I know – It’s daring to do a guide about this city. And it will never, ever be complete. Since about 15 years I am coming to New York City almost once a year and there are things that never change, from shopping at Century 21 to eating Peking Duck in China Town. And then there always plenty of exciting new places and spots that are simply beautiful – Not because they are special themself, but because of their energy, spirit and the people. This list is a mix of everything – The old, the new, the chic, the slightly shabby – but all of them are charming and special.
Last time I went here war last year for Fashion Week and visiting a friend. She had to see her family and I was staying alone in her cosy apartment – but didn’t felt lonely a minute. I made new friends, felt connected to my old one. It was extremely hot and such an intense time. So if you are wondering if going alone is a good idea: It is!
What’s missing in this list are clubs and bars. i’m not going lie: When I went out, it was to some fancy fashion parties at places I would not advise you to go, to clubs that are closed now (or were not even clubs – not sure…) or at private homes. On my list for the next trip: live music venue and jazz bars. So: An update will be coming in late September 2018!
- Eat the instagram eggs
Egg Shop is like an Instagram-Restaurant – in a good way. The name suggests what it is about – most meals are based on eggs. I find it best for a late breakfast: I loved “The Reformer” with egg whites and spinach on multigrain bread. Sounds simple – and it is. But I think they add a special sauce. I don’t know how, but they make eggs appear like a really cool food. Desserts are lovely, too.
151 Elizabeth Street.
- Check out art with atmosphere
Of course you know that you have to go to the MoMA for big and fancy art or to Guggenheim for that architecture-thrill. But the New Museum is worth a visit, too (and within walking distance from Egg, see above – just saying). The museum is focused on contemporary art, exhibitions might be small sometimes, but are always on point. The building itself is designed by the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa and you’ll feel the Japanese vibe, there is something calm, soothing about this museum. On a very hot summer day during fashion week last year, I was going here just to cool down, my senses and my body. So the atmosphere is very laid-back, plus, they have a nice rooftop terrace.
- Shop till you drop
Ok Century21 is not a secret. But you might wonder: Is it worth going? So to those who didn’t study a regular NYC guide before: This is outlet department store, selling a lot of clothes, shoes, bags and stuff from smaller to bigger designer lables for about 30 -80 % off its regular price. This is not a store you go for an hour to get a nice dress, this is a daytrip, you have to search plenty of racks to find what you want. Pack something to drink, maybe a snack and never ever do it with your boyfriend or husband waiting outside. One of you might be very pissed of by the of your shopping spree, either you because you had to return sooner than wanted or him because of hours of waiting. 22 Cortlandt Street.
- Explore new neighborhoods
Bushwhick is a rougher area, partly industrial, partly just a “normal” (by New York standards) district. You’ll find many great latin restaurants here – This area is huge caribbean, Puerto Rican and in general latin american influence in this area, which makes it so lively. I love all those handpainted signs, cute beautysalon (ladies lurking around them) and music you here from corner to corner. If you do a walk around, you can go to the hipper part of Bushwhick, where you’ll find cool bars, galleries and restaurants plus a lot of graffiti. That’s a nice add-on, but I would consider it just another hipster place if there wasn’t the authentic hispanic influenced side.
Around the subways stations DeKalb Ave, Myrtle Ave and Wyckhoff Ave.
- Shop souvenir – and a bit of beauty
C.O. Bigelow is the oldest apotecary in america – so it says on the website. Actually, it doesn’t look that old to me. But old in America is a different age than it is in Europe. You’ll find a lot beauty brand in the wooden oldschool shelves, include nailpolish by Smith & Cult, haircare by R+Co and some natrual beauty brands like Dr. Hauschka. But I come here for their own brand. My favourite are their perfume oils and whenever I’m wearing my amber one, I get compliments for it. And at 15 dollar a real bargain. I like to bring souvenirs from here, too – like their lip- or handcream because of it’s beautiful branding.
414 Sixth Avenue
- Become young again
I am a big beauty enthusiast – But when I go on a trip, a spa treatment has to be really outstanding since I don’t want to invest time in something I could do at home. Dr. Dennis Gross and his peel fullfilled my treatment-dreams! First of all, this treatment is only 10 Minutes – So wasting time is no risk at all. Secondly, even if it took three hours, I would do it again! The effect it just amazing – They use a mix of chemical peels, sounds harsh and our skin will feel burning for some minutes, but afterwards everythings is bright, clear, even. NOT red. This is the perfect treatment for me, fast and efficient. But whatever your skin-concern is, the very well trained people at the Dr. Dennis Gross Dermatology will know how to handle it, I’m sure.
900 5th Avenue
- Do daydancing
Everytime I’m in New York, I came across open air parties –or maybe it were only DJs playing in public? Well, who cares! The music was always my taste and perfect for daydancing: A mix of contemporary deep house and old-school disco. Sometimes it went from a five people dancing to about 40 including many older people (my favourite was a 70+ wearing a “R.I.P. Donna Summer”-Shirt). So, where does this happen you might ask. I found these parties mostly at Coney Island (beside the aquarium) and in Tomkins Square park, around 2-5pm. My advise: Just follow the beat when you hear it.
- Get that one treat
I’m not a big fan of typical U.S-treats like donuts, softice or soda – but there is one exception: Cheesecake. New York Cheesecake to be precise. And the best spot for it is Eileens (17 Cleveland Pl.), serving small cakes in just the right size and with the most delicious taste making every calorie worth it. The place is supersmall and usually very crowded, so to takeaway would be the best idea. One more treat I can’t resist: ice-cream. A favourite of mine, especially for summer, is Van Leeuwen. They used to sell only via a van, but opened some cafés in New York (I love this: 48.5 East 7th St.) They have a lot of vegan options, fresh ingredients only and lovely flavours such as Earl Grey. I know green juices might be better for the body, but this is soulfood!
- Eat a duck
It’s time for China Town! If you are in New York already or have been to Chinatown, you know this shabby restaurants with dead birds in the window. Don’t ask why, but one time we just went into one of these. Don’t expect anything pretty or “designed” in here. It’s just about the food, especially peking duck. It’s bit adventorous, yes – but very delicious, too. Wander around the canal street station and see where you’d dare to go in and enjoy a great meal for a very low price.
- Enjoy the old stuff
Everywhere I go, I’m looking for good second hand shops or flea markets, haunting designer items, charming vintage pieces or just weird stuff. The feeling of catching a beautiful piece for about 10 Dollar and looking like a million in it is worth all the effort. And second hand shopping takes some effort. In New York it feels even more special: Last time a bought a silver shimmering bag from an old lady at a fleamarket at the lower eastside. She was so nice, so cool and told me that the bag is from the 70s. So in my mind, she went to Studio 45 with it and danced the night away with this pretty piece… Nice thought, huh? So look out for flea markets in Manhattan (don’t do Williamsburg or Brooklyn – It’s like an UO outdoors, which is ok but has nothing to do with the “real” vintage). I also like Buffalo Exchange – the shops look a little shabby, but if you take some time and search every rack, you might come across some Chanel (I did) and other almost unworn designer items. It’s spread across the city, so take a look online to find a store you’d like to see.