEVER sleeps.
Our favourite treatment is the ‘Blissage’ massage, which is perfect for getting rid of the knots from flying. It is, as they say, ‘the ultimate Happy Hour!’ Blissage costs from $125 an hour.
The Spotted Pig
We always eat brunch at The Spotted Pig, a fantastic eatery in The West Village run by chef April Bloomfield. It’s celebrating its 10th birthday this year – credit to what a fabulous place it is. Opt for a burger washed down with a mimosa and you’ll be ready ready for anything. This is one place that totally lives up to its hype and there is always a good fun crowd in there, and maybe a celeb or two, as well.
We go shopping at Zoe. Situated in Dumbo, Brooklyn, this is the spot to go to if you want well curated, current season collections from the likes of Alexander Wang and Lanvin. Also, when they have a sale, it’s fantastic.
Stay at the newly named Sixty LES (Formerly Thompson LES) on the Lower East Side. It’s the one of the best hotels in New York, by far. The staff are so incredibly nice – our favourite being Noah on the concierge desk, who knows the city inside out. The rooms on the top floors have the most incredible wrap-around balconies and floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Plus, there’s a pool on the 3rd floor and a brilliant sushi menu at the Blue Ribbon restaurant.
Saturdays Surf NYC
We sit in the garden and have a coffee at Saturdays Surf. Yes, it is a menswear store but a lot of the pieces work just as well for us ladies, too. If you’re planning on heading out of the city, there are beaches galore around the NYC. Montauk, in The Hamptons, has lots of great spots, as does Rockaway, which is a bit nearer to the city. Or, hire a bike from Echelon bike shop (the staff are lovely) and get the ferry over to New Jersey to enjoy the seaside over there.
Gran Electrica is a super-cool, very good, hipster chic, top-end Mexican joint. It has one of the best backyard areas in Dumbo and an incredible margarita list – their fresh farm-to-table ingredients make drinking cocktails almost feel like a health drink.
You can spend hours window shopping in ABC home. It has incredibly good buyers who seem to know exactly what we want our houses to look like! It’s worth taking your time and properly discovering all the treasures hidden inside. The coffee shop is also very good. Find them at 888 Broadway. Across the street the company has a very good restaurant too. We’ve tried every dessert on the menu – don’t judge us.
Pearl River Mart
For a more affordable shop, head down to Pearl River Mart at 477 Broadway. You’ll find stylists, set decorators and generally trendy young things snapping up colourful garden lanterns and kitchenware. Don’t be put off by the shop front decor from the street, dive in and you won’t be disappointed.
Apotheke is located in a very historic street in Chinatown. Monday night is the best night at this venue, when you’ll hear live music from a bunch of originally-Californian-kids-turned-New-York-hipsters every week. Mix that with great cocktails and great vibes, and by midnight everyone is up and dancing. And, it’s just a small thing, but Justin Timberlake’s ‘Take Back the Night’ video was filmed here. Boom!
Always worth a trip. Check out the Soho and Meatpacking stores for offerings from the likes of Chloe and Margiela. They have a huge celebrity following so you might find yourself browsing the rails with the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Jessica Alba.
Spend Sunday mornings wondering around Brooklyn Flea market. We tend to go to the one in Williamsburg, although there are several locations throughout Brooklyn – all well worth a visit. Last time we came home with vintage leather bags and a silver champagne cooler. If you’re staying in the city, get the ‘L’ train from Union Square to Bedford Avenue (have a good walk up and down Bedford Avenue too – it’s the home of the hipsters, the cool and the creative), or get a cab from below Central Park, which will cost between $15-20.
East River State Park
Have a morning power walk around the East River State Park or go late afternoon to soak up the views of the city. Its like the opening scene of Miramax films when the helicopter swoops over the skyline – you can see it ALL from here. It’s glorious. Take a hip flask of wine (if you’re not power walking, of course) and watch the city’s millions of lights come alive.
You’ll probably find yourself spending far too much on jewellery at Cat Bird in Brooklyn. They stock designers such as Aoko Su, Katie Diamond and Elisa Solomon. They’ve also got homewear in the shape of divine candles, calendars and cards. Be warned: it’s heaven in there and your credit card will take a bashing.
The Bowery Hotel
You’ve gotta love The Bowery Hotel for late night wine or whiskey. It’s the place to see and be seen but is still discreet. There’s a good chance you’ll be sat next to The Black Keys and not realize. Well, you probably will but pretend not too, it’s much cooler.
The Wythe Hotel
We drink or sleep at The Wythe Hotel, a converted factory in the heart of Brooklyn. In fact, we’d happily live there, permanently. Oh, and the roof top bar, the roof top bar makes your heart skip a beat.
Have a manicure at Broadway Nails. It’s near Union Square and does the best paint in the city – you won’t regret it. They don’t have a website but they’re at 818, Broadway, NY10003 (between 11th and 12th).
Union Square Farmers Market
Buy fresh local fruit, flowers and enormous carrot and mango juices at the farmers market on Union Square. Open Mon, Weds, Fri and Sat from 8am-6pm.
Strand Books has a lovely fashion section. You’ll also find one offs that are very hard to track down else where so it’s worth doing a bit of research before you get there.
Eat oysters for a treat at Maison Premiere. The venue is part Parisian chic, part New Orleans cool. The thing we love most is that they have the largest Absinthe collection in NYC! The sommeliers really know what they’re talking about so ask their advice about what to drink with what. The crowd are arty and fashiony and fun.